Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Trying to fix me.

As soon as I crossed the line at Nationals on Saturday I knew things had to change. Before I made it home I was already considering things that I have been letting wane.

In two weeks of swim coaching my stroke has made unbelievable amounts of improvement. I had let myself slip into a comfort zone of swimming, where although I had the endurance to swim pretty much whatever distance I wanted, I did so in my own, inefficient, terrible stroke. My kick (as told to me by my now swim coach) was something out of a horror movie, and that I would be better just not kicking. My stroke was also not very efficient, with my push ending near my belt line. All in all "not great" is a fair understatement. As I said before, things have improved greatly over the shorter (fresh) sets, although I still break down when I get tired. (stupid muscle memory) For the amount of time spent so far it's only barely short of miraculous though. My swim coach has done some serious work in the few hours we've spent together.
Of course I don't expect it will help the swim at Rev3 a ton... I'm still not comfortable enough with it to hold it together over a mile, but hopefully it does help a small amount. Once I get back home I plan to put in a very big swim block and really try to nail down a "real swim" in 2015.

sigh...just sigh...

Biking has always been one of my stronger points. (Only?) That said, some things I've been delaying and/or ignoring needed to happen. First and foremost it's evident in my races that I'm "slacking" a lot. My Avg and Np are too far apart (even on flat courses) for a steady effort event. It probably has to do with some combination of 5' and under sets at higher watts mixed with a lot of racing/riding in East Tennessee. (Power up tuck and coast down...) So, since I've been back it's been a lot of steady state and 5+ minute sets with less rest. Seemingly it's been going well, I set a new 90 and 120 minute power record last weekend by about 15 watts. Another thing that has been missing this year is my Wind Tunnel approved hand position. (Mantis!) Winning an unlikely high bid on a set of Ventus bars certainly put a hamper on it, as the Ventus is notably lacking in the adjustment department. I was fairly happy with my Vande Velde 3T extensions (very deep S bends) but I was certainly VERY far from the 25° I had tested best at. Never one to be thwarted I ordered some aluminum tubing and bought a conduit bender from Home Depot and voila! 25° S-bend bars.

New bars in the pain cave!
So, improvements are being made in both the bike and the swim... which is good... as the Aquabike this Sunday will focus on both. ;)

Speaking of this weekend, I suppose I might has well go ahead and tell you where my mind is at. At the beginning of the season I had high hopes for the Aquabike, but after Nationals I'm a bit more grounded feeling. I honestly think I'm about 2 weeks of solid swim training/coaching away from having a *good* swim. Unfortunately time waits for no man and I'll have to go into it with what I've got. I haven't done anything longer than a 200 in the pool in the last few weeks, so I'm going in completely reliant on my already built up endurance to get me through. I'd like to think I will be faster with the improvements made to my stroke, but I think in all honesty as I get tired (probably pretty quick) my muscle memory will take over and I'll swim something pretty mediocre to bad. With some luck I'll find a good pair of feet and have an uneventful swim at the least.

Last time I saw this was in 2010. 
As for the bike... I'll get my wish to time trial to my hearts content. My hope is I'll be able to put in a solid steady effort, combined with a low amount of drag. If I don't screw up my nutrition/hydration and hit an even split, I suspect I'll have a fairly good bike, although anything can happen.

Goals for Rev3 Aquabike
- Have a safe swim
- Don't swim any extra
- Get in and out of transition fast
- Even pacing on the bike
- Hydrate / Fuel correctly
- Hold the Aero position and don't forget to turtle.
- Look cool doing it. (yeah right)

And let the results fall wherever they may.

Ok... confession time... I'm ALMOST (not quite, but close) as excited to come back and watch the finishers late Sunday as I am to be racing! In 2010 I was so exhausted after my own 140.6 ordeal that I passed out and didn't make it back to the party. This year I plan to be there cheering on those brave souls who battled out a LONG day to reach their goal! I've even pulled my old 2010 Finisher tech tee out of storage. Exciting stuff!

Again, if you can spare a second or two, I'm sure my family and of course I myself would appreciate and positive vibes/prayer/juju/karma/whatever that we are safe traveling (only 8 hours this time!) and racing. Throw in a "crush the swim and bike" if you want, I certainly won't object.

Thanks so much for reading. Hopefully a fun and picture filled post next week. Or at least funny!

- Christopher Morelock

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