Sunday, August 19, 2012

(Val's a) Shark Week

This week I set out to see if I'm in good enough shape to entertain a fall 70.3. The result? I'm not sure. I definitely had a good week of exercise and I really enjoyed getting in two-a-days and the pleasant feeling of physical exhaustion that comes with them. Nothing stressed me out this week. How can you be stressed when you have that many endorphins pumping all the time?

Wait, I mis-spoke, er mis-wrote. Something did stress me out. And that something is what gives me pause about the possibility of a 70.3 in my future and quite honestly (and terrifyingly) gives me pause about the sprint tri coming up in less than 7 days. Eek!

First let's focus on the positive. I set out to:

Complete 3 runs and I was successful with all 3. I did a long run (15 miles), speed work (3 x 1600m @ 7:21), and a tempo (4 miles, 2 @ 7:54). I felt relatively strong for all 3. I took more breaks during the 15 miler than I should have but overall, a strong run week.

Bike 3 times- two 1 hour rides with intervals and one 1.5 hour ride. I didn't do exactly what I planned but close enough. I did 3 rides- 1.25 hours moderately easy (outside), 20 minutes hard intervals (spin bike) and 30 minutes moderately easy (outside). But I never did get that long one in in large part related to swimming issues (obtaining a wet suit). But I'm not too worried about the bike next week, that's more of a long term area to improve- I'll be fine for the sprint tri.

Swim 3 times- twice in the pool, once in the lake. Pool swims were no problems. I actually swam 3 times in the pool, once was just over a mile so that's good. But the lake swim? Awful. No better than the first time out. I was starting to feel better about swimming because I've made so much improvement in the pool but NONE of that has translated to improvement in the lake. With only 6 days until the tri, WHAT AM I GOING TO DO? I wish I knew. I feel desperate and overwhelmed. It's hard to get too worked up (working as an Oncologist for a living definitely keeps minor life stresses in perspective) but I'm worried enough that I need a solid plan for this week to maximize my chances that I won't DNF next week because right now that is a very real possibility.

So what happens when I'm in the lake? I'm not really sure. I know probably 80% of it is mental. I get there, I walk in, I freak out a little about the water being cold (I actually had a 5 minute conversation with a four year old in the water yesterday starting with me asking her how she dealt with the cold water- she told me to "get in all at once" and then proceeded to tell me all about her cousins and their water-getting-in-technique and her momma and her auntie and her favorite- but not only- pet dog until I regretted asking a 5 year old for advice), then I stand around in the water full of dread about what I'm about to do. Then I take a few strokes, realize it's not so bad but within a few more strokes I either get water up my nose or in my mouth or I panic or I get short of breath or I feel hopeless or my goggles fog up and the next thing I know I'm standing up. Why can't I just HTFU??? Why?? I'm such a wimp and this combined with an activity where so many factors are out of control just FREAKS ME OUT. I honestly think if I couldn't touch the ground I would have a much easier time. Knowing it's so easy to just put my feet down and take a break makes stopping the path of least resistance.

Strength: MetCon3 and Abs class at Equinox. I never did the Jillian Michaels video I intended to do. Whatever. Hard to care given what's going on with my swimming.

While I didn't intend to taper this week, I think I will end up tapering on the running and biking side so I can focus all my hard efforts on the swim. I'm open to advice on how to get this done. I will become a shark. All I will do is eat and swim. Mostly swim. Just a little eat. I will be a shark. I WILL. (I WILL KEEP TELLING MYSELF THIS UNTIL IT BECOMES TRUE!!) Key pieces of my plan include:

  • Using breaststroke when I freak out mentally, emotionally, or "water up my nose or in my lungs"-ly. Now sharks don't have this problem because their noses are designed differently. Val 0, Shark 1.
  • Using back floating (with kicking) when I tire physically. Sharks should've come up with this, it would save them energy. Val 1, Shark 1
  • Spending every moment I can in the lake this week. Hard to beat the sharks on this one. Val 1, Shark 2
  • Any pool swims I do will be without any breaks- no wall breaks, no standing breaks- the goal will be to swim for longer than I'll have to on Sunday without stopping. Ha! Do you see sharks training in the pool? No sireee-bob, you do not. I bet if they did some swimming drills in the pool, they'd become EVEN BETTER in the open water. Val 2, Shark 2
By the end of this week, I'll come up with something to beat the tie with the sharks, I promise.

Advice greatly appreciated. (HELP!!!!)

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