12.31.02 - Washington Resolution Run
01.19.03 - San Diego Marathon
07.13.03 - Tri For Real #2
10.23.05 - Nike Women's Half Marathon
11.23.06 - Sparks Turkey Trot
05.05.07 - Marathon de Mayo (Half)
05.13.07 - Moms on the Run
10.??.07 - Nike Women's Half Marathon
05.10.08 - Moms on the Run
06.21.09 - Pleasanton Spirit 5K
07.29.09 - San Francisco Half Marathon
10.04.09 - SJ Rock 'N Roll Half Marathon
10.18.09 - Nike Women's Half Marathon
11.01.09 - New York Marathon
11.26.09 - Spark's Turkey Trot 10K
02.20.10 - Bay Breeze Half Marathon
03.14.10 - Shamrock 'N Half Marathon
03.21.10 - LA Marathon
03.27.10 - Scheel's Fanatic 5K
04.25.10 - Marin County Half Marathon
05.02.10 - Reno Rock 'N River Half Marathon
06.05.10 - See Jane Run Half Marathon
07.25.10 - San Francisco Half Marathon
09.05.10 - Pier to Peak Half Marathon
10.10.10 - Chicago Marathon
10.30.10 - Healdsburg Half Marathon
11.07.10 - U.S. Half Marathon
11.25.10 - Scheels Turkey Trot 10K
02.06.11 - Surf City Half Marathon
03.13.11 - Dublin Shamrock 5K
04.18.11 - Boston Marathon
05.01.11 - Big Sur Marathon
06.11.11 - Lake Tahoe Relay
07.31.11 - San Francisco Half Marathon
09.11.11 - Walnut Festival Run 5K
09.18.11 - NorCal Half Marathon
11.24.11 - Scheels Turkey Trot
12.03.11 - Las Vegas Santa Suit 5K
12.04.11 - Las Vegas Half Marathon
03.11.12 - South Bay Duathlon
03.25.12 - Oakland Half Marathon
05.20.12 - Morgan Hill Sprint Triathlon
06.24.12 - Silicon Valley Intl. Triathlon
07.15.12 - Ironman 70.3 Vineman Triathlon
03.09.13 - Lucky 13 Half Marathon
04.28.13 - Eugene Half Marathon
05.11.13 - Folsom International Triathlon
5k:19:17 @ Dublin Shamrock 5k 2011
10k: 41:01 @ Scheel's Turkey Trot 2010
Half:1:30:07 @ Oakland Half 2012
Full: 3:31:44 @ Boston Marathon 2011
70.3: 5:20:07 @ Vineman 2012
Category Archives: Swimming
There was big news in the triathlon community yesterday: Ironman announced their new swimming initiative called “SwimSmart.” Some people are complaining, saying that it’s making the Ironman “soft,” where as I couldn’t be more excited.
Here are some of the changes that I’m looking forward to:
A few 2013 IM events (including IMCDA) will feature modifications in the swim start. Including a pre-race swim warm-up, new water temperature regulations (if the water is too cold or too warm, the swim will be altered), and self-placed rolling starts (aka “waves” like in running races).
For those who are as lucky as I am to have open water anxiety, I was terrified of the IMCDA swim start. Formerly, they didn’t allow for in-water warm-ups and it was a mass start: you literally just run from the beach, into the water with thousands of other people. The old plan would mean that I wouldn’t be able to do my in-water anti-anxiety drills and warm-up, and I was just going to stand in the back and try to stay calm. In other words, it might have been a disaster.
But with the changes, I can do the critical warm-up and drills that I desperately needed to get my heart rate in the right place. Furthermore, it won’t be a mad dash. I’m used to waved starts, I like waved starts, I won’t have a heart attack. This is awesome.
In addition to these modified starts, there is a second phase:
The second phase of the initiative will feature a comprehensive effort to educate athletes about reducing anxiety associated with the swim portion of IRONMAN events, focusing on pre-race screening for potential health issues, pre-race training and race-week preparation. Such efforts will use all IRONMAN media platforms and will include a checklist and on-line videos. Swim-specific educational communications will begin at the end of May.
I can’t express how grateful I am for Ironman taking notice of the anxiety that open water swimming causes. For those who are complaining about this new change, try getting an open water panic attack and then come talk to me about these changes. I value life over a running start any day.
Details on the IMCDA swim start are as follows:
IRONMAN Coeur d’Alene will feature a rolling start…athletes will enter the water in a continuous stream through a controlled access point… An athlete’s times will start when they cross timing mats under the swim arch.
If you are now complaining that your finish photo won’t match your gun time, welcome to the running world. They never match.
If you can’t tell already, I am SO EXTREMELY grateful for this change. Thank you, Ironman.
Now it’s your turn: what do you think about the new Ironman SwimSmart changes?
Man, this week. Can’t this world catch a break?
More important than any of my trivial babbling, I want to make to send love to the people in West, Texas. The videos are frightening and the raw emotion is haunting. I hate that it’s times like these that often remind us to squeeze our loved ones extra tight, but in any case, make sure you hug ‘em until it hurts.
<INSERT AWKWARD TRANSITION>
In much, much, muuuuch lighter news, I have failed to update last week’s training and will opt to do a two week training recap next week as tomorrow’s workout is making my gut ache, my heart pump and my mind in a crazy spiral and it hasn’t even started yet.
Tomorrow night is my first open water swim of the season, followed by another one on Saturday.
For those that may not know, open water and I have issues. Even more so than just swimming in general. We’re talking full-on anxiety issue. Jury, I present Exhibit A.
I suffered from some frustrating open water anxiety last year as it was the first time that I’ve ever really swam in open water. I eventually learned how to manage them (sort of, and note, I’m nowhere near the pace in that photo anymore), but this will be the first time back in a long time and I’m just so nervous to see how my mind and body will react.
I’m fairly open to my fears here on the blog, and it usually ends up being totally ridiculous and I never should have worried in the first place. I’m going to try and keep this in perspective and use some of the open water tips that worked for me last year, including:
- I need to do my little anti-anxiety drills, including getting in the water 10 or so minutes before the actual workout starts.
- I need to ease in, get warm, and most importantly, start by putting my face in the water, blowing bubbles, and getting comfortable being in the dark water. I have to do this “face dip/bubble drill” at least four or five times. Somehow it calms my heart.
- I need to some sprints to get my heart rate up with rest in between, rather than jumping right into the workout.
Needless to say, I’m nervous, but I also know this is 100% mental.
So I’m going to go ahead and trust today’s fortune cookie from lunch in the most positive way possible:
Do you have any other open water swimming tips, or shall we say mental manipulation advice?
Ya you, I’m talking to you.
No, not that other guy. I like cycling, I love running and they’ve both been fairly decent to me.
I want to talk to YOU because you and I, we’re having issues.
I don’t get you, seriously, WTF man? You and I both know that our relationship is still new and we started out slow. I gave you time to grow on me, got special gear for you, and even shoved my oversized head into too small of caps for you. I’ve been hitting the pool more often than ever and by this point in the game, I was hoping you could reciprocate some of the love?
I’m not asking for Michael Phelps-like performance. I’m realistic. But at least we could be moving our relationship in the FORWARD direction. When I plug my data into Training Peaks and it spits out such hateful and negative paces, I seriously want to kick you in the knees.
So what gives? I know I’m not a fast swimmer and it’s likely due to my gangly chicken arms, but for the love of all that’s wet, can we puh-leez just get past this swimming hump and produce some semblance of paces that we had last season.
To seasoned swimmers, this may be second nature. However, not too long ago I was a swimming newbie and looking at a swim workout might as well have been reading hieroglyphics. What are all of those symbols? What does that abbreviation mean? We all have to start somewhere, so let’s not let reading a swim workout scare anyone.
Thus, I thought I’d break down how to read a swim workout in the easiest way possible. To start, let’s take a look at a workout from my coach:
2 x 50 FORM (10″RI)
4 x (25 DRILL, 25 EASY) 15″RI
2 x (50 KICK, 25 EASY, 25 BUILD) 15″RI
4 x (25 FIST, 25 BUILD) 15″RI
4 x (200 FORM, 100 MODERATE, 100 BUILD) 30″RI
2 x 50 Non-Freestyle (10″RI)
Before we dive into the details, let’s make note of some of the basics:
- One length of a pool is usually 25 yards or 25 meters. You can ask the lifeguard or gym team, but 9 times out of 10 when I have asked, they all look at like a deer in headlights. I usually end up shaking my head in pure disappointment.
- Given this equation and basic math, you can easily calculate the distances that you hear swimmers refer to so often: 50s = two pool lengths, 100s = four lengths, etc. Easy shmeezy.
- ‘ = minutes
- “ = seconds
- RI = rest inbetween
- Drill = Drills are specific exercises used to improve swimming technique. Very often, workouts will just read “drill,” and it’s up to the swimmer to decide what drill to use. Ideally, pick a drill that will help improve your technique weaknesses. Not sure what drill to do? Google and YouTube are your friends, but here are some drills to get things started.
Now lets look at the workout:
The workout consists of a warm up, a main set and a cool down. I may be known to skip out on the cool down, but no, not you, you’re a good swimmer and always do all three parts.
Looking specifically at the warm up, the workout consists of swimming 50 yards, two times, focusing on your swimming form. Between each set (each 50), you would rest for 10 seconds. Thus, it would look like this: swim up and back, rest for 10 seconds, swim up and back, rest for 10 seconds. Move on to the next set. Swim one length of your chosen drill, then easily swim the other length back. Rest for 15 seconds. Do it three more times (for a total of four). Moving down the workout “fist” is a specific type of drill and “build” is where you start out swimming easily, then build your pace up.
As you get to the main set and cool-down, the same logic applies. Once you learn how to read a swim workout, it really is quite easy. It’s just that first jump from swimming neophyte that takes a moment of getting acquainted.
If you’re wondering where to even find workouts, I highly recommend the Speedo Pace Club app. It’s the app I used when I was first starting to swim and has everything from beginner to advanced workouts. Also, Google is your BFF here. I’ve never used them, but this site seems to have a good variety of workouts.
Another lifesaver tip, write down your workout and put it in a plastic baggie at the end of the pool. It’s water-proof, it floats and it’s cheap (no laminated swim cards needed).
What’s your favorite swim tip for newbie swimmers?
What other swimming questions do you have (warning: I’m no pro)?
Happy Running (and Swimming)!
In the second part of this series, the goal is to share a few tips about swimming. Truth be told, I’m still not a strong swimmer. It is definitely my weakest leg as well as my least favorite of the three sports.
Throughout the training cycle, I developed a love-hate relationship with swimming. As I saw my endurance increase, I loved swimming. It was new, fun and refreshing. But when my knee injury struck, my pool time increased – a lot (well, at least for me). It wasn’t bad at first, but after a while, I just got tired of looking at the bottom of the pool and counting, counting, counting.
My open water swimming was another issue altogether. The anxiety is still present and it makes no logical sense. Thankfully, I have good friends who helped me dry my fear tears and try to be ok in the open water. It’s getting better, but still there. I’m incredibly nervous for what will happen come race day, but until then, I’ll just have to do as my coach says and, “Man up, cupcake.”
Here are a few race day swimming tips:
Fifteen minutes before the swim start, I take a Gu. You’re going to be out there for a while and obviously won’t be able to fuel, so suck one down now in preparation for the swim.
De-fog your goggles.
This is a tip I just learned and am trying to implement it: before your swim, rub a tiny amount of baby shampoo in your goggles. Once you get in the water, shake-em out.
Do your anti-anxiety drills.
Open water anxiety is something that I’m still dealing with. However, I’ve learned what works for me: I need to do my little anti-anxiety drills. This included getting in the water 15-20 minutes before my wave starts. I need to ease in, get warm and most importantly, put my face in the water and blow bubbles. I have to do this “face dip/bubble drill” at least four times. Somehow, it calms my heart. Then I need to do some sprints to get my heart rate going.
One of the most important things I have to remind myself is that my wetsuit is like a lifejacket. It’s near impossible to sink/drown in it – you won’t die.
The swim start.
Where you start in the swim all depends on the race (wave start vs. running start vs. deep water start), so this varies. But a few things I’ve been told over and over again, you don’t want to be in the front unless you’re a super fast swimmer as you’ll get clobbered. I’m happy starting right in the middle. Expect to be kicked, touched, grabbed, etc. I haven’t had anything too crazy, but don’t be afraid of other people’s body contact.
If you’re doing a wave, deep water start (most of my tris were), the group of 25 to 30-year-old women would be bobbing in the water together waiting for the start. If you’re nervous, they probably all are too. I say be casual, friendly and chat it up with the other racers, it helps calm the nerves.
When the gun goes off, I have to remind myself to STAY CALM and IN CONTROL. If all of a sudden I go hog-wild or I wasn’t able to warm-up, my heart rate will surely skyrocket, sending me into an anxiety meltdown. But if I have done my drills, warmed-up properly, and stayed calm and steady, I’m able to ease into my swim.
Find your rhythm.
The most important part of the swim for me is just finding my rhythm. Once I do, it’s makes the swim manageable. Count, sing, breathe on every stroke, whatever it is that helps you find your rhythm, do it.
Passing, drafting and sighting.
As your swimming, it will be easy to find someone and just drafting behind them, eating their bubbles. If this person is a tad bit faster than you, good, stay with them. But if they are too fast, let them go, or if they are too slow, don’t be afraid to surge past them for a bit.
I’m still not very good at sighting, but every third stroke or so, make sure to quickly look up and sight. Look for the next buoy or whatever it is you are sighting off of. Mentally, I use each buoy as a goal. Swim until you reach X, swim until you reach Y, etc. It helps break up the swim and keeps you mentally sane.
As you approach the finish, there will likely be sand. But when do you stop swimming and walk in? Keep swimming until your hand touches the bottom three times. Then get up, and jog in. As you are doing so, start unzipping your wetsuit and prepping for T1.
I’ve read that a good swim won’t win a triathlon, but a bad swim can lose a triathlon.
What other race-day swimming tips do you have?
The weekend of firsts continued on Sunday with the plan of 2.4 open water miles, my first Iron-distance and longest ever swim, followed by a 12 mile run. It was going to get hot, quickly, but I was riding the coattails of Saturday’s ride and I was ready to tackle the workout.
I was sure to lube up to avoid any more wetsuit hickies and made my way into the open water to practice a deep water start. Coach Paul “EERRRR’d!” and we were off.
Much like my last open water swim, I was just cruising and enjoying the swim. As a matter of fact, I was even thinking to myself about how I would probably blog about how I actually like open water swimming more than pool swimming now – GASP!
The workout consisted of a the “big triangle” at Shadow Cliffs, into the cove, along the wall to the rock pile, back to home base, then out to the rock pile and back one more. As I started my way out to the rock pile for the final time, I could tell I was getting a bit more tired than usual – I was approaching new territory. But as I was about to start the final 800 yards of the swim, it hit me like a, well, pile of rocks.
It was like the moment my mind realized that I had never swam that far before, it signaled to my body to freak-the-f-out. I started hacking, not just coughing, hacking as I would have bet money that my wetsuit was choking me. On Saturday night, I had some chest pain, so my mind started racing, “What if I have a heart attack in the open water? What if I die?” I know it’s a morbid thought, but it happened.
I flipped over, I paddled along, I started to unzip the top of my wetsuit to relieve the “choking” feeling but once the water poured in, I started freaking out more and zipped it back up. I was a mess and I only had 800 yards to go.
Somehow, I made it back to the shore and came up hacking some more. It was a dry, painful hacking that didn’t stop for the rest of the day. Needless to say, I was frustrated.
I rinsed off and changed into my running gear for what I thought would be a 12-mile run. But as I started to run, I just couldn’t bring my body to do it. It felt as if every ounce of energy in me had been drained. Paul saw me sitting on the side of the road and we agreed that I would postpone my long run until Monday morning. I was frustrated, no, no, just plain ol’ pissed off.
So what’s happening? It’s clear that my volume has drastically increased, but Paul reassured me that while we didn’t originally plan for this, I would be able to recover quicker because of my age. However, I think my body went into a bit of overload this week and just said, “Thank you. Bye bye.”
I went home in a bad mood, tried to perk up with this bad boy and continued on this emotional rollercoaster that is Ironman training.
One day you’re up, the next day you’re down, and then you’re in the therapy chair of your coach. Ahhhh, Ironman training, sounds appealing ‘eh?
When I called Chicken Face to tell him, he laughed then questioned my fidelity.
You see, last Saturday I got my very first wetsuit hicky…I mean wetsuit burn.
I’m usually pretty good about lathering up with some sort of Body Glide – I’ve even swam in my wetsuit completely without it. But oooh have I learned my lesson: USE SOME SORT OF GLIDE WITH YOUR WETSUIT!
I’ve heard of people using everything any of these products and more to help:
- Around your neck
- Around your shoulders
- On your wrist
- On your ankles
- Legs, ankles, arm…hell, just dunk your body in a giant tube of Vaseline.
Not only will it help prevent the burn, but it will also help you get your wetsuit off quicker.
Oh and side note, you won’t realize you got a wetsuit burn until you’re in the shower – when it buuuuuurns!
What product do you use? Any helpful tricks and tips?
When I started swimming again this year, I swam eight laps and thought I was on the verge of near death.
It wasn’t pretty.
Yet over the past 10 months, swimming and I got more comfortable. I got sort of faster, not by that much, and am still working on being completely comfortable in the open water. But the one thing that I was reminded of this past Saturday is what we often overlook in the search for speed: endurance.
On Saturday, I swam my longest swim ever: 2.1 miles!
Sure it was in a pool and yes, it was part of a speed workout and still included drills, kicking and rest. But I don’t give a damn – 2.1 miles and it couldn’t have come at a better time. It was that workout when you are ok with not being the fastest, but you’re ecstatic to see how far you’ve come. Like the first time you ran a mile, swam a mile, ran a 5k, a half marathon, or any time when you took it to the next level.
I’m still dealing with my knee issues and haven’t run in over a month. I’m still experiencing mental highs and lows, but being able to achieve something new in a foreign sport was the kind of mental mojo that I needed.
So you say you’re not a swimmer? Yeah, me neither.
Damn you, Pinterest.
It’s clear by now that swimming isn’t necessarily my strong sport.
However, since I’ve been sidelined from running and cycling until my knee gets its act together, the pool and I have become quite familiar and I’ve been swimming about five days a week. Before this increased swimming stretch, I was swimming maybe two to three times per week and this quantity was just fine with me. I’ve grown to like swimming, but nothing will every replace running’s spot in my heart.
I’ve been hearing for a while about the benefits of Masters swimming. What is Masters? Think of it as an adult swim team, open to all levels, but you don’t necessarily have to compete. You can just go to the coached swim workouts however often you want.
Knowing that I train harder and stronger when I’m with other people, I thought I’d take Masters up on their one-week free trial offer. Let’s see what all the hub-bub is about.
I arrived at the same pool I usually go to, but earlier than I had ever been before. The pool only opens its gates at 5 a.m. for Masters. Once again, I found myself feeling like the new kid going into sixth grade. It was pitch black, I didn’t know anyone, nor did I know how this whole Masters thing would even turn out.
But of course, I made my way in, introduced myself to the coach and instantly said, “I’m new and have no idea where to go.”
The coach couldn’t have been sweeter and asked me about how fast I swim. In Masters, the lane lines are arranged from slowest to fastest and the lane eight people looked FAST. Broad shoulders, no butt, 2 percent body fat. I’ll stay in lane one thank you very much.
I don’t know why I always get so nervous about being the new kid. I jumped in and was immediately greeted and welcomed by the other swimmers in my lane. We began our warm up and about half way through, the coach told me I needed to move up some lanes – thank you for the confidence boost!
The workouts last about an hour and a half (much longer than my other swims) and include a variety of drills, main sets, stroke work and more. Speaking of stroke work, apparently I’m doing freestyle all wrong (CHIN TO SHOULDER, PEOPLE!), but the coaches have been great about providing constructive feedback that is quite welcoming.
Oh, and don’t ever ask me to do butterfly. It’s horrifying.
I swam with masters four times last week to get the most out of my free week and it was fantastic. The time sped by, I met really nice and encouraging people and I pushed myself more than I would have alone. My coach and I decided that I would swim with Masters twice a week and then have workouts by myself focusing on endurance.
After tweeting about some of my first successful Masters workouts, Peter tweeted this gem to me and it makes more sense than ever:
I’ve excited about Masters and what this means for my swimming!
Tell me, have you swam with Masters before? What was your experience like?
Happy Running (& Swimming)!
Apartment Aquatic Awkwardness: A bona fide method of disrupting the normal flow of public entertainment and gain ample amounts of annoyed glances – all while swimming in a sub-par aquatic facility.
Awkward is taking photos of yourself at a public pool.
Last week, I was in Reno staying with my sister at her new apartment. I had a swim on my training schedule and after asking my little sister about where I could swim, she assured me, “Oh you can swim in our pool! It’s 25 meters and has swim lanes!”
I love my little sister, but to be honest, I was doubting the legitimacy of her claims. An apartment that has a full lap pool? What lux complex was she living in?! You fancy, huh? I gave her the benefit of the doubt and made my way to the pool in the early evening.
I entered the gated pool area and immediately realized that her perception of what made up a lap pool had been severely inaccurate. This pool was not only small, but it must have been anywhere between 15 and 20 yards and while it had lane lines on the bottom of the pool, there were no actual lanes in sight. Instead, the pool and surrounding areas were littered with a couple proudly displaying too much PDA, moms talking loudly on cell phones, a gaggle of young girls playing across the entire pool, and a creepy old man watching on. Lovely, just lovely.
With the clock ticking before I had to leave for dinner, I had no choice.
MOVE OUT OF THE WAY, CHILDREN! We’re going swimm-annnng!
My “I will never see these people again” mentality kicked in, I chose a side of the pool and put on my serious face. Well, as serious as someone swimming in a mini-pool could be.
For the next forty minutes, I successfully achieved Apartment Aquatic Awkwardness as I navigated around Little Mermaid reenactments, underwater handstand contests, the PDA-couple doing what PDA-couples do, and switching directions more often than I cared to count, all while I felt as if they watched on with glares wondering WTF I was doing. It was officially the most awkward swim yet.
But hey, I suppose it’s like they say…when there’s a will; there’s a way.
What is the strangest place that you’ve ever gone swimming?
In other more serious news, I’m honored to be featured as Women’s Running Magazine’s Blogger on the Run feature today! Yes this entire post was about swimming, but you know my true love is still running. You can check out the interview here.
Wait, wait – it get’s better…A GIVEAWAY!
Simply visit the article, leave a comment on the blog post and they’ll pick one winner to receive a one-year subscription to Women’s Running. All entries must be received by Friday, August 3rd.