Today I extended my getting-off-my-ass-and-getting-to-the-pool streak to a whopping two sessions. To stay motivated, I tried out a new pool which offers an outdoor option with a couple of not-quite-25-yard lanes. A change of venue always seems to help keep things fresh.

As you can see, it was beautiful when I arrived.

Empty lanes and a beautiful day.

Take that, run tunic and tri-suit tan lines!

Today’s recovery week swim workout consisted of just three drills and instructions to warm up, then repeat the drills for 30 minutes, so it seemed like a perfect day to check out a non-standard pool. The short length might mess with swim intervals based on training pace times, but for the type 0f form drills I had planned, it wouldn’t matter at all. Unlike most indoor pools, the majority of this pool is dedicated to play areas, with only three lap lands set up during the afternoon and evening. Incredibly, all three of them were empty when I arrived.

During my swim I could see the sky darkening, and I thought maybe I felt a little rain every now and then. As the 30 minute mark approached, it was definitely raining, so I hopped out and started gathering up my gear — just in time, it seems, as it started really storming on my way out and I heard the lifeguards order everyone out of the pool.

It's raining a lot harder than it looks. There was a severe thunderstorm warning.

It’s raining a lot harder than it looks. We were under a severe thunderstorm warning.

The three drills I worked on today are all some of my favorites:

* “I [was] just absolutely adamant about my God-given right to be wishy-washy about where I was going to land.” — Neil Armstrong, on his erratic Apollo 11 landing path
  • The Ankle Pull Buoy drill, in which you place a pull buoy in between your ankles (instead of between your thighs per usual) and swim with only your arms. Think of it as pretty much a swimming plank; it really engages the abs.
  • The Broken Arrow drill, which involves swimming on one side with an arm sticking straight out of the water, then bending the arm 90 degrees at the elbow and slicing the arm into the water to complete the stroke. This drill helps with form in a number of ways.
  • And the Swim w/Fists drill, in which you swim normally, but with your hands balled up into fists. This effectively removes your hands’ ability to grab and pull on the water, so you’re forced to depend on your forearms to make propulsion. Any problems with arm form ruins this and you flail around without really going anywhere.

After the swim I headed home, changed into my gym clothes, and put in a short back workout — probably the last lifting workout of the week for me. Normally I’d have a leg day, too, but the run and bike tests this week really took it out of my legs, and with an 84 mile ride on the schedule tomorrow, I figure I’ll skip leg day and pick it up early next week. Of course, I retain my right to change my mind*.