Monday, March 28, 2016

Masters Swimming

It's Monday and it's my favorite day of the week. I get a ton of work done early then I head to masters swimming at noon for whatever Hux (Swim coach) has in store. Today it was a tasty morsel of 4,100 yards in a set that got harder the longer you were in the pool. I love masters when Hux is on deck. The thing about masters is everyone comes to the pool with a different mindset. Some come to work, some come to cruise while others come for the pure social connection. My mindset is always the same, I'm there to work. I swim 3 days a week and I try to make each one count. As I was preparing to enter the water a guy slid into the lane and said something to the fact "I hope this is the easy lane, I really want to go easy today". I kind of laughed and said "it's the lane that it is". You see masters is always broken up into time. Each lane correlates to a given send off time based on 100 yards. On Monday I lead the lane and right now I can lead the 1:35 lane. So I was entering the 1:35 lane and he knew full well that it was the 1:35 lane. If swimming on 1:35 is easy for you then this is the easy lane. We started the workout and all was relatively calm. The main set started with a 500 yard swim of 100 moderate, 200 easy and 200 fast. Then it was a crazy set that had 100 moderate on base followed by ascending distances (fast) on base plus 10 seconds. This is not a hard workout. It's a quality work out. You get to go hard knowing there is lot's of rest at the end. So I start on the first 100 moderate. I'll admit that it takes me time to get into a groove and I realized at the 50 I was going slightly fast. I hit the wall and had just over 10 seconds rest before a fast 50. Then it was another 100 moderate followed by a fast 100. By the end of the second 100 moderate I was swimming alone. The guy moved to the faster lane so he could swim easier. The more swimmers in the lane the easier the swimming (bigger the draft) and since he was leaving on feet (Mine or the same in the next lane) instead of after 5 seconds it was way easier. I, realizing I swam the first 100 too fast corrected and for the rest of the day hit every 100 at 1:30 giving me 5 seconds rest. There was a point where I had finished a fast 150 and had lots of time to rest. (Base plus 10) It was close to 25 seconds of  rest (I was told to swim fast). The guy is on the pool deck complaining to a girl who was told to swim with me that I take the moderate too fast and essentially good luck swimming with me.

Dude, I was leading the lane. You were not. You pick the lane you are going to swim in, self seed your position in the lane and then it's up to you to pace your swim. I chose to lead because I wanted to work hard. You didn't have to swim my workout you only had to swim to the interval given. That's the basics of masters swimming. The girl, she jumped in, got in step with the workout and said at the end "That was great".

It's a good life...

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Interrupt a Life

My wife Mary has spent a good part of her life as a teacher becoming that interruption young men have needed to keep them from a life of crime. She shows them their life means something. She's an amazing woman.

It's a good life...

Monday, March 21, 2016

Barefoot Drills and Strides

It was kind of strange to hear my name called out on the Endurance Planet ATC Podcast. The question was from a woman who wants to get down to barefoot running. Tawnee mentioned my process of going out once a week doing drills and strides barefoot as a way to get used to barefoot running. I've been doing a great deal of research on runners recently. Asking them their process. How many runs a week, what kind of runs each week, how does running feel and what's hurting. In the running store most people are in a hurry and there's no time to do a full analysis but I always watch runners with a full analysis in mind. What I see and hear is a trend that I'm trying to undo.

Ask any runner who started the activity as a sport in school either on the track or in cross country and you'll here the same thing. Every workout or race started with a warm up, drills and strides and then the workout or race. Depending on the type of athlete especially track athlete the drills may be different and the amount and effort of the strides would be different but essentially that was the process.

Now ask any adult runner who didn't start in high school and most of them have no idea was running drills are. Then watch the runners like I do and you'll see form flaws that could be fixed by a regular dose of drills and strides. The biggest form flaws are lifestyle. People spend so much time sitting at the computer or with a phone in hand and the flaws look like they are still sitting at the computer.

Go to youtube and search running form drills.

Now the process is this:
1. Do the drills with perfect form - Relaxed shoulders, neutral head (absoloutely critical) that is looking out not down.
2. Speed of the drill is controlled by form. As soon as you look down or hunch your shoulders slow down. Form trumps speed.
3. Finish each drill set with a set of strides (4-10 strides) - 20 seconds in perfect form. I was taught to picture athletes. For the first half (2-3-4- or 5) of the stride set run like Edwin Moses for the second set run like Carl Lewis, Michael Johnson or Pick your sprinter. Recover fully which should be 30 seconds to a minute. You are not sprinting these you are using form to control. If form breaks slow down.

Now to the point of this. My goal for everyone is to get to as close to barefoot as possible in doing these drills. I've thought at length about this. What's more important, going barefoot or doing the strides? I think barefoot is more important. I see so many older people with foot problems I rank taking care of your feet above all else and the best way you can take care of your feet (in my opinion) is spend time barefoot on a soft surface. Everyone has a patch of grass close by. If you don't do drills and don't do strides at least go to that grass surface, take off your shoes and walk around. Once you are comfortable walking around, jog around. Once your comfortable jogging around start incorporating drills. Once you can do all the basic drills (high knees, butt kicks, AB skips, Carioka) then add strides slowly. Start with 4. when that becomes comfortable do 6. Get to 10. Put this process at the start or end of a run and you'll begin to undo all those lifestyle things than screw with your running form.

Barefoot Ted says barefoot running is a mindset. I fully agree with that idea. Once your mind clicks and you look forward to your once a week session in the grass you will begin to feel what natural running form is.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

All Twisted Up

For the last week or so I've felt stiff and twisted. No workout seemed great or bad but every one felt odd. I realized at some point it was time to go see the chiropractor who has kept me straight for years. The first thing he says, "It's been since August since you last visited". I said "I feel that". He measured my hips and said I was off balance by 2 degrees. Put me on a scale and 2 degrees translates to just over 10lbs more weight being carried by my left side. He adjusted me and said "You are going to be dizzy". I was the rest of the day. Nothing felt good. Not sitting, not standing and certainly not talking.

I woke up feeling totally new. I often wonder how people go around feeling like that their entire life. I'm so grateful for my friend CM who introduced me to Dr. Kenny who saved my running years ago. He's been fixing me ever since.

It's a good life...