Monday, May 1, 2017

USMS Open Water National Championship Marathon Distance - Swim AroundLido Key 2017

The day finally came. I had been ready for this race for weeks and was excited to get started. Chris and I made the drive to FL from Raleigh on Friday. We made it to Disney in the early afternoon, stopped at the resort and then I took Chris over to ESPN so he could pick up his race packet. He'd catch a bus back, I was on my way to Sarasota! Traffic getting out of Disney was a bit crazy, but otherwise the drive wasn't too bad. I texted Chris to let him know I made it to my hotel okay, then texted my teammate Chris who was also swimming Lido, to let him know I made it. We met up at Whole Foods in Sarasota for dinner. It was definitely nice to know someone else down there. By the time I got back to my hotel and got everything ready for the morning it was already almost 9 PM. Wouldn't you know there was a group of loud girls across the hall from me. I think they were on some sort of soccer team or something. I went down to the front desk to make a copy of my license and insurance card for the race, and low and behold they were at the front desk too. When the left to go back upstairs I let the lady at the front desk know they were being a little loud. I think she said something to them, cause they were way more quiet after that. 930 PM, texted Chris goodnight and went to bed.

My alarm went off at 545 AM. I got ready, double and triple checking to make sure I wasn't forgetting anything. I had my infinite Mud with some whole foods bread for breakfast. I mixed my Hammer Perpetuem and filled my other two water bottles and got my suit on. I made it down to my car around 630 AM, loaded everything up and hit the road. The drive wasn't bad, about 25-30 min. Check-in was from 7-8 AM. Tom, my pilot, planned to be at the beach by 7, so I wanted to get there around then so we could chat and hang out a bit before the pre-race meeting. I arrived around 7:05, parked and headed down to check in. I ran into Tom as I was headed to the check in table and he was helping carry a kayak. So, once I got my packet and his I headed to the beach to meet up with him. It was beautiful there. A perfect day to be at the beach. Not too sunny, not raining (yet) and a perfect temperature. His kayak was green and he had an orange flag with a white slash on it so I could spot it easier. It also helped that he was wearing a yellow shirt. He really did a great job making sure I'd be able to spot him. He introduced me to his wife and her relay teammate, along with another relay team he knew. We took talked a bit about what I'd need from him and that sort of thing, then we headed to our cars to get what we needed. I put my race shirt in my car, then got rid of my clothes and grabbed my nutrition, dry bag, and sunscreen and met Tom at his car. We figured out the cooler situation, then I went to get body marked. My race number was 116 (they went alphabetical and men had the lower numbers). In addition to my number being on my cap, it was also put on my arms and back. I saw Lisa while I was there, and Fred was floating around too. After body marking, I went back down to the beach to put my sunscreen on and take some pictures with Tom and friends before the race meeting.

Sunscreen is important, especially for me. I applied everywhere I could and had Tom help me get my back. I figured I would still burn a bit since the race is about 3 hours and the sunscreen is good for about 80 minutes or so, but 80 min of protection is better than nothing. The pre-race meeting was about 30 min long but was able to meet up with Tom, Lisa, Fred, and Chris during it, so it wasn't so bad.

Before I knew it, the meeting was over and all the swimmers were lining up as the pilots made their way out into the Gulf. I was starting to be glad the male solo swimmers went off before the women, it would be easier to find Tom once the pilots thinned out a bit. It's weird, I wasn't nervous to swim this race, not even waiting on the waters edge for the race to start. I was excited. I was ready. The officials counted us down and away we went. I didn't even notice if the water felt cold, so it must have been a perfect temperature, not too cold and not hot either. My initial face plunge into the water my goggles got a little water in them, so I quickly corrected them and set out to find Tom. I think it was just that the sunscreen on my face kept them from suctioning to my face, cause even though they slowly got water in them, it got better throughout the race. No biggie. In the picture you can see me fixing my goggles. I'm the super white one near the front.

I found Tom faster than I thought I would. I may have even seen him before he saw me. Once we met up and got going the pack thinned out a bit, which I was grateful for. There were more waves than I thought there would be, and Tom's kayak even flipped at one point, along with a few others. It was early on and there were still a lot of people kind of close together, so it was hard for him to get perpendicular to the waves without running over me or into someone else. He was alright though. I slowed down a bit and kept an eye on him to be sure. He caught back up with me fairly quickly and since everything was attached to the kayak, nothing got lost. My stroke felt smooth and before I knew it he was waving at me at the 30 minute mark to get some nutrition. That went by really quickly. I took a swig of my nutrition and a swig of water. I emptied my goggles and went on my way. The first few miles went by quick and I felt really good. No pain anywhere, I was having fun. There was a short stretch that was fairly calm and Tom was able to take a short video of my swimming, which was awesome of him. He posted it to his Facebook page and tagged me in it, so you can find it there. ( Here's a picture of me swimming behind Tom in his kayak.

Tom was a super awesome pilot. He knew the course from having swam it a couple years before. He was observant of the conditions and let me know when I should fuel early or late, and he stayed close by so that I didn't have to site forward much. He was great! Here's a picture of him I think his wife took from her kayak before the start of the race.

The race went really smooth and easy until about mile 5 or 6. Then it got hard. It seemed like I wasn't really moving much. I don't think it was the tide as much as the waves making it difficult. I kicked a lot more in that section just to feel like I was making progress. It was rough. By the time I got to the last mile I was looking forward to finishing. It was hard to see the finish because of the waves, so I had to rely on Tom. I felt like I was swimming out into the Gulf the entire mile, but it was just because I was swimming parallel to the waves so I had to swim into them a bit. I skipped my last nutrition stop which wasn't bad. It would have been rough to stop at that point anyway. I did stop to ask Tom how far at one point, he said about a quarter of a mile. 400 meters. About 500 yards. That means about 7 minutes or so. I got this. I put my head down and stayed with Tom until I saw the final yellow buoy. Game on! There were two other pink caps nearby. I wasn't about to get passed at the end. I wanted to do the passing. I sprinted through the white buoys and when it was shallow enough, stood up and ran across the finish line. Here's a couple of picture of that sequence thanks to the race photographer Mike Carbonaro. I'm the pink cap on the right in the first picture. You can see how close it was. Time-wise, I beat the other two women by 2 seconds.

I have to say, the volunteers were pretty great. They handed the finishers a bottle of water and their medal as they crossed the finish line, and removed the timing chips. One woman also helped Tom carry his kayak the rest of the way to his car when she saw me carrying it with him afterward. Here's a shot Tom got of me as I was walking over to him right after I finished. My eyes were closed, but I was happy and tired. You can see the finish line arch in the background. It was pretty awesome!

This race was a huge success. I had a blast, my pilot was awesome, and it was run really well. It helps that I finished in under 3 hours and placed in my AG, but those were secondary to having fun. Tom was an amazing pilot and better than I ever expected! I could not have done this race without him and that's no exaggeration.

Once Tom got his kayak to his car, I went back to mine to grab my towel and go change my clothes. No deck change with a tech suit. There was a bathroom/changing room near the parking lot so it was quick and easy to change. Afterward, I made my way back down to the beach for more festivities.

Now, the other exciting thing about this race was that I got to see my friend Angel, who I hadn't seen in 15-20 years. She lives in Bradenton, which is near Sarasota and when she saw I was going to be there she came out to see me. It was great to see her again! It was a running hug kind of reunion. Those are the best kind. We were able to sit and catch up after the race while we were waiting for the awards to get started. I was also able to get some food in my system too. Fred and Lisa joined us as the table. It was like I was at a local race with friends, which I enjoyed so much. Angel and I didn't miss a beat, and we fully intend on getting together more often with Chris and I visiting Disney so often there will be ample opportunity. Here's a picture of Angel and I that Fred took of us before she headed out.

On to the awards. I ended up 9th overall female, so the race to the finish was definitely worth it! Top 5 got trophies, and the trophies were really cool. Only one of the finishers ahead of me was younger than I am and that's the woman who won. That same woman also beat all the men, which is awesome! Okay, so for the final results. My final time was 2:55:34 (1:24/100 yd pace or roughly 25 min/mi). I got 2nd in my age group. Here a picture of me with my USMS National Championship second place medal.

Now, after I got back home to Raleigh and was looking at things a little closer, I realized that the age determination rules had changed for 2017 and since the woman who got first in my AG (she was second overall) ages up this year, technically that means I placed first in my AG. What that will mean as far as awards goes I'm not sure, but USMS will apparently be sorting that all out soon. Now, if I am correct, then not only would I get first place points toward my goal of making the All-Star Team for 2017, but I would also be the All-American in my AG for the Marathon Distance Open Water National Championships. An unexpected award that is really pretty cool. I hope that all works out that way, but we will see. I don't want to get my hopes up too much yet. Who knows, maybe I'll even have to send in my medal in exchange for a patch! I honestly never expected to get first place in any of the National Championship races and the hardware doesn't really matter as much as the points do, but it would be nice.

So, for anyone looking to do a marathon swim, this is a fantastic one to do. It's well run, beautiful, and just a lot of fun. I hope I get to do it again in the future.

Followup: USMS results are posted and I'm the National Champion of the 30-34 Age Group for the Marathon Distance race!  Results here:

Saturday, April 29, 2017

March 2017 - Coastal Masters Meet, Finally Under 6 Minutes in the 500!!!

No rest for the wicked! The Coastal Masters meet was a week after the Frank Clark meet. I signed up for 8 events, all different than the ones I just did and including a 25 of each stroke. I drove down to Wilmington the night before and stayed with Heather. I got in a little late, but was able to go to dinner with her when I got there. We didn't stay up too late since we had to be up kind of early to get to the meet in Bolivia. She helped me get my suit on in the morning, thankfully.

We drove to the meet separately so I could get on the road back to Raleigh after the post meet BBQ. On to the meet. The first event was the 500 Free. The one event I really care about doing well in. I warmed up well then waited for the deck seeding to be done. Now, the issue with some masters meets is that we sometimes need to estimate a time if we haven't swum an event before. Unfortunately for me, my actually time was 6:00.47 seconds and 6:00 is a popular estimated time. You see where I'm going with this. Now, both Heather and one other person put in 6:00 as a seed time. I know Heather is faster than that, so no biggie, but I didn't know the other woman. When we were seeded I was in lane 6, Heather in lane 3 and the other woman who had a 6 minute seed time was in lane 5. I knew I was in trouble when she started in the water. I would have to pace/chase people a couple lanes over, which is a bit more difficult. I couldn't see Heather the entire race, but I knew she went out fast. I was doing my best to keep up with the guy between us that I cold see. Mark counted for me. I told him that as long as I kept my splits below a 36 mid he could just put the numbers in as usual, but if I began to slow to start yelling at me. I was pushing pretty hard and he was quiet, until the last 100. When I heard him start to yell I thought for sure I was in trouble, so I gave the last 100 everything I had. I wanted to get under 6 min so bad. I touched the wall, looked up, and saw a 5:51 on the board. I had to do a double take, then realized I had done it, and by a lot! Heather had finished about 5 seconds ahead of me, so it would have been interesting to see how I could have done if she was next to me. Mark wanted me to push to see how far under 6 I could go, which is why he started yelling that last 100 yards. Thanks Mark! Just based on that race alone the meet was a success for me. Everything else was all for fun. After I cooled down I texted my college coach and Harry to share the good news. I was just a bit excited about the accomplishment.

The other races I did were the 50 Free (28.06), the 100 IM (1:11.41), and the 100 Free (I dogged it at a 1:03). The first two of these were to get some of the postal swimathlon league races done. We won't talk about the 100 Free. The end of the meet had all the 25's. These were fun short sprints an my times were pretty good and about what I expected.

So, not only did I accomplish my goal of getting under 6 minutes in the 500 Free, but I also got all my races I needed to get for the first quarter of the swimathlon league. Check and check!

The rest of March was dedicated to increasing my solo swim yardage/time up to 3 hours (roughly 7 miles) and to preparing for Zones. I kept with the pattern of doing a long solo swim every 7-10 days or so, gradually increasing the time with each swim and working on nutrition. All the pools I swim at have a big clock that I can see while I'm swimming, so for my swims I did 30 minute intervals, stopping for 30 seconds to a minute in between each for nutrition. I did a 2.5 hr swim the week after the meet and the next two were both 3 hours. Here's some data from my first 3 hour swim. Pretty solid in my opinion.

I ended up deciding on the Hammer Perpetuem (chocolate flavor) as my nutrition for the swim. I don't mind the taste, it's easy to drink, and it's got everything I need. Taking a swig of that followed by a swig of water seems to work best. Glad I got that figured out! After the second 3 hour swim I started to "taper" just a bit for zones. By the time the end of the month came around, I was well ahead of pace for my million yard goal.

March distance: 72.16 miles (127,000 yards)
Annual total (as of March 31): 185.57miles (326,600 yards)
Approximately 45 miles ahead of where I need to be at the end of March. Steady as she goes!

Friday, April 28, 2017

February 2017 - Frank Clark Meet and Increasing Yardage

I really stepped up my training in February. I was able to get at least 6 practices in per week, many of them I was able to get 4000 yards in. I also started increasing my yardage in preparation for my marathon swim in April. I started with 1 hr straight and worked my way up from there. I tried to do that once every 7-10 days or so with the main goal to test nutrition and also to make sure I could swim straight for longer periods of time. I know from my Ironman training, that liquid nutrition would be best for me, so I started with trying the BASE Hydro. The problem I encountered with that is that I don't like fake tasting fruit drinks and the lemon-lime flavor was really overpowering. I then tried watering it down, which was better than the full strength, but still wasn't enjoyable. I was glad I was able to figure out some of the things that didn't work in enough time to find something that would. In February, my long swims topped out at 2 hours (8500 yards).

I was also trying to prepare for the Frank Clark meet at the end of the month, so in practice I was working on a variety of things. I came to realize that breaststroke made my tendonitis flare up, so I backed off of that and started doing some rehab exercises. That seemed to work out alright. I used Training Peaks to plan out my workout schedule around my ever-crazy rotating work schedule. I think that really helped a lot. I followed the plan as best I could and didn't let myself slack off, even when I wanted to. I listened to my body and when I needed to back off on intensity I did, when I felt like I could push, I did. By the end of the month, I was well ahead of schedule with my yardage goal. I had built a pretty good buffer in case I got sick or something, and with the flu starting to go around I think that was a good thing. Here are my totals for February.

Annual total so far: 199,600 yards (113.41 mi)

The Frank Clark meet was my first meet since Nationals last year. I decided to buy a tech suit not only to help my times improve, but also because it provides more coverage for my longer swims to help with the amount of sunburn I'd get. I will tell you that putting on one of those suits is no joke. Thankfully Nancy suggested I try it on before the meet to make sure that I could get it on. I'm glad I did. I needed Chris' help getting it on, but I did get the right size, I think. Nancy had to help me get it over my shoulders the morning of the meet, but I still managed to get it on. We had a pretty good size group from RAM go to the meet. I was able to carpool with Doug, Laura, and Will. Amanda and Mark were also there and I met another RAM teammate, Rebecca. It was a really low-stress fun meet, though it ran a little slow at times. I had signed up for 5 events. The 1000 Free was first. The last time I swam this was at Nationals last year, and I had counted my laps wrong so my time was slower than it would have been. Point being, I had something to prove. I was seeded in the lane next to Mark, so I used him as a pacer, trying to stay with him as long as I could then try to prevent him from passing me at the end of the race. The plan worked pretty well. I PR'd my swim with a 12:15.72. More importantly, I split a 6:02 at the 500 mark, which bodes well for my open 500 Free at the Coastal Masters meet.

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The rest of the races were all for fun or to try something different. I did the 200 IM, an event that I really dislike but wanted to get a time in for it. I did it in 2:36.97. Next was the 200 Free, another tough event. I'm still hoping I'll be able to get back below 2:10 someday, but it might take awhile. My time for that one was 2:14.66. Now, for as long as I've been swimming, I can't remember ever racing the 100 Back. That changed during the meet. I did it for what I believe to be the first time with a time of 1:15.60. Someday I'll learn how to do backstroke better. My last event was all for fun, the 50 breast. Just like with the 100 back, I didn't have any expectations for it. I put up a solid time though, 36.59. By the time the meet ended we were all pretty hungry so we grabbed some lunch before hitting the road. All in all it was a good day. The picture below is one Amanda took at the meet and shared on Instagram.

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From left to right: Doug, Me, Rebecca, Mark, Amanda.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

January 2017 - USMS 1-hour ePostal 2017 and Other Goal Progress

I didn't waste much time getting started on my 2017 goals. To reach my yardage goal the plan is to swim roughly 6 days a week on average. That will be a bit of a jump from 2016, but not too much that I'll injure myself doing it since I gradually increased my yardage toward the end of 2016. The only hiccup in that plan came in the first week of the year when a winter storm kept pool facilities closed for an entire weekend. I had already taken New Year's Day off since Chris and I went to Myrtle for the night. I had also taken that following Wednesday off, probably because of work. As a result, I missed 4 of the first 8 days of the year, however that wasn't necessarily a bad thing. I plan to keep track of my yardage in My Fitness Log on the USMS website. It also keeps track of my progress toward my goal. As you probably guessed, I was behind for the first month. No worries, plenty of time to catch up. After that first weekend I only missed 4 days the rest of the month, which were designated rest days. By the end of January I had swum 91,400 yards (or 51.93 miles). I had also gotten back on track according to my FLOG since the goal yardage for the end of January to be able to get to 1M yards by the end of the year was 48.26 miles. Status of Goal #3 - on track!

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Feeling motivated to go after my 500 Free goal time and work toward completing the Postal Swimathlon League (I'll explain in a bit), I signed up for a few "local" meets, maxing out events in all of them. On the 15th I signed up for the Dixie Zone Championships, which RAM hosted on April 7th and 8th. On the 20th I signed up for the Frank Clark meet in Greensboro on February 26th and the Coastal Masters meet in Bolivia, NC on March 4th.

Events for Frank Clark: 1000 Free, 200 IM, 200 Free, 100 Back, and 50 Breast.
Events for Coastal Masters: 500 Free, 50 Free, 100 IM, 100 Free, and 25's of each stroke (total 8 events) and two mixed relays.
Events (originally) signed up for Dixie Zones: Day1 - 1650 Free, 1000 Free, 100 Fly, 400 IM, 200 Breast. Day 2 - 50 Fly, 50 Back, 100 Breast, 200 Fly, and 500 Free. I also made myself available for all the relays. I opted out of the relays and switched a few events as the meet got closer. I will review those in a later post.

Now, the Postal Swimathlon League is a competition done in quarterly intervals. Quarter 1 (Jan-Mar) is the "Sprint" Distance events; 50s of each stroke and the 100 IM. Quarter 2 (Apr-Jun) is the "Middle" Distance events; 100s of each stroke and the 200 IM. Quarter 3 (Jul-Sep) is the "Long" Distance events; 200s of each stroke and the 400 IM. Quarter 4 (Oct-Dec) is the chance to improve your time on any of the events you want. At the end of the year your final times for each distance and then cumulatively are added up. It's more something to do for fun and to attempt every event as some point throughout the year than anything else. I figured "why not?" This also factored in to my decision to change a few of my events for Zones.

Lastly, but certainly not least, I did the first ePostal of the year. The postal I missed in 2016. The 1-hour ePostal. It's simple, swim as far as you can in an hour. I set a goal of 4400 yards. I ended up with 4375 yards. Here's how it went down. I got with Harry and decided on a date, we chose the 31st of January. Location, Optimist pool in North Raleigh. Optimist was set up SCY, width-wise. I swim at Optimist regularly so I thought it would be good. I'm not all about excuses, so although this will sound like one, it's not, it's just an explanation. The pool in the middle was warm, like really warm. At the walls, cool. Not something I would have expected to have an issue with, but I realized pretty quick that pushing to both go somewhat fast and do so for an hour straight that it was one. I was at 2250 yards around the half-way point and was making good progress. However, after about 2500 yards or so going back and forth through the different temperatures was starting to make me nauseous. I was quickly losing my motivation to go fast or to even finish the postal. I kept pushing, just telling myself that any additional yardage is better than none. 3600 to 4000 yards was the worst. I really almost stopped it was that bad. My splits reflected as much and I'm sure Harry could tell something was up at that point. Kept pushing. I was able to pick up the pace for the last 5 min or so and had never been so happy to get to a wall as I was when that clock hit 60 min. I was bummed to fall short of my goal but I was glad I got it done. It was my first attempt at the 1-hour postal, so I will just have to do better next year. Progress toward Goal #1 - on track!

Now for the results of the postal, which will impact Goal #2. top 10 in each AG get points for the National Championship races, including postals. I had to wait until just recently to get the results of my postal. 4375 yards landed me in 14th place in my AG. 4400 yards would have tied me at 10th. You can see how not getting a single point would bother me, and it did for a bit, but in the end it's a starting point and fuels my motivation going forward for the rest of the National Championship races this year. So, no points from the 1-hour ePostal and thus no significant progress toward Goal #2. My next chance for points will be in the Swim Around Lido Key.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

New Swimming Adventure and Goals for the New Year, 2017

One thing people close to me know is that I can be a bit obsessive with the things I love and that my passions can and often do change rather quickly. By the time I got to my Half Ironman at B2B last year I was pretty burned out on triathlon. It was also becoming something more dangerous than I thought it would be and I just didn't feel safe riding on the roads anymore. Thankfully, cycling is not my passion and I understand not everyone I've gotten to know during my time training triathlon can toss it aside. For me, the risk outweighs the reward. Some choices suck, but this wasn't a hard one to make. Maybe someday cycling will be safer and people will be more biker friendly. Until then, if I get the urge to ride, I'll do it on my trainer. I didn't want to run anymore either, at least not on any sort of regiment or training plan. Nothing to do with safety and more to do with overall lack of motivation or desire. I complained about doing it far more than I enjoyed it. So, after the Turkey Trot I was done with running for a while. It's now mid-April and I haven't run since December 1st or biked since I got off my bike in T2 at B2B. You probably see where this is going by now.

Swimming. My first passion and my happy place. It's what keeps me sane when life gets crazy. I had a number of goals last year, some I accomplished, some I didn't. This next chapter of my athletic journey probably started back in May when I discovered the ePostals, though I didn't know it then. At that time, I had missed out on one of the postal swims, the 1-hour ePostal. As a result, goal #1 for 2017 is to do all 5 ePostals.

The second goal is one I actually had last year but didn't pan out. I want to achieve All-Star status for my AG with USMS. Since the Lake Lure races in 2016 were cancelled last year I lost my chance by no fault of my own. Goal #2 for 2017, All-Star status! I plan to increase my chances by swimming 3 of the 6 USMS Open Water Nationals races this year, the first of which is just days away. The Swim Around Lido Key is a 7 mile marathon distance swim in Florida this Saturday. I was able to convince Chris to make the FL trip with me because it's the same weekend as the Dark Side Half Marathon in Disney. We both get to do a race and have a mini-vacation at the same time, win-win! The other two USMS Open Water Nationals races I'm signed up for are back-to-back in Chattanooga the first weekend in June. The first is a 2.4 mile swim on Saturday, followed by a 9.2 mile ultra-marathon swim on Sunday. These were a bit more expensive than I thought they were going to be, so I decided to bag the 4th swim I was planning to do in Seattle. Hopefully I'll be able to get enough points from the 3 open water swims and 5 postal swims to get the All-Star award for my AG. Only time will tell.

The last goal is probably the one I've shared the most, but it is the last one I made. I had set a yardage goal in 2016, but I had to keep upping it toward the end of the year. So, for 2017 I set a really high yardage goal that would keep me in the pool more but also should be doable with all the training I'll have to do for the longer swims. My yardage goal for 2017, Goal #3, is 1 million miles (1M)! That is roughly 570 miles. I had never really tracked annual swimming yardage/mileage until I started logging workouts on Strava. As a result, I can't be 100% certain I've never done it before with all the swimming I've done in my life, but we'll just say it'll be new territory for me.

In addition to my 3 goals for 2017, I also hope to do the Brute Squad Postal again in November and participate in more meets. I'd like to PR some pool races. All-time PR's would be great, but really any PR since the end of my college swimming career would be fantastic. I may even start a "PR by AG" tab, since I will plateau eventually because of age. Hopefully I'm still several years away from that. Now that I think about it, I did have a 4th goal, though it wasn't specific to 2017. I wanted to swim the 500 free in under 6:00. Spoiler alert, I've accomplished this one already!

There you have it, my goals for 2017. I've been bad about updating this blog so far, so for the sake of this post not being ridiculously long, I'll do a few more to catch up to the present. A lot has happened so far and I'll have more to say than I thought. Stay tuned!

Since I never did an end of the year post, but I did post them on Facebook, here are my mileage totals from 2016:

Swim: 327 mi (575,805 yds)
Bike: 2,265 mi
Run: 675 mi
(These totals include: 1 Marathon (my first), 1 Half Ironman, 1 Half Marathon, 1 10K Race, 1 8K Race, 2 Open Water Races, 5 Postal Swims, and 6 SCY Nationals Races).

Saturday, December 10, 2016

DAM Brute Squad Postal Swim - Nov. 30 2016

On November 30th I did the DAM Brute Squad postal swim. On the very last day I could. That's a 200 Fly, 400 IM, 1650 Free, all back to back. Stopping is allowed only between the events, not during them. I was idiotic enough to do this after swimming 3100 yards of the noon RAM practice. I also haven't really been swimming much fly either, so there's that. All things considered my time wasn't horrible, but I know given the right circumstances I could have done much better. I finished in a time of 33 minutes and 38 seconds. That includes about 20 seconds rest between the 200 Fly and 400 IM, and about 10 seconds rest between the 400 IM and 1650 Free. I think this may have been tougher than the 10K postal I did this summer, though I'll probably recover quite a bit faster than that. Hopefully I'll be able to train more butterfly in 2017 and drop my time quite a bit. Fingers crossed. It sure was exhausting. I think Thanksgiving being less than a week before the swim may have had something to do with it. It really took me a few practices not to feel like total garbage after the Holiday. That's actually probably why I swam practice first, just to feel a bit better conditioned for the swim. I didn't push too hard in practice, but I'm not one to really slack off (anymore).

Thanks Darryl for timing me, and Doug and Sue for coming to cheer me on! I sure enjoyed my lunch afterward, until getting called into work that is. The other reason I was probably so tired was because

The picture below has my splits. It doesn't show the stoppage, but it's estimated above.

Brute Squad Postal Split Sheet

The results won't be posted until after December 10th, so I'm not sure how I did, but I'm just glad I was able to complete the challenge!

In another note, I did do the Inside Out Sports Turkey Trot 8K on Thanksgiving morning. I had kept the 2-3 days a week running in my schedule because of it. I PR'd and surprised myself with my time. I'm glad to have all my running races out of the way though, so now I can just focus on swimming.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

USMS 3000 and 6000 yard e-postals - Oct 28th and Nov 1st, 2016.

The last 2 postal swims are the 3000 and 6000 yard swims. Same idea as the previous two, except these are done in a short course pool. Harry timed me again and this time I had a better idea of how fast I could go and how long it would take to complete. I did the 3000 yard swim first this time and really pushed a bit the first and last 1000 yards. This swim went really well I think. I hung around for practice afterward, just in case any of my teammates wanted to participate in the postal. No takers. I think next year I'm gonna try to promote them a bit more within RAM. Some other LMSC's have a lot more people doing them. I know several teammates who would do pretty well in most/all of the postal swims, so it'd be nice to increase participation a bit and see how everyone does.

Below is my split sheet from the 3000.
3000 yard postal split sheet.

The 6000 yard postal was rough. Only a few days separated my 3000 and 6000 postal swims, which may be part of the reason this one sucked a bit more. I was definitely tired, and quite honestly, just wanted to get it over with. My time ended up not being terrible, but was a bit slower than I know I'm capable of.  I was just glad to have it done. I definitely don't want to do them that close together again. Below are my split sheets for the 6000 yd postal.

6000 yard postal split sheet, page 1.

6000 yard postal split sheet, page 2.

After chatting with Mark a bit after Saturday practice, I learned a bit more about relays, and that he thankfully included me on some. I decided to put a relay together with the three fastest 3000 swims for NCMS. I got a hold of the other two ladies and they both said they were cool with it, so I went ahead and entered us (Thanks Anne and Debbie)! We are in the 25+ age group because of me, the other two ladies are 45+ and 55+, but they didn't mind. Hopefully we end up doing well in that category. SFTL is gonna be tough to beat, they have a lot of fast swimmers. More motivation to increase involvement next year. Lets got 2017!

The preliminary results were posted today (11/8/16) and, as of right now, I'm 2nd out of 24 for the 3000 and 3rd out of 10 for the 6000 in the 30-34 age group. Not too shabby. We'll see if those end up being final in a couple weeks. No word yet on relay results.