Sunday, January 16, 2011

The swim camp weekend

Mercury Rising put on a super swim/bike camp this weekend. Super! We started Friday night with a bit of a meet and greet and intro at Tri It, then up to the SAIT pool for a swim. Warm up, and Clint likes to see lots of kick in a warm up. Ugh. We got video taken from the front, and from both sides. No review of it right away. Then a 100 time trial to figure out who should swim together during the big sets the next day. It was my good fortune to be swimming in the lane beside LC. Holy crap can she swim! I'm going for all I'm worth and she's slowly pulling away from me. That's the fastest I've ever swum 100 m. Ever in my life, even back when I was a reasonably fit. Oh, all right, since you ask so nice, 83 seconds.

Home again. Swimming for me is a wake up activity so I find it hard to go to sleep after an evening swim. This was no exception, and we had to be back at the SAIT checkin desk at 5:45 to meet the lifeguard. In the water at 6 am for a 2 hour swim.

Warmup of course, sharing a lane with LC and MK. LC and I had met at Chinook a couple years ago, but I was bonked and didn't remember her. I'd met MK before at the spinathon but didn't remember him, and he knows people I know. Lots of drill, feedback from Clint. By now I was getting used to the weirdness at the bulkhead end of the SAIT pool. It goes down to the deep end just before the bulkhead, and there aren't many references to set up your flip turn. I blew a few of them. At this point I don't even remember all that we did. Some of it was fast, me mostly chasing LC, and MK chasing me. At one point we discussed going down the lane as a three person drafting machine, and wondered how far we'd get before Clint put a stop to it.

After the swim we wandered through the maze to our meeting room. Clint went through some swim basics that are valid for everybody. Then we got into the video. There is so much detail! I thought I'd done really well on improving my stroke over the last few months. And so I did, since I'm going faster. That turns out to be because my body position in the water is so much better than last year. There has been some stroke improvement, but the video clearly showed some stuff to fix. Clearly. There is work to be done here.

I can't stress enough what a great training tool this is. Seeing your stroke opens the door for improvement. When you see a bunch of people in a row you start seeing the same issues over and over again, such a poor catch, dropped elbows, wide kick, or kick with bent knees, poor body position in the water, poor rotation, and on it goes. Oddly enough, swimming faster didn't guarantee a better stroke. I would strongly recommend that if you want to improve your swim, get a video done.

Julie, Sarah, and I hung out during the break. We didn't feel like doubling our parking fees by going somewhere. Lots of great chat. Turns out I used to live not far from where Sarah lives. It was so much fun watching her face when she realized the bike she is buying back home is on display at Try It.

After lunch we had a lecture by one of the doctors from Panther Sports Medicine. Holy medical terminology overload Batman! But once he had one of the campers go up to be a model it started making a lot more sense. He essentially walked through an evaluation of her shoulder and neck issues. Very interesting. Julie stood in front of him in bare feet. He picked out the broken foot no problem, and showed how lifting a bit of her arch would change the entire orientation of her leg. He really seems to know his stuff. Great handout on stretches.

Then what? I think there was something in the classroom. Or maybe we went back to the pool. More practice, trying to apply what we've been told. Another round of video. Sara was in the water showing how it's done. Swoosh. Some of us went over for flip turn lessons, but it turns out there wasn't much Clint could tell me in those circumstances. I'm sure there's lots I could do better; it would just take more time and perhaps looking at it on slo-mo video to see the details. It took a year of practice to go from not doing flip turns to where I am today. I'm not sure how long it took to get the turn reliable.

Although we had the pool for 2 hours, most of us pooped out at the 1.5 hr mark and hit the hot tub. All we were missing was a bottle of wine or two, and maybe it would have got rowdy, but we were a pretty tired bunch.

I did not sleep well. I'm not sure why, but I was up early. The first thing was a talk by brain cancer surviver (so far) Alyson Woloshyn. One of the things that struck me was how long she put up with brutal pain, and how her doctor fobbed her off. It just reinforces the message that pain means something, and the earlier it's dealt with the better. If you should want to donate money to brain cancer research you can do so through her page.

Then to the spin session. I've never seen so many bikes in Tri It. Michelle led a really tough session with lots of hill work. For me this session was about not blowing up my knee. Pushing big gears is not a good idea, so I tried to keep the rpm's up, work on form, and varied the gears a bit as I went along. I made my goal of 3 hours pedaling, though I was on the bike 3.25 hrs with three short breaks for water refill and some stretches. You can bet I iced the knee when I got home. It doesn't hurt, but it is talking to me a bit.

Here's a short video from the spin session.

Weekly Summary
Swim 7.5 hrs
Bike 4.25 hrs
Run .5 hrs
Total Cardio 12.25 hrs
Core 2.75


  1. Sounds great! Hey that 100m time has come down - great to see and really really well deserved in my book :)


  2. Great recap of the camp. Cool that you took that video too! :)

    The one big thing I took away from the camp was seeing how shitty a swim stroke can be, yet how speedy you could be. I actually found it really encouraging -- of course, I strive to improve my swim stroke, but I do not need to beat myself up or get discouraged because it is not perfect. My 100m time proved that as well!! Yipee!! :) :)

  3. That camp sounds really beneficial and motivating. Awesome 100m swim time-yowzahs!!! Look out world, a new Keith is on the prowl!

  4. Sounds like an awesome camp! As I predicted, I felt like being a slug this past weekend so I'm glad I didn't sign up. Perhaps next year?

  5. Was my face that happy? Haha, I wanted to grab the bike and run. Maybe that's why they put it up so high.

    You got Jordan Bryden in that video! I could not believe how tall he was.

    My goal is to get your 100 time!

    Nice recap of the camp :)


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