Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Open Swim at Lucky's

This morning I resisted the temptation to hit the snooze and swim at the pool, and ventured forth to Lucky's Lake. I must say that I have missed my once a week open water swims at Lucky's. I just didn't realize it until I got there to see the sun rising up over the tree line making beautiful pink light emanate from behind some fair weather clouds. Definitely not the sights I get to see doing my workouts at the LA Fitness pool.

And then there were the buddies from Team in Training and my Coach. It was so nice to see them in person and chat before the swim. Hannah the Dog, barked us to start in her usual fashion and off we swam. For me, this time around I needed to do 2 full crossings - each full crossing is 1000m, if you stay in a straight line... a little more if you get off track with your sighting.

The swim itself was fabulous. I was pretty speedy, which was nice because it made me realize that I can be speedy outside of the pool too. I love swimming at Lucky's Lake because when you breathe you see amazing things, like birds flying in formation, trees, the sun and the blue sky, a bird swooping down for a breakfast of fish. Not to mention that even on days when there are a good number of swimmers, like today, the people are friendly and smile or chat a bit at the ends of the lake. Today, though I only stopped long enough to re-orient myself for sighting on the next leg and to make sure I wasn't going to crash into anyone as I started to swim. Then I was off again for the next leg.

I was speedy, and even felt speedy. Unfortunately, though, I pulled something in my right arm that now makes straightening my arm out (which is rather important in a good swim stroke) a bit painful around my elbow area (but on the front side of my arm). So I'll ice it and take some advil in a bit, try to rest it as much as I can, and try my best on Sunday to swim like a speed demon.

Yes, Sunday is a race day. I'm racing the Olympic Distance triathlon at the 6th Annual Moss Park Triathlon Festival. Not really sure why it's called a Festival, but I'll definitely be one partaking in the "festivities" if that means a 1.5 km (0.932 mile) swim, a 40km (24.856 miles) bike, and a 5.15 mile run. I haven't started getting truly nervous yet, but I still have time. It's only Wednesday, after all.

The course is a nice one for the most part. The lake is gross. The color of coffee and smelly... not to mention that you can't see in it. Yes, this is the lake that I had my first open water swim and my first freak out in the water (but pulled it together by yelling at myself "You know how to F'N swim!"). The run from the lake to the transition area is longish (about 1/4 mile) through sand, a parking lot, and messy pine needles. But the bike is through the neighborhood surrounding Moss Park, which is nice and you even have people who live in the neighborhood that shout encouraging things to riders as they pass. (And there are no gigantic hills involved.) Finally the run, which is in a relatively shaded area of the park itself. The thing is that the Olympic Distance is merely the Sprint Distance but with 2 laps of everything. I have noticed that I dont' really like repeating a lap I've done in a race. I had to do it in the Olympic Distance in Miami earlier this year, and I have this funny thing where I finish the 1st lap and my brain says "yeah! We're done! Oh, wait. I have to do that again, don't I?" It's almost like my brain is happy to reach the "finish" before it's really the finish.

I even have to trick myself sometimes while I run in the neighborhood. I avoid passing the house at all costs because my brain just wants to stop because well, the house is the end, right? As Angelfish and Ladybug would say, "that SILLY BRAIN!"

So, I think that's my 1st challenge for Moss Park. The 2nd one is the distance of course, especially with my newly pulled arm muscle and my lovely back situation. The 3rd is just mentally packing it all up and not caring about the pain I am in while doing it. The 4th is making sure that I do my nutrition right. I do not want a duplicate of the Miami Olympic Distance where I basically remembered to drink on the bike but forgot about eating. Uh, yeah. Not pretty for the run or my brain during the run.

The goals I've been kicking around for this race, are: A) Finish in 3 hours and 15 minutes or less, in an upright position with a smile on my face; B) Finish in less than 3 hours 30 minutes, in an upright position with a smile on my face; C) Finish in less than 4 hours, in an upright position with a smile on my face; D) Finish in an upright position with a smile on my face; and E) Finish. I think my A goal will be a challenge for me to make, and may even be a stretch to make... but I am making an attempt to throw the gauntlet down for myself. Especially in light of the fact that I pretty much completely forgot about this race after registering for it a few months ago until this past Sunday when I saw it on my calendar. But as I often remind myself, all I can do is my best. So stay tuned.

Other than that, it is pretty much life as usual in our house. The girls were fun last night "ballerine" dancing in their underpants and socks since they deemed that they couldn't properly "ballerine" dance in their shorts and shirts. It was fun watching them and their dancing antics, slowing down at points and wanting applause or praise for their graceful dancing (which sometimes looked more like an attempt at kung fu), while I cooked dinner.

Mr. Darcy arrived home late because he stopped at Sports Authority to try to buy clothes for his slightly modified (shorter swim) sprint triathlon. I had to explain the concepts of friction and compression and express my concerns that the swim shorts he purchased were great for swim training but perhaps not especially what he would like to bike 12 miles and run 3 miles after doing that initial 400 meter swim. Padding, compression and Body Glide. It's hard to remember not understanding the importance of those concepts before my first tri but I learned too. I just hope to impress upon him their importance so he doesn't learn the way I learned - the painful way. So I am hoping that dear Mr. Darcy will go by the bike shop and pick up at least some tri specific shorts for the race sometime between now and Saturday, which is when he races. In the meantime, I will stock up on frozen peas should he decide not to heed my clothing advice.

The many uses of frozen peas. They're great for shin splints too. Molds right to the leg. Anywho.

After a nice day of work where I'll be focusing on preparing for a seminar I teach this coming Tuesday, I'll head to chiropractor where I'll chat with him about the need to fix my back and fast so I am no longer in pain. I'm sure this is his aim too, but I just want to make sure we're on the same page. Maintenance to me is not I get back in pain every 2 weeks. It's no pain and I come in once a month to make sure I maintain my spine stability so that I can remain pain free. I just hope that is realistic. My old chiropractor felt the same way, but I wasn't training for triathlons then either. So keep your fingers crossed for me!

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