Monday, May 29, 2006

My First Swimming Lesson

Okay, technically this isn't my 1st swimming lesson since I was about 8. That would be the freebie lesson from Keith my mysterious swim guru buddy (don't worry your secret identity is still safe with me) some months back. But this is the first time this ol' cheapo has paid any of my hard earned cash for a swimming lesson. :D Yes, I finally crumbled and asked R1 & R2's swimming coach (James) to give me a "stroke correction" lesson - that's James in the picture on the right teaching R1 to do the "reverse rocket kick" (cool names for swim drills seem to work on kids).

I think I should record the diagnosis before I forget:
  • My kicking seems ok and I am no longer swimming with "sinking feet". Yay! All the kicking drills prescribed by Keith my mysterious swim guru buddy must have worked!
  • I am pronating my body well and turning my head to breathe, but when my arms get tired, I revert to the heads up, ass down position. :(
  • My hands are entering the water too close to my head and hence giving me a short stroke. I need to extend my hands further out to get a longer stroke.
  • I am already doing the "S" pull under water, but my hands cross over the center line of my body and they should never do that.
  • I am raising my arms too high in recovery and hence using up unnecessary energy. I should focus on a elbow-led recovery.
  • I am not putting enough into the last 1/3 of the stroke when pull crosses over to push - i.e. when the pulling hand crosses my chest and turns into a push towards my feet. He says this is the most important part when it comes to propulsion and I am not putting enough into it.
The best part is that James went thru some simple drills with me specifically to fix the problem areas above and promised to write down a set of swim drills for me to follow - nothing fancy, just "old-school" front crawl drills that work on arm extension, elbow-led recovery, and of course kicking. He also suggested hand paddles to improve arm power. Will share more on the drills when I get it from him (may be in a couple of weeks due to my travels). James was even kind enough to suggest that instead of having regular lessons with him, I just do the drills as he suggested and engage him periodically for stroke correction - so either he is a super nice guy or I am a nightmare student! :D

On the biking front, I asked my dear wife to snap a couple of pictures of me in aero position as a check and here is one of them. In case anyone thinks the picture is blurred because I was FLYING, I must confess that it was taken on my 2M pixel camera phone, which is not too good with action shots in dark underground carparks. A couple of interesting observations - (1) I am still pretty stretched out on the aero bar, but if I put the bar any shorter, my weight rests too near my wrists and my fore-arms get uncomfortable; (2) I am sitting rather far back on the saddle - perhaps a proper Tri saddle with more padding up front will help? I was a bit concerned if my saddle was too low, but it seems okay in the picture ya? Any advice/suggestions from the bike gurus out there will be much appreciated!

I'm not sure if I will have time to post while I am on the road, so until next time, thanks for dropping by, train safe and God Speed!

Friday, May 26, 2006

So You Think Your Bike is Clunky?

Again, the daily contrasts in Delhi proves to be a humbling experience. I was sweating in the car this morning (the car overheated and the driver refused to turn on the air-con), feeling irate at having to be couped up in a HOT car under the sun, in the 45 degree Celsius (113F) heat. Then I saw this poor delivery guy straining on his bike, trying to keep it from tipping over, dodging the infamous Delhi traffic, amid all that dust the cars and motorbikes are churning up. Gives a fresh perspective on things doesn't it?

Thanks Ellie for checking up on me. Yes, I have been not been posting for a LONG time, and as you can see from my training log, I am not getting much training time either. It's been a very busy time for me at work and I have just started on another travelling spiel - 5 countries (India, Singapore, Finland, Indonesia, Bangkok) in 4 weeks. Thankfully the indonesia trip is a much needed holiday and I plan to take a few days off in June to cool off.

For those of you kind enough to ask, the two main reason for me missing the Olympic Distance Singapore Triathlon is
(1) my lack of fitness which started with the cold that put me off training for more than 2 weeks
(2) my hectic travel schedule now which makes training near impossible.

But... I will be making the most of the situation and doing some running in the gym while I travel. Will also be doing at least one Sprint Triathlon (Corporate Triathlon). Meanwhile, I will just keep training and hope for a Olympic Triathlon to come sometime before end of the year.

Train safe guys & gals, and God Speed!

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Hi everyone! Sorry I have been away for so long. I haven't been updating my blog nor frequenting my favourite blog haunts (you know who you are!) because it just does NOT feel right blogging when I ain't training. This week, I finally stopped hacking out green/yellow phelm so I went for a "come back" 8km run. Wish I could say it felt great, but it didn't. I really suffered for backing off for so long.

Must confess that it is getting harder each day to get back to the routine of training and blogging. Being sick for the last few weeks have re-introduced me to the comforts of home. I have been watching the kids have fun in their swimming class (instead of getting some laps in myself), spending more time at work (and hence finally getting some important but not urgent stuff done), and spending quality time with Mrs Nitrox watching Korean soaps every night - we don't understand Korean and I am the only one who can read the Chinese sub-titles so I started as a translator and ended up getting seriously hooked onto it myself! Them Korean soaps are dangerous things! :D

In a way, I am glad for the break. It gave me time to slow down and sort out stuff at work, at home and also with the Lord. It also taught me a bit about pacing - I think I need to be more dillignet about planning rest weeks for recovery and to catch up with the rest of the world. I will probably not do the olympic distance Singapore Triathlon in July 1/2, given my lack of fitness thanks to the cold, but I will certainly get back into training simply because I enjoy it. Maybe will put back the oly dist tri to next year then... :( Please don't flame me for being a pseudo tri-blogger.

Oh, and I CANNOT forget wishing all the mums running tris and marathons a BLESSED MOTHER'S DAY. Kudos to you for balancing work (be it office or home), kids, the hubby, and training! You are stupedous ladies because I know I just can't balance the lot. Train safe and God Speed!

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Not good...

Rachel commented last week that quite a few of us seems to have fallen sick, and this week Dawn (aka Pink Lady) is the latest casulty. :( So I thought I will share this picture of R1 (blue cap) and R2 (red cap) in their pink swimmies that will hopefully bring a smile to her face. Who says boys can't wear PINK? :)

Sorry for being away from the Blogsphere all week. I have not been having a good week - it is definitely not good when R1 and R2 are getting more training this week than I am. :( My excuse is that the cold I caught seems more severe than I thought, and since I am not a fan of cold medicine, it is taking a while to clear up. And no, I have not yet signed up for the Singapore Triathlon... :(

Must confess that I'm stuck in a bit of a grumpy mood (is there a male equivalent to PMS?), so I betta stop here for now.

Train safe all, and God Speed.