Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Karen writes: Pool water drinking and rolling

Bike ride in 4 weeks, you know, that little 160km round lake Taupo with one or two minor hills along the way?  Apart from intermittent spin sessions, I have had 3 rides to train for this event so far, one 20km ride, one slightly longer version, and then 73.3km last week (I'm a bit desperate when I have to count the fraction).  Yep, should be a doddle.   But then, the real trick, 2 weeks after that is the Rotorua half-Ironman.

I'm pretty ok with going into the Taupo ride knowing I am fit, but not 'bike' fit. It will just mean there will be no personal best (ha ha), and things  might be a bit challenging on the way round.  The triathlon is likely to be less forgiving though so yesterday I drove into central Auckland to have the swimming lesson I won off the Ironman 70.3 competition (thanks organisers!).  It was to be delivered by Andrew of Boost coaching.  It was at a pretty nice place (I was impressed that they had pot plants and towels and coat hangers and even an iron), that was interesting enough, but has anyone else found themselves in a swimming pool on the 8th floor of a building?  I kept wondering about how you would feel working on the floor underneath knowing that there was a full SWIMMING POOL above your head.

Anyway, Andrew, he asked me to swim a couple lengths. He then drew a picture on the whiteboard showing me not floating elegantly along the surface, but wallowing through the water more in the shape of a partially unbent paperclip. What followed was a series of lengths doing things like free-style with a flutterboard between my thighs and the instruction to kick without losing the flutterboard.  That was tricky, when I moved my legs it kept wanting to pop out like a cork from a bottle, that was the point though. Another effort I remember was kicking along on my side, trying to remember the instructions in regards to what was meant to be done when and breathe too, that was was HARD and I swallowed quantities of pool water. I consoled myself that it was less for the office below to worry about. Finally putting together some of those items practiced during the different lengths, oh dear, if I concentrated on breathing I forgot my feet, if I thought about rolling I forgot to breathe, if I tried to kick right I forgot the roll thingy...you get the picture. Fortunately Mr Boost Coaching, if he laughed, did it where I couldn't see him.

It was an immensely valuable session.  I actually understood what was on the board. Yes, it makes sense that if my legs hang down or kick out wide they are acting like great anchors, yes if my head is lurching out of the water that will be making my feet go down, yes the new rolling motion I practiced is cool and I promise to try to remember not to roll quite so much like a shark on a fishing-line now that I have discovered it's joys. Anyway, the instruction was to practice. Apparently just by practicing that changed kick (well, remembering to kick at all) and the altered body position I should be able to swim much more economically, this is without even considering what my arms are doing...yes practice.

Sadly there is no black line in the sea and it would seem that being able to see this visual tool would help me improve my technique. Oh dear, does this mean I might have to actually spend some time out of my wetsuit and...gulp....in the pool...