Swim N Spin…Alligator Arms…& a new You Know You’re Iron When…

Had a networking meeting this morning from 7:00-8:30 a.m., which meant of course getting up at 0-dark-00 to get things done before heading out.  This Ironman training thing definitely cuts a swath in your day, and that’s a fact.

It was raining so hard when I went to leave the house, I was quite taken aback. Hadn’t heard that we were going to get such a virulent storm – but So It Seems To Go this winter. It’s been such an odd winter – hardly any sun, lots of rain, lots of very nippy days, etc. Of course who am I to complain – I look at what my old stomping grounds of the Washington D.C. Metro Area is getting and just shudder!

The rain didn’t let up at all while I was in the meeting, so a quick bolt to the car, then to the JCC. Wound up forgetting the workout on the passenger seat – luckily hadn’t gotten too far into my swimming kit and so just re-dressed and went to fetch it. To get up to the JCC, there are about 3 stories’ worth of stairs (it’s built on a hill), and so it’s quite a workout just to get to the gym to begin with. Up, down, up…

When I got out to the pool, it wasn’t raining all that hard. It was cold on deck though, so I popped in – and it was cold in the water, too! (Once I’d finished my entire workout I checked the Blackberry – H had forwarded me a note from the JCC saying they were “still having issues with the heater” – by then, a bit too late.) Ah well, once wet and a bit shivering, got to the workout for today:

300 EZ warmup. Just as I was finishing the warmup (so just about to start the kick) it started to TORRENTIALLY rain. No thunder/lightening, so they let us stay in.     
3×50 25 kick on back/25 free. It was so rainy, I felt a bit like I was drowning, face up. Had to laugh.
3×50 25 Catch Up (CU)/25 free    
3×50 25 scull/25 free    
#1. 50 Swim w/ strong kick, 50 L5 – I hate kicking. I did what I was told though – and it’s quite interesting how much faster I had to move my arms to keep a “feel” on the water, when I was kicking along.                   
#2. Breathing 3-5-7 L5.
#3. Build L4-L7 by 50s.
#4. DPS L5. This is the “Decrease Per Stroke” drill where you are supposed to get one fewer set of “arm repeats” across the pool each time. So, if you take 24 strokes your first time (12 each arm), then you’re supposed to go for 22 (11 each arm) and so on. I hate this drill. There’s nothing I can do save kicking like a maniac (which I hate) to get me out of my “24 stroke/12 each arm” rhythm. I actually tried quite hard today and wound up dislocating first my right, then my left, arm (obviously doing something wrong there – no worries, not serious, just feels icky. Pops right back in and that is also how my polo career came to an end quite early…) Anyway – as this drill is just a bit of frustration for me, I practiced breathing and sighting. Sighting sideways, sighting forward, closing my eyes when my face was in the water and then looking up to see where I was when I breathed, a bit of “waterpolo stroke,” etc.                  
#5. Breathing 3-5-7 L5.
#6. Build L4-L7 by 50s.  Here was my BIG SWIMMING REALIZATION (ta-DA!). OK, you probably already had figured this out if you’re a swimmer, but I hadn’t. I’ve been listening to the coaches talk about this whole “reaching over the barrel” thing, keeping your elbow above your hand, la…la…la…I have never really been able to visualize it. I do understand where my arm is supposed to be – but what is this “barrel” thing? Today while at this part of the drill, however, I realized that when my arm is in the correct position (especially when I’m swimming slowly), it looks just like an alligator arm. PERHAPS, thought I, this is why they call this stroke the CRAWL. Yeah well maybe you don’t think it’s such a great lightbulb moment, but I thought it was brilliant. It really helps me to remember how to keep my arms and elbows. I’d never really “realized” or “seen” that in my own stroke, and once I thought about “alligator arms,” I was able to feel the water all the way where I was “losing” it – by the side of my torso. Not sure why this helped, but it was a real discovery for me. So now, when I’m thinking of arm position, I will just think: Alligator Arms. Heck I’m getting Alligator Skin with all the swimming, why not add the body, too?   
#7. Breathing 3-5-7 L5.               
#8. 50 Swim w/ strong kick, 50 L5. The sun came out for an instant here – just for the 200, then back behind clouds.
4×50 Build L5-L8.
CD 100 EZ Perfect stroke. Wow, what a difference the Alligator Arms made here. I am still covering the distance in the same amount of strokes, but I really “feel” better. I also can really feel my body turn from side to side (tik-tok) because I’m not losing my “grip” on the water for the middle 1/3 of the stroke back.
Total: 2650

Got out of the pool and though it was still cloudy, no rain – nice. Got into the showers (it’s just too nasty to do the bike with the salt from the pool on), then out to the bikes. Managed to catch up on the KelownaGurl Podcast and the IMTalk Podcast while doing the following:

TR-3 Speed Intervals (60 minutes)                                        
WU 10′ in the MM [Middle/Middle] chainrings.
8x(3′ @ 95RPM/90″ @ 80RPM). 
use hardest gear you can to maintain RPM and Aerobic HR Zone.
CD 10′ MM

Back for another shower, then off to lunch with another IP Lawyer colleague – then grocery shopping, then back home to get some work done. What happened to the day? Oy!

You Know You’re Iron When…
…you have not one but two wetsuits hanging on the longer clothes/”dress side” of your closet, and a straight-faced, earnest explanation as to why you need both and why that’s not odd…