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By the end of February, I am DYING for some sun and warmth. I swear it is like we are in the Twilight Zone here in the midwest. One more day in dark, snowy and 20F degrees (if that!) Thank goodness (I say in jest), that we have INDOOR Bike Time Trials to occupy ourselves with in the winter out here. I know, when you can’t ride your bikes outside — might as well race them inside…
We have swim meets, indoor triathlons and bike TTs all winter. It has been at least 10 years since I have done an indoor Triathlon – I am done with those…for lots of reasons, so the next best opportunity to suffer is on a computrainer with hundreds of your closest and sweaty friends — In a elementary school gym while Elvis and polka music blares over the loud speaker.
Last month I did this TT and it was a 10k flat course. I worked my a$$ off and while I did not feel great, I had a fine TT. Top 3 OA get $$…so a little extra cash is always nice. This past weekend was a rolling 10k TT course…and lip smacking, sh*t talking little Elizabeth. We could not race next to each other because she registered much later than I did, but truth be told, she was afraid of me. (Oh, cripe, I am only kidding!).
No matter how many workouts I win by myself in my basement, nothing hurts more than an indoor TT of 6.2 miles. I mean, I am riding my bike for this distance AND not running it? WHAT? Anyway, I had a long warm up and listened to Elizabeth talk MORE sh*t because she was DONE. I literally walked in to the school and had a text “where are you?” Clearly she was ON FIRE and caffeinated.
No matter how much I like Elizabeth, we are both there to win. To show these CAT 1/2 Pro Girls that we CAN TT with them. Never mind we are all running off these TT races – minor detail. Elizabeth affirmed her great race and blurted out her time. NICE! It is 13″ faster than I went last year when I was 2nd OA. I thought, “damn that is fast for a little person.” See, indoor TTs – take away the heat and real hills and weight does HELP. I have 20 lbs on her AND 5 years…..I think the handicap was even.
Anyway, Elizabeth graciously left – after setting the bar – and I went to race. The race has 12 computrainer banks rolling every 30 minutes from 8am until past 2pm. Busy busy day! Todd, one of my athletes, who is also the race announcer texted me that morning and said he had the flu and was out for the day. Too bad because he is the best cheerleader and LOUD & trash talks the ENTIRE time you are racing.
We calibrated my CT and we started the race. I told myself “do NOT blow up too soon…” I tend to go out super fast – in everything I do – so I was trying to behave just for a few seconds. THEN, I turned up my music so loud I could not hear ONE thing. In fact, I closed my eyes and only opened them a few times. I could not even hear myself think. I just worked my tail off. I over-rode the downhills, smashed the uphills and stood for the last .4 miles in my biggest combination 52×12..I was giving it my all. I had no idea if I would beat the standing time, but I knew it would be close.
I was just hoping I would not pee myself.
In fact, at that time, the top 3 females on the day were .6 tenths of a second apart. YES that close. That is ridiculous and rare.
I could not have gone any harder. I was completely done. I finally opened up my eyes and saw the same time and could not figure out the tenths because I was so trashed. I was breathing like I was in labor and if I was not mounted into a computrainer, I would have fallen off my bike. It took me over 1 hour to feel normal again and get my face color back to pasty white.
I loved it. It is so hard. SO painful…and something we almost cannot do outside – even when I race TT outside because we have to focus also on being safe. And, while I can really work by myself in the basement, I just cannot work this hard. Having that little carrot out there is really motivating and mixes up the winter monotony.
Regardless of the tenths that I did not end up on top, I won. I set a new power PR number at the age of 42. Every year I say, “I am just trying to manage the slowing down, ” and honestly, that is the truth…I swear! But, when I have days like this, I am happy and grateful. And, excited.
God I love Swim Meets.
I really do. This past weekend was one of our larger Illinois Swim meets on Superbowl Sunday. This is my 5th year I have done it and I still really look forward to it every year. It is always cold and the windows are frozen to the outside and everyone is buzzing around talking football & swimming soaking wet in huge swim parkas. Outside temps are usually between 10-20F degrees. What else is there to do?
The Superbowl meet fell at the end of my bigger week and I was tired. Plus, with the combination of Graham breaking his wrist & other life things, I was a little cooked on Friday. So, I threw out my run and swam only a short set on Saturday so I would have some SNAP for Sunday. Snap being the important word here.
The meet is all day: Arrive at 7am and leave around 2 or 2:30pm. In and out of the pool 100x. Of course I was there by 7am sharp and chatting and warming up. I decided to do a few things differently. One, I took a shower before the meet before I left home. It was SO cold (below 10F that AM when I left) and the competition pool is always FREEZING (which is good to race in) but it leaves me chilled all day. And, I do NOT like to be cold….so I took a hot shower and that helped a ton. I also warmed up a TON….more than normal. I just figured it would be good for me and I do better (ahem) now with a longer warm up. I probably did over 1500 yards+ of mixed 50s and stroke work and free/starts.
As soon as I got into the warm up and took 2 strokes, I knew it was going to be a good day. I can tell if I have a feeling for the water very quickly. I was excited to race!
I was swimming the max # of events, which is 5 events. Longest distance on the day was the 500 Free. And, because the meet is so big, they do not run the 1000 or 1650 (bummer). Anyway, I swam the 500 Free, 100 Free, 200 Free, 200 IM, 100 IM.
The 500 Free is personal to me because I have a goal for that race EVERY YEAR. And, I laugh at myself because every year, I swim within 5 seconds of the same time EVERY YEAR. Yawn. My adult 500 Free time rarely changes. I was talking to the Masters Coach and she is like, “Jenny…at this point, unless you swim more (!) that 500 time is not going to budge dramatically unless we re-work your starts & turns.” OK….now, I do not have good turns at all..compared to the uber-swimmers I swim with, but they are not that bad…but every second counts. If I was a “pure” swimmer, I would fix all of this up and spend hours in the pool to make that happen. And, maybe after Arizona this year, I will spend more time making my turns faster and better, but for now, it is all good.
Last year at State, I went 6:02. This past weekend I went 6:07. Crack me up. I did not really even consider myself in good swim shape yet….so, I swam well because I was rested and fired up. I swear, if I break 6:00 at State this year (April) or Nationals (May), I will be done with that damn 500. I have broken 6 in the 500 but not as an adult.
Oh, and my friend and lanemate, Krista beat me by 1 second in the 500. We are so funny, we swim exactly the same time for EVERYTHING. She out-touched me in the 500 and I out-touched her in the 200. I love the healthy competition and we make one another better swimmers, that is for sure. She is a great backstroker and I do not even touch that stroke.
Then, I swam the 100 Free, 100IM, 200 Free and won those events. But, let me back up and say I was disqualified (are you reading Cheryl Stine??) in the 100 IM. STUPID me….I can’t believe I did what I did. Back in the day, when I learned how to swim in oh 1970s and 1980s we were able to do a flip turn from backstroke to breaststroke in the IM. NOW (effective 8 years ago!) we have to do an open turn from back to breaststroke. I turn my brain off when I swim and especially for the 100 IM, so I just went on auto-pilot and acted like I was 10. Oops. My fault and my mistake. So, while I did win, I was DQd. Lovely.
Oh, and I did pee myself, I think. The 200 Free is the HARDEST event on the docket. I would rather swim 4 x 400 IM than 1 x 200 Free. It is a hard, hard event. It is an all out sprint but not really. It is like the 800 on the track. A true test of speed, grit and anything else you can muster. I wanted to break my State time of 2:14, but I knew that would probably be a crap shoot (last event of the day)….but I was swimming next to Krista and we were so neck and neck it was killing me. Anyway, she had about 1/2 second on me on the last 25 and I just put my head down, did not breathe (which I really have a hard time with), gritted my teeth, closed my eyes and went as hard as I could into the wall. I swear I peed myself, thank goodness I was in the pool where no one can tell. GASP. I barely out-touched her and barely kept my breakfast down. See, good times in the pool, eh?
Our team did well and everyone swam well & we won the meet. We had 57 swimmers there and it was a fun way to spend a Sunday!
And, since I have been on this swim HIGH….I signed up for USMS Nationals in May! I have never been (usually in Triathlon season and far away) and since it is in the Midwest, I decided to go. The meet runs from Thursday-Sunday and initially I wanted to do the entire meet since the 1650 is on Thursday & the 500 Free is on Sunday. But, it is too long to be gone (4+ days) just swimming and with Mother’s Day & my Mom’s birthday, I need to be home on the weekend. So, I am just swimming the 1650 Free, 200 Free and 400 IM and relays. I do not want to do any pure stroke events…and I can not compete in the 50 Free (goodness)…so I just miss the 100 Free and 500 Free and 200 IM, which is OK. My main goal is the 1650. I cannot wait!
I am a huge fan of swim meets – for swimmers of ALL ages & abilities! If you have never done one, challenge yourself, it is really a fun way to spend a few hours.