Can’t we all just get along?

•May 15, 2010 • 2 Comments

Today I was able to finally make it to an open water swim training session. After my experience at the Mack-Cycle Triathlon, I decided I was going to make swimming a focal point of my training going forward. The training lasted from 7:30-9:00AM and was held on Hollywood Beach. 

The training was great and I left with a lot of takeaways. In this entry I will touch on some of the drills that we did and  highlight what I felt was the most important lesson I learned during the practice. 

First, I feel like I should mention that the conditions today were worse than what I experienced on May 2nd at Key Biscayne. 

Water conditions:Open water swim training (5.15.10)

 

This alone had me a bit apprehensive as I approached the beach. I soon shook it off by telling myself, “whatever-it is what it is”. 

There were six (including the instructor) people in my training group. The instructor set up a buoy about 50 meters from the beach. We used that as a marker as we swam laterally to the shoreline. In our practice we focused on our entry, sighting, and swimming form. 

The most important lesson I learned for myself was how my viewpoint toward the water had to change. If you recall in my last entry, on the evening before my race, I looked at the ocean and viewed it as my challenger/enemy. That perspective was totally incorrect and it likely contributed to the difficulties I had the following day. The key is to get ALONG with the ocean. You have to become one with the ocean. This is necessary for two primary reasons: 

1. The ocean CANNOT be beaten: 

An ocean’s (read: open water) potential can never be discounted. When calm, it can be the most tranquil picture of nature. When angry, it can cause massive destruction, swallow a city, and do potentially more. The fact that I approached the last race with the intention of “beating” the ocean, was silly. The ocean must be respected. You must make peace with the ocean. If you fight the ocean, it will fight back…and it is UNDEFEATED. If you’re cool though, and work with it, the ocean will be cool with you, and even possibly help you along your way. Eight foot waves can consume you and drag you further out from the shore to your demise, or they can be used to propel a surfer along the shoreline. Waves can erode land or help generate electricity. You have to work with the open water in the right way. You must go along with the ocean and not expect the opposite. I learned this fact today and had a much better time swimming. I was able to keep my head down in the water by being more in tune with the water. For instance, when I felt a wave coming, it was clear that the ocean was telling me that it’s not a good time to go for a breath. Thus, I would keep it moving (regardless of whether it would ruin my breathing rhythm). It seems like common sense,but you’ll be surprised about what happens in practice. I learned to work with whatever the ocean gave me. 

2. The psychological aspect of swimming in the ocean is ENORMOUS: 

Look, if you are not able to keep your head about you in the water, you will be toast. When I reference “head”, I am referring to the mental state of mind. Everything begins and ends with your mind, and so if you allow your mind to play tricks on you, you will be in trouble. It became clear today that this also was a critical component that created difficulty for me during my last race. 

What type of tricks you ask? I’ll take my experience today as an example. As I am in the water, I acknowledge things such as a) 70% of the earth is water; 99% of living organisms on earth are in the water; we have only explored 5-10% of the oceans on this earth b) there is very little visibility in the water (unfortunately not swimming in the Bahamas) c) there have been aerial photos of Miami waters where people are wading, oblivious to the sharks all around them. Tid-bits such as those, combined with movies like Jaws, can cause a scenario where things go bad very quickly-if you allow your mind to go that way. If that happens, you need to quickly correct or you’re done. You will be on a slippery slope and find yourself having difficulty functioning. 

The lack of visibility in the water is really troubling and is really the root of the mind games. For instance, I’m swimming this morning and at several points I’m asking myself, “was that a big shadow that moved underneath me”? WTF! 

Also, I’ve yet to be stung by a jellyfish. I’m not quite sure what it feels like. I’m borderline contemplating pulling a “Seven Pounds” and getting stung on purpose (save the whole suicide part) just so I’m at least already familiar with the feeling. 

All in all, it was a good practice. Once I become more physically fit, become one with the ocean, and improve my mental game, I will be able to handle the swim portion of the half-ironman.

First Triathlon: What doesn’t kill you, only makes you stronger….

•May 3, 2010 • 4 Comments

Today I attempted, and completed my first triathlon. I have received a lot of questions about my race, so I think it makes sense to be comprehensive (at least I’ll try to be) in my review. I will divide this entry into three parts (all equally important)- pre race, the race, and my takeways from the race.

Part I: Pre-race Saturday:

On Saturday, I was supposed to attend a 7:30AM open water swim skills and drills practice on Hollywood beach. By open water, I mean swimming in the ocean. This was going to be significant because I have not trained in open water yet. Given that my race was the next day, it was essential for me to get that exposure. I also was supposed to pick up my bike, my race packet, attend a pre-race clinic, and finally attend a friend’s birthday party before turning it in for the night.

What ended up happening, was a bit different. First, I woke up sick. I was congested and my throat hurt. I ended up oversleeping my swim class. My alarm went off at 7, but I hit the snooze button. The next time my eyes opened it was 8:00. Nonetheless, I was still going to make the attempt to go to the practice and at least get some work in. I got in my car, and it wouldn’t start. Why? Because I had finally pushed it too far and drove my car to empty. Yes-gas-empty. SMH. Sidenote: I mentioned that I was an adrenaline junkie. Somewhere along the way, I got caught up in trying to see how far I can go without having to fill up my car. This may remind you of an episode of Seinfeld. In  a weird way, it’s sometimes a rush. In this case (and most), it was just STUPID.

After I got gas into my car, it didn’t make sense to go to practice anymore. I went and picked up my bicycle. After, I went to Mack Cycle (bicycle store that sponspored the triathlon) to pick up my race packet. My race packet included my number  (151-which I was wondering if that was an omen to take a shot, but quickly shook that idea off), a magazine, and some other items that could be helpful for the race (lip balm, food bars, nuts, prune, etc). They also gave me a jersey, which was cool. I left there and went to Sports Authority to pick up a helmet that I needed.

Afterwards, I went to the race site to attend a pre-race clinic. This was helpful because a coach walked particpants through the steps of setting up your transition area, and rules to be mindful of during the race. If you were every going to do a triathlon, definitely go to the pre-race clinics. You can also learn more about setting up your transition area here. After the clinic, I walked down to the beach to take in the scenery and see what I would be up against. On this night of the Mayweather/Mosley boxing match, I felt like I was in a Rocky movie, going to the ring myself-the night before the fight. Only, the ocean was going to be my ring and the waves my challenger . Before turning away from the ocean, I told it, “Not tonight, we’ll dance tomorrow”.

I went home and did a quick turn around because I had a birthday party to attend. I ate a quick meal (brown rice and turkey) and headed out. I knew I couldn’t stay long, but I wanted to make sure I helped my friend celebrate a little bit. I ended up getting back in around 12:15AM. That gave me about 5 hours to sleep.

Part II: Race Day

My alarm went off at 430 AM, and I quickly dismissed it. I never get up on the first go around. Because I know how dangerous I am though, I set about five different alarms for myself. I eventually got up at 5:15AM. I’m feeling good. I spent the next twenty minutes getting my bag ready, and putting myself in the right mental frame of mind. I did that by listening to track off of Rocky IV. I put my sunglasses, lip balm, food bars, water bottle (with Gatorade), my number, and energy gel in my transition bag (see gallery for pic). As I was getting ready, I drank a can of Rocky Star Energy drink. In the pre-race clinic, I was told that caffeine taken 2 and a half hours before the race can raise your performance 5-10%. I also wanted to make sure I had enough carbs in my system, so I ate a food bar. I was out of the door at 5:45 AM.

Some combination of my natural adrenaline level and the rock star energy drink had me AMPED.  I had my playlist set in the car so I was in the right mental frame of mind. I arrive at the race site at 6:40. My group was scheduled to start at  7:22AM. I didn’t know what to do, but I figured I had enough time. I did. When I got there, they gave me a race chip that I placed around my ankle. This race chip tracks your time. After I got the chip, I got marked. I will just say that getting marked is an experience of itself. Once marked, I was  no longer an individual, but identified by a number. I felt like a soldier going to war. They marked both of my arms and the front of my legs with my race number (151). They wrote my age on one calf, and the triathlon type (Sprint) on the other. With little time left, I went to the transition area (the point where you go from swim to bike, or bike, to run) and set up my bicycle. The idea is to set up your transition area in a way that allows you to be as efficient as possible. Although I did that, it would become irrelevant after my swim.

I made my way down to the beach and waited. Everyone doesn’t go at one time;they have different “waves” (according to the group you were in). I was in the 25-29 age group.  “Sprint-Silver Caps, 3 min”, the announcer called. Heart rate began rising a bit. It didn’t rise in a soft way though. My “fight response” (as opposed to flight) was kicking in.  A couple groups went ahead of us, and so I was able to see them dive into the water. I tried to make some observations, but there was nothing significant to take away. The water looked a bit rough, but I had no perspective. Even though this was my first open water swim (I didn’t do any training in open water), I told myself I was going to be fine. I live for this type of stuff. I love the uneasiness. I thrive in that environment. I was going to finish. I didn’t see it happening any other way. I was just going to do it.

Recognizing I’m new to open water swimming, I arranged myself towards the middle/back of the group. “GO”. From the beach we ran into the ocean. It was about twenty meeters of running in the water before we actually got to a point where we could swim. The objective was to run out past the orange buoy, make a right, swim 200 meters to the yellow buoy, turn around, and swim back for 400 m total. The race course can be found here.

I get into the water (77.8 degrees by the way) and start swimming. I’m thinking it’s not so bad. After about 15 strokes, I realize that I’ve abandoned the swimming technique that I learned in my masters swimming course. The rough waves made it difficult for me to get into any type of rhythm. On a couple occasions I tried to gather myself and get it together, but it didn’t work. The waves were causing water to seep in my mouth. I had to resort to a botched freestyle stroke, where Im almost swimming above the water. My kick, reverted back to the kick that was documented in the video I uploaded on an earlier post. (Sidenote: I PROMISE I had gotten better). The problem was that I hadn’t trained in open water yet.

By the 160m mark, things started going bad, FAST.  Since my kicks were now fluttering, and Im swimming with my head above the water, I am expending a LOT of energy. I’m getting tired very quickly. I initially try to fight through it, but I quickly realize it’s not going to work. I now start looking around for life guards, just to see where they are in case I needed to call them. I’m thinking, I can’t call them though because I’m not sure if my race will be over. There is NO WAY that I can have my race over before I even swim 200m. I started thinking about how foolish I was for not doing any open water practice. Then I snapped back to reality. Im getting tired very quickly now. I now need to get help, or I’m going to drown.  I see two lifeguards about 25 m off to my left on surfboards. Im waving my hand, looking dead at them. No response. Hm, that’s interesting. Still trying to keep my cool, I try waving at the life guards again. Still no response. Now I’m starting to think, are they trying to figure out if I need help, or can they just not see me. OK. Now I’m REALLY tired. I’m thinking, there is a legitimate chance of me dying out here… I now get vocal. I literally yelled for help.  I wasn’t screaming, but I said it loud enough where they should either acknowledge a) my voice or b) my flailing arm. It was at this precise point, that I experienced my biggest FML moment ever. My legs had little steam.

Finally, the lifeguard comes over, and Im able to grab on to the surfboard. My legs are absolutely burning! My muscles might as well have been on fire. The lifeguard was real cool. I asked him if this meant I was DQ’d from the race. He told me that it didn’t. There were no time constraints, and I could rest as long as I needed. That was a relief, because I had to finish; I just didn’t know how I was going to finish. My heartrate elevated, legs on fire and dead, and I just couldnt visualize me making the next step. I must have stayed on the board for about ten minutes. At that point the life guard tries coaching me to continue. He tells me that there is another life guard about 50m ahead. He said I should try swimming to him and then restagain. He said he would watch me. I waited for a couple minutes and then I took off again. In those couple of minutes, I thought about all of the Ironman motivational videos that I had watched on you tube. Those videos that had quotes like:

  • “There are two types of people…those that say ‘I can’t’, and those that say ‘I can’
  • “Each person out there will have some pain at some point during the day”
  • “Pain is about seeing how strong you are mentally”

I recalled how they said It would all be a test.  Knowing that that moment was one of the moments that the people were referencing, made it easier for me to continue. There was no way  that I was going to punk out. On the swim back, I went into survival mode. No freestyle stroke. I did the breastroke for most of the way.  There was definitely a time that I was swimming on my back. I didn’t care. A crucial lesson of life manifested itself in that swim back. Sometimes you just have to do what you need to do, to accomplish your objective. It may not be pretty. It may not be sexy. You can’t care about who’s besides you, in front of you, or in back of you. You don’t have the energy for that. Life becomes extremely simple and black and white. I became oblivious to the outside world. I knew what I had to do, and that’s all that mattered. Ego was thrown entirely out of the building.

Slowly but surely, I made it back to the starting point where I was able to stand up. Here, you were supposed to run from the beach to the transition area (about 250m distance). I came out of the water exhausted and just walked. As I made my way up the beach I met a guy who pushed me on. He said he’ll run with me out to the transition area. He wasn’t in the race, just  coach. That support helped. I regained some energy and pushed myself, jogging to the transition area. In the transition area though, I took my time. I took in some Gatorade, ate a food bar, dried my feet, put on my socks, and finally put on my sneakers. I grabbed my helmet and glasses and moved on for the bike portion.

I was so glad for the swim portion to be done. Interestingly enough though, now that I was on the bike, it was as if the swim had been compartmentalized. For sure, I was tired. But I had energy to bike. The rest of the race was far less dramatic than the first 25 minutes. The bike portion consisted of a 12 mi ride from Key Biscayne, to Virginia Key, over the Rickenbacker Cswy, and back (see the race course). During the bike ride, I made sure to hydrate frequently and I ingested one of those gels I had. Doing both activities helped me maintain the energy I needed to finish the race.
When I finished the bike portion, I dismounted the bike. My legs felt like absolute jelly. I felt like I was about to collapse. The people nearby that cheered and rallied us athletes on revived me though. I dropped off my bike and began the run. I jogged at a pace that I was familiar with during my training. I made sure to hydrate at every aid station.

By 2.5 miles or so, I began feeling each of my quad muscles beginning to cramp. I thought this was the beginning of Julie Moss for me. I then thought back to what my running partner told me on Wednesday, “Don’t you ever (blank) stop”! (see previous post. So, I kept pushing. “No pain”,I told myself. Eventually, I made it to the finish line, put both arms up, and officially completed my first triathlon. I sat down for a bit, and got some Gatorade. I checked out my times, got a massage, and took a few pics. I left the site about an hour after I finished. It was a great feeling.

So how did I do? My results were the following:

  • I raced in the 25-29 age group (30 athletes)
  • I finished 30/30 (dead last) – But this was mostly due to the swim, and me being exhausted at my first transition

Swim: (0.25 mi ) in 0:24:48 (rank: 30/30)

Bike: (12.4 mi) in 0:45:03 (rank: 22/30)

Run (3.1 mi) in 0:28: 02 (rank:18/30)

Total: 1:50:36.41

Not bad considering that: a)goal was to finish b) my first triathlon c) no open water practice d) spent ten minutes with life guard and e) spent ten minutes in transition area#1

Part III – Takeaways

Because I’m tired of writing, I am bulleting out my takeaways from the race:

  • It was foolish to not have trained in open water before my first triathlon
  • Critical life lessons are embedded in triathlon training and racing
    • You will learn more about yourself during a race, than you will from years of being on this earth
    • The triathlon is a battle between you and yourself
      • Another thing that messed me up was that I began swimming at a pace that was faster than I typically swim (due to the pace of others around me)
    • Today’s race put Ironman 70.3 in a totally different perspective; Real recognizes real – Triathlons are no joke. The half Ironman is noooooo joke
      • It’s time to get really serious
      • The triathlon is difficult enough by itself. It’s silly to make it more difficult by slacking on nutrition, exercising or any other aspect of training
      • I view challenges differently based on what I’ve experienced already from training and today’s race
      • What doesn’t kill you, only makes you stronger – I will do this

    I’m looking forward to the pics that photographers took during the race. I’ve posted a few from the event in the gallery.

    First Triathlon – 2 Days Away

    •April 30, 2010 • Leave a Comment

    On Sunday May 2, I will be participating in my first triathlon.  This will be a sprint triathlon and it will represent the first major step  to Ironman 70.3 in October.

    I’m looking forward to the race. Although, I feel like I may be developing a cold. I am beginning to get a raspy feeling in my throat. I’ll either shake it off by Sunday, or just deal with it. Hopefully it doesn’t get much worse. With two days until the event, my pre-race preparation is going to look something like the following:

    Today:

    I am going to contact the bicycle shop, and secure my bike rental for the race. I will also pick up my race packet. I’m going to try and take it easy tonight. I have an early start tomorrow.

    Saturday:

    • My Masters Technique Swimming Group has an open water swim and skills practice tomorrow at 7:30AM on Hollywood Beach. It will be a 90 minute practice that includes a measured 400 meter course with buoys for navigation.  We’ll practice navigating/sight skills, race tempo exercises, entry/exit strategies and more.  This will not only be my first time attending  this practice, but also my first time training in open water. This will serve as a good gauge of my fitness level going into Sunday’s race.
    • I will pick up my bicycle at some point in the afternoon
    • 5:30PM – I will attend a Pre-Race Clinic and Q&A session. In this clinic, the owner of BodyZen will go over the race course, the most commonly violated rules, training, nutrition, and last-minute racing tips. All information that I definitely need to know-particularly since this is my first time.
    • I’ll be attending a friend’s birthday party, and then taking it in early to get a good night’s rest.
    • Before I go to bed, I’m going to go through my checklist and make sure I have everything that I need. This will all be a big learning experience, so I am not stressed.

    Nutrition:

    Last weekend, I got a bit lax with my diet. Nutrition is such a crucial component to training. I paid for it on my run on Wednesday. While I was able to run six miles the previous Wednesday, I only felt up to completing 4 this week. Ive also been drinking a lot of fruit juices. Worse, the juice that I have been consuming has not been of the 100% juice variety. I am a sucker for sweets and Mangos. There is this Mango juice that I like, but is so dangerous to me. If I just drink one cup, it’s a slippery slope. Can’t stop. Each cup contains more than 150 calories (20% juice and 35g of sugar). As I have been drinking more juice, I have been drinking less water. I am getting back on track and reversing that over these next two days. I will be drinking at least 95 oz of water each day. Adequate water consumption flushes out your system, and leans you out by reducing the water retention in your body. I will be opting the fruit juices for whole fruits. The rest of my normal diet can stay the same. The water/juice adjustment is an important one for me to make.

    All in all, I am feeling good. Ready or not, I’m going to finish the race. It’s already made up in my mind, and so I don’t see it happening any other way.  If you’re interested in following the journey, race details are listed below:

    Race starts at 7:15AM (my group starts at 7:22AM) on May 2nd at Crandon Park, Key Biscayne.

    Directions:

    From the North – I-95 south, exit #1 (Rickenbacker Causeway), head east towards Key Biscayne on the Rickenbacker Causeway until you reach the entrance to parking lots 3-4 (South Entrance of park) of Crandon park on the left hand side.

    From the South – Travel north on US1 (S Dixie Highway) to the Rickenbacker Causeway entrance. Head east towards Key Biscayne on the Rickenbacker Causeway until you reach the entrance to parking lots 3-4 (South Entrance of park) of Crandon park on the left hand side.

    Address:

    Crandon Park

    Lot 3-4

    4000 Crandon Blvd.

    Key Biscayne, FL 33149

    “Don’t you ever (blank) stop!”

    •April 28, 2010 • 1 Comment

    These words resonated with me during a conversation I had with someone I ran with this afternoon.  Today I trained at Hollywood Beach. On Wednesdays I attend a  half marathon training meet up group that meets on Hollywood beach at 6:30PM. I ran 4 miles today. During my run I was able to enjoy great conversations-one in particular was with a real cool gentleman who was an experienced runner/triathlete. He provided some of his insights on training. However, his most crucial advice was about race day. He said, no matter what I do, don’t ever stop running during my race. Slow down/shuffle if I have to, but don’t ever stop.

    Stopping is a slippery slope. Worse, I will hate myself for it afterwards, he said. Given the way he emphasized not stopping, I etched the advice away in my brain. I also knew it’s going to be important for me to ensure that I incorporate that discipline during my training.

    This is the beauty of pursuing the half ironman.  The intertwine between essential training and life principles.

    Miami: Friend or Foe?

    •April 26, 2010 • Leave a Comment

    This is the exact question I asked myself around 7:15 when my alarm went off on Sunday morning. The plan was to travel to Dania Beach for an 8:30AM training session. The training called for a 0.25 mi swim, 13 mi bike, and 3 mi run. Basically, this was going to be a warm up for next week’s sprint triathlon that I was doing.

    The problem was that I went to sleep just 75 minutes earlier, after a night on South Beach. There are tremendous benefits to training for Ironman 70.3 Miami, in Miami.

    Miami: Friend?

    Besides the obvious benefit of being in the location of the event, the warm weather, along with the beautiful scenery and access to beaches offer additional advantages. For instance, I no longer run on the treadmill at the gym. I run on the beach-the scenery is motivating and helps to mitigate the monotony of running.  The beaches allow me to get a lot of open water swim practice in. People who live in other locations may have to rely on swimming in pools.

    There are other aspects of Miami, however, that can induce a lifestyle that can make training for a half ironman challenging.

    Miami: Foe?

    For some people, it wouldn’t be an issue. Me, however, it’s going to be an added challenge. I like to go out and have fun. No question about it. Work hard, play hard. In fact, one of the components that I love most about Miami is that any given night can be a “vacation quality” night.

    Going forward, I am thinking about the adjustments I will need to make to ensure my training doesn’t become compromised. In any case, I’ve realized that there is a fine line between Miami being a friend or foe-at least for someone like me.

    (Note: Painfully, I got up and went to my training session. There will be a separate post for my Dania Beach Training)

    Dania Beach Training (4/25)

    •April 26, 2010 • Leave a Comment

    Sunday was interesting. I was a week away from my first official triathlon.  I was feeling excited.

    The training session on Sunday morning was going to help me gauge my fitness level. The plan called for a 0.25 swim, 12 mi bike, and a 3 mi run.  Despite being a bit tired due to my lack of sleep referenced in the previous post, I was excited. I arrived at the training location and met with Karin, who organizes a triathlon training meetup group.

    *Quick side note about meetup groups: Meetup.com is a fantastic website that brings people together who share similar interests. It’s a great way to meet new people and do different things. I use it for training.  Training with others allows me to hold myself accountable and train harder than I may train by myself.

    When I arrived at the training location, Karin notified me that there were too many Man-of-War in the water, and so we wouldn’t be swimming. It took me a second to figure out, what she was referring to.

    "Not technically a jellyfish, but a siphonophore, which is a colony of different animals living together. A Man-of-War can sting long after it has stranded on the beach and died. Avoid all contact with the purple tentacles".

    I then remembered, she was talking about a marine organism that resembles a jelly fish. Crap! I totally forgot to think about jellyfish.  I figured I needed to read up on them when I got home. My mind soon snapped to the scene of Will Smith in the bath tub in Seven Pounds. On the outside though, I maintained a confident look. I said “OK, so now what?”

    Without making this an overly long narrative, I am going to summarize what I did, and the key takeways from what I learned that day.

    Training that day consisted of a 1.5mi warm up run on the sand. We then grabbed our bikes and rode for about 14 mi. After our ride, we packed up our bikes, and went for a 3 mile street run. Even though we didn’t swim, I was able to come away with a lot from this training.

    Beach Run:

    • Running on sand can be a great way to mitigate the shock absorbed by your knee when you run on concrete.
    • The workout is more intense.

    Bicycle riding:

    • There is a significant difference between riding a road bike, and doing spin classes. Spin classes were great by helping to strengthen my legs. In fact, I was able to keep pace with my training partner. The differences, include:
      • Wind resistance– Depending on intensity, the wind can be a huge and impact how much energy you have to utilize. The bike course consisted of a big loop. On one side, we battled an 8-10mph head wind. Our speed for the bike portion ranged from 14-22mph, and that was all due to the wind and its direction.
      • Muscular endurance– It is important to develop strong legs, back, and core muscles. On the bike, you assume a position that puts a lot of strain on the back. I need to strengthen my back so the posture I assume while riding doesn’t create a lot of pain.
      • Fitting– It’s going to be crucial to get a comfortable seat. The seat on the bike that I used was not the most comfortable

    Street Run:

    • Fuel-& hydration – It’s going to be crucial to ensure that you are properly hydrated and consuming food/gels that will provide me with sufficient energy to finish the race/training. As time went on, the heat wore on me. Furthermore, I realized I was not properly hydrated.
    • Spin classes can be helpful-The spin classes helped me my making my legs pretty strong. I was able to keep pace with my training partner on the bike ride. You have to be careful though, because spin classes don’t allow you to simulate wind resistance, and the pedals on stationary bikes continue to spin, where as on a bicycle (unless fixed) do not. Therefore, stationary bikes are easier.

    After training, we went to breakfast at a nearby restaurant. I enjoyed the experience because I was able to learn a lot from the others. Although exhausted, I was invigorated from the work out. I left, looking forward to the next week’s race.

    Embracing the Curve

    •April 22, 2010 • Leave a Comment

    I am fascinated by big examples of  growth and development. It’s one of the greatest thing in the world: when someone/something goes from point A to point Z, via the acquisition of the necessary skills/tool kit that was not present before. If I am flipping through the TV stations and happen to  stumble upon the final episodes of the Biggest Loser, I will be glued to the set. I love watching transformations. The same goes for any program/story that documents a significant change. I think I’m fascinated because I’ve always loved magic as a kid, and these changes resemble something similar to an illusion to me. For example, a person that goes from 400lbs to 185 lbs, is the same entity. However, the whole world will look and respond to that person differently.

    By continually putting myself in positions where the learning curve is steep, I give myself the opportunity to grow and witness a transformation  firsthand.

    Below is the video of my second day in my master swimmers’ training class. I believe I’m the fourth person that goes in the video. I decided to enroll in this class because: a) maximizing efficiency is paramount for completing the Ironman 70.3, and achieving proper technique is the way to be efficient b) I’ve never had a formal swimming class. Therefore, I went into the class with the intention to unlearn everything that I may have thought I knew about swimming. I wanted to start from scratch and just follow the coach’s instruction. There is a methodical way of accomplishing things, and I wanted to do it properly. In the video, I think it’ll be clear that I’m the least experienced swimmer there. You’ll notice the black and yellow trunks I referenced in a previous post.  As for the rest, I’ll just let the video (shot April 8, 2010) speak for itself.

    I’m really happy that I have this video. It represents the beginning of the curve. I guarantee that before the Ironman 70.3 race, I will look like a totally different swimmer. Stay tuned for that video. I think it’s important to not shy away from the learning curve, but embrace it!

    If you want to take a look of an example of a swimmer applying good technique, look at this: