When I started this blog back in July, I wrote that one of the purposes was to chronicle my efforts to achieve a top-ten finish in the USAT Age Group Championship in 2011 when I inexplicably turn 60.
Soon after that I competed in the 2009 National championships in Tuscaloosa. I figured that would be a perfect way to frame my quest. When I triumph in 2011 I could point back to 2009 and show how much I’ve improved. In that sense I guess the 2009 race was a huge success, as I have amply demonstrated how much improvement is needed since I wasn’t able to even finish that race.
My problems all started with the swim. It was in the Black Hawk River – a lovely eight-four degrees and eighty percent of the course was swum against the current looking into the sun. I had expected (maybe hope would be a better word) to finish in thirty-four minutes. It took me fifty-eight. My legs started to cramp from dehydration before I finished the swim and by the time I got off the bike I couldn’t run.
If I am going to be competitive in two years I have to make huge improvements in my swim time.
Actually both drills are much worse than they sound. I figured waterboarding might be next so I stopped going to the classes.
Instead, I’ve been doing research. My tri coach, Craig Strong has written a series of articles called “Take Your Swim to the Next Level.” As I read the articles I found myself nodding my head as he described various problems. It turns out I am the perfect “before” swimmer: Float-challenged, poor balance, no rhythm, weak ineffective kick, improper breathing technique. I’m not even sure I’m wearing my goggles correctly. Maybe they’re upside down?