Saturday, December 1, 2012

Of a Hiatus and Swim Lessons

I had a goal to take the entire month of November off.  No workouts.  No physical activity of any kind except lifting beers, mass quantities of beers.  I had a couple of little nagging sore spots (I wouldn't use the term injuries) on my legs and feet that I wanted to completely heal up.  Mostly I just wanted to make sure I got enough of a mental and physical break before starting off the training for 2013.  With Boston in April and Las Vegas in September, it will be a pretty intense year.  I wanted to make sure I got back in the mindset of wanting to train.

I thought that it would take the full month, but 3 weeks in, I got pretty ancy.  I broke down over Thanksgiving weekend and went for a ride.  It was 65 and sunny, how could I resist?  Then I jumped in the pool on Monday and went for a run on Tuesday.  So I had 26 days off from Biking, 30 days off from Running, and 32 days off from Swimming.  The few extra days off from swimming were due to the swim being cancelled at Rev3 Florida.

So what really got me to break my November goal was a swim lesson.  I finally got a swim lesson setup and it was for that last week in November.  I didn't want to jump into the pool at the lesson having not swam for a month, so I swam on Monday and Wednesday.  Then I thought well if I'm gonna swim on Monday, I might as well bike on Saturday and Sunday.  Then I thought well if I'm biking on the weekend, swimming on Mon/Wed, why not go for a run on Tuesday and Thursday? Right?  So its really not my fault!

I have vaguely alluded to my troubles trying to find a good swim coach in some of my past posts.  I had a couple of lessons from the local YMCA guy (he was a no show on the first try).  It was helpful in the beginning, but when I got to the point that it looked like I wasn't going to drown, he really couldn't help me out anymore.  I had email contact with 2 coaches in Charlotte.  After a few emails about price, schedule, and me wanting to go ahead, I never heard from them again.  (I will withhold names to protect the guilty.)  So I really had my sights set on getting some real coaching from someone with a swimming background, but also coaches triathletes (or people who are bad at swimming).

On one visit to IOS I chatted up James and Melissa about how much I stunk at swimming.  This was right after my Augusta race which went incredible for me.  Obviously the current aided wetsuit swim helped a lot in that.  But if we take a deeper look at the numbers at say, Stumpy Creek, we see that I was 37th of 55 on the swim (67th percentile) in my age group.  Now compare that to my bike and run.  I had the fastest run in my age group by over 2 minutes and the fastest bike by over 4 minutes.  That's pretty pathetic swimming.

They suggested jumping in with the Masters Group that swims on Tuesdays and Thursdays (I think) at the Mecklenburg County Aquatic Center (MCAC).  I didn't really feel comfortable with that.  I really thought I needed some one-on-one coaching.  I mean someone to watch me swim in the pool and say, "Wow.  You truly are one of the worst swimmers I have seen in my entire life".  Or something to that effect.  As I went to checkout at IOS they had some business cards there and I picked up several and checked them out later.

I happened to pick up the card of Melinda Yelton.  Trijinx is the name of her coaching company.  She was very quick to respond to all my emails, and I believe she has reasonable pricing.  Her swimming credentials are actually quite impressive, I think.  So we setup a lesson at the MCAC of all places.  I had never been before, but its right on the way to work, which actually is better than Charlotte Christian or the Rock Hill Aquatic Center.  Plus I didn't have to pay a daily fee since I was getting a lesson.

The lesson went pretty well, I thought.  She said my body position actually wasn't bad, but I was a really bad "windmiller" she called it.  We went through several drills, which I will not go into any detail here as I will invoke client/coach privilege (as in pay for your own lesson if you want to know!)  The follow up email she sent with the evaluation and drills was quite thorough.  She included video links on my stroke and demonstrations of all the drills.

So now its up to me to hammer the drills for a while.  It will probably be at least mid January when I go back for another session.  I want to make sure I have all the drills down.  But it looks very promising, I will say.  In just a one hour she got my stroke count down from 27 all the way to 17 and it took the exact same amount of time!  That's efficiency.  And that is a good place to start.  The speed will come.  I have time since my "A" race isn't for another 9 months.