After struggling through November with a foot injury the beginning of December was spent rebuilding a base and returning to pre-injury status. By the end of the month I’d pretty returned to normal and I was ready to start getting a little more serious. I was scheduled to chaperone our school’s swim team on a trip to the Bahamas at the end of the month. We’d arrive in Nassau on Monday evening, December 28th and return Sunday afternoon, January 3rd. My only major duties were driving the kids to and from practice and just being a general adult presence the rest of the time. This would provide a great opportunity for me to get some good training in.
We arrived too late to get a workout in on Monday, so I was well rested to start my training on Tuesday morning. A couple of days before we left for the Bahamas I found out one of my twitter friends (@sarahstanley - http://www.runrideinspire.com/) was in the Bahamas and we arranged to meet up that morning for an early run in Paradise.
I met her at her hotel and we went out for a nice 7 mile run. I’d never met her in person and was a little worried that we wouldn’t have much to say to each other. My doubts were quickly laid to rest when I met Sarah. She is very friendly, outgoing and has no problems keeping a conversation going, something I often struggle with. I had a great time running with and wished that I could have run longer or gotten another run in with her, but that was the only run we were able to do. I had to get back to take the kids to practice and she left the next morning.
While the kids were doing their morning swim workout I decided to get my own swim workout in. I’d pretty much decided before the trip that I would do a swim workout in the morning while the kids were swimming and a run workout in the afternoon when they were swimming their second workout. So in the pool I went.
I did 3000 meters while in the pool. My workout consisted of a 200m warm-up, and then intervals. I took a 20second rest between reps and a 30second rest between sets. The workout consisted of: 6x200m, 6x100m, 6x50m, and 8x25m and then a 500m warm down.
After our morning workout we went back to hotel, got a quick breakfast and then hit the beach where everyone did their own thing until time to head to the afternoon practice.
That afternoon, even though I wasn’t going to try running in them until January, I decided to give my VFF’s another try. I put on my Sprints and went out for an easy 2 mile run in them. I was a bit nervous about running in them, but I was feeling good and decided it was worth another try. At the end of 2 miles, I switched into my regular running shoes and went out for another 4 miles. I was trying to do a better job of gradually building the miles in the VFF’s and didn’t want to push any further. My feet and legs felt great, but a little tired and so I called an end to the days run.
I still had some time before the kids finished their workout so I jumped into the pool for another swim. A much shorter workout this time, but got another 1200m in. Started with a 100m warm-up and then 5x200m. Each 200m consisted of 150m at pace, 25m all out sprint and 25m recovery. There was no rest between the 200’s and I finished with a 100m warm-down.
Afterwards we went to dinner which was an adventure on it own and then back to the hotel for a little free time before bed. Most of the dinners we had while we were down there were one adventure after another. I won’t go into detail, but will leave it at not many places are set up to handle big groups and our head swim coach insisted on us sitting together which was a little more than tough for the most of the places we went to handle.
The next morning we got up and headed back to the pool. I got a great 3200m workout and felt fantastic. The swim consisted of a 200m warm-up and then another interval workout. Again I took a 20sec rest between reps and a 30sec rest between sets and 60sec rest after the set of 400’s. The workout was: 2x25m, 2x50m, 2x100m, 2x200m, 2x400m, 2x200m, 2x100m, 2x50m, 2x25m, 2x50m, and 2x100m followed by 200m warm-down. Afterwards we again rushed to breakfast and then hit the beach. It was a tough life, but I wasn’t complaining.
That afternoon I went out for another run. I was a little tight from neglecting to stretch after any of my workouts so far, but otherwise I felt pretty good. There was no soreness in my feet from my VFF run the day before and it was a beautiful day. I really wanted to run in the VFF’s again, but was going to stick to my plan of gradually building into them this time. Besides, this would allow me to put in more miles which meant that I would be able to the road that ran along the water and I’d have a gorgeous backdrop for my run. I managed to get in a nice 9 ¼ mile run along the winding coastal road. The sun was glistening off the water and a cool breeze carried the scent of the sea water and the many flowers blooming along the road. When I got back to the pool I had enough time to get an easy 300m warm-down swim in.
The next day we got up and headed back to the pool. I was still feeling pretty good and upped the distance slightly. The mornings swim would tally up another 3700m. Once again I started with a 200m warm-up and then broke into another set of intervals with the same rest as I’d been doing. The workout consisted of: 8x200m, 8x100m, 8x50m, and 8x25m followed by a 200m warm-down. The kids still had a little left in their workout so I swam an easy 300m to fill the time.
That afternoon it was back out on the roads for another run. I was looking forward to running along the water again. The road was lined with many colorful flowers and had the stunningly blue water in the background. I managed to get in another 8 miles. I would have gotten more, but we were moving to a different part of the island the next morning and would be swimming at a different pool so I decided to take some pictures since it would be my last chance for this part of the island. The run felt great and I managed to get some great pictures.
That evening we again went to dinner as a group, but afterwards, since it was New Years Eve, we went over to Paradise Island and let the kids wander Atlantis and see the fireworks display at midnight. Afterward it was back to the hotel. There was going to be no morning swim, instead we were going to pack up and head to the next hotel.
Early the next morning I got up and wandered over to downtown Nassau to watch some of the tail end of a Junkanoo. Junkanoo is sort of a New Years celebration that starts around 1am and goes until noon. Different groups spend the whole year designing costumes and practicing their dancing for it and then spend the entire night and morning parading around the town competing against each other.
After we got moved over and checked into the new hotel we had free time until the afternoon swim workout. I headed to the beach for an open water swim. I swam out about 150 feet from shore and then turned and swam parallel to it. The water was perfect for a swim, cool enough to keep from over heating, but warm enough to be in for a long swim. The waves were almost non-existent with only a gentle rise and fall in them. I swam for what I guessed to be about ¾ of a mile before turning around and heading back. I confirmed the distance the next day by walking the shore from my start to turn around point and back with my Garmin 305 watch. The distance was about 1.3 miles. What a fantastic way to start the new year!
Shortly after the swim we had to load up the vans and head to the pool for swim practice. While the kids were in the pool I went out for a 8 mile run through the neighborhood. Unfortunately, this was a gated community and I was not able to find many areas where I had a view of the ocean. It was still a beautiful run and the houses were incredible to see. I imagined who some of the celebrities, diplomats, business tycoon, etc might live in each. There were explosions of fiery colors everywhere I went, flowers blossoms lining roads, separating houses, beautifying porches and yards. After the run I found out that one of the houses I had seen belonged to Sean Connery, but I was unsure at that point which it had been.
The next morning my longest swim workout of the week, a solid 4400m. I began with my usual 200m warm-up and then proceeded to do 20x200m with each 200m consisting of (like earlier in the week) 150m at pace, 25m all out, and 25m recovery with no rest during or between the 200s and finished with another 200m warm-down. It had been a good week of swimming but arms were about done, they felt like week old jello that was starting to crack down the middle. But, with only one more short swim left before returning to the frigid NY, I was confident I would be able to finish out the week.
That afternoon I got my final long run in the tropics. I again wandered through the gated community this time for 10 ½ miles. I pretty much covered every street in the neighborhood and got a nice look at Connery residence as I ran by. Just like my arms, my legs were finally feeling the miles, but despite the fatigue they felt great.
I awoke Sunday tired from the week but feeling great. It was slightly depressing knowing that we were leaving the fantastic weather that afternoon and heading back the freezer, but at least we had one more workout before we left. I decided to do both a short swim and run wanting to get one more of each in before we left. The swim was going to be a quick simple 1200m: 200m warm-up, 16x50m with 15seconds rest, and a 200m warm-down.
Once I was done with my swim I again put on my VFF Sprints and headed out on a run. It had been 5 days since my last VFF run, my feet felt great, my legs, though tired, were strong and it seemed like a great way to finish off the week. I started off at an easy 9min pace. My feet were feeling great and I wandered around for 5.25 miles before bring my Bahamian training to an end. Over all I managed to swim over 20,000yds and 54 miles. I did 2 runs in my VFFs and got in plenty of sun and fresh sea air. It was a perfect ending to 2009 and a great beginning to 2010. And, after the week of training I had I was confident that my feet and legs were again ready to try and become a barefoot runner.