Run and Swim: First Team/Coached Workout

Yesterday, Moddie and Iron Mel and I drove together from Marin to Seattle – oh I mean Pleasanton :-) We had some pretty funny issues with Ms. Toyota (as Mel called the GPS in my van). “She” sent us a different direction than the written instructions – we wound up trusting the written instructions instead, and, at one point, they had us turning left into a parking garage in an industrial complex. We arrived about 5 minutes late to the workout, though 2 other teammates arrived after us…maybe they were tooling around the parking garage, trying to find the pool?

312510I was the “bottom of the alphabet” group, so had Run first with Coach Simon. He had us Warm Up doing 4 laps of the track. I tried to run as slowly as possible without just stopping altogether, but I still was hitting up in the 170s and once 180 on the Heart Rate Monitor. This is pretty scary. I really can’t believe I’m so out of shape. Maybe my new motto should be “Stroke or Get Stronger.” After the warmup, we did a number of “drills” including skipping on the track, “side running” (think: doing the hora while singing “Hava Nagila” – crossing one foot in front then the other), and then a “kick your butt in back while running” drill. The whole idea was to get us to really understand why we wanted to be doing forefoot running.

Then we did a 2 mile “marker” run. This was to basically get our “VDOT” – read more about VDOT here. My first mile was a 11:15, and my second one was an 11:28 for a combined total of 22:43, so my current VDOT is 25. This means my easy/long running pace is a bit over 14-1/2 minutes. Not so good. With a marathon pace of 13:39. That’s OK – it can only get better right? I did wind up “reeling in” 3 runners on my last lap – that old competitive streak busting out. Gave me something to “do” as well – otherwise you’re just trudging around the track. I had to figure out a strategy – “How do I catch up to those gals, without basically bonking and having to walk?” I was pretty sure I could catch 2 of them if I just increased my cadence (the cadence of my feet AND my panting), but I wasn’t sure about the last one. I think she let me catch her – she’s a veteran IronWoman. :-)

312658Then we did some stretching and strength training with these strap-things that Coach Doug uses. We did them on the pool deck. They really demonstrated to me how “rolled in” my shoulders have become – most of these strap exercises are to counter that “rolling in” issue. You get it more and more as you bike, and even swim (think of a freestyle, it’s all “rolling the shoulder forward”).

After that, we changed and got in the pool. Coaches Mike and Sedonia “seeded” the swimmers into categories – category 1 for newbies, up to category 3 for hard core swimmers. I seeded myself into category 1, because my cardio is just not allowing me to even finish 200 meters without getting winded. Coach Sedonia came up to me and told me to move into category 2 – YAY YAY, something I can DO!!!! I asked her to keep me in category 1 for a while, just because of the cardio issues. But she even had me demonstrate a few of the drills. I felt WONDERFUL. OK, I know, swimming is the LEAST important of all the sports. But thank you, thank you, THANK YOU great Goddess of the Ironman for throwing me ONE bone.

The thing that occurs to me is that swimming is the only one of these sports I have ever had “coaching in.” Though I did numerous triathlons “back in the day” (and even the Big Sur Marathon with H), I never had an actual coach for the Run or the Bike – it was all just reading articles and trying to mimic what they said. This was also before YouTube and the like – so nothing to “see and emulate” either. And even though I have had a swim coach before, Coaches Mike and Sedonia broke it down into even more “baby basics” than I have ever experienced. This gave me so many “A-HA” moments that my head (swim cap?) felt full! So I’m wondering, once I get my cardio back, if I will be able to be more efficient in the Running and Biking, like I know I am with the Swimming? Now that I will have a coach in all 3? I bet so! That was its own “A-HA” moment.

312456After we got dressed from the Swim, we did some stretching, and I was next to Coach Mike. One of the other coaches said there was a bike trainer on sale for $150, and Coach Mike commented to me that this was a “great deal.” I commented back (ok, definitely pouting) that this was just too rich for my blood. I can’t even afford bike shorts yet. Not having any excess income for the past 6 months has maxed out my credit cards, and makes it impossible for me to spend dinero on stuff like this. I feel super frustrated and upset about it. It also means I can’t really be “coached” on the bike, since the “coaching workouts” are done on the trainer, where groups set up at places like Sports Basement during the week. Coach Mike said to me, “Tell you what, I will loan you my trainer for the duration.” He has a cast on his foot – I’m pretty sure he’s just coaching this year, not coaching and doing a race. I was shocked and really awed and honored that he would do that. So now, I can be part of the “cadence drills” and “trainer workouts” for the Bike. I KNOW that this will help me with my “most feared part” of the tri – Biking. Coach Mike lives in Danville, so I have to figure out how to get it – but WOW, such Team Spirit! Seriously!

My two car-mates and I eschewed the group meal, in favor of getting back home. I was able to catch H (at the hardware store) and he met me at Crepevine, where I got a chicken Tuscan crepe and a big salad and coffee. I have no idea why my body was craving coffee, but so it goes. I told him all about the day’s exploits, and especially the running drills and the like. He said that he would like to see these, and that maybe he could figure out a way to “share” our calendars back and forth, so that we could work it in a way that he can run and bike with me when it’s not with the team. YAY!!  I told him the offer from Coach Mike, too, and he actually said, “If that doesn’t work out, I will buy you a trainer if it means that much to you.” I told him that actually, if he would buy me some bike pants, I would be eternally grateful, as would HE. (Happy cha-cha makes for Happy husband…OK I SO DID NOT SAY THAT)

312475Oh – nearly forgot – I also used the Alka-Blast, Super Greens and Prime pH drops as Stu Mittleman had recommended. It tasted a little like swamp water, but the theory is that this keeps your body pH more alkaline – and hence, you don’t have that much soreness after working out, and especially the next day. I have to admit, I feel COMPLETELY fine today – AND I did not crash later in the day yesterday, like I did after the Bike workout on Saturday. There might really be something to this. (Of course, Stu is one of the Biggies in Ultradistance running, so he knows his stuff!)

Today, it’s a swim workout – I got up late because I could (laugh) – H had a conference call so he took a later ferry, so I didn’t need to get him out of the house so fast. I also need to get the dog out – he’s happily lying under my feet, but we’ll get out as soon as I finish this. I’m excited to get in the pool and to try out the drills that we learned yesterday. Maybe I will try to see if I can do the “category 2” drills! I also want to start podcasting some time this week. I know a lot of folks just listen to the podcasts, and I haven’t even done a podcast since I started this whole Journey. So most folks will have NO IDEA what the crazy lady is up to!! :-)

Continuing to eat the elephant…one bite at a time! Chomp Chomp Chomp. :-)