Monday, February 21, 2011

It Happened on a Wednesday

Everyone has heard of runner's high, but is it possible to achieve swimmer's high?  I think it is and last Wednesday, I also think I may have achieved it.  Approximately every six weeks I have a 400 yd test worked into my swim workouts.  Typically, this is the worst swim for me.  I struggle to get through the 400s fully focused and sometimes I have a really hard time getting into my groove and finding my stroke.  I think it's knowing that the distance isn't that long, but long enough to warrant some serious concentration.

I found during my second test of the season that if I thought about one person for every lap of the 400, I really could focus.  So, I started dedicating laps to my family: my brothers, sister-in-law, brother's girlfriend, mom, dad, husband.  It was amazing what it did for my speed and focus.  Without this focus, I was swimming a 6:40 400, but with this new focal point, I got my times consistently down to a 6:30.  Well, of course, I got a little restless swimming a 6:30 400.  I need to be stronger and faster and better than a 6:30, so for my third 400 swim test of the year, I wanted to beat the 6:30.

I think I chose a bad day to try to beat this time.  I woke up late for work, I had a crappy day, I was tired, and I had a million excuses to not get in the pool.  As usual, I made myself go with the thought that once I was finished with my swim, I would be happy I went.  So, I got in the pool and sucked it up like a big kid, and found that I regretted almost every moment of my warm-up and my first 400.  I looked at my watch, and I came in at 6:41 for my first 400.  Great, it's going to be that kind of swim. Ugh.  I tried focusing on my family, and that helped for the second 400: 6:32.  Sweet, back on track.  Third 400: 6:31, nice!  At least I'm being somewhat consistent.  I only had one more 400, and typically I swim the fourth one the fastest.  I reset my watch, and kicked off the wall.  For some reason, everything felt really good.  My breath was steady, my stroke was strong, and my kick wasn't all over the place like it was on the first 400.  I felt better and happier in the watter than I have all season.  I got through all eight laps, stopped my watch, and saw 6:19 frozen on the watch face.  What? For real!?  A-W-E-S-O-M-E! I did not think that I was going to swim it considerably faster than my second or third, but sometimes I do surprise myself.  So there it is:  Swimmer's High.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Ironman Revisited

Many of you that read my blog already know this news, but for those of you that don't know, I am taking on the challenge of Ironman again.  Yes, 140.6 miles of pure bliss is coming my way on June 26, 2011 in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho.  I can't wait and I am really excited to race on an Ironman course again!  Although I am not in it for the prize purse, I am in it for pride, and I fully plan on racing against my previous IM times from Wisconsin.

I am on week 17 of training which is hard to believe, and next week is halfway through my training program which is even harder for me to believe.  I don't have an overall time goal in mind right now other than trying to beat my previous time of 13:57:40.  The one goal I have been working on all training season is to beat my previous bike time from IMWI.  I don't just want to finish the bike in the 6 hour time frame, I need to finish the bike in the 6 hour time frame.  7:22:42 on the bike was much too long, and I plan on doing much better in CDA.  

I got a couple new toys this year to help with that bike goal: a Garmin 310xt (I love it!) and on its way to me is a Cannondale Women's Slice 4 Rival.  I can not wait to ride her.  She's not here yet, but I am hoping she will arrive straight from the factory by the end of February or early March.  Speaking of bikes, I need to go ride mine in the basement!

Ride on.