Friday, August 21, 2009

Aaahhh, the joys of Recovery!

Cats aside (read: Anabelle busting through the screen and Tabbitha's diet and flea saga), there's nothing like a good recovery week. Yes, I've got some structure to my program, but there's nothing wrong with, oh say, swapping out a bike ride for a run. Because bottom line, this week has been all about the recovery.

Now is the time to really rest up, let the work absorb, and enjoy the physical and mental bonuses (because there are plenty!) of taking an albeit small break. Because just around the corner remains a big push and even bigger race. But let's not talk about that...

The nice part - and don't get me wrong, I love to run fast when I can (and remember like I've claimed is relative. My fast is different from yours and blah blah blah...) - about getting hopelessly turned around, lost, discombobulated, (and did I mention...lost?) during the run segment of Sunday's race, is that I didn't run as fast as I normally would have. Call it unfamiliarity, fear of getting lost-er, call it what you may... Ultimately, my legs felt relatively fresh, even the day after.

As crude as it sounds, I use the ability to lower myself onto the commode to gauge my post-race recovery. After Coeur d'Alene, I could hardly walk forward, let alone sit on a toilet. My upper body was absolutely necessary for helping to, er, attain the proper peeing position.

Happily, Monday morning found no quivering in my quads; lowering myself down and then the subsequent up passed without a problem. It's the little things in life, I tell you.

I suppose the most 'interesting' things have happened while swimming. Firstly, Wednesday afternoon, I set off with Chad Holderbaum, (in town for business) for a quick swim at The Cove. The Ocean was beautiful, albeit a tad choppy. But the water felt warm once we got going and the clarity visibly improved a few hundred meters from shore.

It was actually pretty laughable. We ALL know about my fear of Unmentionables (with really big teeth), and my hesitancy to swim in the Big Wide Open Pacific Ocean. Yes, I'm taking great steps to quell my fears - but rest assured, they are still there (every time I set toe in the water). Apparently, Chad harbors some of the same fears that I do, and I found myself reassuring HIM of how safe Cove-swimming is.

"How far away was that shark attack last year?" he asked timidly as we walked down towards the steps leading into the water.

It was hard work to keep my fears in check as I explained what had happened, and how far we were from the site. Truthfully, I think about sharks every time I swim in the ocean. Statistically though, I know I'm in greater danger on the drive to the beach than when I'm in the water.

What was most interesting to me, though - was that I was the one assuring him that it would be okay. Usually when I swim with others, its the other way around.

Still, I was grateful that he didn't tell me about the shadow that he saw in the water until after we were safely ashore. I don't care what you think you see, a shadow is a shadow - and oftentimes our imaginations do the worst damage well after the initial incident/sighting. After all, The Cove is well known for its seal and sea lion population, and there were plenty out basking in Wednesday's waves and sun.

One of the more interesting swimming-related phenomenon that I've experienced of late, has been the cross over between Masters Swimming and Open Water swimming. I've spent more time open water swimming in the past few weeks than ever (which is pretty laughable, because I still spend quite a bit of time in the pool). My stroke, and more importantly my sighting, in the open water feels better - longer and more efficient.

Which doesn't really translate well when you show up to the pool and see 40 X 50 meters on the board. Let's just say that my 'fast' speed and 'regular' speed over a 50 differs by - oh, gee - about three seconds. At the very most.

So, while I'm not the most ideal person to swim behind on the fast stuff, at least I can hold my own during a 400. Or more (which is pretty rare at Carlsbad Masters. I'm already excited about short course speed next year!).

But I really don't mind the short stuff: it mixes things up and keeps me honest about my speed. And really - on a recovery week, in between 2 Ironmans - I don't expect my 50 meter swimming speed to be "all that much there".

My week of recovery officially ends Sunday morning when I head out for a long ride. Tomorrow though, I've got an easy "embarrassingly slow" run on tap, and then the rest of the day to enjoy time with Nathaniel. I'm excited, but a little bit at odds with what to do. Through some miracle he doesn't have duty and I don't have a long ride...or race...or anything above 45 minutes on my training schedule.

And you had better believe that I'll enjoy every minute of it.

Starting Sunday - let's bring on Hawaii training. I'm ready and excited!

GOOD LUCK to everyone racing this weekend! It's a biggie - ENJOY!


Angela and David Kidd said...

I love when the plan is to run "embarrassingly slow". I can do that!

Enjoy your recovery. The big stuff is ahead.

Chad Holderbaum said...

Again, thanks for the swim Marit! I have no idea what that "shadow" was, and yes I'm sure I was just as freaked out as you. :) Just not very many oceans in Pittsburgh to practice swimming in...

D said...

I'm calling you out, Marit. You're reusing pictures.

cherelli said...

ha - I totally get the "loo effort gauge"!! The ability to lower oneself under control onto the seat is damn near impossible when the quads are toasted - I am always grateful when I land squarely on the seat and not slightly askew in danger of sliding off... :)

Mama Simmons said...

I was in an easy week this week too... and although I *know* it was necessary, I drove me NUTS! I was thrilled to be back out on my bike and riding long today. :)

Have a great ride tomorrow!

kerrie said...

ha ha....i totally use the ability to sit on the potty(and step off of curbs) as part of my recovery gauge. i know that i've got it made when i'm able to stop using the handicap stall rails in public washrooms.
i hoped you enjoyed your recovery!!!