Friday, May 1, 2009

Working on the new normal

Back in the pool this am for some 400 m intervals. I went in planning to swim these hard. Earlier this week I scrambled off the plateau and into a new space. I want to make sure my body understands this is the new normal. Plus, I wanted to work on some mental toughness in the pool. I have (used to have!) the bad habit of slowing down to my 'normal' pace during intervals, and just getting through it. Well, no more.

Warmed up, and did some drill. Then, HARD AT IT!!
1st - 7:32
2nd - 7:33
3rd - 7:40
4th - 7:35

For whatever reason, the third one was the toughest. I could feel myself slowing down, and for a lap I lost my form. I was pushing really hard to keep my speed up, and was seeing stars at the end of it. Oddly enough, the fourth was much easier. I got lucky in that a girl in the next lane pushed off at the top of the clock with me. We were swimming exactly the same speed. I was a bit ahead after the first lap, then she slowly gained, then I poured it on the last lap, and pulled about a body length ahead. I thanked her for pushing me, and she thanked me for being the rabbit. I think her stroke is prettier than my, and she probably wasn't working as hard.

What's interesting is that this is about the pace I was swimming at earlier this week, and it seemed I could keep it up longer. Here, the 400 m just about did me in. Not sure why. My first 50 m in all the intervals was 51 seconds. This feels strong. Then I gradually get tired, and a bit behind on breathing, and slow down a bit. What I'm really happy about is that during the middle of the swim, I was still pushing, and kicking harder, and mostly keeping my form good. Plus, there was a mental Julie walking along the side of the pool screaming encouragement at me. Plus, there was a coach Greg at the end of the pool holding a stopwatch. Talk about incentive! I'm in the process of setting some new swim goals for me to aim at, both as a pace, and as a goal time for 1K, 1500 m, and 2K.

Did a bit more drill after, and cooled down. 1 hour in the pool. Another 15 or 20 min in the dive tank really working on core. oof! Then I walked home from Canyon Meadows pool. Had a quick snack, did some stretching, then headed out for a run.

Started easy, and could feel the rust falling off my legs. I was in no rush, and took my time warming up. The point of this one for me was to find a nice smooth running gait, trying to recall how it felt during the race.

My legs haven't been tired or sore since the race. There have been previous shorter 'easier' workouts that left me feeling worse. But I can tell I'd put in a significant effort, and they were happy to have the rest. Maybe what I'm feeling is them building more muscle. I can only hope!

Today, I started with an easy jog. Gradually I picked up the pace for a while, then backed down. I ran slower and faster for most of the run. After about a half hour I was settling into it again. It's funny, what my feet wanted do is is from the old Road Runner and Wyle E. Coyote cartoons. Remember how he'd just be getting close, and the Road Runner would bounce up, wave his (or her) feet, do the tongue sticking out insult noise, and disappear. Well, I can't quite do that. Not even close. But my feet wanted to try. During the last faster section, I could feel my thighs and butt working in ways that I don't recall noticing before. It wasn't quite heavy, and didn't feel bad, but it didn't feel light and easy either. Still, for a first run after my first half marathon, I'm pretty pleased. Ran 45 minutes.

Walked to cool down, grabbed another snack, and stretched for a long while. My feet were up for 15 minutes, and lots more besides. Is there some rule of thumb for optimal number of minutes stretching per minutes of run? Anybody?

That number, for the first time in a while is 228. Ick. More than I'd like. And 7! Seven whole pushups!

Tomorrow 4 of us will be biking down the Road to Nepal for some serious hill workouts, so I hope my legs are up for it. I'm not sure how it's going to work out since I don't know our relative speeds. But I'm guessing we'll each do our own workout on the road, and encourage each other as we see them. You can bet that I'll be pushing hard up those hills!


  1. i like that 'working on the new norm'. it's what has to be done throughout triathlon training. as for stretching - no idea how long it takes....which just shows i likely don't do enough.

    beep, beep!!!

  2. Jeepers....I REALLY have to get out to Calgary before August and do some, really, really have to try to get out there...
    Have a great ride! That sounds like fun.

  3. Yeah, all I know is that I don't stretch enough for sure. Always in a hurry for one reason or another.

    Resetting the bar, yes, new normal, it's goood when what was hard is now easy (at least not so hard!).

  4. The road to Nepal sounds hard core. Good job on your 400s. That sounds like a killer workout!


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