Saturday, July 27, 2013

Swimming Terminology - Distances

I've had several people tell me that reading a swim workout can be like reading a foreign language.  Luckily, I'm pretty fluent.  Thought I would take the opportunity to share a little of my knowledge.

Here are a few distance related works you might hear when it comes to swimming.

*Your standard pool will be 25 yards.  Some are in meters, some are longer or shorter.  Just to make sure, ask around at your pool to make sure!  These are assuming 25 yard pool:

length - to the other end of the pool, 25 yards

lap - to the other end of the pool and back, 50 yards

50 - the main building block of distance in swimming.  equal to one lap, or two lengths.

100 - equal to two laps or four lengths.

a mile - 1650 yards (or 1500 meters).  Please read this in case you are a science wiz and know that 1650 yards is not exactly a mile by a walking definition. equal to 66 laps or 112 lengths.

yardage - Just how runners track how many miles they have done as "mileage", swimmer track how many yards they have done/will do as their "yardage".  ex:  What is the yardage of today's practice?  

Hope  that gives some of you a jumping off point.  I will be posting these during the next couple of weeks on different things swimming related, so if you have questions or words I can include, please let me know!  Email me:  i*am*faster*in*water@* (Just take out the *s!).

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Fear of Coming In Last

When pondering signing up for a triathlon, it has been a concern in my mind...what if I come in last?

First thought:  That would be totally embarrassing.  I don't know if accomplishing a triathlon would even feel very good if I came in last place.

Second thought:  But you would finish.  A Swim, a bike AND a 5K.  Might as well be an Ironman, that is what it will feel like to me!

Our fears can lead our lives down paths that we don't want to go, but are to afraid to face.

I'm reminded of when I first got my bike.  "But what if I fall?"  Just get back up.  It was scary, then it happened, then it wasn't so scary anymore. 

I think the same has proven true for coming in last.

Last week there was a 1 mile race (not timed, just for fun) where you run a mile then you get a beer (or choice soda, etc).  The proceeds go to charity.  I signed up and so did SwimSis, SwimTot and my good friend Ali.  So we start running and about a quarter mile in, Ali and I need a walk break.  SwimTot did too, so SwimSis asked if she could stay with us while she kept running.  We said sure.  Granted there was no shade and it was in the upper 80s, but that turned SwimTot into a grump!  She would not run for the life of her and whined about being hot for the remaining 3/4ths of a mile.  It was not pretty.  The whole time I was trying to coax her back to the finish.  We rounded the last curve and the volunteer at the corner started chatting with us and walking back with us.  Then I looked behind us - no one!  As we closed in on the parking lot and the "finisher's chute", I MADE SwimTot run and we clocked in at 19:10 for a mile.  The very last people!  Was it embarrassing?  Ever so slightly.  Did it make me want to never race again? No way!

I got my last place in, now anything else shouldn't be such a big deal.

I know I will probably be near the bottom of finishers in my sprint tri, but luckily, I know I won't cross the finish line last as there is also an Olympic distance option :)

I've been putting in some extra workouts lately.  Building my confidence right along with increasing my stamina (I'm looking at you, BRICK workouts!).  In the past few months, runs were few and far between and my biking was mostly with my Tri training group (once a week).  I've been pretty happy with these extra workouts and hope to keep it up so I feel confident on August 10th!

Here are a few pics from the post race festivities:

SwimSis, SwimTot, me

Me, SwimTot, my dear friend Ali
Yeah, I got pop because I cannot stand beer.  I added a lil whiskey to brighten it up and it was wonderful!  That is a food truck behind us and I was super sad I didn't bring any cash, it was my fave - Jamaican!!!  PS never give a 28 year old (me) caffeine that late in the day.  I couldn't fall asleep that night!  SwimSis loved it, so we are doing another one tomorrow.  I'm not feelin' the whole pop thing again, so I will forfeit my drink and let SwimSis have 2 beers. I'm such a great sister!

What's a fear that you have a hard time facing? 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Uncharted Territory

I'm in the uncharted territory (for me!) of actually training for a race!  Until I signed up last week, I was telling people I was "hopefully" going to do a tri this year, and going along with whatever practices we had for my tri group plus some other stuff I like (yoga and pilates).  Here is what the past week or so has looked like from a workout point of view:

Thursday (4th of July): 45 min swim, 19 mi bike ride w/tri group (I KNOW!)
Friday: Nada
Saturday: Pilates, 6.82 mi bike ride w/Coach (bro-in-law)
Sunday:  Running after my kiddos at the church
Monday:  Swim w/tri group
Tuesday: Skip yoga, frolick around the water park with SwimTot, SwimSis and TeenSwimSis.
Wednesay:  1 mile "race" with beer afterwards (more on this later)
Thursday: Nada
Friday:  Nada
Saturday: 1 Hr pilates and 3.52 mi walk with the bestie
Sunday: Running after my kiddos at the church
Monday: Swim w/tri group
Tuesay: Yoga, 30 min run/walk

Hmmmm....not so much a training plan in there, but I did enjoy the frolicking around the water park.  I had never been there and I live like a mile from it!  It is the same rec center that I would often do my walk/runs around in the spring/fall.

I can't believe I did a 19 mi bike ride.  And right after 45 mins of swimming!  dudes, I was TIRED.  It was myself, Tri Coach Jeff, and my teammate Sarah (who has won several tris this season!).  Usually we ride for an hour, but they were all "we'll go however far you can".  Well, I honestly wanted to quit after the first 2 mi loop with the hills, but I did a second, then we switched hills and did a third.  After that we stopped to get more water/potty/refuel, although I didn't have a source of fuel!  Newbie.  I'm not one to chicken out, but I was listening to my body-ish and I said we could ride more, but I needed flat ground!  When all was said and done, we had 19 miles under our belts.  Yes, they had to circle back for me a couple of times, but I never stopped and I never gave in.  I was pretty proud of myself and that night I had no desire to see fireworks, but I was watching the clock so I could go to bed!  Zzzz....


Alternate post title "Hills are a necessary evil".  That is such a nice drop in to the state park, isn't it?  those first two hills are the same and they start out with a nice, sweet, short and steep climb, but then it turns into a terrible long slow climb - or at least it feels that way.  Even though I was going slow, I still made it (vs some people walking their bikes up).  I did that third one, which was steep and short and then you can see my longing for flat came true until we rode back into the park and had to climb back out.  Don't laugh at me if you actually live somewhere hilly vs me here in the flat midwest!

I also have to say that ride on Saturday with Coach was amusing.  I had never ridden with him before.  It was overcast and I said I didn't want to get caught in the rain, he assured me the radar looked good.  About a mile in, a nice solid summer rain came in and stayed till we got back.  LOL It was actually not as bad as I thought.  Here is a pic of me (talking while taking a pic).  Can't really see how soaked I was.  The only scary part was knowing that my break handles were wet so I was very cautious.

 Then I will also throw in a pic of me after my 30 min run/walk today.  At 7:15pm, 88 degrees, felt like 94 with humidity to boot!  Midwest heat wave!  This did not capture how red my face was!

Tomorrow I'm planning on doing an hour ride with my tri group and I was already warned yesterday that many hills were in the plan! I had better ask Tri Coach Jeff for a "training plan" so I can make sure I am getting all my stuff in. 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Taking The Plunge

Ah, I can't believe it, but I'm at that place now...

I just signed up for not one, but TWO triathlons!!!

My first one is August 10th and is a women's only tri out in the country in a town I've never heard of.  This one is an open water swim.  And the logo/mascot is pretty awesome!

Can I be her when I grow up?

The second one will be September 22 at the YMCA/nearby state park that I "train" at every week.  To know the course so well, it was kind of a no-brainer!  This one is a pool swim.

It was important to me to pick more than 1 race because I wanted to do both a pool and open water swim.  And I like that they are so different.

The pool swim make me nervous because you have to swim a lap in each of the 7 lanes (350 yds).  So they ask for your estimated time.  Holy crap that scares me the most.  You don't want to be stuck behind someone and have to try to swim around them, but you also don't want people to try to swim over you.  I did my best guess and I really wanted to put a more conservative time, but I don't want to be running into people's feet!  The time that I put would put me (compared to the same tri they had there in May) in the top 20 for the swim (out of 170 people).  Uh, okay.  So maybe I will get in the pool this weekend and have a little time trial to see how close I can get to that time I put down.  *Gulp!*

I'm nervous, excited and about $150 poorer - but I'm ready for the ride!

Time to go tackle that 3 week training plan :)

Do you prefer a pool swim or an open water swim?  I prefer the "able to see" aspect of the pool, but the "wide, open spaces"aspect of open water!

What was/will be your first triathlon?  I've done a tri that each sport was timed, the Super Tri, but I think that you can combine any 3 sports and make a fantastic triathlon.  I would love to throw kayaking in there somewhere!

Friday, July 5, 2013

5K Numero Quatro

I was SO excited going into this last weekend.  I had a 5K coming up (okay, I was ill prepared, so more nervous than excited) and SwimSis, Coach, and SwimTot were going to be out of town.  I was pumped and could only think about the things I was going to cook or clean while they were gone.

Friday night I got home from work early (thank you, random power outage that nearly trapped me on the elevator - really, the doors were still open from me getting off!)  and then went to get the 5K packets that were forever away (not really, but rush hour traffic in the 'burbs sucks!) and met up with some friends for dinner at a fancy schmancy pizza place where you could get things like quail eggs and jowl bacon on your pizza.  It was delicious!  I had some stuff to take care of that night and it kept me up past midnight :/

I woke up around 6am for the 5K so I could get some food and water beforehand - sadly there was no bread in the house for toast, so I had peanut butter on a tortilla, lol.  SwimSis and I had only ran once before this 5K, compared to last year where we ran the course several times in the weeks leading up to the race.  It was cooler this year - in the high 60's, but with 95% humidity, so I didn't drink as much water beforehand as last year. Which ended up being a good thing because I saw 0 port-a-potties!  There were 867 people in the 5K and there was no official announcement or start beforehand.  We were standing pretty far back and just noticed the crowd moving forward, so that's how we knew the race was on...a little awkward! 

My "this would be the coolest" goal going into it was to run the first 2 miles without stopping.  Well, I knew very soon into the 5K that I would have to settle for not stopping during the first mile :)  I didn't necessarily look for a mile marker along the way, but I got to a point where I knew I was past a mile and hadn't seen one.  My time at that point was 13:30, and I knew my last 5K's first mile was 12:35, so I just started walking then.  I walked twice during both the second and third miles.  I was leap frogging this woman, probably 50ish, who was a pretty fast runner, but her running stints weren't that far.  And instead of being a friendly type, my mind goes to beating her!  Geez.  So in the end, she beat me past the finish line, but I just hoped that she had started before me so my time was faster!  I didn't see her bib #, so I really have no way of knowing, but let's just pretend that I did!  I crossed the finish line and my watch said 41:26, so I was super excited to see the official time.  I logged onto the website and it said something like 42:15, which upset me!  Must have been the gun time because later in the day I logged back on and my official time was 41:24, new 5K PR.  Doesn't get old.  I was proud of myself for the race and for coming so far since last year where I marked my running in yards, not miles!

Last year was 46:39, this year was 41:24 = 5 min 15 sec difference, awesome!

Here are a few pics including the comparison from last year (yes, I wore the same thing on purpose!):

Getting ready to head to the start

38ish pound difference

After that, I hoped on home, cleaned up, went into work for a little bit, and picked up a friend for lunch.  This is one of my dearest friends and she has gained some weight in the past 6 months or so, nothing  noticable, but she did one of those runs where they throw the color (not my kind of thing!) and realized how far she was from where she wanted to be.  She has started working with a trainer, but was kind of hinting that she wanted to work out together from time to time.  We are both really busy and live on opposite sides of town, but I will make it a point to try to get to sweating with her! 

After that, I went grocery shopping, and went home.  I slept for maybe an hour and a half and then had to go babysit.  But I was so out of it when I woke up!  I did not know if I had my contacts in or not.  I kept looking across the room and thinking my vision was fine and I almost walked out the door, but I went in the bathroom and looked at my eyes - nope, no contacts! ha, made me feel silly!  I babysat till 10:30 and then I came home and started on a recipe that I thought was to be chilled overnight.  Then I saw that I was wrong and it was only going to rest for an hour, no more, so I had to scrap that plan!

Sunday I went to work at the church, came home, prepped some food, went back to the church, came home and finished cooking and cleaned up and by that time it was 10pm!  Zzzzzz.....

What good food have you made lately? 

Do you cheer on the people around you or compete with them during a race?  Oh, you must be nicer than me if you said you cheer them on! :)

Monday, July 1, 2013

A Soup for Summer

I was excited to try a new summer recipe!  People think soups are just for winter, but they're not.  They're lovely any time of the year!  Soup and a light side work wonderfully for summer.  I was chomping at the bit to get to the weekend so I could try this recipe. I didn't anticipate on my weekend being this busy, but I was glad I could fit it in!

Yesterday, I worked at the church for 6 hours.  And it is at least 15 mins away - each way, so I spent over 7 hours doing that, which left me little time to accomplish what I wanted - cleaning and cooking!  I had to put a few recipes off for another day, but there were two that I had to get to!  I was making a 7 layer salad, pretty much from memory (lettuce, peas, bacon, eggs, cucumber, carrots, red onion, and a mayo/sugar "dressing").  I worked on that on and off, inbetween this amazing recipe from the lovely blog, Potatoes and Pilates

Sweet, sweet baby Jesus, am I glad I found this recipe.  I love soups and this one DID NOT disappoint! 

First off, it was super (souper?) easy.  I failed to have garlic on hand, so I skipped that, but the onion and zucchini part took no time at all.  After that finished cooking, I set it aside and head to church to work their night service.  When I came back, the soup was cooled and ready to blend!

I honestly forgot how good fresh basil is.  The aroma is nearly intoxicating.  And it also reminds me of the meal inbetween a rare episode of day drinking and a crazy night out that left me sleeping in my swim suit...but that's a story for another day!  The basil adds the life to this soup.

Normally, I would have totally skipped the asiago cheese, as I'm not really a fan of cheese (except you, feta), however...We got a fancy schmancy new grocery store that is, in my opinion, very similar to Whole Foods, near my house and they had Free _____ coupons w/$5 purchase.  Earlier in the week, I got a free watermelon when I bought some sushi for dinner.  It was the last day for my free whole chicken coupon to be used, so I got some asiago to shred.  $10.97 chicken for free and I had myself some cheese too! 

My final product!

Let me tell you, that asiago cheese should NOT be optional, it should be mandatory.  Sooo soo so good!  It was such a wonderful, complimentary contrast to the soup.  Perfect!  My soup was a little cooler than eatting temp since I let it sit while I was at work, so I put it back on the stove while I was working on that seven layer salad.  Every time I passed the stove I would sneak a spoonful "just to check the temperature". haha!  I had 1 and a half giant bowls of this soup in the end and I had it again for lunch today.

It was one of those lunches where you sit with your face 2 inches over the bowl so you can keep shoveling it in.  Not very ladylike, but who cares, I adore this soup!

Thanks again Potatoes and Pilates!  I will be sure to try your asparagus and mint soup next - I kept forgetting the asparagus whenever I went to the grocery this weekend!

If anyone grows these things in their gardens, I'm sure this would be an AMAZING fresh summer soup!