I Am Sam

Posted: December 28, 2010 in In Transition, Swim, Training
Tags: , ,
  • Long Swim (click to see stats)
  • 3200 m (1:01:41)
  • Avg. Heart Rate = 139 bpm
  • Max. Heart Rate = 158 bpm
  • Calories = 759

No, I’m not referring to any Sean Penn movie or some crazy Dr. Seuss-esque tale about mythical Whosit’s and Whatsit’s, but rather  Samantha McGlone, who was invited to swim with my TryForce group at the local YMCA this morning.  Sam is a former Canadian National Triathlon champion (2004 and 2005), an Ironman 70.3 World Champion (2006), as well as the second place finisher at the full Ironman World Championship (2007) in Kona, Hawaii. So, yeah, she pretty much kicks ass and takes names.

Was our pool workout different or enhanced in any way?  No, not really…we swam – a lot.  Was there lots of swim technique and drill theory discussed and practiced?  No, we all pretty much played follow the leader.  Did I learn anything particularly insightful to aid or improve my own swim technique or triathlon ability?  Not really.  Was it totally awesome nonetheless?  Abso-freakin-lutely!

I did glean a few important tidbits of experience over Venti Misto’s at Starbucks afterwards, namely:

  • Sam likes toasted multi-grain bagels with honey.  Not important, per se, but I notice things like that.
  • It’s okay to take the majority of your nutrition in fluid form over solid food and gels while training/racing.  That’s great to hear since this has been something I’ve been gravitating towards myself, against recommendations from others who will swear up and down that I can’t possibly be getting enough of the “good stuff” from just fluids alone…so good for me.
  • Regular yoga and core workouts are key to triathlon performance.  I have this covered as well as I’m now taking one yoga class per week, as well as slipping in another 2-3 short sessions before or after my other scheduled workouts.  Again…good for me.
  • I can expect to spend up to 30-35 hours of training come next season to prepare for my full Ironman Wales event in 2012.  Holy shit!
  • I should probably concentrate on speed work at least twice a week (including off-the-bike); particularly with my runs.  I also have this covered currently in my schedule as well.  How awesome am I?
  • Get in the Bricks.  Check.
  • “You need to get on the caffeine”. I’m pretty ignorant about these handy-dandy little caffeine wonder capsules that Sam adamantly referred to (and apparently swears by), but if a 2nd place Kona finisher feels so strongly about something to improve race day performance you should check it out at least; so consider this footnoted for later this year.
  • What’s doing an Ironman like?  “Like being repeatedly poked with a sharp stick for 9 hours.” A very apt way of putting it I think.

I was also happy to note that Sam also does not fixate on her heart rate and power wattage and “stuff” during a race.  I also happen to plead the ‘ol “ignorance is best” policy when it comes to race day performance; just suck it up and do the best you can.  I understand the importance of referring to and monitoring all those performance metrics during training such as heart rate, cadence, pace, power, etc, but during the real McCoy all you need is a stop watch.  Good for Sam.

All this aside, however, just the chance to share the same molecules of water with this multisport queen was reason enough to get out of bed at 6:00am on a cold winter morning.  Hell, I would have walked there in my swimsuit and risked hypothermia for the off chance that just a little of that world class competitive spirit somehow, miraculously, would get absorbed into this body.  I doubt this is possible, of course, but I’m also not taking the chance that it’s not either.  Now, if I could only figure out a way to collect and bottle her sweat to somehow improve my running…

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