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Not too long ago, I jumped in the ocean without my wetsuit. I guess I’ve grown accustomed to my wetsuit and for whatever “other” reason, I decided to do a shorter workout. I felt so fatigued after 600 yards, that going much further would have put my ability to return at risk. Yup, don’t take your chances in the ocean.

I recently jumped into an olympic-size pool. Mentally, the difference between 25-yards and 50-yards registers with the brain somehow; it’s been hard to teach the head not to expect the end until 2-times the distance. He he. I was expecting that kind of discussion in my head, but going the full length and back felt natural this time.

I just decided to swim back-and-forth until I tire of the activity. Just messing with swim form, reach, body position, and overall efficiency. Also worked on a more natural and instinctive breathing position bilaterally. I think comfort in the water was tops in my mind–so much so that I checked my speed and form to allow for endless fish-like play.

Let’s just say I swam forever. A few people joined me in my lane and then completed their workouts. I was still going. I eventually had to settle for a set distance because my bladder was about to burst. He he. I think the lifeguard knew why I got out of the pool so quick.

For that swm, I covered 4400 yards continuous at steady pace. Nothing really for the speed department, but I think it does a lot for confidence. I ended up saying “See, you know how to swim without a wetsuit. Kona wasn’t a fluke!”. If you are wondering–4400 yards is 2.5 miles exactly, or slightly over the distance required for the Ironman swim! 1:30 of just peace and quiet.

Now I’ve decided I want to do more pool swims than ocean swims. Good too, because the ocean temps are 20 degrees colder (60s versus 80s at the pool).

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Boy it hurt, but it hurt so good.

Did

4 X 400 Z2 (10 sec rest) at avg 7:05 minute mile pace (target 7),
5 X 400 Z3 (20 sec rest) at avg 6:15 pace (target 6:15), and
6 X 400 Z4 (30 sec rest) at avg 6:00 pace (target 5:50).

The faster people were glad to see me come out and play. Led them most of the way until the second Z4, and then I was content with tucking in until the finish. In the last Z4, I did a celebration run and let them go 50 feet ahead which wasn’t too bad overall. I was consistently under the rest times in-between. I totally nailed this workout. Which isn’t often.

 

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Speedwork

It’s not pretty. The slow march to progress continues.

Post-track workout report.

I couldn’t sustain my usual Z3s at 6:30, so I decided early on to try to get some fast 400s in and just rest in-between. Weird stuff going on in my body.

0400 Z3 6:28
0800 Z3 7:47 7:47/7:47
1200 Z3 6:36 ~5:55/8:00/~5:55
1600 Z2 9:13
1200 Z3 6:29 ~5:55/8:00/~5:55
0800 Z3 7:36 ~5:55/8:30
0400 Z3 6:02

So I wasn’t sticking to the workout today. Instead, I tormented the faster guys by buzzing by them while they stick with the upper Z3 pace at 6:10 or something. A few did decide to use me as a rabbit today, which is all good.

I estimated that in the faster laps I hit sub-6s easily.  In fact, I was attempting to hit 5:15 or lower in the straight-away.  I finally figured out this breathing thing at Z3 or higher which allows me to run further, so running faster 400s is my way of removing perceived notions about how fast I can run.  In full-stride, I can get to sub-5s; the more pedestrian turnover gets me around 5:20.   I’m still looking at my Garmin 405 to find out how fast “fast” is, but I’m relying on it less and less to establish pace.  Now that is progress.

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Doesn’t happen often.  I remember the last time it happened–I was scuba-diving and had all this gear.  Worse–it was a night dive.  We almost canceled the dive because people were losing equipment.

Fast-forward to today.  We went into the water confidently; we’ve done this workout before.  Entry into the surf, swim to the buoy 300 meters away, and then exit.  Repeat 3 times.  The water was crisp and clear.  But the waves and wave sets were unusually high and consistent.

It must have been a timing thing but I found myself in a churner as I tried to swim under the first wave.  I poked my head out, and the next one hit.  Then a monster proceeded to turn me the other way around.  The next one tried to take my goggles off.  And the last one sorta hit me on the back of the head for good measure.  I never drank so much seawater in literally a minute.

The group at this time was split into two, those who escaped that nasty set and those who didn’t.  The latter would have a really long workout from the fatigue (their faces would show it afterwards).  I decided that I had drank too much water, and I went back to the shore to collect my thoughts.  When it comes to the ocean, don’t mess around with your safety!  After a few minutes of gettting the salt water taste out my mouth (and somehow remembering what the tequila tasted like the night before) I went in after watching for smaller wave sets.

The rest of the workout proceeded normally.  No more issues.  There was a warm current in the middle there, a good 5 degrees warmer than the surrounding water.  There was a point when the receding water near the shore made me think I’d never get to the shallows, but I laughed when the water cleared and I noted that I was in 3 feet of water.  Duh!  For my silliness, a big wave smacked me in the behind so I had to get out of there quick!

So, I did get schooled by a 5-set wave break.  Dude, it doesn’t happen that often.  But it woke me up to the fact that these unprotected zones need to be respected.  We become very comfortable entering the wilds, when we should look out for the things that nature will throw at you just because.  I learned my lesson well!

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Open water swim today

I was kind of glad to do the open water swim today. It’s been a rough 2 weeks, training-wise. We’ve had a heat wave (fires all over California) and my fridge chose to stop working 2 weeks ago. Haven’t been eating right as a result.

My OWS swim last week was short–chose to swim without a wetsuit. Still had stroke confusion so by the time I got to the quarter-mile buoy, I had to call it a day due to fatigue. The week before that, the waters were very choppy and had to come in after 1 mile; if I remember correctly, was having a rough day at work and putting up with choppy water was the last thing I wanted to do. Today, I did wear my wetsuit so that I won’t have to miss an opportunity to swim long if the factors lined up well.

The water was unbelievable! 75 degrees. Super-calm, super-clear. I was going to do buoy-to-buoy for 1.5 miles, but the younger ladies wanted to swim from cove-to-shore (same distance). I obliged. Simply awesome! 1:08 total with about 5 minutes in stops.

I did make a detour when I thought a guy on a paddle board was an upright buoy. He was going the other way and I was sensing that my swim was getting longer. Duh! Okay, it was a bit hard to see through the glare. My moving target probably costs me about 100 yards extra.

There were 5 in our group who chose to do the longer swim. 3 didn’t wear a wetsuit, but I know they wished they did. I was around 100-150 yards from them the entire time and I saw them having to stop to rest once in a while. I, on the other hand, went about my merry way with a perpetual freestyle stroke.

Even though the water was clear, only small fish were present. I don’t know where the leopard sharks and rays were. So the ocean behaved like a big pool today.  Oh yeah, Antonio (originally from Brazil) decided to raise up sand at the half-mile buoy.  I was watching him go down in about 10 meters+ of water; thought he didn’t make it to the bottom, but he had a handful of sand when he came up.  That was cool!

So I’m glad to report my swim is about where it was. I see no problem going through an ironman swim of 2.4 miles tomorrow if I have to. So now to concentrate on the bike!

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Coach Luke took this photo.  Don’t think he’d mind if I show it to you.

Wednesday Core Class at Studio Michelle, La Jolla, CA

Wednesday Core Class at Studio Michelle, La Jolla, CA

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Track workout tonight

I didn’t have energy and I was having some sinus blockage. That basically sums it up. Yeah, excuses excuses. Anyway, it’s in the record books. 8 X800s, Z3.

  • 6:22 minute mile
  • 6:27
  • 6:49
  • 6:54 (hmmm, I wonder if my throat was really bothering me at this point)
  • 6:45
  • 6:47
  • 6:44
  • 7:00 (includes a 15 second stop to clear my throat and sinuses)

That’s about a 6:43 average. I’m happy I got two sub-6:30s. My young teammate Chris was doing sub-5:30s today. He had a younger guy to run with who kept the pace high. Chris needs that kind of work to improve. We had fun talking about Worlds, especially about his idol U. Bolt of Jamaica who just smashed two world records.

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