I had a good week of swimming that capped off with a 2500 yard Master Swim on Sunday (a little more than a mile and a quarter.) One of my students who is on the college swim team told me that their warm-up is 2200 yards and that he usually swims between 7000 and 10,000 yards during a practice. Of course, he gets the advantage of only training one sport as opposed to three simultaneously. I spent the first half an hour in the pool learning how to do flip turns. The result: not quite there yet. I can not seem to manage a somersault in the pool, even though I spent countless hours doing them as a child vying for the attention of my parents who pretended to watch for hours.
I ran my first 5K since my injury back in September on Saturday. I made sure I warmed up the legs beforehand by stretching and doing a nice pre-race jog. I started slow. I ran with my brother for the first half mile who runs at a slightly slower pace than I do. I picked up the pace about a mile in. I could feel the fatigue in my legs still and my wind was a little short after not running for so long. A lot of athletes I talk to think that swimming is the most difficult cardiovascular workout, (someone recently told me that it requires four times the effort to swim a mile than it does to run one.) It may very well be a better cardiovascular workout, but I do not think there is any substitution for any of the disciplines. I noticed that I really could not push it too much more than I was doing. I ended up running a moderate 7:51 pace for the race. The knees and foot felt good until my brother ended up finishing and we went back to run with his wife. I noticed my right knee started hurting a little bit and I had a slight pain on the left side of my right foot. It will subside—I have been there before. My friend Jodie—who reminded me several times that she beat me—was awarded first prize for females 20-29—great job Jodie! (That's her on the left with the pink hat with Karen Leastman who also ran.) My brother Leonard ended up running 4-minute PB over his fastest 5K. Now, that is impressive! I am not sure he realizes just how ridiculous of an improvement that is over a 5K.
As a result of all this discomfort, I have started an intense daily stretching routine. My goal is to increase my overall flexibility. My wife, who has the flexibility of Gumby, is coaching me along and we are starting to stretch together in the evenings. Remarkably, I have seen dramatic results after only a few days of prolonged (at least 20-30 minutes) of stretching. My hamstrings were not just tight, they were a liability out there racing. Tight hamstrings lead to a shorter stride, knee, hamstring and foot pain. What tends to happen is that I will compensate for my muscle tightness by changing my natural gait—not good!
I am very conscious of not eating like an Ironman while my training has decreased in volume over the last month, but it has been difficult. I make sure that I am on that bike or in that pool everyday burning some calories keeping my weight down.
I am going to try to run another race this weekend. There is a great 10 miler for Hospice, but I think I better listen to my body right now and just run another 5K and reassess things after that.