Friday, April 24, 2015

What Doesn't Kill You...

Last week +Coach K informed me that my swim workouts needed to change…that I needed to be doing more endurance work in the pool. He sent me a couple of sample workouts both of which were 3,100y. UGH!

3,100y is at least 1,000y more per workout than I was doing (perhaps that is the reason for the change)… and while there are some 50’s in my new and improved workouts, most sets are 500’s, or 5 x 100’s with an insanely short rest in between so they may as well be a 500. You cannot rest on the wall or strike up a conversation with your lane-mate during a 500. In a 500, you have to swim! What the heck???
Positive Tracy would say that 20 laps are not that far and not that hard. Negative Tracy would say that Vineman is 8 x 500y! Positive Tracy would then add that the 8 x 500y in Vineman includes plenty of opportunity for walking ;-)
I started this week with the swim workouts for Monday and Wednesday and the promise of a Friday workout from Coach K. I checked my email first thing this morning and didn’t see a workout. Should I remind him? Nah! I’m just going to do my own thing's FRIDAY!!!

That was a great plan for a few hours…suffice it to say, he remembered to send me a workout…a nice long endurance based workout! After reviewing today's workout, I asked Coach K "If this is an endurance workout, what was Monday and Wednesday? LOL" 

His response..."What doesn't kill makes you stronger..."

Yeah, but it might make you puke in the pool! ;-)

Freak Show (aka My Swim Week in Review)

Michael~David Wine = Good Freak Show
24 Fitness Pool = Bad Freak Show
Since I knew I would be hard pressed to fit a 3,100y workout into the same time frame as a 2,000y workout, I decided to once again brave the waters of 24 Hour Fitness. This move would also free up some time in the evening with HS (who is currently under the weather...poor HS :-(


Monday afternoon I arrived at the gym around 4:30pm. There was only one other person in the pool. I had an entire lane to myself and no distractions. After 5pm things started to get busy and an older gentleman asked if he could share my lane. I agreed and instructed him to swim in the half next to the wall (I was there first so it was my call!).

He did a couple of laps of freestyle and then switched to backstroke…and when I say backstroke, I don’t mean the kind you normally see where each arm circles independently. No, he was doing the kind of backstroke where both arms go up at the same time and then swing wide underwater.  I had a couple of problems with this…
  1. He started swimming down the middle of the lane
  2. During his wide underwater stroke, he made contact with my leg!!! DO NOT TOUCH STRANGERS IN THE POOL!

He rested a bit, did a little more freestyle and then returned to his backstroke. This time however, I was prepared…as I swam past him, I started kicking like Jaws was behind me…I almost felt bad about doing it when I saw him climb out and sit on the edge of the pool…almost LOL

On top of the issue with my lane buddy, someone entered the shallow end with perfume or cologne that reeked like mosquito repellant. It was over powering, but managed to stay at one end of the pool. (Honestly, there is no shallow end in this pool…it’s all shallow).


OMG! If I wasn’t such a hard head, I would have left the gym the moment I walked into the pool area. It was packed. Both outside lanes had 2-3 people in them swimming/walking/bouncing. The center lane only had one person. I’m pretty sure his intensity was keeping the walkers out. I dropped my swim bag on the deck and tried to make eye contact with him so he would know I wanted to share the lane. He didn’t acknowledge me, but he seemed to move over, so at least I had a place to swim.

As I sat on the edge of the pool putting on my cap and goggles, some little, older guy darted into the pool, popped under the lane line and surfaced in my half of the lane. Since I was at the opposite end of the pool, I made the universal hand signal that says I’m swimming here. He didn’t seem to care. He then proceeded to start swimming…sort of. He dove under the water and started a painfully slow underwater breaststroke. In fact, it was at least 20 seconds before he resurfaced about  5-10y down the lane...I had begun to wonder if he was OK.

At this point he sort of asked about the lane (I really couldn't hear or understand him) and I said “No! I’m swimming here.” (You gotta be willing to fight for your space in the pool). He went back to the wall and said something to Mr. Swimmer, but Mr. Swimmer pushed off and just kept going. At this point, I just started swimming straight at the frog man... I guess that was enough for him because he moved over to a bouncing lane.

Since I was fired up from showing my lane domination skills I decided to do flip turns during my warm up. This lasted for all of 3 laps. The water in the pool was probably nearing the “unsafe for humans” range…it was cloudy and gross (and yes, I saw at least one bandage). Two of my three turns resulted in me pushing off against water and not the wall. The cloudy water along with my fogged up goggles was impairing my ability to judge the distance. Whatever…flip turns are overrated LOL

After my warm-up, I got into the meat of the workout. The first set was Ok, but the second set was guess what? A 500. Ok, I can do this. Correction, I can do this in a pool that does not feel like a hot tub. By the end of that 500, I was on the verge of vomiting (typically a feeling reserved for running in the heat). There was no way I was going to be able to complete the next sets without a little help. Rep #2 was done with the help of my fins and #3 was accomplished with fins and paddles. I had to do whatever it would take to get out of there.


TGIF! I went back to Tokay today.  +James  had posted on Facebook that he was swimming for 90 minutes today so I knew I had enough time to complete my workout. Even though the wind picked up and the temps dropped a bit, the cool water felt glorious! I was feeling so good that I did flip turns for the first 400 yards of my warm up. That was a first!

James decided to keep me company during my workout and swam next to me for most of the work out. This totally stresses me out...not as much as Coach John watching from the deck and then asking "What are you doing?" (I'm never sure if he mean what is my workout or if he's asking me to identify my stroke LOL)...anyway, having James cruising along next to me...seemingly effortless...drives me insane and make me want to push myself harder than I want to be pushed (maybe that's a good thing???).  Anyway, my extra effort started to make my calf and foot a bit twitchy, so I ditched the last 50y of my cool down and called it a day!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Ice Breaker Triathlon - Race Report

This was my third Ice Breaker Triathlon (third time's a charm, right?) and in my mind, my best to date. Well, I guess it was my best to date...I had my best overall time, but the splits are hard to compare. On top of that, I messed up the multi-sport setting on my Garmin so I couldn't even use my own data for comparison. Oh, I have just says that it was all cycling. LOL

I may not swim perfectly straight, but I know I didn't swim in circles!


As I was getting my stuff ready HS asked what time the duathlon started. I told him it started at 8am and that my race started at 9am. At that point, he decided he wanted to race. He threw his race gear in a grocery bag and was ready to go!

We headed up to Folsom with a quick stop at an ATM to get cash for his race fees. His decision to race sort of changed my plans for the race. HS was supposed to zip my wet suit and hold my spare pair of goggles. Oh well, everything worked out. I found someone else to zip me up, and I put my extra pair of goggles by my shoes (I'm working on embracing change LOL).

After the start of HS's duathlon, I put on my wetsuit and headed down to the water to warm up. As I was standing in the lake talking to my teammate, Steve, a girl came up to me and said "I know this is going to sound crazy, but I recognize you from YouTube"! She explained that she was looking for videos about Ice Breaker and saw the video I made of Ice Breaker 2013...for those of you that missed it is...


The swim starts in 2013 and 2014 were on the shore and you would run into the water. This year, with the water continuing to recede because of the drought, we actually started in the water. Unfortunately, even with the water start, there were lots of big rocks you had to navigate around so as not to break a toe.
2015 - Sunny and no wind

In 2013, they clocked your time for the swim down by the arch as you came out of the water (if you watched the video above, you can see them tearing my tag off). My swim time in 2013 was 18:46. Below is a picture of me coming up out of the water and heading up the hill to T1...I was not a happy camper.

2013 Ice Breaker - Worst swim EVER

In 2014, they didn't clock your swim time until the top of the hill...which is quite a distance (probably around 1/4 mile). My swim time in 2014 was 21:46...and I had a much better swim. It really bothered me that it was "slower" than my sucky swim in matter how many times I reminded myself about the change in where they clocked your time.

This year, my swim split was 19:15...still not as fast as my sucky swim in 2013! ARGH!  Just kidding...this year they once again clocked your swim at the top of the hill, so at least I could compare it with last year and it is definitely quicker...2-1/2 minutes quicker ;-) I also decided to have a pair of shoes down by the arch so I wasn't trying to run up that rocky, sandy hill.


My bike was about 30 seconds slower than last year. Not sure if this is significant or not. I did feel like I dilly-dallied a bit longer than usual in T1. I took the toe warmers off my cycling shoes, grabbed a bite of just didn't feel as quick as I usually try to be in transition.

During the actual riding portion, I made an effort to keep up a high cadence and not trash my legs trying to grind up the hills. This could have also contributed to a slower bike time, but it did pay off in a much better run split.


This year the run course was a bit different than the first two years. It was still 4 miles, but it headed out in a different direction that was supposedly flatter. It may have been flatter (I don't think so), but a good portion of it was a sandy, single track trail. I'm pretty sure it was in this new section that I picked up a rock that wore a good sized hole in my big toe.

T2 was speedy and efficient. I started to head towards the normal "run out" spot when I heard my teammate, Dani, yelling at me to go the other way. Oops!

In 2013 my run split was 37:34, last year it was 40:16, this year it was 36:01. I'll take it!

Final Thoughts

Overall, I am very happy with my performance at this race. In fact, I feel like I've finally put this ghost to rest. After 2013, I wanted to do this race again to show that I could do the swim. Then last year, after I added time, I wanted to do the race again to show that I could go faster. This year, not only did I go faster, but I feel like I had a great swim. I no longer have that feeling like I need to prove something.

2013: 1:44:38 (2nd place...out of 2 in my age group)
2014: 1:46.48 (4th place... I really didn't like standing on the grass)
2015: 1:40:32 (3rd place...good enough)

Will there be an Ice Breaker 2016 in my future? Not sure. This race definitely favors swimmers, sprinters, and trail runners... three things that would not describe me as a triathlete. Still, it's a fun race and a good way to kick off the race season.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Not Much to Report

My last post was over a month ago (actually it's getting close to two months because I've been sitting on this post for so long)! So what's been going on? Well....I've been swimming and cycling and running...that's it. End of post. Talk to you in another month!

Actually, HS and I did get away for a week to go to Spring Training in Scottsdale, AZ in early march. I had a blast (even if it meant flying) and would definitely go back. We had plenty of amazing food, potent drinks, sunny days at the ballpark, and recovery week training.

Spin, spin, spin

Mac' and cheese burger...AMAZING!!!

Beautiful lap pool

Go Giants!
Training Plan

I've worked hard to stick to my training plan. I mean seriously, if I'm going to spend money on a coach, I should probably listen to what he says I should do...even when every fiber of my being is screaming...train more...TRAIN MORE...T-R-A-I-N  M-O-R-E!

Actually, even though I feel like I'm not training enough (long enough, far enough, hard enough) my Garmin data shows a marked increase over what I did last year.

First Vineman Nightmares

So the nightmares have started a little earlier than expected. The first one is sort of silly...I got to the school for T1 or T2...I couldn't tell. Anyway, the arrows that were supposed to direct you where to go were drawn in chalk. Unfortunately, the chalk bucket had been left out and a bunch of kids were busy drawing hundreds of additional arrows all over the school. Long story short...I got lost in transition (hey, that could be the name of a book LOL) and could not get anyone to help me. When I finally got a volunteer to give me a course map, it did not contain any directions. The was a small map and a list of good restaurants to stop at for lunch. Stop for lunch? This is supposed to be a race!!!

My next nightmare I think was more about how I was feeling physically that day. In my dream, I was trying to run in the race but my legs would not work. I was on the ground trying to claw and drag myself along the route, but no matter what I did, my legs felt like they were stuck in sand and would not move!

Time to Race

I have not done a race (of any kind) since CIM. I thought I would miss the thrill of racing, but I've actually enjoyed just focusing on my long term goal. That being said, the triathlon season is getting started in California, so it's time to start doing some practice races. I plan on doing many of the same races I completed in my first two years. There is a level of comfort in racing a familiar course and it also allows me a chance to compare my performance with the previous years.

Ready, set, GO!