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Posts tagged with: training

Back to Basics

There’s only so much the coaches can do on group swim sessions to beginner swimmers, because there’s usually 20 of us (participants) and only a few of them at a given time. It’s pretty amazing what they have to done to me these past 8 weeks in the pool when I had ZERO swim experience. I can float, glide, do a few strokes, and the rest of the drills, but what I’m missing, is quite the most important part, are the swim basics & fundamentals. Yes, like breathing underwater, and treading water. I really need to get private swim lessons to focus on what really needs to happen before I move on. Even my coaches suggested I do so. By the end of January I think we will be doing open water swims, so I really need to step up my swim game to continue. My friend Petty, from the Westside TNT Tri Team is going through the same challenges (I found out when I tweeted seeking for swim coach suggestions). She reached out to her current coach for lessons, but is unavailable, so we were referred to a swim coach in UCLA.

This morning we met up at the Spieker Pool over in the north side of campus at 6:15am. Whoa! That was super early for my taste, but I gotta do what I gotta do! This pool was probably the nicest pool I’ve ever seen, as it had a modern design, super clean, seemed like professionals were in the pool, coaches on the sidelines – pretty much what you’d see on TV. Of course, it’s funded by some UCLA alums, so it has to be that state of the art. Petty and I met with Julia, our new swim instructor. We were both surprised that there was no shallow end of this pool! I think 8ft was the most shallow. Oh uh! We were so hesitant to get in that pool. “What? How do we… umm… where do I… what… where?!” hahaha! She had us put on some fins to help us float and navigate, but she had us go through some breathing drills by just having us submerge in water, blowing out air bubbles and go up for 1 second to grab air. We pretty much did that for a good 20 minutes, from stationary, to spanning the side of the pool. We also used the kick board moving across the lane, but also focusing on getting that breathing down. We had fins the whole time, with her sometimes testing us to see if we could go in the middle without having to grab something for support. We did a few rotation exercises, and flutter kicks as well. Being this is the first class, I haven’t been more comfortable in the water. She was really good at making us relax in the water, and to get rid of our deep end fears. We will meet again next week at 6am, but she wants us to get as much pool time as we can, so I bet she will make us take off those fins and do some basic swims.

Am I at a Vacation Resort?!

Determined to improve my swim, I went to my gym (Equinox South Bay)’s rooftop pool for the first time this morning. Whoa! I was blown away! It kinda looked like a nice resort, or a downtown LA rooftop pool, like the W or The Standard. Nice! I could get used to this. The point from the locker room to the actual pool was pretty cold (LA cold that is), but the pool itself is heated. One girl was swimming, but I don’t think many people utilize it, which is great for me! Less people to see how bad my swim technique (or lack of it) is. I took one of those floaty boards and just practiced getting my flutter kick the whole time. Our drills at this point doesn’t include any arm movement (yet), but it focuses on getting horizontal in the water, and being able to efficiently kick in the water. Kick, kick, kick, kick, kick… until I was somewhat used to it. By the end of the hour and half, I was actually better! As long as there’s some improvement, I’m happy.

Kick, kick, kick… keep on kicking.

New Summer ’09 Season Underway!

Sorry for the lack of updates, it’s been pretty busy with the new summer marathon season, which is already at week 5! As you can see from the screenshot above, I’ve been busy creating and maintaining that website. During the season, I will update fundraising updates on the Westside LA TNT Marathon Blog, and I will post updates on my training here.

Week 5 practice tomorrow will be in Marina Del Rey, one of my favorite running spots. It’s not too busy and it’s relatively flat. The tough part about tomorrow is the it’s Daylight Saving’s Time adjustment so it’s really 7am instead of 8am. I’m so glad to be back in Team In Training though, especially as a mentor. I love helping people out, and so far it’s been a great season. Everyone is so friendly & energetic (as always).

I’m a TNT Web Captain / Mentor!

A few days ago, I was notified that I got accepted to be a Team In Training Web Captain / Mentor! Wonder what that slash is for? I guess I’m a hybrid position because captains are not supposed to have any mentees, but I will (but half as many as the other mentors). I get the best of both worlds I guess.

What does a Web Captain do? Basically I will create and update the team’s website such as: team news, staff bios, fundraising, information about the cause, links, events, and more. In the next few weeks I will be working hard to redesign the site (as with Running Without Music’s layout), but not only just the design, but rethink the UI navigation, and think of ways to make the site a little more automated and easy to update. The challenge? I don’t have full access to the hosting that it’s on, so I’ll have to be creative about that.

When I was a mentor a few seasons ago, I pretty much held the same position but I was officially a mentor with online duties. I was thinking, this position was mainly about updating the site, and pushing information to the team. This time around? I want to evolve the position into something a little more than that. I’ll tie in social media tools such as Twitter, MySpace, and Facebook to connect all our team, so that information can easily be communicated. There is a wealth of knowledge across not only our LA team, but across the USA with all the TNT chapters out there. Why not use it? I’ve already contacted some TNT folks from New York, San Francisco, and Florida to help brainstorm new ideas for fundraising. We’re living in an Internet age, let’s use it to it’s full potential.

100PU – Initial Test

For all posts from now on related to my Hundred Pushups training, I will add a “100PU” to the title.

Today, I started the program with their Initial Test. The site says:

To perform the test, simply execute as many good-form push ups as you can. Don’t cut corners and please don’t cheat – the last thing you want to do is end up in the wrong level of the training program! The results may be humbling, but trust me, honesty is the best policy if you want to maximize your strength gains!

My initial test = 23 push ups, which puts me at rank 3 of 7 (higher the number, the better). I’m cool with that. This rank tells me what column in the chart to follow. I will then have to do a certain number of push ups three times a week, slowly increasing for the next 6 weeks to come. I gotta start somewhere right? I can compare this to my marathon training because at first I was a little shocked I couldn’t do 3 miles in the first practice, but in due time I was able to do 26.2. So I have to be patient, and trust that this training program will help me meet my goals. Baby steps, I know.


A year ago, Active.com was a so-so website for all things activity-based, from swimming, running, to team sports. I first learned about it when I registered for my first marathon. It was a wealth of information, especially the running articles I subscribe to via e-mail, but I never really used it because it was too slow, and the UI was clunky. I’m a visual person, and I understand and appreciate well thought out design. I noticed a few redesigned elements a few months ago, but never really dove into it.

Today, I decided to go back to Active.com to look up old marathon times, and also to get more inspiration for content for this site. I logged into my account, I was caught by surprise. I thought, “Nice! This would have been so useful during my training season!” It’s MyActive, their personalized portal for your athletic interests.

What do I mean? Let me tell you about the features I was exposed to. Depending on your location, it displays the upcoming events based on the activities you’re interested in. You can search and claim all your past race results. Yes, ALL. I searched my results and it showed my old Nike Run Hit Remix 5Ks and my other marathons. Active Trainer is another feature where you log your daily training stats: how you feel, your health vitals, how far you’ve run etc. You can also map your runs, share it with the Active community, and also search for other people’s routes. There’s some social aspect to the site too, where you can interact in the forums and ask whatever questions you may have about your favorite activity.

I’ve only touched the surface of what this website is all about. I’m sure most of you who are in Team in Training already have an account with Active.com because of your fundraising pages, but I invite you to roam around MyActive, I know I am.

Check out my MyActive profile
(yes, it’s still bare… I just started)

Back at the Boardwalk

My last real run on pavement was probably a month ago, and I was afraid that I’ll struggle going back to the old TNT training route along the Santa Monica and Venice boardwalk. Surprisingly, I survived the run with no problems! We kept it at a very easy conversational pace (which we should), and did 5:1 intervals. It brought back some memories passing by the small Venice shops, the homeless guys smoking out marijuana, and the smell of food from the small mom n pop shops.

Resistance Is Your Friend

24 Hour Fitness Spin ClassThis morning was the FIRST time I’ve ever gone to the gym before work. I slept early with the intention to check out a Turbo Kick Box class they offer at the Santa Monica 24 off Ocean Park and 31st. Only two people were in the Kickbox classroom, so I opted to try the 24Cycle Spin Class instead. It sounded fun, with some house music playing in the background, why not?

I picked a stationary cycle near the entrance, trying to be sneaky. About 15 minutes into it, I was drenched in sweat. Then the instructor said, “Ok, that was the warm-up. Time to step it up.” What the?!? Mind you, this is my FIRST spin class. I’ve always observed the class from the outside, and I’ve always thought that I’m never cut out for this kind of training. Never say never. I’m not sure what the intervals were, but at every interval before the rest period, the instructor would tell us to turn the dial to add more resistance. We would simulate hills by cycling standing up with more resistance, then have one arm behind our back, switching hands. The last part was sitting down with high cadence. She would repeatedly say “Resistance is your friend!”, because she said that low resistance could injure our knees.

Working out in the morning definitely gave me more energy throughout the workday, and I think I will make this a weekly thing for me since I don’t have TNT training anymore. It’s every Thursday at 8am in Santa Monica.

Run For Fun

finalrun.jpgWeek 16 Sunday Run – The FINAL One
A year and half ago, I wouldn’t have thought of even saying the following: “Today, I ran 8 miles for fun.” Since it was our last Sunday training for the San Diego Marathon participants, and since it’s a taper week to “take it easy”, we thought it would be fun if we made this a “Run For Fun”, where the Westside TNT Team invades the streets of Santa Monica and Venice with some shenanigans and costumes!

The day before I went to Wal-Mart and bought some golden boxers for only $5. I originally planned on wearing some mesh T-shirt, neon shorts, and neon wristbands, but I didn’t have much time, and since 80s style is a bit trendy at the moment, I would have paid a bunch. $5 gold boxers will do. I mixed it up with some aviator sunglasses I used for my “Dick In A Box” costume for Halloween, and a funny afro wig. What was I? I had no idea, but it looked silly. Most of the team were in a costume-wearing mood as coach Kevin was Bleeker, Coach Christy was Juno, many of the girls wore 80’s spandex, some wore bee outfits, Joe was Indy Jones, and much much more. I’m sure spectators along the beach were amazed at 75 or so runners being silly. It was our final run. Why not, right?

Photos from the run!

Hot Hot Hot

Homer Simpson runningWeek 15 Sunday RunThe weather this week wasn’t as hot as our 17 miler, but it was definitely a huge factor with how much I struggled this week. It has been a while since my long run mainly due to being out of town, but I still decided to run with pace group 3. I started out with group 3, but ended with group 4. Running along the residential area of San Vicente Blvd with all the flowers and pollen made it really difficult to breath. I had a choice between running in the heat, or in the shade with the pollen. Luckily, towards the end of the run, the breeze came in and cooled us down a bit. There goes my negative split runs again because I did so much better during my second half of the run!