Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Letting Go and Believing

Here we are in the middle of the offseason, and with that comes time to work on your “favorite” or perhaps “least favorite” discipline.  If you have ever read my blog, or followed my race results, it’s no surprise that for me that means a lot of time spent in the pool! Even Santa somehow knew! A few new suits, swimmers shampoo/conditioner, much needed face/body lotion, and super duper travel size hair dryer! It’s a bit chilly now to walk around with wet hair all day!

Merry Christmas to me! J

I took a nice long break after the 70.3 Worlds in Vegas, and made sure I got out of shape. There were at least 4 or more of weeks of no swimming, biking, or running, and the month of October really consisted of bunch of EZ running since I spent most of it travelling for work. So when I got in the pool for the first time again in November it was ugly! Really, really, really ugly!  5-6 times a week in the pool, week after week, and after 2 months, I am finally starting to see some progress. I swear my body just refuses to grasp the proper technique of freestyle, but the time spent with my new friend that comes along to every swim session is starting to pay off.  Meet Mr. Torture a.k.a the ankle lock.

My a$% is now floating, and I can swim longer than 25 yards before my feet drag on the bottom of the pool. I am now at the point when I actually time myself, and can swim 100 or 200 yards with it at a time. For me that is progress.

PB for 100 with ankle lock – 1:47
PB for 200 with ankle lock – 2:52

I know that really doesn’t mean much for OWS, but it gives me hope that there is the light at the end of the tunnel, and that maybe one day, I will actually swim fast or at least faster.

So in the month of November, I swam a total of 40,300 yards essentially in 3 weeks. I spent one week travelling the “world” a.k.a my little European getaway. Don’t be jealous – it was more like a sprint or Amazing Race through Europe. 6 countries in 6 days – France, Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Slovakia, and Czech Republic. Lots of time spent on the planes, in hockey stores or in the car flying down the highway in Germany. And I mean literally flying – gotta love no speed limit!  Highlight of the trip was a quick meet up with my mom and cousin in Prague. We exchanged some Christmas presents and the trip went on. I really wish I could have stayed longer, but work didn’t allow it this time.

Only in Europe will you see a billboard like this:

December was  a bit more quiet on the work front, but of course I had to come down with a cold, which meant no swimming for another week L There went my hope of putting in at least 50,000 yards. As we are here today, it looks like I’ll put in a bit over 40,000 yards again. I know that’s nothing for you swimmers out there, but it’s progress for me. With a bit of technique, and volume, I have finally experienced a bit of an “aha” moment and hopefully unlocked one key to some more speed in the months to come.

But back to the title of this post of “Letting Go”.  All this additional swimming means that something else has to give. Unfortunately it’s not less hours spent at work, or less sleep, it’s less time spent on the bike. So much less that Mr. Fireball is looking a bit sad, and when I do get to ride, it really shows me who the boss is. And no, it’s not me. I find myself contemplating almost every day, if all this time in the pool will pay off. Pay off in a way that’s bigger than if I spent my extra time on the bike. Will all the time spent in the pool get me to come out of water at least 5+ minutes earlier than I have been?  Will my biking and my power get up to the same or better level at which I ended my season in Vegas in September come race season?  All these questions are popping up in my head every single day, and as much as I understand that offseason is the perfect time to work on your weaknesses, I find it extremely difficult of “Letting Go” of the strengths.  Do you?

Even though I am seeing time gains in the pool, I can’t help but feel oh so slow all the way around.  My power in comparison to last season seems to be a bit “non-existent”, and the thought of Time Trialing is making me sick. The 250 Watts that I was able to put out last summer during my CP testing seems SO far away. Right now, all I can do is believe! Believe in the master plan that my coach put together, believe in myself, stay consistent, and see where the journey will take me.

To  quote my coach:

We want to be fast come our big races and not as much during training; in other words, while certainly in training you will push your body out of its comfort zone, the majority of the efforts will be part of a bigger plan that will culminate on your respective A races. So, keep that mind, don’t lose sight of the ultimate goal and whether you have an easy short run or an intense bike session, take one day at a time and conquer each session.”

I have some big goals for 2012, and I can’t wait for the tri season to begin. What about you?


  1. JANA! I LOVE YOUR WORDS! So inspirational! You make me want to get an ankle lock and go 'float' myself to the bottom of the pool! YOU ROCK!

  2. Having only meeting you in October and spending time talking, you are pretty focused when you put your mind to it... All your friends in St. Jerome expect to see you on whatever podium you choose to step upon...! Cheers, Lee