Richard Nelson

Archive for the ‘swimming’ Category

A motto?

In swimming, training on 2011 August 8 Monday at 20:04:53

I spent some quiet nights in my Denver hotel room thinking about belief v. hope v. optimism, and I came up with this:

Not passive hope; not blind optimism; but an evidence-based belief that we can make tomorrow better than today.

I know that’s true; I mean, the evidence shows us that we can make tomorrow better than today; that I can be better (however you define better) tomorrow than I am today.

But it can be hard to believe it in the face of a motivation-eating black-dog mood, whose ideology seems best called what’s-the-point-ism. Still, I’m trying.

I’m completely unmotivated to do the heavy work-outs Coach Steve is listing for me. So I went to the pool and gave myself permission to do … anything. And all anything was, was 750 yd, 30 lengths, at a medium-hard effort. And it felt good.


Packing for a swim meet

In swimming, travel on 2010 September 2 Thursday at 18:16:40

I found this on e-How, and it seems sensible: How to pack for a swim meet:

To wear:

  • goggles, 2 pair in case one breaks or gets lost
  • bathing suit, in team colours if any; can be worn under clothes
  • bathing cap if swimmer wears one, silicone recommended as more stretchy

Take to meet:

  • towels
  • warm-up clothes
  • folding chair for competitor to keep towel on and sit between races.
  • change of clothes including underwear
  • sunscreen if you’ll be outdoors

Cooler or snack bag:

  • High-energy, high-carbohydrate snacks
  • Water
  • Sports drink

For parents:

  • Printed directions and phone number for destination
  • Heat sheet for events, heats, and lanes if it’s that sort of event, so you can locate your child
  • Permanent ink marker for writing race number or event/heat/lane number on child’s arm so she can find her start

Don’t panic!

Bring something to do in idle moments for all members of the family.

Wisdom from a friend of mine

In swimming, training on 2010 September 2 Thursday at 15:14:19

Last night, she posted:

“No matter what, this winter is dedicated to training my limiters and kicking ass next tri season.

“Sounds like a great dream. Dreams are great. Unfortunately, reality requires a lot of tough daily choices. There lies the gap between a dreamer and a doer.”

And this morning:

“There’s something about tri that has a challenge in it. Everyone has a weakness. No one is an expert in all three sports. I don’t like the swim and that’s the point. It used to be the bike. There’s always a new challenge. Only time will tell if I’m up to it.”

My Ironman Wisconsin

In Ironman, swimming on 2007 September 10 Monday at 11:49:00

To put it shortly, I was pulled from the bike course 9½ miles from the finish at 5:15 p.m. local time. There was nothing grossly wrong—the cracked rib I suffered four weeks ago just prevented me from being highly ærobic—that slowed me down on the flats, and meant I had to power up the hills (of which, for those not familiar with the course, there are many), so my legs were trashed by the second loop.

The swim went according to plan. I know the triathletes who read this will find a 2:05 swim risible (there were only 29 swimmers behind me, I think), but I couldn’t swim in November ’05, and had not swum in open water until June of this year, so I’m very pleased to have had a pleasant easy swim. My technique, of course, is terrible, but that just gives me something (of many!) to work on for next year.

I left the water in great shape, shook Rob Beuthling’s hand, and had a good transition—no dawdling, and no hurry, just kept moving—though somehow it took 16 minutes.

I cycled down the helix and got out on the course. It was pretty clear early on that something was wrong. I hadn’t done any hilly cycling since I’d cracked my rib, and the constraint it puts on deep breathing was a real problem—hills became weight-lifting exercises, and I’m a pretty heavy weight. 🙂

Anyway, it was a long day on the bike; by the halfway point I knew I’d miss the cut-off, but I wanted to finish the bike even if I was going to be marked a DNF. The official who took me off disagreed; I knew I could’ve just taken off my chip and bib and continued as a civilian, but I was, basically, in a good mood and didn’t feel like arguing. The other 4 competitors and I in the van had a good chat, and shared a couple of beers(!) on the drive back to Monona Terrace.

UPDATE: Here’s a screen shot of my official results:

After rendezvousing with my family (the only real frustration of the day!), we walked to State Street Brats for (what else?) brats and beer, and watched the run competitors come in. I was more than a little envious, of course, but content with my fate. I’d known that my rib was going to be a problem, and it really points to what I need to do.

I trained for this race from pretty much a standing start in late June ’06. Now I have another 12 months, and what I expect will be a bunch of shorter triathlons, in which to chop chunks of time off the swimming and cycling, and to get even stronger and fitter. I had trouble fitting in all the work-outs Coach Steve wanted me to, but I was getting better and better at it. Another year to “learn to train”. I am very much looking forward to getting back to training!

Thanks to everyone—the Tri-Deads, my family with their e-mails and phone calls of support, and my friends and other supporters.

Liz, my daughter, gave me bottomless emotional support, even from her three-month exile in Canada’s Yukon Territory—and spent only two days in Toronto before driving to Madison to be with me!

Mona, my SO, put up with my ceasing to be a full member of our household as I trained—and is supportive of my doing more next year!

Coach Kelvin Landolt taught me to swim, an accomplishment of which I am proudest at age 53.

Coach Steve Bentley brought me to the start line of an Ironman with confidence.

And my friend and colleague John Boguslawski talked me into the whole thing in the first place!

Lessons learned

In lessons learned, swimming, training on 2007 May 12 Saturday at 17:22:00

One of the things I’ve been doing lately is writing up my “lessons learned”. Most of them are obvious duhs, but even so I find it useful to have them articulated. Here are this week’s, with a note on how I learned each lesson.

Mon., May 7/07: If I’m going to be “on site”, I should bring healthy food. (Did not learn this lesson for Tues., May 8.)

I spent several hours at one of Toronto’s busiest subway stations supervising installation of farecard equipment, and neglected to bring anything to eat; this left me wandering into the adjacent food court and getting something from, er, McDonald’s. Despite doing this two days in a row, I neglected to do anything about it on the second day.

Tues., May 8/07: It may be trying too much to swim Mon. night & do bike work-out early Tues. morning. Alternately, I may not have been well.

After a good swim work-out Monday night I had no energy Tuesday morning for my trainer work-out—but I’m now pretty sure that I was—and to a degree remain—a bit sick.

It’s not worth the dubious “convenience” of wearing business-casual clothes on the bike. I soiled and tore the drive-side cuff of my khakis.

On a beautiful spring day I was trying to save the time of changing from bike clothes to street clothes (& back in the evening) for a mere 4.3-mi, 7.0-km commute. As I note, I just don’t find it so convenient.

Wed., May 9/07: Rest between work-outs is valuable to Ironman training. Standing for 5½ hours without a single break was not wise.

My Ironman buddy is in awesome shape, but takes the elevator & sits when he can. In the presence, I’ll guess, of all those hard workers from the Transit Commission and our contractor, I didn’t want to be sitting down. But I should’ve; between that lack of rest and a virus, I could do nothing: I skipped both swimming and even Pilates.

Fri., May 11/07: No matter how “out of sorts” I feel, a work-out can often be surprisingly good, and feel surprisingly good.

Well before dawn on Friday morning I sure did not feel like a 90-minute swim work-out, but I went with the expectation that I’d quit pretty quickly. Yet the moment I dove into the water I felt good, and in the end had a great work-out—and felt great the rest of the day.

Sat., May 12/07: 40 oz (1200 ml) of beer is not good preparation for an early-morning long run.

monado and I had a nice dinner at Gabby’s on the Danforth that involved sharing a pitcher of beer. Despite my low tolerance of alcohol, I was nowhere near drunk or even tipsy when we got home, and I went to bed pretty quickly, but I’ve been barely motile since—13 hours in bed, and I still feel like having another nap, not doing the 90-minute easy run I’m scheduled to do.

Not so waterproof on hairy legs

In swimming on 2007 March 22 Thursday at 13:22:00

When I had my stitches removed, the doc reiterated that now I shouldn’t go swimming—for two weeks, i.e., until it was certain my sutures had healed. (Mind you, they looked healed to me!)

So before I went on this trip I bought a box of waterproof bandages (illustrated). I, er, forgot to put any on for my first swim, Tuesday. Yesterday, though, I put one over each suture—and they lasted, maybe, one length before they started flapping, and then two or three lengths before they just plain came off.

The problem is not the bandages themselves but the hairiness of my knee. The bandages don’t have enough purchase on my skin to stay on. It’s been a problem since my teens.

Not sure what I’m going to do today.

Splash! (IV)

In swimming on 2007 March 22 Thursday at 00:48:00

(Found a new picture of the Doubletree’s pool, showing the furniture as it now is. Beyond the hedge to the left and in the background is Carson Street, a busy arterial that could also be called 217th Street. Beyond the hedge to the right is the hotel’s parking lot. To the right of the canopy is the hotel bar.)

Did as Coach Kelvin recommended, doing lengths of freestyle without breathing in the 12- or 13-yard pool, alternating with body rolls, usually doubles, sometimes single or triple.

The six or seven strokes of swimming without breathing were kind of interesting. It was fun how easy it was!

Oddly, I “felt” my knee more during the body rolls than during the freestyle.

As usual, I was alone in the water, but not as usual two women were lounging in the sunny end (near the canopy) carrying on a low conversation. It was sufficiently sunny that midway through the work-out (such as it was) I switched from my clear-lensed Aqua Sphere Kaimans to the mirrored pair.

Splash! (III)

In swimming on 2007 March 21 Wednesday at 21:13:00

I forgot to mention … so I went “swimming” before I did my “run”. The swimming wasn’t really quote-mark-worthy, except that—unlike last April—that tiny pool is a real problem. In six short strokes I was at the end of the pool; I could never get my rhythm. I put this problem to Coach Kelvin, and this was his reply:

Short pool?

Try doing length totally under water in one breath. Rest to recovery at each end. Don’t loose control when needing a breath. Be sure, if you decide to surface and breathe that you are (for sure) going to catch a breath.

Body core rolling is good. Single, double and 3x.

Work on the pull stroke for breaststroke (knees might not be ready for the breast stroke kick), us a dolphin kick.

Find another pool.

Unfortunately, it turns out that the nearby 24 Hour Ftiness centre does not have a pool; the nearest is in Long Beach; I’ll stick with the hotel pool, whatever its limitations.


In indoor cycling, swimming on 2007 March 17 Saturday at 22:52:00

Tuesday evening (March 13; I won’t remark on the number!) I had my first swimming lesson since my knee surgery.

I felt great. It wasn’t just the joy of working out; it was that my kicking felt so much better. My vertical kick, never that bad, was suddenly better. With better kicking (as any fan of Terry Laughlin’s Total Immersion technique knows) comes better body positioning which means better (or at least easier) swimming. (See the Wikipedia article on TI for a good summary of the criticisms of TI.)

About midway through our hour my knee began to hurt, and we switched to drills using a pullbuoy. But it was too late; after a week of wonderful recovery, my knee has been sore since. I took a couple of days off, and since then I’ve resumed light cycling. Yesterday I did another session of Coach Kelvin’s Triathlete Swim Training but only for half an hour. For one thing, trying to do stroke drills with a pullbuoy is (for me) nothing less than comical. I’ve also been babying the knee, spending hours each day alternating heat and cold.

I biked easily 40 minutes today (watching the last two stages of the 2004 Giro d’Italia on DVD). I think I’ll do an hour tomorrow, and then I fly to Los Angeles for a week of meetings with my client.

The week in Los Angeles I’ll be staying at the Doubletree Hotel Carson Civic Plaza (sic), whose pool I’ve described before. But an alternative to the Doubletree’s modest facilities is a brand-new 24 Hour Fitness facility about a mile from the hotel. The building looked great from the outside in January, but its home page doesn’t mention the pool I thought it had. Anyway, my plan is to swim a bit, pool-run a bit, walk a bit, and maybe even *gasp* run a bit. As with so much: We’ll see.

A day, perhaps a weekend, off

In swimming, training on 2007 March 4 Sunday at 15:19:00

As planned, monado & I took Andrea (pictured) to swim at the East York Community Centre, together with her father (my stepson).

As always, Andrea was incandescent; she loves being in the pool; and she’s very fit.

I just puddled around, did some widths, chatted very briefly with an injured runner doing pool-running, and hung with monado mostly. Still it can be a bit tiring.

And so I decided not to do lengths when the pool threw out the kids, and further decided that what my body was trying to tell me was that I needed a day, maybe two off—even though I’ll get very little work done after my surgery on Tuesday.

Last night I was in bed about 12 hours, sleeping most of that, so I’ve missed my morning window to do my long bike ride; might do something tonight.

Andrea wants to go the bike show this afternoon, and we have to take her back to other grandparents’ this afternoon.

After no fewer than twenty-three consecutive days working out—by far a lifetime record—this fifty-three-year-old body needs some time off.