A 100-miler and a Boston qualifier!
It was a great weekend for a couple of major running accomplishments. Congratulations goes out to Todd Silva and Will Rossiter.
Todd ran the Cascades Classic 100-mile run in Washington State. This is a famous ultra-run over rugged terrain. Todd finished in 28:19:19 and marks his second 100-mile run this year!
At the Santa Rosa Marathon in CA, Will ran an impressive 3:09:08. He broke the Boston Qualifier time by almost a minute and recorded a PR!
Way to go, Todd and Will!
A 100-miler and a Boston qualifier!
Ironman Mont Tremblant, Lake Stevens 70.3, Jackson County Tri, MO, You Only Live Once Olympic, CO, San Diego Half Marathon, Maine 5 mi Run
Another exciting weekend of racing around the country and North America this past weekend. Our athletes competed in CA, MO, WA, ME, CO and Canada!
Congratulations to our Ironman Mont Tremblant finishers – SheriAnne Nelson and Frank Smith. SheriAnne finished in 10:37 and placed 6th in her AG. She did receive a roll-down spot for Kona, but had to turn it down this year. Frank came home in 16:30 and 96th place in his AG. He kept his marathon streak alive, as well, while finishing his 5th Ironman.
Ironman Mont Tremblant
SheriAnne Nelson – 10:37 – 6th AG
Frank Smith – 16:30 – 96th AG
Lake Stevens 70.3, WA
Simon Willman – 5:51 – 42nd in AG. Simon will be racing Ironman Lake Tahoe in a month!
Jackson County Tri, MO
Shawn Ryan – 2:32 – 36th overall and 9th in AG. Shawn is racing IMAZ in the fall.
You Only Live Once Olympic Tri, CO
Heidi Aarsby-Logsdon – 2:43 – 3rd in AG – racing Rev 3 full in Ohio
Dan Logsdon – 3:27 – 18th AG – will be racing his first ½ IM at the Rev 3 Ohio in Sep.
Maine 5 mi run
Dave Sprague – 49:22
San Diego ½ Marathon
Kyrsten Sinema – 2:34 – despite being sick all week!
USAT Nationals, Milwaukee, Mountain Man, Tri in the Pines, RAGNAR Colorado, Gopher to Badger Half Marathon
Wow, what a weekend of racing for our CC athletes! Laura Miles (pictured) put in a PR performance at USAT Nationals in Milwaukee, and we enjoyed several podium placings at our local races, too. Great job, guys!
Mountain Man Half Ironman
Tali Klip – 6:18 – 1st in AG and 5th overall female
Paul Kluzak – 5:12 – 10th overall male and 3rd in AG
Mountain Man Olympic
Matt Green – 2:40 – 10th in AG
Dana Kennedy – 3:04 – 2nd in AG
Caroline Sekaquaptewa – 3:19 – 5th in AG
Peter Ney – 2:19 – 9th overall male and 2nd in AG
Kathy Stanley – 2:43 – 1st in AG
Joan McGue – 4:04 – 2nd in AG
Kirk McCarville – 2:46 – 2nd in AG
Ashley Crossman – 3:01 – 7th in AG
Tom Thompson – 3:40 – 20th in AG
Tri-in-the Pines Sprint – Payson
Justin Roylance – 1:01 – 2nd overall male
Marianna Heon – this was her 7th RAGNAR event this year!
USAT National Champs Olympic Distance – Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Laura Miles – 2:43 PR!!
Puttin’ in the Charity Miles for Alzheimer’s Association – thank you, John!
John Misner – 2:09
Gopher to Badger Half Marathon – Hudson, Wisconsin
Anne Jackson – 1:44 – 3rd in AG
Some swimmers actually get to experience conditions these, the ones leading the race, like an Andy Potts or a Lars Jorgenson, once they’ve broken away from the pack.
But for most of us, we scrum in this world:
It’s sort of not fair, is it?
But since this is our reality, let’s focus on ways to cope with the challenges we face in a mass open water swim. These tips are applicable to anyone, but I’m primarily focusing on those of you who are just trying to get through the swim, those with the goal of making it out of the water without a panic attack.
So without further ado . . .
1. When you first enter the water and duck your head under, give a good exhale, like really good. Make it long. “Empty” the lungs. This will ensure that the first breath you take when you surface is a deep one. When we get anxious, the breaths come shallow and fast, moving only “dead” air up and down the trachea—i.e., nothing happening at the cellular level in the alveoli where the oxygen transfer takes place.
2. Exhale adequately. Most breathing, and thus, anxiety problems are due to an inadequate exhale. Maintain a slow exhale through your mouth and/or nose when underwater, a light bubbling. Humming is a good way to remember to exhale. This also keeps the exhale at a slow rate instead of a too-forceful blast. Also, you want to hear the sound of air leaving your mouth and/or nose as you roll through the surface—i.e., don’t stop your exhale prior to clearing the surface. This way, the subsequent inhale comes in automatically. If you are actively thinking about inhaling, then something is wrong with the exhale.
3. Swim with your mouth loosely open underwater. After inhaling with your mouth, there’s really no need to close it—it’s just an extra step. This will help relax the facial muscles, reducing fatigue and tension. When you clamp your mouth down hard underwater, puffing out your cheeks, you’re creating gobs of tension. You can bring your lips together slightly on the roll up to breathe to keep the water out of your throat. To learn about this in more detail, click here.
4. Relax your recovery. So much extra tension is carried during the recovery phase of the stroke. The recovery phase is the part of the stroke where your hand exits the water after pulling to where it enters the water for the next stroke. Your forearm should literally hang from your elbow as the elbow moves forward. The forearm should be limp, the wrist limp, the fingers loose. To read more, click here.
5. Fingertip drag. This is a great way to practice a relaxed recovery. Let your fingers drag gently in the water as you swim to remind yourself to relax the recovery. You can do this in the pool in your workouts, but also, you can do this in the race, either when warming up beforehand or in the first several yards of the race. Keep it easy. Keep it gentle. More here.
6. Relax your extension. This is common—swimmers, crazy with rigidity, driving or spearing their arms forward when entering the water following recovery. The extension, just like the recovery, should be tension-free.
7. Pull your wet suit away from the neck to let water into the torso area. This might help relieve the pressure you feel of the suit against your chest. Do this just after getting in.
8. Don’t kick. Like literally. Especially when your goal is just to get out of the flippin’ water. When you’re in a wet suit, there is no need to kick. Let your legs float behind you. Usually, when I tell my swimmers not to kick, their legs still move, but in a very small way just for balance. You will save buckets of energy if you do this. I can’t tell you how many of my swimmers have found instant relief in this. You do not have to kick, no matter what anyone tells you. Other swimmers and coaches with competitive swimming backgrounds will swear up and down that you MUST kick. Well . . . you don’t.
9. Do 2-count breathing instead of 3-count breathing. Again, I hear this all the time, that you MUST do 3-count, or bilateral, breathing. No, you don’t. Two-count is perfectly acceptable and brings you to oxygen sooner. When we fall behind on our oxygen intake, we get tensed, anxious, and panicked, lifting our heads and flailing, and it’s often because we’re trying to stick to a 3-count breathing pattern. Yes, there are many advantages to 3-count breathing, but really, the need for oxygen and a relaxed, sustainable breathing pattern trumps everything. Read in more detail here.
10. Go with the flow of contact, meld with it. No matter how well you seed yourself, you’re going to have contact in the swim. If you your arms get whacked or someone swims over your legs or whatever, let your body be spaghetti, keep the arms turning until you’re clear. Never push back or “fight” the contact.
11. Know that breaks are allowed. You can rest vertically oriented, head up, as the wet suit floats so well, using no more than light scull. Or, you can rest on your back, take several composing breaths, and then be on your way. Or, if you’re really desperate, hang onto a kayak or raft. As long as you don’t make forward progress, it’s legal.
12. Use a tempo trainer. These are little metronomes that you clip onto your goggle strap or tuck under your cap, and you can set them to beep at a specific stroke rate. When you use a tempo trainer for the purpose of helping you remain calm in the water, match the stroke rate on the tempo trainer with a relaxed, sustainable stroke rate you’d like to keep for your race. Concentrate on the beeps, the rhythmic nature of it, the steadiness of it. One arm entry for each beep. Tempo trainers are made by Finis, if you’re interested.
13. Utilize the practice swim time, if offered. It depends on the venue, but sometimes set hours are offered to swim the course or part of the course in practice in the days leading up to the race. If it’s offered, take advantage. It’s a great way to get some of the race day jitters out ahead of time.
14. Arrive early. This should be a no-brainer, but arriving late is a huge stress inducer that leads to anxiety in the swim.
15. Practice in the open water. A given, but the more you do it, the easier it becomes to relax in an open water environment.
16. Practice in your wet suit. Do not be that guy who shows up to the race, un-worn wet suit in hand, price tag still attached. Similarly, even if you’ve owned a wet suit for a while, prior to a race, ensure you have swum in it recently. Often, we squeeze into this constricting, claustrophobic, choking piece of rubber on race day and it’s been months since the last time we’ve last worn it. Ugh. Whether in the pool or the open water, gaining time in your wet suit helps with relaxing come race day. I know wet suit companies say not to wear your suit in the pool, but just so you know, I’ve done it for years, carefully rinsing them after, and the suits have come out of it just fine.
17. Give yourself plenty of time to put on your wet suit. Sort of like arriving early, you want to start this process with enough lead time that you don’t feel rushed. Twenty-five to thirty minutes ahead of your race start is not too far in advance to be putting on your suit. If it’s hot, leave it rolled down at the waist, but at least have the legs on and everything pulled up high in the crotch (crass, I know, but it is what it is) so the suit doesn’t pull down unnecessarily on your shoulders once you have the top on.
18. Tread water gently, especially in a wet suit. This is applicable with deep water starts, where you need to float for a few minutes prior to swimming. So much energy is wasted here with unnecessary kicking and arm movements. If you’re in a wetsuit, you need only the gentlest of arm sculls to keep your head above water. To see what I mean, practice in water deeper than you can stand, take a breath, hold it, put your arms at your sides, keep your legs together (no movement) and practice bobbing. Be sure to notice, to internalize, that when your head drops below the surface, it pops right back up. Add a slow bubbling of air out of your nose and relax.
19. Stop when the starter says go. Yes, you’re rarin’ to go, you’re tapered, you’re rested, you are on. It’s easy to get carried away, starting way faster than you should, your oxygen needs quickly outpacing your oxygen supply. But if you’re trying to remain relaxed, attempting to get through the swim without panicking, you can afford to stay put, while everyone else takes off. Seed yourself well (in the back or to the sides) so you don’t get run over, wait for the gun to go off, then hang out until some space clears, and you can be on your way.
20. Be where you are. Sounds like a Bruce Lee quote, right? But hear me out. Rather than finding yourself in the middle of a swim and thinking, “Holy crap! I’m in the freaking middle of a BIG freaking lake, with no bottom, no sides, nothing to hold on to, *!$@!,” shift your thinking to where you are, to the two or three feet in your immediate vicinity. Think about a technique item, a relaxed recovery, an easy entry, loose fingers, focus on a good exhale, count the number of strokes between sighting for the next buoy. You want to get to a place mentally where it feels like you’re swimming on a treadmill, happy with where you are, not desperate to get somewhere else.
By employing some of the suggestions above, you just might find yourself using the words open water swimming and enjoyable in the same sentence. Now, wouldn’t that be something?
We would like to recognize Beth Lofquist who raced the classic Barb’s Race this past weekend in CA. This ½ IM is one of the most popular all women’s races in the country. Barb finished in 7:01 on a day where the temps exceeded 90 deg on the run. This was good enough for 8th place of 40 in her AG! Way to go Beth!
Ironman Canada, Calgary 70.3, Chisago Half Ironman, Cotton Classic Time Trial, Swimming Summer Sectionals, Portland, OR
Big races to report on this weekend! Congratulations to Sally Borg (pictured) for finishing her first Ironman at Ironman Canada! Congratulations also goes out to Heather Grahame who finished her first 70.3 in Calgary!
Sally Borg – 14:41 9th in AG – 1st Ironman!
Heather Grahame – 6:03 6th in AG – 1st 70.3!
Here in the States, John Misner finished the Chisago ½ IM in Minnesota with a time of 6:32. His time last year in the same race was 7:18. John demanded that I note in this report that he was un-coached by Camelback Coaching prior to the same race last year.
In Arizona, Julie Kimball took 1st in her AG at the Cotton Classic Time Trial. Julie will be racing in the USA Cycling National Championships later this summer.
On the swimming side, we want to congratulate Tom Ottman who qualified for Junior Nationals in both the 200 and 400 meter freestyle at Summer Sectionals last weekend in Portland, OR. He dropped 3 seconds in his 200 free to swim 1:55 and dropped 4 seconds in the 400 to swim 4:06. Congratulations, Tom!
Good luck to Kirk Lacko, Patrick Haenel, Eero Allison and Heather Dean who are racing Ironman Boulder this weekend!
From the time your hand exits the water to the time it enters, you are giving your arm the opportunity to rest. Or, you should be. There is nothing to be gained by tension in the arms during the recovery phase of the swim stroke. Nothing.
Why do we carry tension in the recovery?
I can understand why it happens. You rush out of the office, drive to the pool in traffic, forget your swim suit, curse yourself for your stupidity, drive home to get it, curse yourself again because of all the planning you did to try to get ahead of the game and bring your swim stuff to work and it was all for naught, you finally arrive at the pool, dash into the locker room, check your watch, 30 minutes until your conference call, suit on, cap on, goggles on, sprint out to the pool, every lane full, ask first person if they mind circling and they say yes, crap, move to next lane, person floating on a noodle, can I share a lane, well, yes, I guess you can, you shrug, better than nothing, jump in, first lap, goggles leak, check watch, 20 minutes left, screw the warm-up, screw the drills, I need a workout damn it, 10 x 100 on 1:30 go, go, go, drive that hand into the water, spear it hard, pull like the devil, whip hand past the hip, contract every arm muscle you have and throw the arm forward again, yes, yes, yes, you’re working hard, squeezing every drop out of your limited swimming time, breathing in gulps, you drive your hand into the wall on that final stroke. Done! Yes! Another successful swim workout!
Whew . . .
Ok, then. So let’s breathe in deeply . . . hold it a moment . . . there . . . now let it go . . . slowly . . . ahhhhh.
So, yeah, there are many reasons a rigid recovery happens, none of which will benefit you in the long run. And let me emphasize, lest you think otherwise, a tense recovery will not help you swim faster. It will help you fatigue faster, but that’s about it.
Focus points to think about during the recovery phase of the swim stroke:
- After you finish your pull, think of “releasing” your arm into recovery. Don’t pull it, lift it, throw it. Release.
- Let your elbow guide the recovery movement. Your forearm, hand, and fingers should hang from your elbow like a marionette arm. Loose. Relaxed. Like spaghetti. Resting. Recovering.
- When it’s time to enter, should you drive, spear, and grunt? No. Let your hand drop, slide, glide. Use gravity. Your hips and elbow are high. Use this potential energy. Let it all drop and your body will transition to the other side.
You know that fingertip drag drill your coaches always have you do? One of the many benefits of that drill is learning how to relax the arm during recovery. Your fingers should lazily drift through the water as they move forward. How relaxed can you make this movement? A drag and a drop. That’s what it should feel like. Slow down the recovery, drag and drop. Easy. Relaxed.
Warm-up is an ideal place to practice the fingertip drag drill. When you need to come down from work or whatever else life has thrown at you that day, do fingertip drag. For example, swim one length fingertip drag, followed by an easy length of quality freestyle, focusing on a relaxed recovery, on the way back. You can even do a few lengths of this this between your main sets to remind yourself to let go of the tension.
This isn’t just about the stroke looking pretty, it’s about energy management. Accumulated fatigue. Don’t let needless tension gobble up precious glycogen and fry your arms. Relax. And do what the stroke says you should. Recover.
Congratulations to Matt Green who competed the world famous Iron-distance race in Roth with a time of 12:10. Kim Essendrup ran the Roth sprint distance race on Friday in a time of 1:28.
Frank Smith kept his monthly marathon streak alive by finishing the Lisle Six-Hour Ultra Run in 5:53. He covered 27 miles over the hilly course and took 2nd in his AG.
In Flagstaff, Brent Nichols, Joan McGue and Jim Rassi raced the Taylor House cycling event.
We want to wish good luck to Sally Borg who is racing her first IM race this weekend at Ironman Canada and to Heather Grahame who is racing her first ½ IM at theCalgary 70.3. Good luck, guys!
Lots of results from this weekend!
In CA, athletes raced the Carlsbad Sprint Tri, one of the oldest and best triathlons in the US, and Vineman 70.3 a bit further north.
Justin Roylance – 1:16 – 1st in AG and 16th overall
Jake Pruett – 2:03 – 3rd in Challenged Division
Cameron Donnell – 1:39 – 34th in AG
Darren West – 1:28 – 18th in AG
Luke Hamman – 1:32 – 9th in AG
Laura Miles – 5:54 – 34th in AG
Russell VanBeber – 6:16 – 167th in AG
Eric Montgomery – 5:55 – 95th in AG
Summerfest ½ Marathon
Andy Cashetta – 1:45 – 3rd in AG
Angie Stoller – 1:45 – 2nd in AG
Mountain Man Sprint
Troy Olhausen – 1:22 – 5th in AG
Jona Davis – 4th overall and 1st in AG
Rebecca Felmly – relay
Good luck to Matt Green and Kim Essendrup who are racing in Roth, Germany this weekend. Matt is doing the Ironman Distance classic and Kim is racing the Sprint. Roth is the best triathlon festival in the world!
Congratulations to Heather Grahame who won her AG in the Spring Meadow Olympic Triathlon in Montana. Heather will be racing the Calgary 70.3 in a couple of weeks. Here in AZ, at the JCC Sprint, Dana Kennedy took 2nd in her AG and Russell VanBeber took 1st in his. In Utah, Marianna Heon ran the RAGNAR Wasatch Back Relay – her 6th of the year! That’s the gorgeous photo shown here.