Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Trying a new swim group

I'd like to get faster at swimming.

I feel like I've been saying that forever. But still that's the plan. Last year I just swam on my own with a basic plan getting ready for Trinona - my first Olympic event. I did fine. Then moving up in longer distance events I now have a coach and he's great. He gives me a detailed workout in training peaks and wherever I want to do that workout is fine with him. I was hating my pool at LA Fitness (because it's gross, and crowded, and more gross) and I decided to buck up and join a masters swim group.

What I was doing ... that wasn't really working
There is allegedly a Masters Swim Group around the corner from my house at Gulliver Prep. So, I started getting up early to go there. I say allegedly because it's really more of an open swim session. Don't get me wrong - it is a fantastic pool. Brand spanking new, huge digital clock and just super cool. But it was a good thing that I had my own workouts because there is a different coach every day that you go and it seemed to me that they just sort of made the daily workout up every day. I would ask what the workout was when I got there and I never got a straight answer. Plus I would watch as swimmers would say, "hey what's next" and I always felt that the coach just would sort of make it up, "oh, uh 10 50"s on the 30 or whatever." Once I went and we had to swim the lane lines out, which is no biggie but if you only have an hour it eats into your time and then once I went and there was nobody there to open the pool. Okay it was "open" but no coach was there. So, I swam because I was there and I was pretty sure I wouldn't drown but I'm sure I wasn't supposed to swim. And then it looked like they were cutting the morning hours for the summer which was a drag. They ended up not doing that. Anyway ... not feeling the love there.

Plus I feel stalled in my swimming. I did take a lesson a few months back from the Stroke Doctor. It was very helpful. I could definitely take more lessons from him but sadly his masters group meets in Davie. I knew that I was sort of phoning in my workouts if you will. The workout would have 8 x 50 fast with :20 recovery and I would do 4 and then move on to the next set. When I swam my 1.2 mile swim last week in 1:05 I was motivated to get more with the program. I mean that is just forever to be out there. Admittedly I think I took the scenic route but that's partly due to the fact that I wasn't able to keep up with the pack and therefore not get lost.

What I'm trying now that I hope will work better
So, there is a newish program at the University of Miami. Specifically for Triathletes. It's not officially a Masters Group (meaning affiliated with US Swimming).  It's only 2 days a week Tuesdays and Thursdays. They have added an evening session and hope to add more mornings but not yet. It is just this one guy leading it so I understand that everyday at 5 is a little early. It's sort of expensive ($90 a month if you can't finagle a discount). There is a standing discount for members of the Alien Endurance team ($65 a month). So I'm trying to finagle a discount even though I'm not an Alien Endurance athlete. There is a coach there, Aaron. Tuesdays are drills, Thursdays workouts. See I like this so far - there is a plan. I like having a plan.

I got there and followed somebody into the pool people were arriving all at the same time. This made me happy. I am always intimidated to start a new swim group but I was encouraged by this and not too nervous. I introduced myself to somebody on the pool deck and she was super helpful and helped me find Aaron who was handing out today's workout to the folks on the deck.

I introduced myself and he got the regulars going and then asked me some questions about my history and got me started with the workout. He seems like a good guy. They have all levels swimming he even offered to start me in the shallow end if I wasn't comfortable swimming the whole 25 :-). I said oh no that's okay I swam 1.2 miles in the event the other day I can handle the deep end.

Since I started a few minutes after the others I wasn't doing at exactly the same thing at exactly the same time as the others but I still really like doing the same workout as other people. There was sculling on the workout. I did some sculling drills last year which involved me looking up videos online and then floundering about in the pool pretty sure I was doing it wrong. So I asked before I started. He explained it and then as I was about 15 feet down the lane I heard him say, "good, that's right." What is this ... feedback in a swim? What's a girl to do? Once I got the hang of the sculling it was actually very helpful to feel my body position in the water and I think that's the idea.

The yardage was a little light (for where I hope to be). I swam 1550 in an hour. But I only swam for about 50 minutes probably since I started late. And I've been getting the barfies during my morning swims so I'm not going to rush the yards.

All in all a good swim day. I'll be forking over my credit card today and back on Thursday for more.

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