The Hard is What Makes it Great

Learning a new skill is hard

It was a hard week. And, of course it’s hard…it’s training. At first, I was going to title this week’s blog post, “Training Sucks” but then got out of my pity party and remembered a scene from one of my favorite movies, A League of Their Own:

Most of my training this week was hard, both mentally and physically. I know it’s part of the cycle, but it took a lot of mental strength to get my training completed. Part of it was some fatigue, I think, and gave myself an extra rest day where I literally slept most of the day.

Swimming

I’ve been doing some reading on swimming technique and decided it was time for me to grow up and start bilateral breathing. Swim power comes from the core through proper body rotation. Breathing to one side generally results in poor body rotation on the opposite side, leading to asymetrical swimming. So, I’m retraining myself to breath bilaterally, every third stroke. And it’s hard. It’s like brushing your teeth with your non-dominant hand. But it will get there. Here is a great web resource on bilateral swimming: http://www.swimsmooth.com/bilateral.html.

This morning’s drill was speed work, 20x75m tempo swim, with warmup and cool down. I worked on my bilateral breathing with it. I felt awful about a third of the way through. Was really tempted to quit and really had to talk myself in continuing, but I did it. However, 100m into my 200m cool down I realized I was going to vomit–and fortunately made it out of the pool to the locker room toilet. It was all water…seems I had a belly full of pool water from the mouthfuls I got learning how to breathe on my left side. Ugh. What a fitting end to a hard workout.

Running

Apparently I’m trying to run faster…faster than I can right now. I had a 30 minute easy run scheduled early in the week which turned into a too fast out and walk back. I was having trouble understanding what had happened until I looked at my splits:

Turns out I had a very inconsistently paced run, anywhere from 7:54 to 9:30 mile (the 10:59 is part of a walk). I was confused by this at first, and then I realized that my Garmin was not showing me real time pace during my run, rather an average, allowing huge swings in my tempo. No wonder I was exhausted. Grrr! So I changed the settings on my device and had another 30 minute run a couple of days later:

Much more consistent. And no exhaustion or walking. Note, I felt so great at the end of the run that I did a sprint at the end. My overall pace improved as well. So, I need to work on keeping my pace consistent, watching the big tempo swings.

Strength and Conditioning

This was my first week of Coach Jeff Smith’s Strength and Conditioning program that I introduced last post. I know it’s important…it’s just not fun…yet. It’s a lot of work for me, which tells me just how much I need to do it. I wasn’t able to do three sets of all the exercises, started with one set of each of the exercises this week. I’ll increase to two sets next week, then three the following.

Resting

It occurred to me that scheduling my workout rest days on my fire department shift days really isn’t resting in the desired sense. I scheduled them on shift days because it is just nice to not have to try to run at the station with interruptions for emergency responses, lug my bike and trainer into the station, or get up at 4AM in order to get a swim session in before work. However, I don’t truly completely rest or relax when I’m at work. Not only are we running calls and doing drills and other administrative stuff, but I never sleep well, even if we don’t get called out at night (pipe-dream, we ALWAYS get called out at night). By the end of this week I could totally tell I was at a rest deficit. I truly could not seem to function and ended up sleeping in very late, taking a long afternoon nap, AND going to bed early. I will be adjusting my workout schedule to include some off-duty rest days from now on.

TRI NorthWest Rankings

It wasn’t all bad last week, well, really, this week wasn’t bad, it was just hard. Being new to this sport I don’t know about everything that happens, and one of those things this week was the TRI NorthWest Final Rankings for 2011. Turns out, I ended up being ranked #8 overall in Open Women Sprint Distance category and #1 in Athena 39 and Younger Sprint Distance—Wow! Just in time, I guess, I really needed the inspiration and boost this week!

So, remember, it’s supposed to be hard…but the end result will be so sweet!

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