Feb 18, 6:25 am
It was a great day to go outside yesterday and get the run in. Sunny, warm, felt like a spring day. Today is supposed to be nice as well so instead of riding on the indoor trainer I will head out on my Fat Tire bike to get my ride in. Won’t cover the same amount of distance as an indoor ride but it feels great to get outside in the winter months. My workout today will be an 65-70 min ride followed by a 20 minute run.
Met with the crew last night for a few beers and to talk training. Good to see everyone. It was busy downtown, Garth Brooks is in town so cowboys everywhere:-) He has something like 9 shows here over the next two weekends.
LAZ, RV and JOE seem on track and are looking super fit. We are all looking forward to getting outside and riding as soon as possible. If you stayed on the main highways, you probably could ride your bike right now.
Today I thought I would shed some light on the swim.
It is the shortest part of the race but gives me and probably most others the most stress. As I mentioned in one of my previous blogs, I am not a fan of swimming. I am slow, not very strong in the water and do not like to be bumped or touched while swimming. I don’t like sharing a lane at the pool if I don’t have to! That won’t bode well for an IRONMAN race. Several hundred people all rushing into the water at the same time. You will get bumped. A lot.
In regards to swim training. I do find that the more I swim the less I have to run. My endurance really improves the more I swim. However, the effort and reward of swim training isn’t there for me. RV brought this point up last night over our beers. I can spend 4 x per week trying to get faster in the pool and only improve my time by 3-5 min maybe or I can focus on the bike, get faster, lighter and shave an hour off my time. That is why I only swim 3 x week. 2000 m on Tuesday and Thursday and 3500 m on Sundays. The Coach I had in 2008 told me you want to come out of the water feeling you just got out of the shower not the washing machine.
If you haven’t been to an IRONMAN or watched one on TV, the swim start is something to see. The gun goes off and everyone (except me) starts running into the water. Haven’t these people watched JAWS? Never run into the water. A big shark will be waiting of you. I stay at the back and walk into the water. No point hurrying, I am going to be out there for well over an hour. If I stay at the back I stay out of the fray of the main group of people who are all fighting for their little piece of water space. People will swim over other people, get goggles kicked off and perhaps have the zipper on their wetsuit pulled down. Tough to swim as water is seeping into your wetsuit. I have had my goggles kicked, I have been kicked but all that was pretty minor at the back of the pack then in the middle.
I haven’t looked at swim times for this length of event in many years but I bet the Pros are doing the 3.8 km swim in under an hour and people like me who are the weakest of swimmers will be in the 1 hour 30-40 min range. Heck, if I can swim CDA in 90 min I would be thrilled. You have 2 hours and 20 min to do the swim. If you can’t finish in that time allotment you can’t go on.
I have learned from others many techniques that help during the IRONMAN race. For the swim, there are a couple of good ones when you are getting out of the water to run to transition. I was taught that when you are 10-20 strokes out from the beach start kicking your legs a little faster. This will prep them and you for when you stand up to run to transition. I am always a little light-headed when I stand up fast after swimming 3.8 km. I need to take a couple of steps and some deep breaths to regain my composure. Also, pull on your collar of your wet suit when you are about to get out so you can let some water into the suit, easier to get the suit off.
It has been a while since I have completed an IRONMAN but I believe there are volunteers that help you remove your wetsuit. You just lay down and, zip, your suit is pulled off. Just make sure your cycling shorts are tied tight. Don’t want those to go flying across transition.
The way I look at it, once you are out of the water the fun begins. I find the swim stressful and alway look forward to getting it completed.
Off to ride the bike. Going to take advantage of this amazing Feb weather.