Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Lake swimming!

I love my Garmin, I really do. The data files that I create with my 310xt when I swim/bike/run are one of the tools I use to communicate with my coach. However, given that I am in the off season in between two iron-distance races, I figured I would test myself informally to see how good of a "feel" I have for pacing, for time, and for HR.

Yesterday, I did a 5400m swim in the lake - a favourite swim of mine is out to a tiny island (Ruby Island) and back.

Ruby Island is a tiny island in Lake Wanaka. It's maybe a 1 minute walk from
one end of the island to the other end. The swim from the Wanaka lakefront to the 
island is approximately 2.6km (5.2km+ total), depending on how accurately you sight!

This summer I didn't swim in a pool, but trained solely in the lake. Thus, when I first
arrived in Wanaka in November, I rented out a kayak, and mapped some key sight points. 
I knew the true distances between each sight point, and thus had motivation to swim
as accurately as possible. 

Water conditions yesterday weren't ideal, but far better than the previous few weeks: water temperature is still on the cold side (15-16C), air temperature was a cool 10C and although there were no whitecaps, the lake wasn't exactly calm. Nevertheless, it is one of the last days that I have to spend in New Zealand before I return to Melbourne, so I grabbed at the opportunity for a nice, easy swim. On the way back from the island, I would tell myself to swim 5 minutes and then check my watch to see exactly how much time had passed. For the entire 50-odd minutes back to shore, I was consistently "right on the money". Each time I checked the watch, it was 5 minutes later, give or take 5-10 seconds. This might seem totally pointless and inane, but I feel that many of us, myself included, are losing our feel for time, pace and HR/effort. Without our Garmins, we just wouldn't know how far we ran, how hard we worked and for how long we were out there sweating. I like to think that I wouldn't totally fall apart but truth is, sometimes I'll be running at a pace I think is quite slow, then look down and see that the pace (and effort) is quite high. And vice versa.

I'd never trade in my Garmin, but I'd like to start looking at it less, simplifying my data fields and trying to align my inner self with what my outer self (i.e. my body) is actually doing.

Anyway, for the remainder of my off-season, I'll continue to hike boatloads, and swim when my legs aren't up for any more hiking. It's been working well for me so far, and given me the opportunity to see parts of New Zealand I'd never seen before while I was swim-bike-running. However, the fall semester begins soon (end of Feb), and I am absolutely dreading my return to Melbourne. I truly wish I could stay in this New Zealand paradise forever. However, time and scholarly commitments leave me unable to return until next January. Until then, I'll have to satisfy myself with what Melbourne has to offer!

1 comment:

  1. I totally know what you mean by this.
    For almost a month now I've pretty much been doing runs without my garmin. I map out the distance before hand or know the distance since I'm in a group and I just do whatever feels right. Or sometimes I'll bring along the watch but hide it under my jacket so I'm not always checking it out. It helps to do stuff by feel so you don't totally lose touch with how your body and mind are feeling.