Image hosted by

Monday, March 30, 2009

How to become a swimming shark

I volunteered at yesterday's last Cleveland Triathlon Club pre-season indoor triathlon held at Case Western Reserve University. They have a nice pool, spinning bikes that overlook a 200M indoor track and the aforementioned track. For a change, we had the participants run on the track instead of the treadmill. I'm sure that introduced some human error into the equation, but it was a heck of a lot more fun to watch (and hopefully compete).

After the triathlon ended, the "kids" (I call them the kids still although they are fully grown up and married to each other now, but they don't mind) held a swimming pointers clinic. Alison and Steve both swam for Case and Steve is the men's coach there now, so I definitely trust any pointers they give. Heck, after their swim clinic in November, my times dramatically decreased.

Well, yesterday I was told that my stroke mechanics look good, but I need to rotate my hips as much as my shoulders. I practiced some balance drills then gave it a try. I felt so smooth! I can't wait to try it out in a 25-yard pool to see if there is any improvement. After making the correction, I was given a thumbs up by both of them.

Now, they may have been blowing sunshine up my butt, but I'd like to think that I have a chance at being a decent swimmer. Alison said if I can learn how to flip turn, I'll truly be a swimming shark. Now, if I can just get over my dislike for having water go up my nose...

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Long Lost Friend Found

When I was in junior high and high school, I was incredibly shy (my husband doesn't believe it, but it is true). I had very few friends, but the ones I had were gold.

One of them, Michelle, was one of my two best friends and we did everything together. I remember riding in the back of her dad's Ford Crown Victoria. I remember getting caramel sundaes at McDonald's while staying at her parent's vacation trailer in East Harbor. I remember making milkshakes with vanilla ice cream and her parents' tropical schnapps (as far as I know, they never realized we did that). I remember joining the gymnastics team with her even though I was a terrible gymnast (who does a free roll/forward roll as an acrobatic pass on the balance beam?!). I remember her standing up with me as one of my bridesmaids in my first wedding. So, how did it happen that we lost contact with each other? I honestly don't know. It didn't help that we went to different colleges or that I got married so young or that she moved to Minnesota after she got married. I'm such a dork that I didn't know her new last name.

One of the reasons I joined Facebook was to find her. Unfortunately, she wasn't on there. Then, just a few weeks ago, I got a friend request from one of our mutual friends, Noel. She told me that she and Michelle had been looking for me for a long time. Noel updated me on what was going on with her life and also told me that Michelle was still in Minnesota and was an Ironman triathlete. What?! Wow, I wish they'd found me earlier. How cool is that?!

Michelle and I finally connected via phone soon after that. She filled me in on her triathlete adventures, including doing Ironman Wisconsin this past September in quite a respectable time. She trains under a coach with a team. Like me, her best event is the bike, but she holds her own on the other two events as well. She called me the other night and suggested a couple races we could pick from to do together in Illinois. Sounded like a good idea to me, so I looked them up. They're both half-Ironmans.

Typically, this wouldn't be a cause for concern for me, but as I mentioned in a previous post, I am trying to get pregnant. Being in the kind of shape I'd need to be to do a half-Ironman is not recommended by the fertility doctor. So, I had to be lame and tell her that I'd be up for meeting for the one that has a sprint distance attached to it. She could do the half, while I do the sprint and cheer her on afterwards.

I have to admit to being a little frustrated right now. I've put on 10 pounds since Ironman (5 of those in the last year). My clothes don't fit right and I'm not nearly in what I would call good shape. I know that it is necessary to have a little fat on the frame to get pregnant. I really miss training hard though. I know I shouldn't complain and I know this is only temporary. It helps to write it here though.

My swimming is coming along quite nicely though. I'm way faster than I was last year. And, today, in a Clearwater, FL swimming pool, I did my fastest 100 IM ever at 2:02.37 (my previous best was 2:14). Focus on the small things, right?

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Can't wait for the cold to go away!

I love that is so sunny these last few days, but am not liking the frigid temperatures.

Last week, I ran downtown at lunch with Salty, Daisy and e-Speed on a fabulous 50 degree day. I way overdressed, but after some peeling and panting, I was all set to enjoy the beautiful weather.

Yesterday was a different story. It was less than 20 degrees and much worse with the wind chill. However, I managed to dress appropriately enough that only my upper thighs were bright red and itchy as all hell after I finished. The same ladies as last week dragged me up a couple whopper hills and I surprised myself by making it to the top of all of them without stopping, not even to pause at the top to catch my breath. Feeling pretty strong right now. I even ran a monster hill at N. Chagrin without stopping until the top on Saturday morning. I appreciate the downtown ladies slowing down to include me - I go on their easy days and it is a tempo like run for me, which is making me stronger, faster, etc.

Today, my age is starting to show. My lower back aches from yesterday's run and I'm getting crotchety about the weather. Can't wait till the 50 degree days expected later this week! I'm tired of being cold!