Friday, March 21, 2008

Thursday swimming

Hmmm, this has been a mentally trying week of swimming for reasons I cannot fully explain! There was an impossible wax on, wax off quality to the business this evening which I did not at all have the fortitude to embrace or appreciate at the time--I gave over my background processing resources to the problem at the opera this evening, though, and think I have slightly brought my head around to the facts of the matter.

(One fact is that all three of the triathlon disciplines require extreme fortitude of one kind or another! Never more than during an injury in which one cannot do the thing at all, so I am not complaining, I think, just perplexed!)

So I got some coaching this evening on stroke stuff. It was intensely demoralizing to be given what was basically an insane remedial workout. I again felt like the village idiot of all swimmers.

(I think it is good for me to have this sort of thing periodically, so that I remember what it's like in the classroom for students who don't feel comfortable or to whom I might blithely suggest some major and fundamental retooling of approach/skill set as they tackle some significant project like a dissertation chapter! Really I am a believer in playing scales, taking things utterly to pieces and learning how to put them back together properly, stringent line editing, all sorts of crazily specific exercises of one kind or another, etc. etc. in the fields I actually know something about, so I should not be surprised that one might have to go back to basics in a most horrible way for swimming also. I sort of knew this already, but it is the kind of thing one unfortunately has to learn again and again...)

There was a noticeably beneficial effect on my freestyle stroke by the end of the session. Quite striking improvement in feel.

Here's what we worked on:

Streamline off the wall.

Body rotation.

More specifically, a lot of work with that drill (WHICH I have not done since the fall, making me acknowledge that I probably should go back and have a couple sessions of Monday-night swimming, it's freestyle-specific and very technique-oriented, in fact I was just e-mailing with the coach the other day to tell him I had not dropped off the face of the planet & he said come by any time, so I guess I will do just that) of 6-3-6. 6 kick on side in good streamline, then three strokes, then 6 kick on other side.

Notes to self. Do not kick from knees, kick from hips. Core! Zipper drill to keep elbows in correct position. It is possible to combine zipper with 6-3-6 despite feeling of brain about to explode... Really keep biceps tight to ears off wall, glutes tight. Look to 10 o'clock, 2 o'clock--be especially careful on non-breathing side. High elbows!

In short: galling but intensely useful.

(Unfortunately I have now had a very long day out of the house and with much human contact which, though each individual item was very pleasant in itself, mostly undid whatever relaxation might have been starting to happen yesterday! I am going to have two good solid training days over the next two days, then take Sunday off so that I can go to New Jersey for Easter festivities. I had figured out I should skip swimming tomorrow because it gives me more flexibility for a long bike ride, but now I feel I cannot afford to and that if I skip swimmming it will be from internal cowardice and shrinking rather than from common sense, so I fear I am internally locked in on that now. I also now have a very stressful amount of school-related stuff that I haven't made progress on this week, and that would not seem to me more likely to get done even if I seriously cut back on training-related activities for the next couple days, so it is going to be a scramble to make it through this coming week, but should be a bit more tolerable by the week after.)

(What I really need is a pause button that will let me just stop everything for four or five days so that I can let the fortitude build back up again!)


Leah said...

I feel your pain! Working with my new coaches this year I have felt like I've been taken apart and put back together. It's an investment, I know, but especially in the pool it feels like backwards progress. I also find with swimming that sometimes it helps me to take a few days to mentally process and visualize the changes. I feel fresher and more capable in the pool after that. Good luck!

Spokane Al said...

I can always tell if I am kicking right by feel. When I can feel the bit of flab at my waist shaking I know that I am kicking correctly and not just flapping my feet.