ultra training

Doing Nothing to Prepare for My Ultra

“Laziness is nothing more than the habit of resting before you get tired.”
-Jules Renard



We are just 2 days away from my second Ultra, and I am preparing today by being lazy.  Perhaps the most difficult part of training for me is the tapering.  Fellow endurance junkies, I know you know my pain!  I am so accustomed to living life 100 mph that cutting back on training makes me feel like I am literally grinding to a halt.  Plus, given that exercise is my coping mechanism to deal with all the other absurdity going on in my life, the decrease in workouts makes me extra looney.

This time around, however, I am trying to enjoy the downtime.  Life has been so chaotic recently with being promoted to supervisor Imageand my parents moving that the change in pace is actually kind of refreshing.  Instead of feeling like a total slacker, I’ve been reminding myself that my training for Saturday’s run is behind me.  The best thing I can do now is make sure I eat properly, sleep plenty, and ensure my body is well rested.  

So today I am giving myself permission to be lazy.  Rather than worrying about getting in enough mileage of swimming, biking, and running this week, I have been trying to relax… Try being the operative word.  Surprisingly, this has not been as difficult as it typically is for me.  Perhaps this is because I made it to swim class Tuesday night.  We only swam just over a mile, but it was enough to take the edge off and shake off a crappy work day.  

The class was great because we learned a new “punching” drill, and I feel like it really helped my stroke.  Plus Coach M was in a great mood given that I finally gave her my gift for teaching me to swim.  I had noticed she has propensity toward soft, fitted shirts so I got her an “i swim” shirt from the comfiest brand I know: Tough Chik! 🙂  She absolutely loved it!  It’s funny to think how far we’ve come from that first class… 

Aside from swim class, I haven’t done much in the way of exercise this week… Well other than the 5K on Sunday. I might sneak in another swim today, but that will be the last workout prior to Saturday.  Tomorrow I am working, so today my goal is just to take it easy and plan out my gear and attire for the run.  The hubs has agreed to give me a ride and pick me up.  I told him not to feel obligated to stay the whole day since it took me almost 9 hours to finish the last one… plus ultra running is not much of a spectator sport.  I am lucky to have a hubby that not only doesn’t mind me spending an entire Saturday running, but is willing to give up his time to help make it happen.  I think I may have won the spouse lottery.  After all, it takes a special breed to love an ultra runner… especially a tapering ultra runner… 

Who else is racing this weekend?  Any big plans?

That Makes Sense

“Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.”

Albert Einstein



“That makes sense”… words you will likely never hear in regards to the way I go about training.. or life. lol  For example, as you all know, I recently decided to sign up for another ultra.  I then proceeded not to run a single mile all week (not that different from my previous ultra training actually… Do as I say, not as I do!).  In reality, I had a very good reason for this.  I was still feeling sick, and for some reason running was the only type of exercise that made me feel worse.  I made up for the lack of on foot miles with extra swimming; but the point is that most people do not sign up for an ultra when home sick and then swim instead of run to train… I did also spin. 😉

On that note, I did get back to the pool this week (Yea!!!!) and more than doubled the mileage I usually get in.  I was extra motivated because Coach M (now that we get along, I am going to try to stop referring to her as the pool troll… though I didn’t mean it so much in terms of personality as in the gatekeeper none-shall-pass sense) demoted me back to the beginner lane at my first evening class.  I not only found this somewhat deflating but also physically uncomfortable.  The water was absolutely FREEZING!  In the “C” lane they take tons of breaks, and I am now conditioned to swim for over a mile with minimal breaks.  With the water being so cold, all I wanted to do was keep moving.  In fact, I got yelled at for swimming too fast… something about it not being a race…  In reality, I was just trying to keep warm.  So after a very unsatisfying less-than-a-mile swim, I was determined to prove to myself that I could keep up with at least the intermediate lane.  

ImageLuckily for me, Coach M was giving away the workout sheets after class. I grabbed a copy and headed back to the pool after spin class yesterday. I looked at the beginner and intermediate workouts and decided to just go for the full monty.  At first I was a little nervous because the workout called for a few 300’s and the furtherest I had gone without a break was only 100m.  Ultimately, I figured I could split the 300’s up if I needed to.  The beginning of the workout was a little rough because Coach M just happened to be there, and we ended up in the same lane together.  I could feel her eyes judging me, and it made it hard to relax, hence hard to breathe, and hard to swim.  In reality, she was having issues of her own due to back spasms and probably barely noticed me… then again it is Coach M so she might have been mutli-tasking…

Anyway, I not only made it through her whole advanced workout, but I did it in an hour!  That was even with all the people interrupting me because the pool was super crowded and everyone was feeling chatty.  (I had missed to memo for social hour on the pool schedule apparently!)  Even more exciting, I did the 300’s without needing breaks AND I did all my intervals in the recommended timespans, or at least very close (2:00 for 200 and 1:00 for 100).  It was definitely an eye opener to how much better my endurance has gotten.  I also noticed I am getting much more relaxed in the water! (Victory dance!)  Image

It’s interesting now that I have been through one cycle of Masters Swim and gotten comfortable in the water to see all the new swimmers trying to learn.  I guess I had never noticed until recently how many adults at the pool are learning from scratch like I did.  I supposed I was to preoccupied with trying not to drown before to pay attention to anyone else.  Now I can spot them easily.  They have that familiar look on terror on their faces as they balance on the ledge unsure if they’ll make it back to the other end.  I usually reassure them that I also could barely swim a few months ago and it does get easier.  I don’t think they believe me.  I can’t blame them. I don’t think I would either.  It’s hard to imagine when your lungs are on fire and every muscle is screaming that it will EVER get easier.  Drowning seems the far more likely scenario.

Meanwhile, the people who were there when I first was learning cannot seem to believe the difference.  Since I have no concept of what is a difficult or long workout for a swimmer, I have no idea if I am doing well or not.  I know that I am improving, and that’s about it.  Judging by their shocked reactions, I guess I am doing better than I imagined… or they all just need to practice more.  The one person who does not seem to have noticed how much progress I’ve made is Coach M.  However, in her defense the woman has seen my initial attempts at drowning, so I can understand her hesitation about wanting to move me up the ranks.  

In the meantime, I have decided that I am just going to work at getting so good that she will be unable to ignore my progress.  

Makes sense, right?