Friday, February 17, 2017

Weekly Update: 6-12 February 2017

Last week was different from usual because I participated in two swim meets- Myall Masters on Saturday and Western Metropolitan RSL on Sunday. As a result I did less swimming training. 

A black and white flat lay just for something different and because it looks cool.

This week I completed my standard routine of three runs. It was hard fitting in the Thursday night run because I was already so tired from the week and had swimming training the next morning. I also had the busiest weekend ever so knew there would be no opportunity to catch up on sleep. It was a relatively slow 7km because the weather was still very hot. The usual Tuesday morning run went well because it's always more fun to train with friends.

I went to Tea Gardens on Saturday for swimming so I used the opportunity to visit another Parkrun. It was a 2 hour 45 minute drive each way so I stopped just past half way at Lake Macquarie Parkrun. Being a regular at Parkrun now, having done a total of 46 now and 42 of them being at my home Parkrun, I always find it interesting seeing other locations. Lake Macquarie was a big Parkrun with around 250 participants even on the morning of a heatwave. The course was almost identical to The Ponds which I tried out a couple of weeks ago. Coincidentally I was there for the 4th birthday celebration. If I didn't have to swim later in the day I would have enjoyed some free cake and champagne (turns out my swimming meet didn't go very well so I should have just had the cake and champagne). It was nice how Lake Macquarie Parkrun gave out so many awards and recognised loyal participants, which rarely happens with Parkruns in Sydney. I ran the course in 24 minutes and 54 seconds, with an overall ranking of 42/249 and a gender ranking of 5/115. It was 1 minute and 18 seconds outside my best time but I wasn't going to push it on a day of racing swimming.  

No Tennis
For the second Sunday in a row I had to miss tennis due to a swimming commitment. I've really missed it but I'll be returning this weekend. I might even play on Saturday too. 

It was a massive week of swimming so I have a lot to write about. I missed two training sessions because I raced at swimming meets on both Saturday and Sunday (weekly kms way less than usual). In total I did three training sessions, two carnivals and usual Wednesday night swim club. Wednesday night was one of my best ever swim club nights with all personal bests. I'm happy with one personal best so all of them is very rare. 2:41.37 for 200m freestyle, 38.51 for 50m backstroke (second time under 39 seconds), 42.81 for 50m breaststroke and 14.64 for 25m freestyle (only third time under 15 seconds in endless attempts). I'm most happy with the breaststroke because I rarely have improvement in breaststroke, and there's a history to it which I'll write about later. Overall I've been pleased with my swim club times this year.

On Saturday I attended an out of Sydney Masters Meet at Tea Gardens. It was an almost three hour drive each way. I don't usually travel so much for swimming but it was a meet I particularly wanted to attend. It was an incredibly disappointing swim meet for me. One of my times was acceptable but the other three were terrible. In fact the 50m fly was the worst time I'd done in a number of months. I can make all the excuses I want- I didn't get much sleep, I drove three hours to get there, it was a heatwave day, struggling with anxiety, I'd done a 5km run earlier, I'd trained too hard the day before- and some of them may be valid. However, at the end of the day I still did terrible times and nothing takes that way. I simple don't accept this low standard of performance from myself. To be honest I had a bit of a meltdown after the last event. I was so incredibly upset. I've put everything into training for the last year, I couldn't have tried any more. It's disappointing beyond explanation to not see the results. I feel like such a failure still not being good enough. Also I'm really struggling with the anxiety of racing. I always feel so much pressure for a certain outcome or time in each race. It's only pressure I put on myself but the anxiety is unbearable. I have to address it somehow. My friend was incredibly supportive and I'm so thankful for how nice he was to me when I was really upset. I was in a really bad place and it took awhile to get me out of it. The best part of swimming has been the friends I've made. 

On Sunday I had another swimming carnival, Western Metropolitan RSL Carnival. It was my second year of winning the open 50m championship race. This time last year it was my first 50m freestyle in 12 years so I went into the race with zero expectations. I was lucky to win last year because there was hardly any competition and I was three seconds slower than currently. This year was much more competitive and the race was won by a small margin. Being the current title holder I felt a world of expectation and pressure going into the race and I'd been nervous about it for weeks now. I came away with the outcome I wanted of winning but it wasn't a great time and there were so many aspects of the race I wanted to improve. I need to improve my sprints. My times aren't where I want them to be and I'm better at longer distances. I feel disadvantaged with the open races always being 50m freestyle. I'll work on improving. Here's the trophy.

-After the pain in my upper back a few weeks ago I've returned to the full program of weights. We've worked out the reason for my injury, turns out I was doing one of the weights incorrectly. I've been doing better this week. 
-I'd like to add in a program of 5 push-ups and 20 crunches three times a week (in addition to the weights and the usual bootcamp). 
-At bootcamp we did 6 x 100m sprints with a 300m walk recovering in between. The sprints are such good training so it feels good having fitted that in.
- I still need to improve my diet.
- I'd like to focus on improving my sprint times in swimming. I'll have to work out the best way to do it. 

Weekly Photo
100m sprints. I really like bootcamp lately. It's so nice to be outside in the warm weather, I can chat to my friends more than during swimming training and with increased strength in the last couple of months, the program is no longer incredibly painful for me. 

What did you achieve this week?

Friday, February 10, 2017

Weekly Update: 30 January- 5 February 2017

I'm behind this week so this is last week's update. 

This week was different to usual because I participated in the Sun Run on Saturday and the Cole Classic Ocean Swim on Sunday. I wrote a separate post on the run here and a post about the Cole Classic here.  

Here are the flat lays I took for the Sun Run and Cole Classic. 

During the week I completed only two runs instead of the usual three. I replaced my Thursday night run with a swim because my legs were very sore from Monday's bootcamp. Usually I'd just push through the pain but I didn't want to make it worse because I had the Sun Run only two days later. Therefore, I only ran 14km during the week and both runs didn't feel particularly great. I had to skip the Parkrun because of the Sun Run on Saturday and I have to say I missed the Parkrun so much! It's the first one I haven't attended since October. I'm hoping this week will be better for running. 

No Tennis
I also had to miss tennis on Sunday in order to attend the ocean swim. Unfortunately I won't even be able to go next week due to another swimming commitment but I'll go back to tennis on 19th February. It felt rather sad not going to tennis because it's the one sport which is just for fun and doesn't involve pressure. 

This week I completed five training sessions, did my first ocean swim race and went to the usual Wednesday night swim club racing. That's a total of 16.7km for the week (more than usual) but 14.7km of it was in the pool. I added a swim on Thursday night because I couldn't run and don't like to go a full day without sport. Also I was conscious of missing my usual training on Sunday morning. Looking back I probably didn't need to do the Thursday swim because I still swam on Sunday just in an ocean but at the time I expected it from myself. I find swimming difficult on Thursday nights because I have to be at the pool again by 5.30am on Friday morning and it's too much. I only do it when I have to. I completed one of the long distance swims for the Masters Endurance Program. This was the 45 minute freestyle where I swam 2.75km. 

I was happy with two of my swims on Wednesday night at swim club- 36.65 for 50m butterfly and 1:23.65 for the 100m individual medley. The IM is a personal best by the smallest margin of 0.05 and the fly is the fastest time I've recorded. However I recorded 36.89 at a long course meet last December which converts to being faster than 36.65 short course. It was a good practice for racing both these events at the next masters meet this weekend. 

- After the past couple of weeks of pain in my upper back, which I finally worked out is from weights, I returned to some of these exercises again. I did the easier weights but avoided the standing fly just to be safe. I also reintroduced some push-ups. 
- This week I'd like to stick to a program of 5 push-ups and 20 crunches three times a week (in addition to the usual weekly bootcamp session) as a bonus. I also want to make sure I'm doing weights correctly to avoid potential injury.
- Still need to improve the diet substantially. I resumed making smoothies this week but need to more often. 
- I intend to finally fit in some 100m sprints this week. 

Weekly Photo
Just another picture of a pool. 

What did you achieve this week? 

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Cole Classic: 2km Ocean Swim

Last Sunday I participated in the Cole Classic which is a 2km ocean swim from Shelly Beach to Manly Beach. It's my first ever ocean swim race, with my first time participating in an ocean swim being only two weeks ago (which I wrote about here). There was also a 1km event and a 5km event. I wasn't able to enter the 5km swim without previous ocean experience and the 1km swim was way too short, so that left the 2km distance. The Cole Classic is part of the same event as the Sun Run (which I wrote about here) so it was a busy weekend. 

For once I was relaxed going into the event and had no expectations with regards to time and ranking. When I race swimming in a pool, and to a lesser extent racing running, I get incredibly nervous because I know I'll be very angry at myself if I don't reach my goals. So it was nice for once to have a different mindset. I know swimming 2km in a pool would take me a little over half an hour but there is so much variation in the ocean so I wouldn't even be aware of what is a good ocean swim time. I think the variation could even be up to ten minutes. So in the end I swam the race at a comfortable pace and it certainly didn't feel flat out. One of the hardest aspects is the monotony but I've found the Masters Swimming Endurance Program helped with that because I'm already used to swimming for up to an hour continuously. 

Once again I had the impression that ocean swimming is so different to pool swimming, to the extent it actually feels like another sport. My main problem with ocean swimming is how difficult it is to see where you're going and being a pool swimmer I'm not used to breathing towards the front. I'm sure I covered more than 2km in total distance being too far out from the buoys and markings (probably all part of the skill of ocean swimming). There also weren't as many people in the water at any one time as I expected. After the first five minutes of it being very crowded around me, I couldn't rely on others so much to navigate where I was going. The course was a lot further out from the sand than I expected in deep water. There were some waves which was rougher than the ocean swim I did with Bold and Beautiful. None of this was an issue, it was just different. 

The event was very well organised with participants starting in waves based on age category to minimise crowding in the ocean. There were plenty of lifeguards on the course in case anyone got into trouble. The start location on Shelly Beach was so beautiful. It's a small and calm beach around the corner from Manly. The area is so new to me but now it's one of my favourite beaches. The atmosphere was relaxed and positive at the beach prior to the start . It was an incredibly hot day (almost 40 degrees) which meant the water wasn't too cold for once. 

These were my results which were much better than expected for my first ocean swim race. I'm not a massive fan of ocean swimming so I don't intend to do many of them. However, I'd participate in the Cole Classic again and I'm up for improving my results next year. 

Have you ever done an ocean swim?

Friday, February 3, 2017

Sun Run: 7km Run

This morning I participated in the Sun Run which is a 7km run from Dee Why Beach to Manly Beach. It's the first major running event of the year in Sydney, after there not being any since last October/November. I didn't participate in the Sun Run last year because I didn't actually know about it and I only started entering running events in the middle of 2016. So it was good to add another one to the calendar. There is also a 10km event which I'd usually enter instead. However, I thought I'd go with the 7km for something different because I've never selected that distance for an official running event before. I got some amazing sunrise pictures at the start line at Dee Why Beach. 

Originally I had the goal of running the 7km in under 35 minutes because that's less than 5 minutes per kilometre. I'm very comfortable with sub 5 minute kilometres for a 5km run now so wondered whether I could hold the pace for 7km. However, once I learned the course was incredibly difficult and hilly, I quickly adjusted my expectations. The course was incredibly tough, up there in terms of difficulty with the City 2 Surf (but of course only half the distance). If I'd known I would have tried to do some hill runs for training. There was even a huge hill a couple of hundred metres into the run which was mentally tough!

In the end I ran the course in 37 minutes and 40 seconds. Even thought it's slower than my average pace per kilometres for a 10km run, I can't be disappointed given the difficulty of the course. I've been to quite a few running events now and they are all reasonably similar. There would have been less participants than some of the events in the city which helped with the crowds. The course was very scenic and pretty, providing for great photo opportunities. It was an early morning start as I live far away from Manly (4.45am is a brutal wake up time for a Saturday morning!)  I've been to Manly three times in the last ten days when usually I wouldn't even go there once a year. I'd be up for giving it a try again next year.

What did you do this weekend?