Friday, December 21, 2007

Spaghetti Arms meets The Pull

Last month I started my tri-swimming clinic out in Oberlin, which is a really great town. The downtown district is full of locally owned restaurants and shops. They still have a five and dime and no Wal-Mart. After the clinic, I visit the Black River Cafe (named after the nearby Black River, shown in the pic below) for blueberry and banana pancakes to refuel for the hour long drive home.
In month one of the clinic, we focused on kick drills and keeping our legs popped up in the water....the same things I've been working on for the last year in the pool. I did start incorporating a flutter-kick drill into my training which has helped me keep better form when getting a breathe.

It is now month 2 of the clinic and we've begun to work on our pull. Whilst learning the technique of a proper pull and trying to execute the drills @ the clinic things were a bit off. I couldn't quite coordinate my pull, kick, body rotation, and entire stroke was ugly to say the least. I Regressed to my early experiences in the pool, where I was flopping and flailing around at a snail's pace. I was looking forward to getting back into the water to work things out.

As most of you know, I don't exactly have 24 inch pythons. They are....smaller. And as you might figure my upper body strength is not what you would call powerful. I fit better into the long and lean category than the big and buff category. Yesterday it showed. My shoulders were burning as I concentrated on keeping my elbows high and my hands near my center line on my pull. My stroke count had to drop a ton, but man was it painful. The good news is that I made big, big strides in getting everything back to a smooth cohesive stroke.....albeit a stroke that quickly creates a searing burn in my shoulders. This will make me a much better swimmer. My pull was about as inefficient as you could imagine. I'm taking my lunch break (a.k.a. swim workout) in a couple minutes. No ham sandwich for me, just a little fire burning deep in the back of my shoulders and a little water up my nose.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Winter Training in Northeast Ohio

I had plans to hit the pool this morning and then get in my long run later this afternoon. After spending too much time standing around a pool table and/or sitting on a bar stool last night, I skipped the morning swim in exchange for a little sleeping in. Aside from sleeping in, one of the joys of a little time off of school is that I get to read what I want to I started A Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopold, a read which is far overdo. As the snow started to fall on us here in Northeast Ohio, I was inspired by some of Aldo's words,
"There are two spiritual dangers of not owning a farm. One is the danger of supposing that breakfast comes from the grocery, and the other is that heat comes from the furnace. To avoid the first danger, one should plant a garden, preferably where there is no grocer to confuse the issue. To avoid the second, he should lay a split of good oak on the andirons, preferably where there is no furnace, and let it warm his shins while a February blizzard tosses the trees outside."

Today I did not plant a garden, nor build a fire....but I did experience a little of mother nature on my run (with my camera in tow)......

Setting out on the towpath:

A couple of pics of the mighty Cuyahoga:

Truckin' along down the towpath trail:

The snow picked up a bit before my run was over:

It is in weather such as this that a beard comes in handy (yes, icecycles had begun to form on my beard, eybrows, and eyelashes):

This is what happens to your car after an hour and a half of running through the snow:

Friday, December 14, 2007

The other side

Somehow, I manged to get everything submitted and now I am looking forward to a little break. I was forced into a recovery week due to all the time spent composing papers and making maps, but plan to get things going again this weekend. Two weeks ago my weekly running mileage hit 20 for the first time....and other than a wee bit of IT pain I felt pretty good. It would be great to get up to a 30 mile week before starting my next training cycle. Soon I'll have my race schedule solidified, but no doubt I plan to peak around mid-August for another 70.3. I'm thinking of a spring half-mary and early season 70.3; as well as a fall marathon, assuming I get my running mileage up to the point of marathon worthiness.

I just signed up for THE BEAST!!! today.

In other training notes, I've been attending one excel in cycling workout per week. These workouts are tough, but are exactly what I need to address my lack of power on the bike. I suppose my chicken legs might not be so bad for running....but they aren't exactly up for pushing big wattage on the bike...yet...

And now that my semester is over, I think it's time to really focus on my health.....

Friday, December 07, 2007

Almost there.....

My academic deadlines are completely overwhelming me right now. And I'm still trying to train as much as possible. Actually, I NEED to train....otherwise the stress would have me going through a fifth of Jameson per night. Well, the point of all this is that I have relatively no time for blogging. Everything will be back to normal after next Thursday. Amen.

Until then, here is some reading on how you can lower the carbon footprint of your Christmas gift giving if you live in Northeast Ohio Not only are these gift ideas ecologically responsible, they are often one of a kind as well.

And for those of you outside Northeast Ohio....check here.

Happy Shopping!!!!