Friday, March 30, 2007

Nineteen! And first race excitement

I have a confession. I'm a swim slacker. When I started thinking about doing a sprint triathlon about this time last year the only thing I was sure I could do was the swim leg. I swam on a summer swim team for a few years up until I turned sixteen and started working. I wasn't the fastest person on the team, but I don't think I was the slowest. It's possible that I was, but it's one of the only sporting events I was involved with that I don't clearly remember being the worst one on the team. (Softball, basketball, cross-country- worst one on the team, that was me) Anyway, I didn't train much for that sprint triathlon swim, maybe 10 times I hit the pool and we did one open water swim to bike practice as a team. That was the only team training I was able to attend and my coach was clearly underwhelmed by my swimming abilities and gave me some small training tips. Things like- "you end your stroke to early so you're only getting half your stroke finished" and "your entire body position is wrong in the water so you're not swimming efficiently", you know, little things that could easily be fixed in the 2 weeks remaining before the first triathlon of my life. Anyway, I decided I wasn't going to be able to make any big changes at that point, I'd just go with what I've got. When we arrived for the tri, our coach asked us to estimate our times so they could be at the right spots to see us. The swim exit was easy, coach was right by the transition chute checking out our times. I had estimated about 12 minutes for the 500m swim- I think he thought I was giving myself too much credit. I think he was shocked to see me out of the water with a 10:19, putting me in the top 1/3 of the field. As I ran by he turned to someone else with us and said "wow, she's already out?" and I loved that swim, truly I had a great time. My second triathlon, the swim was cut woefully short, it was supposed to be 500 meters, but I think it was more like 300- which is bad for me because the swim's the only spot I can get some distance on anyone at the back. Of course as soon as we hit the bikes they all pass me like I'm standing still.
The point of that rambling was that I'm an okay swimmer to start with. So, when I get to the pool for a swim "workout" I tend to just hang out and do some laps. Nothing too exciting or strenuous, but I figure until I'm something other than a crappy biker and runner, those are the workouts to push myself because I've got tens of minutes of improvement to make there. What am I going to gain by pushing my swimming- maybe 2 minutes in a sprint? It's not great reasoning, but it gives me permission to slack in my own mind. This morning I decided to at least work a little hard for a little while and let me tell you- those of you that workout hard in the pool every time, it's tiring! I can usually repeat 100s on 1:45 continuously but this morning I tried to push it, I got down to the 1:35-1:40 range a few times and I was sucking wind! I'm still having breathing issues, not sure whether it's this cold still weakly kicking around or that I've got pregnancy congestion, so that added some discomfort and difficulty to those repeats. I've enjoyed reading Triteacher's swim analogies. This morning I thought about scooping the water and also swinging the rudder, I mean Critter, towards the wall when breathing. I think that actually helped, although again, good form is tiring. That's when I decided to do a few stroke count 50s. As you might guess from the title of this post, I hit NINETEEN. Okay, I only did that twice, but it was on the non-flip turn leg which I think is more accurate because I tend to push harder off the flip turn than off the start wall. Most of the laps were 20 or 21, still better than the first time I tried counting, all because of form- with some great analogies. Thanks, Triteacher! Maybe I'll have to start putting in real workouts at the pool, some day.

There's a first race coming up at our house and it's not on my race schedule. Hot Wheels is going to participate in his first kids run at a local 5K at the end of April. Dad's planning to run the 5K, I'm considering run/walking it but I'll be a last minute decision. Hot Wheels, though, has been asking for months when he's going to get to run in his first kids race. I wrote the race organizer to find out the distance but she wrote back and said they vary the distance based on the ages of the entrants. Superman keeps saying he wants to run, too, but most of them require that the kids be three and since he just turned two he might have to settle for spectating with mom, dad, grandma and grandpa. Hot Wheels says he's practicing whenever we go outside and he runs around for a while, he seems very excited. I haven't even told him yet, that the race organizer said all the kids get a finisher medal, I'm going to let that be a surprise. If it's a full quarter mile on the track, I'm not sure he can run the whole distance, but we'll see what happens. He keeps telling me that he really wants to win his race and I tell him that as long as he tries that will be great. With the two of us as parents I'm afraid he's more built for endurance than speed so I'm trying to hint that while he might not be the fastest kid, he shouldn't let that bother him. We'll see, he's got 4 weeks to "practice". We're not actually telling him to practice anything, he's doing it on his own, I don't want anyone to think I'm out there with a stop watch pushing intervals on a 4-year old. I'm just so excited that this is something he's really taken an interest in, he says he wants to race like mom and dad. I'm flattered that anyone would call what I do "race", I'm more in the finish-without-dying category, but I'll take the admiration.

Pregnancy status: 20 weeks, 5 days 135 days to go.


Mallie said...

If you finish it, you've raced it. 'Nuff said.

I can't wait to hear how Hot Wheels does in his first running event. I love that your kids are so active and spend so much time outdoors. I see so many kids strapped to video games and the TV screen.


Lisa - Slow & Steady said...

How fun for your son to run!

I think I'm a swim slacker too, but for different reasons. I'm a new swimmer, but it seems natural. But I also don't feel like pushing it just for a few extra moments when all that does is wipe me out for the bike leg (which is hard for me to begin with). Is that wrong?

Triteacher said...

You're welcome! I too have been in that overwhelmed category where it feels like every part of my stroke is wrong. Swimming is an investment.

Glad to hear Hotwheels is a budding runner. So cute that he's practicing! :)