Monday, November 17, 2014

Victory over the Fenns at Spartway

Here is a brief Q&A consisting of some questions people have asked me and some that I just made up. 

How did you train for it?
Mostly by swimming and lifting heavy things. Also a little bit of running.

what was the toughest obstacle?
The bear crawl right at the beginning. Bear crawl starts out moderately hard. But going uphill increases difficulty one step. Extra long distance gets at least another increase (maybe two) I'm guessing about 200yds of bear crawl uphill. Oh yes and doing this on extremely course sandpaper adds one more step while simultaneously causing tremendous pain. So if my math is correct and you would normally rate bear crawls at a 5 out of ten on difficulty this obstacle would get a 9 and an asterisk to indicate terrible pain and possible bleeding hands.
The fact that this was the first obstacle actually had me wondering what I had got myself into.

What was the easiest?
For me: the low walls. At 5' or maybe a little less I figure they are only there to annoy shorter people. (then again those shorter people probably had an easier time with the bear crawl so who really got the better deal?)

Which obstacles am I best at? (compared to the folks around me)
Climbing(rope and walls)
Also  for some reason the overhead ball slams. Everyone around me seemed to be moving in slow motion on that one.

Which ones am I worst at?
The box jumps at the end. This time I was the one moving in slow motion.
Also the heavy jump rope. Never done that before. Maybe there is a knack to it. But I kept losing my grip on the rope, mistiming my jumps and generally looking like a klutz.

What would I do in training to run it better?
I should run more. Regular running might mean I could recover from a tough obstacle while running to the next one.


So I completed the Spartan Sprint at Fenway this weekend. I've done the local Mud Run three times now but this was my first experience with one of the big name events. So first the basics:

Who: The Spartanrace people
What: The Spartan Sprint
When: Saturday 11/15/14
Where: Fenway in Boston
Why: I've been wanting to try another obstacle race

Next the bad points: Fenway was crowded and cold. Also, compared to a nice state park, dirty. This made spectating relatively unpleasant. Lesson learned. Don't bring the whole family. At least not to this venue. More signage and/or crowd control would have been useful. Something like "Race start: that way" "Spectators Here and Here"
The race course suffered from a little bit of the same problem. We spent a lot of time running narrow stairs and through the stands. So most of the time there was no passing; everybody just trots along together.
All that out of the way the course was tremendous fun

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Joke's on Me

On Tuesday I did my biggest swim ever. I was pulled frustratingly close to the GW bridge because that thing was just not getting any closer. On Wednesday I went for a nice easy swim in Laurel Lake. On Thursday I picked up a glass of water and suddenly it felt like I'd been stabbed in the shoulder. On Friday I felt a little tickle in my throat. I spent Saturday on the couch with a fever.

So maybe that swim took a little more out of me than I thought.

Friday, June 27, 2014

8 Bridges Stage 6 Intro

There is a conversation going on Marathon Swimmer's Forum about DNF's. So it feels appropriate to be writing about my first DNF. It's funny, because in many way this is my best swim to date. But I'm still frustrated.

So what was good?
Nutrition: I felt solid for a full six hours. None of that aching hunger that usually starts showing up after 3 to 4 hours.

When I swam Kingdom Swim 2012 I finished in 5:27. That was my previous longest time in water. It was too long. That swim sapped all my motivation for weeks.

On Tuesday I spent 6:30 swimming in what, for me, is very rough water and I felt fine. Obviously my arms were aching, as well as my neck and my stomach a little And my legs were all rubbery. But the next day I was still fine. Tired, hungry, sore, but already looking for my next swim.

My stroke count was steady the whole time. Even at the end when I was really starting to feel it. 

I suspect this is almost all due to nutrition. More calories and better calories. Better nutrition means swimming better a few hours in and it means feeling better afterwards. I guess this is not news.

Also, it can't be said enough: The race directors, volunteers, and crew of all the support boats are fantastic. Thanks for making another little trip down the Hudson possible for me.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Laurel Lake

Wednesday night. The day after my biggest swim ever. Six and a half hours in the water and boy are my arms tired.

But I felt pretty good for all that and decided to join up for a swim in Laurel Lake. The water felt a touch colder than the Hudson, even though it wasn't. I thought I would just take it nice and easy. Really stretch out my stroke. The swim is a rough triangle about 1.5 miles altogether. It felt good to swim towards something that wasn't moving away from me. The relatively flat water felt glassy smooth  after a day in the Hudson. I guess I really am a lake swimmer at heart.

Naturally as soon as we reach the furthest point there is a rumble of thunder in the distance. So the last leg of the swim turned out to be faster than I intended.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Tuesday strength training

This picture shows how I finished my workout today.
No it's not a deck of cards. It's half a deck of cards. 
The tear started off center, probably because of the duct tape, which made it much harder to finish the tear. 23 cards. That is as many as I've ever done at once. 

Thursday, January 2, 2014

2013 Map

I rather liked the little map I had last year. So I decided to do another one. So far I'm staying in my region of the U.S. That is now 7 states (they are really small on the map)

2013 Open Water

For the beginning of the new year I will take a little time summarize my 2013 season and think a little bit about next year.

My 2013 open water season:

The Great Hudson River Swim (cancelled due to weather)
The Great Chesapeake Bay Bridge Swim
Stage 3 Of the 8 Bridges Swim
The Lake Willoughby Swim (didn't swim due to injury)
The Lake George 10k (didn't swim due to injury)
The Lake Moreau Swims
The Little Red Lighthouse Swim
The Newport Sharkfest Swim

Not as many events as 2012.  And a different mix of locations.  I am counting Newport Harbor as an ocean swim, even though it is one of the most enclosed pieces of ocean to be found.