Tuesday, September 08, 2009

In Which I Bang My Head Against The Wall (But Do Not Stop)

I am seriously starting to wonder whether, having started this sport so late, I have reached the age that I will get no better, regardless of how I train.

Yesterday was my third Olympic-distance race--the second this season--and was by far the slowest. It was a putrid swim followed by a decent, hard bike, followed by a horrible run.

Looking at the numbers, the lion's share of the guys in my age group swim within 10 seconds of 2:00 per 100m--even the super fast runners that finish at the top of the age group. I swim those kinds of times EVERY DAY in the pool, easily and without knowing how to flip turn. I even swam 2:15 per 100 in my first Ironman. Then, I've proceeded to swim slower every race since.

It does me no good to warm up. I just wind up standing around for 35 minutes waiting for my wave to go off. And when it does, it's the largest wave of the day and I started by getting smacked upside the head, kicked, swallowing half the lake, and spending 3 to 5 minutes hyperventillating and making little or no forward progress. After getting my wits about me, I thought I swam pretty strong, and seemed to be making good progress. Then, towards the end, I'm all, "are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet?"

And what should have been a swim in the low 30s was FORTY FREAKING MINUTES. Gawd almighty I'm getting sick of this. It's like banging my head against a flippin' wall.

As always, I enjoyed the biking, especially pounding down hill at about 30 mph, but the drafting and crowing on the course was a problem.

Perhaps I biked too hard or drank too little, but by the time I got to the run I could not run with any tempo. I was cursed with a very uncomfortable breathless feeling and even tightness in the chest. (Not Good). I did not have the watch set to look at heart rate, but observing the data afterwards shows that I was holding a heart rate comparable to an interval workout even though I was only putzing along at 10 minute miles. Potentially dehydration or heart rate drift because of the heat.

So, the goal of running well was out the window and the secondary goal of Ironman Cozumel training was in. No walking between aid stations allowed. No matter how slow, keep on running.

And I did.

I banged my head against the wall, and I did not stop. That's about the only good to come of this race.


Kim said...

way to hang in there grey - remember IMCoz is THE event - these other races are all pennies and dollars in the bank. IMCoz won't know what hit it when you come rollin into town. congrats on hanging tough my friend!

Coach Liz said...

My race last year at the Austin Tri was soooo bad. That is why I bowed out of doing it this year. Let's have fun training rather than racing this weekend. Another long ride is needed.

Wendy said...

The thing about open water swimming is it is awash with variability. The conditions make it more about how a swim feels than what your time is.

I firmly believe you can and will get faster. I hope you can talk to your coach about your issues at the start. Maybe even register for a couple of open water swims to test your strategies.

And feel free to shoot me an email anytime!

Richard said...

Congratulations on a solid plow-through. Consider it mental training, perhaps?

Curly Su said...

Dude! You're training for an IRONMAN. OF COURSE, an Olympic race is going to be slow. No matter what.

No worries. You're healthy, you're happy, you're going to live a long time, and you're having fun meanwhile.

Isn't that what it's all about anyhow?

21stCenturyMom said...

Listen to Curly Sue- she knows stuff.

I had a totally awful Oly a month ago. It just sucked. I think that's to be expected when you are training to go long. Going hard and short just doesn't work and really, there's no point in doing it. It's just frustrating.