Inspiring Teammates

21 08 2013

It’s rainy season in Florida.


And that means that pretty much every afternoon dark clouds roll in and then the sky opens up. Loud booms of thunder and the flash of lightning paired with the buckets and buckets of rain frequently squash all hopes of getting in an afternoon workout. Thankfully (I think?) me and the XP gang have been getting in our workouts in the AM, and we’ll occasionally get lucky enough to have an afternoon workout.

Last week was one of those lucky weeks, where we were able to get in our Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday afternoon swims! Crazy, right? I wanted to tell you about Thursday’s practice, because it was one of those practices where you get out of the water knowing that you left it all in the pool. But it was also one of those practices where you realize how awesome and inspiring your teammates are.

After a short warm up, we did a challenging set of 100s:

3 x 100 on 1:40, 3 x 100 on 1:35, 3 x 100 on 1:30

2 x 100 on 1:35, 2 x 100 on 1:30, 2 x 100 on 1:25

1 x 100 on 1:30, 1 x 100 on 1:25, 1 x 100 on 1:20

Based on my current swim fitness, I’d say these intervals were “just right” for me- not too tough, but not too easy either. It was a good set for me.

After the 100s, Felipe had one last thing planned for us. He gave each of us a challenging goal time for a 100. When someone beat the goal time, everyone could go home. We would go from fastest to slowest, one at a time.

Felipe went first, and he had to beat a 1:01. We were all cheering as he came into the wall…:59, 1:00…touch! It was awfully close, but he came in just under 1:01. We were about to be dismissed, but I wasn’t ready. I had felt strong during the set of 100s, so I told him I wanted to swim. My goal time was to beat a 1:04. I’m pretty sure the fastest I’ve swum during a practice on a single 100 all out was 1:06. This was definitely going to be a challenge. I left on the top and felt really strong on the first 50. By the time I flipped for my last 25, my lungs were burning, my legs were screaming that they wanted it to be over. I hit the flags and kept my head down, driving to the wall. I looked up and saw 1:03! Holy cow, I had done it! My teammates were cheering, and I was so happy to have their support.

Since we were on a roll, we decided to keep going. Heather was next, and she had to beat 1:05. She pushed off the wall and we joked about how easy it looked like she was swimming. She’s a former D1 swimmer and you can tell. She flipped at the 50 and we knew she was on target. We hollered as she headed for the wall on her last 25…the clock ticked 1:04. She beat it too!

Next up, Jess. Let me tell you, Jess is a phenomenal athlete. This girl started swimming less than two years ago, and she’s made tremendous gains in the pool. She had already done an amazing job on those 100s- they were tough intervals for her and she refused to give up. Watching her, I was reminded of so many times in my own swimming career where the interval was so short I barely had enough time to touch the wall and push off to start it all again. Those were tremendously frustrating for me, so I could totally relate as I watched her tough it out. She made every single 100 in that set- I was so proud of her!

Anyhow, Jess’s goal for this last 100 was to beat 1:17. She pushed off and I could only imagine how tired her arms were. 25…50…75….annnnd….. she did it! She came in just shy of 1:17. That girl is an animal!

Last up was Chris. Chris is also impressive-he started swimming with us just about a year ago. He had done enough swimming to get by in sprint triathlons before, but hadn’t really done much more than that, until this time last year. He also did really well on the set of 100s- sitting out when he needed to, but pushing himself hard when he was swimming. I don’t recall what goal time Felipe assigned him, but I do know that Chris was very skeptical that he would beat it. He pushed off hard, and swam his heart out. When he touched, we all cheered- he did it!

This is why I love my team- we all support each other and push each other to be better athletes. We don’t give up or take the easy way out (well, most of the time 😉 ). I love being surrounded by these guys- they inspire me to be a better athlete! I can’t wait for more practices with these guys.



Training with Team XP

2 07 2012

I hope you didn’t think I drowned in the floods of Tropical Storm Debby because I haven’t posted in so long! I survived Debby, and I also survived the end of June at work. Our fiscal year ended on June 30th, so that meant deadlines, deadlines, deadlines. UGH. Top that with summer hours (four 10-hour days that often turn into even longer days), and by the weekend I’m pretty pooped.

Anyhow, let me catch you up on what’s been going on in my life other than work.

I’ve been training/hanging out a lot with my fellow Team XPers. I really love these guys.

(photo courtesy of Meghann)

They’ve welcomed me with open arms, and I love hanging out with them, whether it’s for a sweat session or just to hang out (or to float down a river). It’s hard to believe I’ve only known them 6 months!

We train in the pool 3x per week, but because of my work schedule, I’m only able to make it on two of those days. Felipe comes up with all of our sets, and what I really appreciate is that we do a lot of quality swimming and not garbage yardage. We may do sets that give us a lot of rest, but it’s because we’re supposed to be working hard. And believe me, I get my heart pumpin’ on some of those sets! Check out Mary’s and Meghann’s blogs for some of the workouts.

On the Wednesday after the Father’s day Tri, Felipe made us do a 1500 (meters) for time. But coach, I just did one at my race! Felipe told me to try to match my pace from the race, which would have been holding 1:20s per 100. That’s tough! When I finished this set, this 1500 was about 2 minutes slower than my swim at the tri over the weekend. I was working hard, I promise! I’m pretty sure that the swim at the tri was a little shy of 1500, or I just have a fiery competitor inside that only comes out on race day.

race face?

As soon as we finished our set, the sky opened up and it started to downpour. The guards called us out, since it was raining so hard they couldn’t see the bottom of the pool. That was okay with me because we had planned a social outing after practice. We were going for pizza and beer at Westshore Pizza!

I was a fan the moment we pulled up:

A Philly themed restaurant? Yes please!

Marcus and Mary

Felipe and Jess (This picture really summarizes their relationship I think 😉 )

Courtney and me

We devoured the pizza and too many wings to count. What a great mid-week pick me up!

I got some more XP training in this weekend, when I went cycling with Jess and Felipe. We drove up to Alafia River State Park so Felipe could get in some mountain biking, and Jess and I could get in a good two hours or so on the road. At the end of the ride, we’d do a few intervals and then go for a short run to round out the day. We left in the late morning to train our bodies to deal with the heat. Thankfully, it wasn’t as hot here as it was in DC, where I hear it was easily over 100. Jess had mapped out a route for us using MapMyRide, which took us on quiet country roads for most of the ride.

(Pardon my finger in the shot.)

One of the biggest differences that I’ve seen in riding in Florida vs. riding in DC (besides the lack of hills) is that in FL, I always feel like there is some kind of wind pestering us. On this ride, we battled some headwind on the way out, but it made the home stretch nice and fast. There was also one point where these two big dogs came running after us, barking. I was honestly scared the one dog was going to bike my ankle. I pedaled harder and finally got out of his reach. If I had been wearing a heart rate monitor, I know it would have shown a spike!

Jess and I were supposed to meet Felipe at some point on this ride, but since we were riding for time and not for distance, we didn’t realize how far we’d gone with the help of a tailwind. When we finally saw him, about 5 miles from our starting point and maybe 45 minutes after were supposed to have found him, we opted not to do the intervals. I was basically out of fluids and so was Jess. We’d been out in the heat of the day, on hot pavement, and we were just ready to be done. My motivation to finish was to get to the bottle of ice water sitting in the cooler in my car. I think those last five miles were my fastest of the day.

Hot, sweaty, and so happy to be done!

We also decided against the run, since we were all pretty dehydrated at that point. Jess and I ended up going about 40 miles for the day, which wasn’t too bad, considering the heat. I’m pretty sure that next time I go riding that far, I’ll bring another water bottle with me. I just need to figure out where to put it…

This ride made me appreciate the Suncoast trail more, because it has water available along the way. I drink a lot ’cause I sweat a lot! I’m happy to report that I didn’t get a headache after this ride! I drank Gu Brew along the way, and took one salt tab before the ride, and one mid way. I’m still playing with my nutrition, but I think I’m starting to find the right balance.

I think my cat enjoyed my sweat.

I rounded out my weekend with another swim and some yoga in the park, this time minus the XPers.

I think Felipe and Jess are planning another weekend trip to Alafia, and we’re going to try to bring the whole gang for some sweaty fun! I can’t wait!

Have a great Monday guys!