My favorite workout this week was a battle with a swim set named after Olympic female swimmer Misty Hyman. It was a set that I did with the high school team on Friday and Coach Tweedy warned us that the set would challenge us much more mentally than physically. The set consists of a 50 yard swim every 90 seconds but the catch is that the first 25 is an underwater kick with no breaths and no strokes to be taken. Once you hit the wall completely gasping for air you then turn and sprint back down the pool as fast as you can. Every 90 seconds you begin another one so if the kick and swim takes you 50 seconds you have 40 seconds to take in oxygen before beginning the next. Coach Tweedy was exactly right about the set challenging me mentally. The first one wasn't too bad but it burnt up a lot of my oxygen stores and on #2 I felt like I was going to pass out. Each time someone on the team came up early he added on one. There were actually a lot of kids that couldn't make it down the pool without a breath so we ended up doing 10 of them before he called it a set. I made it down the pool kicking with no breaths for all of them but I only wish I could say I beat Misty Hyman. She got the better of me because after the first one I started swimming back down the pool easy so that I could recover for the next one. It was so tough not to take a breath on the kick part that I didn't think I could make the next one if I sprinted back. For that reason I will chalk this one up for the opposition. I loved the set because with each one there was a little bit of doubt that crept into my mind as I would think I needed a breath and looked up to see I was still 10 yards from the wall. I managed to make it in but by not sprinting back down I can't say I won. I know the Ironman will be very similar. There will come a point in the race when I begin to wonder if I can continue on at 9:10 pace (my goal for St. George). If I ease up hoping to save energy for later I'll be doomed. The goal will never be met. I've got to learn through sets like this that it can be done. The body is phyically capable of so much more than the mind wants one to realize. I'm already looking forward to the next time we are challened with Misty Hyman 50's. I will make the underwater kick and then sprint back as fast as I can knowing full well that my body is capable of doing it. If you're at the pool and are bored try one out and you'll find how mentally challenging they are.
I'm four weeks in now. Each week I have added on volume and this week will be time to rest and recover while my body adapts to the demands I have placed on it the first 4 weeks. I'll still work out of course but my volume will be much lower so I can get ready for another build up through December. I already have some big weeks planned for the end of December while I'm on winter break. I can feel my body changing. I'm losing weight, getting stronger, and my confidence has grown leaps and bounds since I began training for 2011. That may be the greatest result of the training. I'm beginning to feel like a podium finish in St. George is going to happen. I had doubts 4 weeks ago as to whether or not my achilles was really ready to hold up through the demands I place on it in training. Those doubts have been completely erased. I hope all of you had an awesome Thanksgiving! It's a great time to set goals and begin working towards them. Each day...each week...and each month you will see progression. Work hard and know that nothing is impossible! Thanks for reading. DREAM BIG!