I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed at the moment... not in a bad way but almost like there's so much good going on that my head is spinning a bit!
I just spent the last 5 days with Marilyn here at my home and it really couldn't have gone any better. A while back I threw out the idea to her that I would love to have her here for a weekend and my thought was really so that she could see where I live and train and that we could get to know each other a bit better. I know as a coach that the better a coach knows her athletes, the easier it becomes to coach that athlete, so that's mostly what I was thinking when initiating the idea of this trip. I was really happy when she agreed to come, and we decided this would be the best weekend because it was the weekend of the Double Roughwater Swim so it gave her a goal to target and train for while she was recovering from knee surgery.
We clearly achieved all of our goals (and then some!) while she was here! She got to see me swim in both the pool and ocean. I haven't had anyone give me any stroke correction in YEARS so it was cool when she was able to point out how I was losing my grip on the water with my left arm at a certain point in my pull each stroke. Gave me something to focus on and for the most part it was something fairly easy for me to fix once I knew where to focus. She also took a few short videos of me swimming which was cool- again I hadn't really SEEN myself swim in forever so was good to be able to watch and see what she was seeing.
On the bike we had to figure out the best way for her to get to 'ride' with me- given her recent knee surgery, Marilyn wasn't able to really RIDE again quite yet... we considered renting her a moped but in the end decided an electric bike would be best. So Friday night Scott brought home an electric bike he'd rented... SO classic and we both giggled at how funny our Saturday ride would be with me on my TT bike and her on this machine...
the video she took/posted while we were out riding. It's hysterical! Anyway, the electric bike was brilliant while I was doing seated big gear intervals up a hill... she could pull the throttle and cruise along right next to me! Good too in that she could cue me to gear down/up depending on the grade of the hill... cue me to push through my heels, etc. Then I got to take her out and show her my standard riding route and where I always go when I have tempo intervals or whatever... was able to do some of those for her as well but unfortunately by then the battery on that electric bike was starting to lose power and we were afraid she wouldn't make it home... Indeed... Turns out those electric bikes are good for ~2.5 hours. We rode for close to 3, so Marilyn got to test her knee out a bit while pedaling that beast of a bike the last few miles (uphill!) to home.
Anyway, over the course of the weekend, Marilyn was able to see me riding easy, doing big gear reps in my aero bars up a hill at 220w/55rpm, riding steady tempo 175w/92rpm, and spinning 110rpm on the rollers... I'm pretty sure that I'll have her voice in my head for the rest of the year when she said "You should have big goals on the bike. You're a good rider." Coming from her, that was probably one of the most motivating and confidence boosting statements I've ever heard.
Yesterday morning the schedule called for the session that scared me the most- A lifting session in the gym with Marilyn. She is a bit of a strength freak so I had some major fears that she might just kill me during that session, but in good news my limbs are all still attached and functioning today. I did lift quite a bit heavier than I had been doing on my own which gave me a nice fat score for the Endurance Corner Steel Challenge (yes I'm playing along!) but overall the session went well and she said she was happy with my squat form so I'm taking that as a giant compliment!
So while all that was awesome, really for me the best part was the coaching I got on my run. That's where the biggest changes need to occur for me and having Marilyn here to really help me fix it was key! We spent a good bit of time doing drills, and of course as you know, drills are only going to be helpful if you're doing them correctly... and I thought I was doing them correctly but of course I was not! So funny- Day 1 running drills she said "show me high knees" and I did like 3 steps of what I'd been doing before she said "Ok stop." Ha! It was like that with pretty much all of them but it's good because I had a very open mind about it all... soaking it up like a sponge- like teach me how you want me to do them and I will do them that way... At one point she resorted to taking her shoe laces out of her shoes and made me run with them to get my hands to do what she wanted them to do (because I could not feel it otherwise). Anyway, lots of form changes to think about on my run but after the last few days I feel like I've got a good grip on what I need to be doing over the next few months to fix it. And I'll get to see Marilyn again in a few months at the Endurance Corner Camp in Tucson so she'll get to see if I've managed to make habit what she was trying to reinforce with me this weekend... It's my goal to make it happen!
And I guess I didn't talk about the Double Roughwater swim here at all yet... Was a good one this year! Conditions were nice- water was mostly glassy until the last maybe 20' or so where we got a bit of chop. We had some currents to contend with as well but that was standard.
Overall I'd say I'm pleased with how I swam and how I kept my mind engaged and focused throughout the whole swim which seemed like a nice step forward. And I finished in 1:57 which is the fastest I've done that course (9' faster than my BLAH swim last year!) so that was cool. The best part though was watching Marilyn come in for the finish- she had never done an event like this one so understandably had some concerns but she had a GIANT smile on her face as she finished which was just awesome. As tradition calls, even though my beloved Nalani wasn't present, we sat on the beach and made our way through a couple bottles of champagne... Pretty fun Sunday morning!
And then of course followed it up with this...
The answer to that question, in case you were curious, is Two.
So there you go! I have to say, if you've never spent time working in person with your coach, it's absolutely worth the time and money and effort to make it happen. There are so many GOODs that came out of the last few days I can't even list them all! But what I know right now is this- my motivation and confidence are both higher than they've ever been, which, given my history with this sport, is amazing. :)