Back to Basics

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This month marks my 6th year in triathlon, and I'm right back where I was back then - in the pool trying to figure out what I'm doing. In 2004, I signed up for my first triathlon - the Lifetime Fitness olympic tri in Minneapolis. I decided that February that I should probably start swimming, and before long, I swam my first mile. It was exhausting! Since then, Steve and I relearned to swim through Total Immersion, my stroke has gotten progressively better, and my endurance has greatly improved. Heck, I got through two Ironman swims! Lately, I've been trying to increase my speed, though, and this is not an easy feat. Steve had met a couple of times with the swim coach at our Y and has since seen a lot of improvement, so i decided to give it a try.

Andrea and I met on Tuesday on my day off. She had me swim a 100 while critiquing my stroke. The good news is that I don't have a lot to change. I need to rotate a bit more when I'm not breathing, and I need to keep my head a little higher in the water so my shoulders aren't the ones trying to cut through the water. She had me do a couple of drills, and things started to improve right away. The bad news is that the reason I am slow is not because my form is bad. I just need to get in more speed work. This means intervals, and lots of them. It was great having someone there watching me trying to do speedwork because I feel like my form falls apart when I do. She gave me a few tips and wants me to try 50 M intervals for now. This will get me used to keeping my form while increasing my speed. I'll be trying them this week!

Running: I finally got back outside on Friday after work. The sidewalks had cleared for a couple of days, but we got several inches of snow Friday evening, and I knew I needed to get outside before all of that snow got packed down. I managed 9.5 miles in the snow. At one point, I went to wipe my face and realized that my eyebrows had frozen solid! I laughed out loud at that one. My times were terrible because I was slipping and sliding all over the place, but there's something really special about running while it's snowing with the smell of wood burning fireplaces in the air.

Biking: I did a FIVE HOUR spin class today, and I survived the whole thing (check out Steve's blog for pics). They had 5 different instructors, which kept things interesting. The first lady was really engaging and gave us Oscar/movie/music trivia. It made the hour go by pretty fast. The next two instructors were pretty mellow, which was fine by me since I knew I had two hours left after that, but I can see how people who were finishing their workouts at that time could have felt a little jipped. The 3-4 hour lady was a little intense at first. I think she may have forgotten that some of us were there for 3 hours already! At one point, we were doing one second jumps, and I was not a happy camper, but I got used to the intensity, which was good because the last guy, Phil, was also pretty intense. Overall, I felt really strong. The class was mentally so much easier than the 4 hours I did in my basement on Tuesday. It helped that Steve, my brother Matt, my sister Steph, and Borsch were all there to keep me company for a while! It's so hard to judge how I'm actually doing on the trainer. My averages have not been great, and I can't tell if it's because I have too much pressure on my back wheel or if it's because I'm bored out of my mind. Quite possibly it's a combination of both. The fact that the class today was totally doable for me was pretty encouraging. There's a good chance that I won't get outdoors at all before New Orleans. I'm just hoping I'm doing enough of what I can...

Bloggy friends - Rural Girl was in town this weekend, so Steve and I had coffee with her and her awesome husband Jack this morning. We talked all things tri, New Orleans, training, and racing. Thanks again, Rural Girl! It made me even more excited to see everybody again in The Big Easy in just 6 weeks.


Steve Stenzel

You did SOOO good today!!

And SIX WEEKS?!?! Crap. That's sneaking up...


Great job Sarah! I'll join you for a long ride anytime!


5 hours is crazy. New Orleans is gonna be easy for you. A few interval sessions in the pool and you'll see a huge difference. Good luck.


You are insane sista... 5 hours?!?! I don't know that my hiney would hold up that long! :)

You are going to do awesome at your half - can't believe that it's only 6 weeks away!


As much as I'd like to be in Minnesota in August or September, I'm glad that I'll never EVER have to spend 5 hours on a spin bike.

Jen Rife

CONGRATS on riding all 5 hours!! You're a rock star! Keep up the great work!

Runner Leana

Congrats on your 5 hour spin class!!

That's great news about your swimming form. I think mine starts to fall apart about 75m into speedwork so I feel like I'm flailing all over the place after that...


hey great job with the 5 hours of torture! also thanks for letting anastasia run with you!


Wow. that is a LONG TIME on a trainer. Whew! Awesome job!