About Me

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Austin, Texas, United States
I'll make you laugh, or break my neck trying. This is usually accomplished with daily bouts of swimming, biking and running. A former "chub-a-holic," I got fit and healthy the good old fashioned way and went from a mid-pack athlete to top age group runner and triathlete. I'm a Writer and USAT Level 1 Certified Triathlon Coach. I guess that makes me part Tina Fey and part Jillian Michaels. Visit my coaching site at www.fomotraining.com

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Zen and the Art of Swimming...Sorta...Maybe...Almost

I know I say this practically every time, but I feel like I made some progress in my swimming class this morning. Aside from the whole "getting out of bed at 5am thing," it really is an amazing way to wake up. A swim workout doesn't beat you up physically, unlike a track workout or a tempo run. Swimming is mentally exhausting, yet refreshing. I don't think anyone would say that running is refreshing in the middle of August. (all that being said, I still -heart- running so very much!)

In addition to going to my T3 classes, I'm actually spending a lot of time watching videos and reading articles on proper swim techniques. There are just so many aspects to a good stroke! I can now pinpoint my biggest stroke deficiency (of which there are many). I seem to wait too long during my glide and recovery before I begin the catch and pull phase of the stroke. So, by the time I start to pull, I've lost forward momentum and my body has already gone flat in the water. More than anything, it's timing.

Every now and then today during my workout, I actually felt what it was supposed to feel like. You know when you do something and you're not sure how you did it, but you know it was correct? I had several moments like that this morning where I actually felt like I was pulling myself through the water instead of breaking the water just to move ahead. Again, it's all so mental and subtle, but I'll take what I can get. My mind used to tell me that distance per stroke was achieved in the water during the gliding (recovery phase) and that's why I would stretch it out as long as possible. My mind has to completely turn that around and say, "Nope...that is not the distance phase...focus on the catch and pull. That is where the power and the distance per stroke comes from." It's embarrassing to admit all of this when there are so many good swimmers out there. And you'd think that after a few years of this that the light would've clicked on by now. It's also a weird shift going from a great running workout yesterday where I was leading the pack to being the slowest chick in the pool who finishes last every time. I just keep telling myself that I'm basically starting from scratch on proper technique...taking this sport apart and trying to put it back together. I was not a swimmer as a kid. I was chunky and I had enormous boobs! Hell, I was too humiliated to even get in a bathing suit. But, you know what??? I wasn't a runner either. It wasn't more than 2-3 years ago that I was bringing up the rear of most running workouts as well. If I can improve that much in running, I can do the same with swimming. I just have to continue to remain patient and diligent. Those that even know a little about me know that I'm very diligent. I have to work on that "patience" thingy.

The biggest shift I've noticed from last year to this year is my endurance level. The workouts don't scare me anymore (on most days). I used to look immediately at the total yardage--kinda like reading the last page of a book--and think, "2800m??? I can't swim that!!" Of course, that set the tone for the entire workout. Now, I don't focus on the total yardage. I break it down into the proper chunks: warm up, drill set, main speed section, drills and cool down. It's just like my Gazelle running workouts. We warm up, we do drills, we do the hard stuff and then we cool down. same-freakin-thing. Now the only part that intimidates me is the "speed section." (as it is designed to do). Even today, I was able to execute the descending speed ladders appropriately. One part of the workout involved doing 2 sets of 3 x 100s and lowering your time with each 100.
Set 1: 2:25, 2:18, 2;15
Set 2: 2:24, 2:20, 2:18

Again-it's almost embarrassing to post those times because they are so slow, but I did them correctly and that is all that matters to me! Oh and besides, I was actually the fastest one in the slow lane today! Ok-I was the ONLY one in the slow lane today, but like I said before, I'll take what I can get.


Jessica said...

Carrie, if you ever want to feel blazing fast at swimming (biking and running, too), you can go against me anytime. I'm almost always in the bottom half of my age group in any triathlon.

Siren said...

From where I'm sitting your times are great!

I've just started having brief flashes of that "hey, THIS is what a swim stroke should feel like" feeling - isn't it the best?

(btw, you've been tagged!)

1HappyAthlete said...

Cool - someone else actually swims at my pace - I feel much better knowing I'm not the only one :)