I've been wondering if I'm meant to run this marathon. The past few weeks of training have been brutal. My 14 Mile Slump ended at 5 miles when I face-planted into the ground. I redeemed myself last week with an awesome 5 miles, 8 miles, and another 5 miles - feeling good and ready to tackle the 16 miles this past Saturday. Then, I face-planted again. Well, not so much a face plant, more of a side plant as I tripped at mile 2 and landed on my right side, knee and hand. Just a little bleeding this time in the knee - nothing major. I even laughed at myself as I got myself up and brushed myself off. I wasn't going to let a fall stop me on this 16 miles. I was ready. I felt amazing the entire run - I was just past the 11 mile mark and was about to beat my Malibu Half Marathon time when out of no where my knee seized up.
I just returned from our third trip to Lake Tahoe this summer and my second official 1.2 mile swim with Big Blue Adventures. Once again it was an absolutely perfect morning for the swim, temperatures steadily rising, the sun out, and the sky clear. The main difference this year was the haze - Tahoe was hazy the entire weekend and it was hard to make out the mountains from the water. Last year I just locked my eyes on a peak and spotted towards that while swimming the course. This year was a little tougher since I couldn't see the mountains and the water had a bit of chop to it. Regardless, it was still an amazing time.
It all began with the swim. The triathlon had finally arrived and Marci and I both agreed it snuck right up on us. But we were ready - as ready as we could be for this event. After an early 4am wake up call we headed down to the transition area at 4:45am. We set up our transitions, then lubed up with TriSlide before pulling our wetsuits on, grabbing our new Yellow TriRock swim caps, and headed down to the water.
Back in March I signed up for an open water swim in Lake Tahoe in preparation for the Triathlon in San Diego. I figured it'd be a good way for me to get my feet wet (ha, ha, ha - sorry) and to get more comfortable in an open water swim setting. Finally, the weekend of the swim was upon me. After a dreadful first swim in Manhattan Beach, I went to a swim clinic in the San Francisco Aquatic Park with Swim Art where I was able to calm some nerves and work on a few issues I was having in the open water. The time finally came to put all the practice to use and swim a steady 1.2 miles with others in Lake Tahoe. Spoiler alert - it was AMAZING.
Following my first (and an uneasy) ocean swim with Marci (read Manhattan Beach Brick Workout: The Swim), my confidence was a little shaken to get back in the open water, but I knew I had to. My first open water event, The Big Blue Adventure Lake Tahoe Swim, was coming up and I didn't want to feel unprepared. I knew I needed to get back into the open water and hopefully ease some of the concerns I felt while swimming in Manhattan Beach. There were three things I needed to work on:
- Swimming in my wetsuit
- Putting my face in the water without freaking out
- Not getting motion sickness
This past weekend I traveled down to Manhattan Beach to do a full brick workout with Marci. We thought it would be a good idea about halfway through our training to get together and do a training session. We were so excited to train together for the first time in almost a year and our fears of waves and sharks were temporarily put aside due to our euphoria. I was most excited for the swim. I love the water, I originally wanted to do a triathlon mainly for the swim, I love the ocean, I felt extremely confident with my swim training, and I couldn't wait to get out there. Then the reality of the ocean set in.
Its about 2 months to Tri Time! The past several months of building a base are done and now its head down and go time. This, however, is when I find myself having a hard time staying motivated. I'm to the point where I feel like I should be DOING a triathlon, not just continually training for it. (Although I'd definitely have to crawl through the run if I had to do it now!) The early mornings are getting tougher, its harder to stay awake during the evening hours, and its been interesting juggling a full-time job and long workouts at the same time. And I'm not even training for a long distance triathlon! I don't know how people have a full-time job and train for an IronMan. So, how am I staying motivated to keep putting one arm in front of the other, one pedal after another, and foot after foot?
Here's something I bet you never thought of - making sure you have anti-chafing lubricants when you wear your wetsuit! What? I thought I wouldn't chafe during a swim like I could during a run or bike? Ha! I wish. Wearing a wetsuit means wearing something that will rub against your body, even while in water. So, how do I get around any painful moments during or after a swim in my wetsuit? Luckily - there are a couple products you can use like you'd use vaseline on your toes during a run.
I'm not going to be able to make it to the pool for the next two weeks due to some scheduling conflicts. I'm bummed that I can't get in the water, but I'm looking into dry land exercises I can do so I won't lose any of my training during those two weeks. I'm basically missing four swim practices, but I'm coming up with a game plan to not lose any of my training during that time. When I swam competitively we always started each practice with about 20-30 minutes of dry land core exercises. Swimmers have super strong cores, so I'm going to use these next two weeks to really get my core working and continue to strengthen and stretch my upper body.
Stretching for swimmers is super important. I stretch after I run and bike, but sometimes I forget to stretch after a swim. Maybe its because I feel pretty limber from being in the water, but when I do forget, I feel it a few hours later. Stretching for swimmers is also super important because it improves your flexibility which makes you faster in the water. I found a great video from EverymanTri.com that explains why stretching is so important for swimmers (especially for triathletes), and 5 easy stretches you can work on to improve your flexibility and strength in the water. Former pro triathlete, Olympian, and Ironman 70.3 World Champ Joanna Zeiger hosts. Check it out:
There really are only a few things you need to get started swimming. A pool (or lake or ocean), a swimming suit, and a pair of googles. That being said, there are lots of other things you can have to accompany your swim practice and I'm going to share what I use during and after my workouts.
Let me start by saying I am from Phoenix, Arizona where there are no oceans around. Sure we have lakes but they’re not big lakes and they’re not the greatest lakes and they are far to get to. Also let me mention that Phoenix is SO hot that everyone has a pool. The pool is where I am most comfortable when it comes to swimming. I am completely self-taught so I don’t even know all the right techniques, but I can swim laps for exercise and feel good afterwards, like I actually worked out.
There's something about the smell of chlorine that takes me back to being a seven year old kid. Memories of jumping into a pool and playing and swimming in the for hours until my fingers and toes were completely wrinkly. I love the smell that lingers on my skin after being out of a pool a few hours, a reminder of the fun I've just had.