Wednesday, February 29, 2012

February Stats / March Goals

Leap year February ended with Thunderstorms & Tornado warnings all day long.  Maybe the Mayans were right - the end of the world is near.  I guess I should just scrap the training plan, cash out my 401k & go travel the world. 

Ah, so fun to dream.

Ugh, back to reality.

February Stats:
  • Pilates Reformer (Goal / Actual) = 5 / 5
  • Pilates Ball  (Goal / Actual) = 3 / 4
  • Swim (Goal / Actual) = 18 / 15 miles - 18 hours spent in the pool.  Over 50% of the time spent working on drills
  • Yoga (Goal / Actual) = 4 / 4
  • P90X (Goal / Actual) = 8 / 4 - Just can't motivate myself to do home video workouts.  Although I did do 2 new ones for N2U CT Challenge 
  • Spin (Goal / Actual) = 0 / 2  (32 miles) - BONUS
  • Run (Goal / Actual) = 0 / 3 (6.3 miles) - BIG TIME BONUS - Completed Week 1 of Couch to 5K
Total Miles = 54
Total Time = 38 Hours

February 2012 Nike Go the Distance Total / Annual Goal = 27 miles / 200 miles

I am super happy with how February shaped up!

Injury status - Big time improved.  Still not 100% but I have been able to add spin & run/walk.  I have completed 9 ART sessions.  I have also done 4 acupuncture sessions this month which in combination with the ART I feel has really helped.  It is improving slower than I had hoped but it is still a huge improvement from last month.

Favorite Gear - Finis Tempo Trainer - This is the new gadget I picked up at the swim clinic.  I plan to use it for most of my swim & run workouts to help with stroke rate & running cadence.

Weight - This month I lost 8 of the 8 pounds I gained post injury.   yay!

March Exercise Goals
  • Swim - 12 miles - Still heavy drill focus
  • Pilates Reformer - 4
  • Pilates Ball - 4
  • Yoga - 3
  • Spin - 4 - This will be thrown out if it seems to aggravate the injury
  • Run (C25K) - 10 - This will be thrown out if it seems to aggravate the injury
  • P90X - 2 - lowering the expectation this month 
  • BarreAmped - 3 - This will be the March N2U CT Challenge
March plans for addressing the injury

ART - 1 visit per week
Acupuncture - 1 or 2 sessions this month
Foam Roller & Tenz unit.

Fingers crossed that this will be enough because April 8th starts the 6 week Atlanta Irongirl Tri training block. 

Monday, February 27, 2012

February N2U CT Challenge - P90X



Kim over at (Just) Trying is for Little Girls is the host of the '2012 New to You' Cross Training Challenge.  This is the second of 12 New to Me Cross Training Challenge posts. 


This month Steve & did 2 new P90X videos.  Core Synergistics & X Stretch.  The X Stretch is an hour of yoga poses & gentle stretches both are something I need to do more of.  


The Core Synergistics is a great all over workout.  There were over 20 exercises on this video.  At times it had us rolling around on the floor doing the Banana Roll & then later jumping over an imaginary towel.   This video hits all the muscle groups.  Actually, it is probably a good one to do on a weekly basis on your cross training days.


All the P90X videos are tough & so far I am always sore the next day.  If you can get past goofy Tony it is a great workout especially if you like doing videos at home.   There are still 3 or 4 P90X videos left for me to try.  So many workouts, so little time!


For me personally, I like doing group exercise at the gym.  Our house isn't quite big enough for both Steve & I to do these videos.   Although I do like doing workouts with Steve.    We don't do too many together these days.  

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Total Immersion Swim Clinic Recap

I have stated this a hundred times before but just in case you haven't been paying attention or are new to my blog, the swim in not my strong suit.  Before 2009 I couldn't swim 4 strokes but the summer of 2009 our local TNT Tri & Masters coach taught me how to swim proper in preparation for my first triathlon.  I swam that 800 meters in just over 24 minutes, slow & steady.  Over the following 2 years I have not improved much at all. What I did improve is the length of time that I could consistently swim mediocrely.  

Last December I picked up the Total Immersion book & the Freestyle DVD.   I spent the next 9 weeks doing the TI drills.  I did improve some but still had a long way to go.  You can do drills all day long but if you are doing them wrong they don't do you a lick of good.  That is when I decided to give one of their workshops a try.

The company running the workshop is called Liquid Lifestyles.  I decided to take the one in Cincinnati.   I took the 2 day Weekend Transformation workshop.

Day 1 - Freestyle Part 1 Maximize Efficiency

Including myself, there were 6 participants.  We were all relatively new triathletes looking to improve our swimming.  Leah was our instructor and is also the company founder.  She has years of experience as a swim instructor & it showed.

After giving an overview of the weekend she had us all get in the pool.  We spent 2 hours in the pool Saturday morning.  We started with a warmup & then she video taped us doing our initial swim.  She taped us from above & below water.

Next  we started doing drills.  The first set of drills we did were Head Lead Balance, Head Lead Rotation, Superman, Target Practice & Skate.   I was familiar with all these drills except Target Practice from the DVD.  It was really nice to have someone watch me perform the drills & correct me so that I would actually do them right.

In additional to the drills she had us work on our treading water skills which in my case were pretty poor.  Before lunch she taped us doing the skate drill.

After our morning pool session & a lunch break we reviewed the videos as a group.  A couple of the things I learned - I was pretty close to crossing the midline when I swim which put my arms in a position that created extra drag.  Also, I was swimming in the rear quadrant meaning when one arm was coming to catch my other arm was already through the pull.  I learned that you want both arms in Front Quadrant.  My initial stroke count was 30.

After reviewing all the videos we were back in the pool for the next set of drills & the next round of videotaping.  The afternoon drills consisted of Shark Fin & Shark Fin Switch.  These 2 drills help you get the feel of swimming in front quadrant.  Leah also taped us doing the Shark Fin Switch drill. 

Day 2 - Freestyle Part 2 Training for Speed

Sunday started out reviewing focal points for us to concentrate on while doing the drills.    My top 3 to focus on are 1) arms slightly wider than shoulder width apart, 2) arms at 30 degree target & 3) front quandrant swim.

She discussed a few more things like dry land drills, practice frequency, etc before hitting the pool for the AM session. 

The AM session was spent learning the last 2 drills, Double Arm Pull & Single Arm Pull.  This is when I learned that I have a super weak pull.  She also had a bunch of pool toys to try out.  After cycling through all the pool toys we broke out the tempo trainers.  Basically, you can set the stroke rate to be what you want & tuck it into your swim cap.  It will beep at the set frequency to indicate when you stroke.   It can also be used to help you with run & bike cadences as well.  It is a pretty cool training tool.

We practiced full stroke using tempos of 2.0, 1.9, 1.8 & 1.7.   During this time we also counted our strokes at the different tempos.  My average stroke rate came out to about 19 - a full 11 strokes lower than when I started the clinic!  After practicing for a bit she taped us all doing full stroke at 1.7 sps.

After lunch she reviewed the tapes.  When asked how we felt doing full stroke I said it felt chaotic!  It felt so different than how I was swimming before that I honestly felt like I was doing it wrong.  Surprising when reviewing the video it looked good & not at all chaotic.  It amazed me how I could feel one way & look the complete opposite. 

After reviewing all the videos Leah went through an example workout for us.  She impressed upon us that we should never jump into the pool without a plan.  We should always have a planned workout & focus for each workout.  After reviewing her example workout we hit the pool for the last time.  At this point of the workshop I think we were all really tired & pretty much had to drag ourselves to the pool.  We didn't do tons of laps so we weren't physically exhausted but we were definately mentally exhausted.  Leah did warn us up front on that we would feel this way by the end of the weekend.

After spending another 1 1/2 in the pool we were back in the classroom for the final session.  She talked to us what our plans should be going forward.  The reality is, if we just go back to the pool on Monday doing what we always do we just wasted a bunch of money!  She outlined what we should do over the next few months to reinforce our new swim techniques.

Weeks 1-4 Post Workshop - 80% drills, 20% swim. 

Months 1-5 Post Workshop - 50% drills, 50% swim.

Months 6+ Post Workshop - 20% drills, 80% swim

So there you have it.  I will try to summarize the Pros/Cons from my perspective.

Pros:
  • The workshop was info packed.  Leah was extremely efficient & covered so many things in the time we had together. 
  • The student to teacher ratio was great.  She was able to give everyone the feedback they needed.
  • The videos were awesome!  She takes you through them in slow motion so you can see what exactly is going on in your stroke.
  • Based on your specific defiencies she suggests drills & pool toys to help you improve.
  • I think this is a great option for relatively new swimmers like myself. 
  • Going through this workshop I finally was able to understand the feedback that our local swim coach was giving me.  It finally clicked.
  • The really cool swim cap you wear the entire time you are in the pool  :-)

Cons:
  • It is expensive.  It took me a while thinking about it before actually signing up.  Now that I went, I think it was worth the money.
  • Time committment.  To do this right you are going to have to invest in the time.  I think a lot of people are not going to want to spend hours & hours doing drills only especially if you are in the middle of a training block for a specific race.
  • Brief period of lost fitness level. I have read some other posts/reviews that said they actually lost fitness levels trying to learn this technique .  For me there really wasn't much fitness to be lost.  Personally, I believe it will improve my fitness & allow me to go greater distances much more efficiently. 
  • If you are already a fast swimmer this may not be for you.  I say this not because I don't think it would benefit a fast swimmer - I just know how some of these folks have reacted to me telling them about TI.  A couple have even poo-poo'd this technique. 
Basically, it boils down to you being willing to stop & basically start over in the swimming department.  Some people (including myself 6 months ago) don't want to do this.  Heck, I just learned to swim 2 1/2 years ago.  I wanted to swim.  Even if it meant going slow.  I wanted to go faster but I just couldn't figure out how to do it.  I had to throw everything out the window & start over.  Once I came to the conclusion that I had to go back to the basics I realized how much this was going to help in the long run.  In 48 hours I cut 11 strokes off my average stroke count!!!
    I made it to the pool Tuesday, Wednesday & Friday mornings this week.  Tuesday I spent the entire time practicing the drills.  Wednesday & Friday I added about 10 minutes of swimming to the end of the end of the workout.  I was super thrilled to find that my stroke count was still averaging 19!  The highest was 21 & the lowest was 17.

    Hope this helps those of you that are considering doing a Total Immersion clinic.  Liquid Lifestyles holds a lot of the clinics in the midwest.  I would highly recommend them.  In fact, I plan to take their Underwater Videotaping & Stroke Anaylsis clinic at the end of March in Lexington.  That will give me 6 weeks to practice what I learned & then go back to get some feedback on what has stuck & what I need to work on next. 

    For fun, here are my before & after videos.  To the untrained eye the changes are subtle but they really made a big difference. 

    A couple things of note - Notice my head position in the initial & final videos.   In the final video my head is almost completely submerged.  You can also see how my arm position is much better in the final videos - not so close to the midline & definitely in front quandrant. 

    In the final videos my stroke rate is 1.7 sps which is why you see the pause.  The slower rate helps reinforce the front quadrant swim technique.  Over  the next few weeks I will gradually increase the tempo until I find my optimal stoke rate.

    Initial Swim Video - Above Water
    video

    Final Swim Video - Above Water
    video

    Initial Swim Video - Underwater
    video

    Final Swim Video - Underwater
    video

    Thursday, February 23, 2012

    C25K W1D1

    Today I did my first test run in 2 months.  I completed the first day of the Couch to 5K program.  

    Over lunch I had an appointment with my ART certified chiropractor.  Last week he said to try spinning easy.  This week he suggested going on a test run to see how my good 'ole injury feels.

    While I am not 100% yet I would say I am about 60-70% improved.  I still feel pain but it is not as intense & not as consistent.   It is slowly getting better.

    Week 1, Day 1 entails a 5 minute walk warmup, 60 second jog / 90 sec walk for 20 minutes & a 5 minute walk cool down.   I wore my new Aspaeris compression shorts which I think helped....they definitely felt good when I put them on!  I did feel some discomfort while jogging in my glute & hamstring but not terrible.  In 30 minutes I covered 2 miles.

    Afterwards I rolled on my TP Grid roller & then hooked up my Tenz unit.  An hour after my run I am feeling pretty good!

    Woop Woop!

    Wednesday, February 22, 2012

    Good Eatin' in Cincinnati

    The main reason for going to Cincinnati last weekend was for the Total Immersion Swim Clinic.  The second reason?  To eat!

    Friday night I made reservations at Barresi's Italian Restaurant.  It was about 10 minutes from our hotel & the reviews online were mostly positive.

    Our reservation was for 7:30 but we arrived early hoping they would be able to seat us.  Not a problem.  There were only a few tables seated when we arrived.  That always makes me wonder when a restaurant is almost empty.

    Right away they brought us some bread.  It wasn't the usual bread you get at an Italian restaurant.  These were little squares of awesomeness.  They tasted so darn good.  I am pretty sure I ate half the basket they were that good.

    Steve ordered Beef Tenderloin & Crab Gorgonzola.  I ordered Salmon Cardinale - the description was a poached fresh filet topped with shimp (a ginormous shrimp!), lump crabmeat & lobster cream sauce.  It was   delicious.  Steve's was pretty good too but I think I picked the winner this time.

    It came with the largest shrimp! 
    You can't really see them but there are 2 filets in there.
    Of course, a visit to an Italian restaurant isn't complete without Tiramisu.  It was amazing!  So light & yummy!

    Sorry no before pic.  All I could think of is eating it!  :-)
    Overall, Barresi's was worth the visit.

    Saturday night we met my friend T from college & her husband at Teak in Mt. Adams.  When I was moving to Lexington in 2003 they took me to another restaurant in the same neighborhood.  Mt. Adams is such a cool neighborhood.  It sits on a hill overlooking the city.   We had a great time catching up.  Teak was a winner too.


    Sunday after the clinic was over Steve & I hit City Barbecue before we drove home.  Someone told me it was a chain.  Neither one of us had heard of it before but we both thought it was pretty good BBQ.  I was really surprised that we had such good eating success all weekend.

    I am working on the swim clinic post.   In a nutshell, I am really glad I went.  I can already tell it is helping my swim technique.  yay!

    Sunday, February 12, 2012

    Swim for Sherry

    Most of the blogging world is familiar with Sherry's tragic story.  For those that don't know, she was abducted during an early morning run in January near her home in Sidney, Montana.  Her abductors were later caught & confessed to killing her.

    Her cousin (Shut Up and Run) arranged a Run in her memory.  The main run was yesterday but people have been running all week & weekend in Sherry's memory.  On SUAR's Facebook page she said over 20,000 bibs were printed as of yesterday & people were still printing them out.

    Since no running for me I decided to swim in her memory.  


    I wasn't able to pin on the bib but left is on the deck next to my water bottle.  I swam 2550 yards which is a swim distance PR for me.   It felt good.  

    What happened to Sherry could easily have happened to any one of us.  We run, often on our own.  My heart goes out to Sherry's family & friends.  I hope this virtual event gives them some comfort that Sherry's story has touched many lives including lots of strangers.  

    Saturday, February 11, 2012

    All Signed Up

    I finally committed to the Total Immersion workshop this week.  I signed up for it on Wednesday, booked the hotel, & made arrangements to meet an old friend from college for dinner on Saturday night.

    I originally thought I would be going up solo since Steve was supposed to be in China.  His trip was cancelled earlier this week & now will be going up with me.  He will have to amuse himself during the day.  Between his long run & geocaching I doubt he will have a problem with that.

    At dinner last night, Steve asked what I hoped to gain from the workshop.  That was easy to answer.  I hope to get my stroke count down, improve my time while swimming as efficiently as possible.   I wish it was as simple as it sounds.

    The schedule shows a total of 7 hours of pool time & 5 1/2 hours of classroom time in 2 days.  That is a lot of video taping & analysis time!

    Sunday, February 5, 2012

    Total Immersion Lesson 5

    I have been on this Total Immersion kick for 9 weeks now.  Today I started the drills in Lesson 5, actually it is just one drill, overswitch.  Basically, this drill introduces you to your new stroke.   While doing this drill the focus is on hand/arm entry, being patient to start the pull, soften the recovery & moving silently through the water.  Quite a bit to think about.

    I am really glad that I have put the effort into this.  For me it works.  I like the step by step drills they lay out in the video/book.  While repeating these drills over & over the past few weeks I am finally understanding what my masters coach was trying to tell me.

    Since the beginning of January I have been ramping up my time spent in the pool.  My goal is 5 days a week.  Before I started this I would never have been able to do 5 days a week without bad pain in my shoulders.  Now I barely feel a twinge.   Today I felt like swimming was effortless & that I could swim forever.   I am pretty stoked about that!

    The book has 1 lesson left & the video has 3 lessons left.  My goal is to continue working on lesson 5 & at least try lesson 6 once before the the TI clinic on the 18th.

    To celebrate my effortless swim this morning I rewarded myself with a new swimsuit & cap today.  I really needed a to get a new suit in the circulation.   2 of 3 of my current ones are pretty threadbare & have been threatening an indecent exposure incident for weeks.

    Wednesday, February 1, 2012

    Best Race Experience

    So have I mentioned how much I am enjoying begin on Team Tough Chik? Never mind that the season has barely started yet. It is such a cool group of ladies from all over the world with varying fitness backgrounds. We have a private Team TC Facebook page that is hopping with posts/comments/questions everyday.
    Over the weekend Lynne at The Pawsitive Thinker came up with the idea of a weekly Tough Chik question. The first question was picked by Shannon, the founder of Tough Chik.

    Shannon's question is 'What is your best/worse race experience?'
    I am going to chose best race experience since, knock on wood, I haven't had a really bad race experience yet.  

    My best race experience is the 2009 Tri for Sight.  

    As most of you know, I lost my Dad to Multiple Myeloma in 2006. I used this race to put my emotions into action. I joined Team in Training to compete in my first triathlon. When I joined, I didn't know how to swim, I barely rode & hadn't run regularly in many, many years. In 14 weeks I learned to swim 800 meters non-stop, ride 18.5 miles & run/walk 4 miles all while raising over $3000 for Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. The experience was emotional yet amazing. I did things I never thought possible while meeting some great people that I am lucky enough to now call friends.

    Me & Dad after my College Graduation (1998)
    My 2009 Finish
    You can read the full race report HERE

    Since my first triathlon, I have done 7 Sprints & 1 Olympic triathlons as well as 5 1/2 marathons. Now if only I could get over this
    crazy injury I would be all set!

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