Category Archives: Swimming

IT’S OPEN ON THE BIG END, BABY !!!!!

yogiI know that I have used this quote on more than one occasion, but I just love it ! It is so true too. I really like where my mind is going these days in terms of my fitness goals and triathlon goals. There have been plenty of occasions that I could have chased out some negative thread of thought and said “No way I can do this.” Even this morning at the pool I had one more occasion to get to ride someone else’s negative rift, but frankly I just feel to good about the progress made so far to allow that! I am still feeling pretty high from the weekend at the Austin Marathon, my confidence is growing. What was once my worst fear of an event, swimming, is now becoming one of my favorites. While I thought that my running times seemed so insanely slow, I made progress that was beyond what I would have thought possible. So today my mind is right on track!

I remember one thing that my mentors in another area of my life always told me “you can’t think yourself into right action, you have to act yourself into right thinking”. If I had not learned this lesson and listened to people that had learned how to make positive changes in their life and then taken actions that at times didn’t appear to even make sence, I wouldn’t have the life I have today. Truth be known, I would probably not be alive. So I keep that experience close to my heart when I hear those negative voices, either internal or external, giving me the skeptics chant. Those voices are only real if I act on them instead of acting in a positive way regardless of what else might be heard.

Learning to shelve the negative voices is only a part of the game though, watering the seeds of the positive life-giving voices is the other side of the coin. The more that I feed “the good wolf” the stronger it will get! So everytime I complete one more good workout , I feed “the good wolf”. Everytime I do my workout even when my mind might want me to slough off, I feed “the good wolf“. The smile I get after completing my swim workout, that is food for “the good wolf“. The time I spend getting to practise meditation, that is food for “the good wolf” too.  Every time I get the chance to give someone else a lift of encouragement and share my experiences with my difficulties and how I was able to walk through them, that too is feeding “the good wolf“. That’s what I want to be about, feeding “the good wolf“; not only mine but others too.

One of my favorite sayings that my mentor consistenly tells me is “life is open on the big end , baby” ! The guy helped me walk through some of the darkest times of my entire life and kept telling me that over and over.  He didn’t ever promise me it was easy though, but he always told me it would be rewarding beyond my wildest dreams. Ride a bike 100 miles? Run a half-marathon? Swim a mile? Do a 70.3 triathlon? Not even imaginable 5 years ago. Ride a bike 100 miles? Run a half-marathon? Swim a mile? Do a 70.3 triathlon? Hell ya !

And ya know what, that’s just what I can see and dream today! I believe in the un-imaginable today ! IT’S OPEN ON THE BIG END, BABY!!!!!

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Body, Mind, and Soul

Quote-439-300x300When I first started this blog several years ago the original title of the blog was “Body, Mind, and Soul”, so today I am going to go back to that pattern for this post. There are lessons that I am learning along this Road To Glaveston;  some new, some old with renewed strength. So with this being my first post in over a week, I feel somewhat refreshed and not nearly as over-whelmed in writing this morning. I like the tri-concept of body, mind, and soul; it seems to weave a really beautiful tapestry of life.

Body- Physically last week I was to have a recovery week in my workout routine. If recovery was the goal, I acheived that. I had two scheduled days of rest and ended up with 3 rest days. There were three workouts that were my highlights, each for different reasons. My swim workout was awesome this week, I really enjoy getting into the pool. I wouldn’t have ever thought that swimming would become so enjoyable. For me to come full-circle in swimming is a big deal! My favorite run this week was Saturday’s Fridgid Five in Edmond. We did this event with my brother in law. He wanted to do a run to celebrate his 70th birthday, so we had a nice dinner out with them on Friday and met them for the run on Saturday.  Jim has been a lifelong runner and has done the Boston Marathon a couple of times too. I know my wife felt good about doing that with him too. She feels like her mom would have been proud to see them running together. The bike ride on Sunday at the lake was really relaxing, it was to be 90 minutes of riding just for enjoyment. I put in my headphones and did lake laps. It was refreshing too, helped me to get my head clear.  Hopefully with the recovery week I will be able to hit this week  in full gear. We will cap the coming week off with a good trip to Austin for the Livestrong Marathon.

Mind-  My mind is in pretty good shape this week. Mentally I feel pretty positive about where I am with the Road To Galveston. There are times that I wonder “are you friggin nuts?” but those are usually fleeting and I don’t feed them with second thoughts. But more importantly there are times that I think “what else can we do?”, the opening up of a wide range of possibilities is so refreshing to me.  I don’t just mean what other exercise goals, not just the thought of another physical challenge like maybe a 140.6 or maybe something like a Leadville 100 bike challenge; I have some other challenges that are teasing me too. The ability to put my mind in better focus towards goals is opening up some other new possibilities that I have thought were maybe lost to my age.  So stay tuned this year, there just might be some other journeys on the horizon.

Soul- Spiritually this last week was really good. I had the opportunity to spend some time with another man listening to his life story; the good, the bad, the ugly. I love getting to do that, it is a real honor and priveledge. If you have never had the chance to sit down and tell someone your entire life story, warts and all, not withholding anything, give it some thought. Maybe it might be something you would consider for Lent this season. Richard Foster talks a little about this in his book Celebration of Discipline, and I believe that it captures the spirit of two verses in particular in the Christian faith James 5:16 ” Confess your sins one to another that ye may be healed.” and Matthew 18:20 “Wherever two or three gather in my name, I am with them.” When I get the opportunity to listen to someone like this, it reminds me of how we are all just human, trying our best and at times our ‘not so best’, and really I have never felt anything but a real sense of love and care that I know comes from our best “Spirit”. It also helps me to loosen some of that hyper-criticalness I have toward myself too. Looking forward this week towards Lent, I know that I have one commitment that I want to be diligent with, that is daily meditation. As far as something that I might sacrifice, I still am not sure what that will be. I am looking forward to this season though, it is one of my favorite times of the Christian faith.

So there you go! That’s the recap from last week. Hope you find something useful in my ramblings today.

Don’t you just LOVE THE GRAMMYs? Today’s tune is from Ed Sheeran and Elton John singing A Team. Elton John was a true ‘elderstatesman’ last night, what a great man he has become.

Have a blessed week.

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The Hopeful Path

hopeagainFeels good to get all my workouts in today. My attitude is getting back in shape and just knowing that even though this week was sorta abnormal in the way my schedule unfolded, I feel good about the fact that I will get all my workouts done this week. That’s just pretty cool too. I just decided to not sweat it, just do the stuff as I could. Get flexible, and create a way to get it all done!

This evening I had two workouts to get done; one run and a swim. The run was a 50 minute run that i did at Oklahoma Christian running trails. It is so cool to get out there and see all the work they have gotten done on the trails. They are working on installing the lighting that will light the entire path at night. Night running is just around the corner, that is going to be so cool too. It will make my training so much more flexible; with a good lighted path, that opens up earlier morning runs and later evening runs. We are really excited about that. The swim workouts are the most difficult to work into a busy schedule, but it is possible. Ya just gotta think about the possible, not worry about the impossible! So I flipped this swim workout to tonight just to make sure I got it in. I am continuing to enjoy progress in swimming, I actually really like swimming now. Tonight I had 2000 yards to do, I thought it went pretty well too. I did several drills with the buoy too, that is getting more comfortable all the time too. I got to share a lane with a guy that looked like he was swimming like I was swimming in September/October, it was nice to see. God, he looked like he was pissed at the water! It was like he just wanted to kill the water. So I knew I was making some progress.

I was reading something on Siri Lindley’s(my grand-coach) website earlier that caught my eye. It was about her coaching philosophy, she said “My goal is to have every athlete I coach, achieve their every dream while having fun, and learning about themselves, every single day.” I really like that idea too. She is my coaches coach, and thats the same attitude I get from my coach too. I belive in the process and the road that I am on, and it’s getting more fun every day. It’s work, but damn it sure feels good.

Tonights tunes will be, The Fixx doing “One Thing Leads To Another”. One of my all time favorites!

Good night !

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Some Days Are Better Than Others

Somedays life comes at you, so you just duck your head and get done what has to be done. Today I just felt really sad, watched a family say good-bye to someone that was going way to soon. Mortality seemed heavy today. I also saw the best of people too, people caring for family and friends in  their time of loss. There was a lot of really rich love and care in that church today.

I had a couple of workouts to get done today. I did my 2200 yrd swim at 5am and did a 50 minute treamill run this evening after my dinner settled. I am usually pretty upbeat these days, but it sure is sad seeing friends and their families struggling with their loss today. It’s especially hard when it seems it is “before their time”.

My thoughts and prayers go out to those hurting tonight.

Tonight let’s go with George Winston’s High Plains Lullaby.

Good night, God bless.

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Fitting It In On A Friday

triathlon-logoIt seems almost odd to be looking forward to heading to the YMCA for a swim, but that is exactly how swimming has become. Today I had two workouts on my schedule, one was a 45-60 minute trainer ride and the other was actually an optional 1000yrd swim. Doing the trainer ride was good, but the swim was the workout I was looking forward to most.

After the swim test earlier in the week where the 500 yard distances didn’t go as well as expected, I set my eyes on this workout. It was 1000 yards, to be done anyway I wanted consisting of 25,50,75, or 100s. So technically I followed my directions, here is the workout:

8 x 25 x 10r odd swim even catchups
2 x 100 x 30r swim
1 x 500 swim or to keep to the directions uh, 5×100 x 0r 😉
4 x 25 x 20r 2catchup 2swim

I really wanted to get back in there and do the 500 better and not freak the f(*& out this time. So that’s what I did. Ever since the test the other day I have planned on doing that, especially after doing the really good 200 as a cool down at the end of the test that went so well. It felt good to get a good one in, just to prove to myself it was all good.

I did a one hour easy spin on the bike that went just fine too. Mostly I wanted to get it in before we went out to dinner tonight, so that we could come home without something left to do.

Earlier today I got a call from Bill, the owner of Papa Dios, telling me that he was having the special meatloaf tonight! I love food, especially really good food! Their food is always excellent, but the meatloaf is something special that they only make occasionally. When they make it he has me on his “meatloaf” call list. So tonight we ate at Papa’s. That was good for Becky too because she got some good pasta carbs for her Sunday marathon in Waco. I am officially fat, happy, and full now!

Tonight I want a little Five for Fighting’s 100 Years.

Hope you have a great weekend.

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Test Week – Swimming…… Good Bye Tarzan

stopwatchI have to say, right now, I am just on fire inside! I just finished my first swim test since starting to work with my new coach. I wanted to say that right off the bat to set the context for how I feel about where I am. I struggled BIG TIME doing the first of two 500’s for my test. I finished with a cool down of 200 that was beautiful, maybe the most relaxed swim ever. So today I set a benchmark for the next time we test. It could have been easy to get really overwhelmed with the struggle of the test, but not when it is in it’s proper context.

So this was the first time I have ever done a swimming time test. I started off with 500 yrds of warm-up 25’s. They felt fine, nothing out of ordinary. Just the same drills from the last month. I felt pretty comfortable, my breathing was ok. When I did the fast laps, they felt really great. Then after doing the warm-up it was time to do my first 500 yrd time test. I jumped out the on the first 25 really fast and probably by 50 I was really struggling. I don’t really know why but I was worried I wouldn’t be able to even get to 200. My instructions were to not worry about it if I couldn’t do the straight through 500, just pause catch breath and start back. So I had to do that several times after about 150-200. I was really having a hard time not struggling with the water. Occasionally towards the end I would relax for a 25; but it was kinda ugly, I’m not gonna lie about it. After the first 500 swim I was to rest for a minute and put on my fins for a 500 with fins. That went much better, of course. But besides the help of the fins, somewhere after about 50 with the fins I settled down inside. I didn’t fight it so much. It never felt so good to have my buddy that was timing me say, “that’s it”. I was damn glad to get it done!

After the test I was to do a 200 cool down. My first thought was “shit, I just struggled my ass off to do that first 500. How am I gonna do 200.” Then I pushed off the end and it was the best damn 200 I have ever put together. I was totally relaxed, felt like I was cutting through the water down the lane. My breathing was in perfect stride too. Unbelievable. The only comparison
would be playing a round of double bogey golf and finishing 18 with a sweet drive 30 yards from the green and chipping in for an eagle. Was a great way to finish. Hopefully next time I will relax into the timed part like that too.

So what was the take away? I have a benchmark for comparison, I have my first time test under my belt, I know I will get much better, and I feel great about the thought of just how far I have actually come in the last 2 months. Seriously, until the first of November I couldn’t even swim with my head under water so this is great! I have no doubts that the distance will get there now. It was a great feeling this morning when I finished. You can’t even imagine how it feels to be on the otherside of something that had dominated me for over 45 years! The days of Tarzan Swimming are over! And the Road To Galveston looks a little bit brighter today!

Musically today I want to use a clip from one of my favorite moviesAugust Rush. So here is a clip of Jonathan Rhys Meyes doing This Time. This movie always makes me smile.

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Week-End Update and Wrap Up

weekendupdateThis was a really good week of work. Looking back at all of the workouts, I am pretty pleased. The main thing is the effort was there and all of the workouts were completed, the best I could. As I mentioned a few days ago, I even had fun while doing it too! That’s what its all about; having fun with the process, enjoying the road. I just rounded out my week with a nice call with my coach. So all is well; I am chilling out watching a little football now and tomorrow we will start a new week.

Today I capped off the week with a 2 hour morning run on the Oklahoma Christian University trails. My wife, my daughter, and my friend Lunz all met up at our house to head out on the run. Becky and Cynthia went on ahead and Lunz lagged back with me for the majority of the run. My legs were a little sore from the day before, but that went away after the first 1/2 mile or so. I wanted to really work on following the directions today. The last time Amanda gave me a run workout like todays, I totally spaced out on the directions. So today I wanted to get my head out and do it right. 🙂 It went pretty well too. I was satisfied with how it went. I think one thing that kind of chilled me out was seeing my “threshold pace” go down 50 seconds this last week. It made me feel good about the process and progress.

Speaking of measuring progress, today talking to my coach we over this weeks workouts. We will be doing some testing on all three disciplines. I really like that too. I think it will be good to compare it a few weeks down the road to see how it is going. We will be testing for heart rate and power for the bike, and heart rate and maybe pace on the run, and then cover a couple of 500 times on the swim. Probably will get Lunz to come count laps and time for me on the swim test, just to make sure I get it right. Another thing we will be adding is stregth training this week, it’s gonna be a fun week!

I was visiting with a cycling friend today and we were talking about this early January training and how we were both excited to see where it takes us in the summer months. I know that I am getting a big jump on where I was this time last year, and the extra work ought to really pay off in August and September.

I really can’t say enough how grateful I am to be able to do this. I know that I am fortunate to get to enjoy the life I have. No doubt.

U2’s Beautiful Day will be tonights tune.

Have a great week.

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I GO TO EXTREMES

medalApply, Apply, Apply; trust the process, trust the process, trust the process; have fun, have fun, have fun; I feel really good tonight. There are a lot of workouts now that I just go do my work and enjoy ever bit of it, even when its hard or I struggle with something I am just learning. I feel invigorated; when I finish my workouts I just think of how good it is going to feel getting into that water and being a part of the Lonestar 70.3. I’m not even sure I know how to explain it.

Apply; do the work. Follow the plan. Put in the sweat. Those nights when you get home and you know that you still lack that 1 hour bike ride, but you do it because you know you are going to grow. You know you are going to gain strength. You know that somewhere down the line you are going to get to apply everything that you used in your training to accomplish something you have never done before. How can you not get charged up about that? I have lived a bland life, I know what that is like. But I have also tasted a new life the last three years too; one that has pushed me into new ventures, stretched me in ways I wouldn’t have ever thought possible, and given me the chance to be in awe of the experiences that I am getting to have! How do you not love that?

I never knew what training was about until I trained for my first 100 mile bike ride, the Hotter N Hell Hundred. When I bought that first bike and looked at that schedule to build endurance to 100 miles, I never would have dreamed of what it would be like to be among 14,000 people to do something beyond normal. The feeling of doing something for the first time, the feeling of accomplishment; frankly being a person that has all to often settled for “just enough” in life I don’t know that I had ever really experienced the benefits of a long term process that prepared me for something so big. I know that might sound mellow-dramatic for some of you who have expereinced living with that kind of purpose, but for someone who just found got my first taste of enjoying the fruits of my labor; this was awesome. So I do trust the process in my training for this triathlon. I even expect a great outcome too.

Who would do it if it wasn’t fun? Think about it, you ever see a kid in a pool swimming that isn’t having fun? You ever see a kid hauling ass down a big hill that isn’t laughing? You ever see a kid out chasing his friends running that isn’t smiling? Hell no! It just can’t get any better than that. So why did we ever stop? Who knows, but I sure am going to hang on to this life as long as I have enough health to do it. I think someone told me it was a part of being a good steward with the gift of health that God, or how ever you express that power that is bigger than us individually, has given us.

So today was a swim. I did 2000 yards today. It went pretty well, I continue to build length and get better at my technique. I am so glad that in November I made myself stop and learn how to swim right! I think back to last January and I am so thankful for the progress that I have enjoyed. There were some tough times; some times that I thought of pitching it all in but I am so glad I didn’t stop. I left the pool today with a smile, another since of accomplishment. I just feel like everytime I hammer out one more workout, I am adding another brick to the wall. I know that I am building an experience that will be amazing!

A little fired up? Damn right! And here is the kicker; if I can do this, so can you!

Can’t think of a better tune that this one tonight! Billy Joel I Go To Extremes!!!

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Awesome Swim Workout

Ignacio GonzalezToday was another day where I could feel confidence growing in the water. Actually it was there even before I got to the pool, I was genuinely looking forward to the workout. Now for those that have been following my swim workouts and issues, you know that is light years ahead of this time last year! A big part of today was mental, I was in a really good frame of mind this morning when I went to the pool. I keep coming back to good ole’ Yogi Berra’s quote “Baseball is 90 percent mental, the other half is physical.” So true in the water for me. But to actually be going to the pool and looking forward to having fun with it is an amazing jump forward, even a big just over two months ago.

Todays workout was 2000 yrds total.

8x25x10R (All Catch-Up)
8x25x10R Swim
8x50x20R Fins (Odd: 25 Kick, 25 Swim; Even: 25 Swim, 25 Kick)
8x50x20R Swim
6x75x25R Fins (25 Left Arm; 25 Right Arm; 25 Swim)
1×200 Swim
6x25x15R CD

It felt so good to be able to do the drills and the lengths and not be stressed about it. I was smiling and happy the whole workout today. The most difficult was doing the 6x75x25r (25 Left; 25 Right; 25 swim). My left is so much weaker than my right. It also reminded me of how much weaker my left side is doing single leg drills on the bike and how my left knee is the one that starts to show weakness on runs too. But back to swimming, this was a fun day! It feels good to have days like this, days where you think “if I just keep doing the work, race day will be so much fun.”

I’ve been on a Lennon kick here lately. Let’s go with Mind Games today!

Hope you all dream big and move towards it too!

memorialherman

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The Road To Galveston Via Fort Lauderdale !

Ft-Lauderdale-Beach-South-Florida-007I am so pumped up! We are going to go to Fort Lauderdale in February and I will get a chance to do some open water ocean swimming! It was one of my concerns for a few reasons. I don’t have any real experience in a wetsuit, so this will let me do some wetsuit work. Swimming in open water is something that I need to get a chance to do. So just to add a nice twist to the wetsuit open water swimming, my triathlon is in the ocean too. Getting to do this in late February was a perfect opportunity.

How did it all come together? Well we had a couple of tickets from Southwest that were about to expire, there were just a few times or places that we could go to with our schedules and the airlines availibility. We have been doing these tripa on the west coast, but unfortunately there weren’t any availible flighta open. So we eventually found some open flights to Florida. We have talked about going to Florida for a while but, it was just hard to “not go” to Del Mar. We have had some great times there over the last several years. Becky also has a pretty good chunk of hotel points too, so we were able to book our room using those! So it will be a relatively inexpensive trip. We are both really looking forward to it.

So when we go, I suspect that swimming will be my focus while we are there! Getting the chance to do some open water swimming will be so good for me. Hopefully it will help me feel a little more at ease in Galveston. The bonus of getting to do a little open water ocean swimming is really cool too. I was checking the weather online and the water temperature should be roughly the same as Galveston in April. Seems the stars are still aligning!

Today was a double workout day, one run and one bike. I am doing them both in the evening, one before dinner and one after. My run was 45 minutes of running anyway I wanted BUT, I was to leave the Garmin and heart rate monitor off. My coach wanted me to just enjoy running. I. can get to “thinking” way to much sometimes and I was probably mind screwing myself to much with the data. It was pretty cold outside so I did the run on the treadmill. I even covered up the distance and pace data so it wasn’t like using the Garmin.

After the run I told Becky I would cook dinner tonight. I made salmon, brocolli, asparagus, and sweet potato. I am not a cooking guy normally, but it was pretty good!

My bike workout was a 1:20 hr trainer ride, doing a few drills. It felt pretty good too. I was used to doing 1hr training rides so this one was stretching me out an extra 20 minutes. I love riding the bike, no doubt it is my total favorite of the swim/bike/run deal! Tonight I jammed out to a little Foo Fighters while riding. I was having fun doing the work too. I work up a great sweat on trainer rides! Well thats enough for today.

It was Foo Fighters on the trainer, but I am going with David Gray’s Babylon.

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