After a busy few days, I am taking advantage of the power outage in New Orleans to write. I may have not been able to write the past two days, but I certainly was able to get my training in. Friday morning I made it to spin class and swam a bit after. Another cold and snow front came through late Thursday and slowed things down by Friday morning. I was able to swim 1,600 meters before heading out into the snow. Later in the afternoon a few friends were swimming, so I decided to return to the pool and swim with them. I got another 1,400 meters in for 3,000 for the day. I finished my week of swimming feeling I am aware of where I need work. I am focusing on my flip turns and extending my arm in my stroke. It is one thing to simply stretch my arm out, another to extend by rotating my body. I once read that using the hip to extend and rotate the body will push the arm out farther. I am curious if anyone else has come across this form.
Saturday the snow and bitter cold (12 degrees) continued. After last week I was determined to run outside for my long run. Well, that did not happen. Cold is one thing – snow falling an inch every couple of hours is another. I ran on my treadmill – not as far as I would have liked – just over seven miles. What I did notice was that my heart rate stayed in the low 120′s most of the time. That would be my lower zone two. Better yet, my pace was faster than it has been for my “slow” run. More evidence that running in my lower heart rate zones is improving my efficiency.
Today I headed to the gym for just over an hour cycle workout that mimics rolling hills. The spin bikes on the main workout floor were filled so I went to the spin room where class is held. Sixty bikes and no class – I had the room to myself. The workout went really well. I was able to sync my Garmin 910 to the bike computer. With no one else around, I did not have other computers interfering with the reception. Hopefully the data will help my coach get a feel for my power output at different heart rate levels. After cycling I went to the pool to work on my 400 meter repeats. I have yet to break eight minutes on 400 meters. Keeping a consistent pace under 2:00 minutes per 100 meters is my goal for long distances. After my warm up I did 4 sets of 400 and my second was my fastest at 8:09. My friend suggested I swim with flip turns on the odd sets and open turns on the evens. I was a little faster on the open turns. This is telling me I am losing power on my flip – hence my need to keep working on my flip turn form.
Three days full of cycling, swimming, and running – and learning. Some of my lessons came from seeing the benefits of my training (running to improve my efficiency), some from learning where I need to improve (flip turns), and some from training my body and mind for the ups and downs of the hills on the bike. Again it comes to training my mind. This cold weather is really making it even more challenging. Punxsutawney Phil may not have seen his shadow and predicted an early Spring yesterday on Groundhog Day, but it sure feels like winter has taken root here. It is during these moments that digging deep, breaking through, and pushing on will carry me past the dark days. And just like in New Orleans, the light will shine again.