Monday, February 16, 2009


Great workout on a day off from work. Went up to the Freeport Y, swam 5,000 yds, including a 1200 for time. I set the countdown timer on my watch for my average 200 split goal (today a manageable 2:38). I can hear it beep underwater, so I know where I am. Otherwise I'd lose count after 150 yards.

Until this year, I've taken the swim training easy because it was the strongest part of my race, plus the fact that I was tired from the other training. However in 2008, I actually placed higher in the bike and run in a few races. My swim at Nationals was not good. Given that I missed qualifying by 45 seconds, I think I can pick that up just in the swim. The problem is I'm a sprinter by training. I also HATE swimming alone. 1500 yds and I'm out.

So there's a physiological issue, but more importantly, a mental one. A couple of months ago I started a routine that includes one day per week of long swimming, and it's often alone. Twice per month that involves a long time trial. In February, I moved up from 1000 to 1200. Today's swim is evidence that the approach worked. I went long, and did it alone. And believe it or not, I enjoyed it.
After the swim, I did a new favorite run- from the Y to the very end of Winslow Park and back. Even though it's a dreaded out-and-back, it has everything- hills (yes, Mary, there are hills), flats, pavement, gravel, little traffic, woods, and ocean, and it's 6.2 miles (sound familiar?). 20 minutes of weights and I was done for the day.

So what's up with the title of this blog? It isn't an algebra question. It's me drawing parallels between triathlon and other parts of my life. H is for horse. Christine and Leah fell hard for competitive horseback riding last year. It's fantactic for Leah, teaching her the values of hard work, taking risks (imagine riding a 1000 pound bike that gets spooked and can throw you off), routine, what it's like to have nerves in competition, and I'm sure plenty more. P2 is the cost of a Cervelo P2. Leah may move up from a road bike with clip-on aerobars (Jitterbug) to a P2 (Wizard). I've always said I would support whatever passion the kids developed. We don't know if this turns into a lease or a purchase. Buying is where the "4" comes in. One P2 for each leg of the horse.
This isn't entirely selfless on my part. I promised them I wouldn't buy Zipp wheels before a significant investment in their sport. It's about balancing my selfish sport with other family desires. Looks like I'm in the on-deck circle.


  1. Hi Steve, I can see Mary and Ange finally got to you with their blogs!
    God your daughter is gorgeous. Good luck with the horse obsession. My 7-year old is obsessed as well, but mostly likes taking care of them so I can live with that.
    As for swimming, you've got to get yourself a team to workout with. I thought you were with the Y group? Swimming alone is no fun I agree. thanks for coming to the meet last weekend. You were amazingly fast!

  2. I need to follow your lead in terms of embracing/supporting/focusing on the passions of my wee ones and my spouse. I'm a pretty selfish person in general, and triathlon has definitely pushed me further along the road to complete self-absorption! I'll be divorced by the end of summer if I keep it up! :)

    As per swimming alone: I try to remind myself that I spend hours and hours running and biking. I can sit 4 hours on a trainer-- so I can spend a measly 1-1.5 hours in the pool a few times a week, right? In 1 hour I can get complete at least 3500 yards of work--often more depending on the nature of the workout/rest times etc. Do that 3x times a week and you're over 10,000 yards--and again, that's only 3 silly hours! I agree, though, it's easy to let your strongest discipline go. Your are an amazing enough swimmer that your swim should kill your bike and run every time no matter how good you get in those disciplines...
    Your daughter is adorable. I'm sure she has already discovered the series Pony Pals? (Remember- I'm a librarian/teacher...) She'd like them if she hasn't. It's a series of chapter books (probably grade 3-4 in level) about girls and their horses. Another good series is Phantom Stallion--a little harder than Pony Pals, maybe for girls ages 9-12.

  3. That is a beautiful picture. I agree with Mary and Alina, your daughter is gorgous. And you sound like an Awesome Dad! 5000 yds alone is impressive. I swim alone all the time too and it's tough. It's hard to push beyond a certain level when alone in the water I think. You're going to have an awesome season. And I'm going to try to get You to see the back of MY shirt! :) (good luck to me!)