Monday, February 20, 2012

And then I slept for 12+ Hours

Saturday's workout(s) were AWESOME.

I'm finding it easier and easier to get up near the buttcrack of dawn. Maybe I really am a morning person - who knew!

I met up with the distrance running group that Coach T trains at Peirce Mill. I've never been there, even though it's ridiculously close to my house, and had first run nerves. One of the traps I get into is not trying new routes. It's a lot easier, mentally, to have mental landmarks. But, this whole triathlon thing is most certainly about trying new things.

When I run on my own, I usually clock around an 8:40-9 minute mile time. This is slightly deceptive since I tend to take a walk break every 2-3 miles (I chalk this up to when typical water stops show up in races). But Saturday's run was 10 miles, averaging a 9:30-9:40 pace (no faster) and with the goal of not stopping. That was a mental barrier waiting to be destroyed.

I got to meet Victoria in person, which was really cool. She's a blogger celebrity and my own personal hero (especially for her swim prowess). She very kindly offered to run with me and not let me get lost on the trails. And off we went. It was a gorgeous day for a run, especially along Rock Creek. We finished up around 1:35 (she went on to do another 2 miles): average mile time: 9:30 - bingo.

I had my first back to back workout scheduled for Saturday, so I got home, ate some pretzels (yaay salt!) and headed down to the pool. What I didn't know was that from 9-11 at the pool is basically kids-a-palooza. Incredibly frustrated, I left, intending to call my coach and ask how to fix this situation. I had plans in Baltimore, then I needed to be available all the rest of the evening to support Chadd for the Ninja Warrior stuff. Thankfully, I had my times wrong on my Baltimore plans, so I walked back over to the Y and pulled off a very bad 45 minutes in the pool. I started out frustrated. My form felt bad, I felt slow (and was certainly the slowest in the pool, save for the gentleman in lane 3 learning to swim) and it was crowded and I felt like a huge inconvenience to everyone.

Then I remembered the crucial swimming tip Victoria had given me: look down.

This sounds like an incredibly easy tip and one that I'm sure many of you have been doing without thinking. This was a huge lightbulb moment for me. My form improved dramatically. I still struggled with the endurance side of swimming, but at least my butt wasn't 6 inches lower than the rest of my body.

I guess this is the equivalent of when someone tells me they're struggling with running and I have 3 guesses on  form problems that, when fixed, dramatically improve the person's experience.

In case you were wondering, those tips are:
1. Run neutrally. I see a lot of people slumped forward, which cuts off your lung capacity. Sit up.
2. Tuck your hips under. This should take some pressure off your knees and engage your glutes. Big muscles give you a big hand.
3. Relax. Arms should swing naturally, shoulders away from the ears, look ahead.

I was surprised with how great I felt Saturday after both workouts. I jumped in the shower and felt awesome driving out to see some of my favorite Ragnarians (def: people who run Ragnar).

We gorged on wings and bbq: (seriously, do yourself a favor and go to Kloby's in Columbia)

Happy Ragnarians were we:

I jumped back in the car to Alexandria (my muscles weren't really happy with the hour plus I spent in the car). After watching Chadd do ninja stuff, we headed home. I managed to eat a little pizza (ok, a lot of pizza), and have precisely 1 beer before passing out at the amazing hour of 9:30. I had promised Chadd we'd watch more X-Files, but instead, I slept for 12 hours. Bless his heart, he didn't wake me and instead let me sleep until I woke up at 10 the next morning. Talk about starting a rest day off the right way.

Of course, why would one really rest on a rest day? I spent the majority of yesterday getting an unintended workout: Ikea. There's nothing like walking what feels like miles through DIY furniture and modular living land then spending 3+ hours in heavy lifting mode. But, the condo is almost re-done. Pictures when it's done, I promise!

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