Monday, August 07, 2006

Becoming Ironman: Wave Rider

Right, so I'm the water today for around an hour. Monday is typically all technique - mostly drills. Nothing too terribly exciting. But one thing I did do today was a 100 yard time trial. You do these here and there throughout the season to get some kind of gauge of your speed. Its relevance to Ironman requires's a 100 yard sprint. Not a 2.4 mile haul. But still, it's a little like bench pressing your 1 rep max or something. Not totally useful in the real world, but it gives you some measure of what you're capable of.

So I do a few hundred yards warming up and then I do the first of two time trials. To this point my Personal Record has been 1:35...which I think I posted somewhere on the blog awhile back. The thing about swimming 100 yards fast is learning to not try and swim fast. When you try and swim fast, you end up sloshing around. You lose your form and your technique goes to hell. Productive time in the water is all about efficiency - going as fast as you can while maintaining technique. If you lose your technique, you lose efficiency and are creating drag in the water. So the whole time you're swimming "fast", you're really trying to swim "smart". Constantly gauging your physical position in the water and making adjustments.

By the way, sometime in spring 2005 I remember setting a P.R. of 1:53. If that gives you any idea from whence we came.

Okay so, back to today.

I'm all warmed up and I swim my 100 yards. Concentrate on form. Concentrate on breathing. Don't rush, don't splash, don't slosh.

I hit the wall at 1:30.

Sweet! A new P.R.! Outstanding!

So I tuck that into my cerebral back pocket and continue with my workout. Drills for the next half an hour or so, before I attempt another time trial - this one gives me an indication of where I am after a bit of a workout, when I should be just a shade fatigued.

So I'm 35 minutes into the workout or so and I start my second time trial. Form form form. Easy easy easy. If I felt myself getting a little too out of control, I'd back off. I wanted to stay within 2 seconds of my previous time, and ideally match it. I pushed my last 50 through the fatigue now setting in.

I hit the wall.

I looked at my watch.


Oh well. Not too bad anyway, only 4 seconds.


I took off my goggles because they must be foggy.

I wiped off the watch because there must be some water droplets distorting the digits.

Nope. It's not a mistake. Holy shit. Not 1:34.


Are you kidding me?

And this is what went through my head while I recovered on the kickboard for 50 yards:

Sick? What sick. You know what? Fuck you ghosts. You're useless to me now. Your haunting is starting to sound like whining. You think you can get in my head anymore? You think I'm still that weak? You think I'm not capable of this? You think I don't know what time it is? Hell, I was down that road when it was gravel, son. Shut up and let me swim.

And that's when Eminem came on the ol' SwiMP3 player.

Sometimes you just feel tired.
You feel weak. And when you feel weak, you feel like you wanna just give up.
But you gotta search within you, you gotta find that inner strength
and just pull that shit out of you
and get that motivation to not give up.
and not be a quitter.
No matter how bad you wanna just fall flat on your face and collapse.

And that's what rang through my head the rest of the swim, before my 4 mile run. Till I collapse. I will do this all day. All day long. 17 hours if I have to. You see if I won't.

Yeah, it's a hundred yard sprint. Yeah, it doesn't get a lot of mileage talking about Ironman distances. But I can't tell you what it means to my confidence to have that kind of crushing of the old P.R. this close to Ironman. 11 seconds. Are you kidding me?

On February 7th, precisely on half year ago and still surrounded by ghosts, I said this.

Not. Any. More.


Todd said...

Love it! Kickin ass and taking names, the list is long. Get out the way folks, XT4 is coming through...HOLLA!

Anonymous said...

Woah! I don't know how you do it.
That is all. . . .

TJ said...

good job man.
i've found progress to be the most motivating force in my training.

Pharmie said...

Wow! I think you could have been the guy who lapped me about 20 times this morning on my swim...