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  1. Test set

    The Texas Swim Center is closed for a few weeks undergoing routine cleaning and maintenance; while it was still open I took advantage of my taper and swam a PR in the 5K postal (1:12:23.07, a second faster than last year). I am hoping that time will be good enough for a virtual podium finish in my age group.

    I really don't enjoy training on my own, so I decided to try out the new Masters program at Brendan Hansen's Austin Aquatics and Sports Academy in South Austin. Nate O'Brien coached this morning; I shared a lane with one of my Longhorn teammates, Andrea, and a pretty fast young guy named Grant. This is a very nice outdoor Myrtha pool which was set up long course. They seem to do a nice job with aeration as the water temperature was pleasant despite daytime temperatures reaching 100.

    Warm up:

    10 minutes choice

    400 DPS (5:45, averaging 39 strokes)

    Main set:

    Andrea's triathlon coach wanted her to do a test set of 15 x 100 @ 1:30 holding 1:20, so Nate assigned the set to everyone. Some of the other lanes went on slower intervals. I swam behind Grant and Andrea and held 1:20 for all 15 and felt strong. I have used this set many times to assess how well I am training, but I have always swum it in a 25 meter pool.

    I skipped the kick set to leave for work.
  2. Pacific Masters LCM Championships

    This was a very well run meet and one which I would highly recommend. I finally met scyfreestyler as well as Jim Clemmons and John Morales and spent some time talking to all three of them. I hope to see them again at future meets.

    First event--200 free:

    2:23.35 (1:09.99/1:13.36). This was a non-tech suit Masters PR for me (I went 2:22.02 in 2008 wearing a full body suit) and is among my best swims ever. I felt very loose and relaxed on the blocks, had a good start, and felt very strong in the water. I finished second in my heat and third in my age group.

    Second event--800 free:

    10:37.41 (5:17.91/5:19.50). I had hoped to be a bit faster, but I was still only 1.28 off my time from last summer, and I split it very well. This race hurt more than I had expected, likely due to the 200 earlier in the day. By the time I returned to my hotel I felt as though I had been run over by a truck.

    Third and final event--400 free:

    5:08.00 (2:31.14/2:36.86). This was the first event on Sunday, and I had high expectations for this race, but I think I underestimated the effect of Saturday's two events. My plan had been to take it out in 2:27, which I really should be able to do on the basis of my 200 time, but of course I wasn't even close to that. In retrospect, I believe that the 200 and the 800 combined had the impact of swimming a 1500. If I am going to break 5:00 (I was 5:03.92 last summer), I will need to swim the 400 as the first event of a meet.

    Updated July 27th, 2015 at 07:41 PM by gull

  3. Taper, day 9. Ready to rock.

    We had an early (0530) practice at the Texas Swim Center this morning because of TAGS. The touch pads were in. Shared a lane next to the UT women's team (not again!) with Mark, David, Colin, Jim, and Larry. Whitney coached.

    Warm up:

    800 free

    Main set:

    5 x 100 @ 1:35; swam behind Larry and caught a nice draft, holding 1:19-1:20 easily

    Rested for a minute while my lane mates continued the set (4 @ 1:30, 3 @ 1:25, 2 @ 1:20, 1@ 1:15) then went 4 x 100 @ 1:30 at 800 race pace with Whitney timing (no draft)--1:17, 1:18, 1:19, 1:18

    300 easy

    2000 meters

    I fly out to the West Coast tomorrow evening. I will sleep in tomorrow morning and skip practice, as this has worked well for me in the past. I plan to be shaved and fully rested on Saturday.
  4. Taper, days 7 and 8

    Well into the taper now and feeling fairly smooth in the water. Yesterday I was paged out of practice at 0630 but did manage 1400 meters. Today I shared a lane with Larry, Taylor, Mariah, Sharon, and David. The pool was set up as an eight lane competition course for TAGS. Whitney coached.

    Warm up:

    6:00 swim/6:00 pull/6:00 kick

    Main set:

    16 x 200 as 4 sets of 3 with 100 kick in between rounds; I swam a total of 6 x 200,
    1 - 4 as 25 fly/175 free (aerobic) @ 3:15 averaging 2:50 and 5 - 6 as 50 back/150 free (aerobic) @ 3:15 averaging 2:55.

    6 x 50 @ 1:05, 400 race pace; held :36-:37 from a push

    100 easy

    2400 meters
  5. Taper, days 4, 5, and 6

    Felt more rested on Saturday; I shared a lane with Larry and Jake in the diving well. Whitney coached.

    Warm up:

    6 x (75 free/50 IM/25 kick)

    Main set:

    12 x 150 as 3 x (3 @ a challenging interval, 1 easy--25 free/25 stroke, IM order); we swam the first two rounds on 1:55 (I held 1:47) and the last round on 1:50 (I held 1:44, pulling the first two repeats, and felt strong)

    200 easy

    2900 yards

    Yesterday I swam an easy 1200 meters in Barton Springs wearing a sleeveless wetsuit. This is about a third of what I usually swim there.

    This morning I shared a lane in the main pool at the Texas Swim Center with Larry, Kristy, Sharon, Andrea. Whitney coached.

    Warm up:

    4 x 300, a mix of swim, drill, kicking

    Main set, twice through:

    5 x 100 @ 2:00, 85%
    1 x 100 easy
    4 x 100, :10 rest (broken 400)

    I swam one round, leading the lane on the 5 x 100 and holding 1:19-1:20 (HR = 144); I swam behind Larry on the broken 400 and went 5:06 from a push (1:15/1:17/1:17/1:17) which was a very strong swim for me. My goal for San Jose is 1:11/1:16/1:16/1:16 which I believe is within reach as I will be shaved.

    300 easy

    2500 meters
  6. Taper day 3--More, or less?

    Shared a lane this morning with Larry; attendance was light for a Fast Friday, but many of our swimmers are on vacation. Whitney coached.

    This was not a stellar workout for me, but my times were comparable to last summer when I was tapering for Zones and the summer before that when I was tapering for Mission, and I swam PRs at both meets. So to answer the question, at this point I believe I need more rest, not less.

    Warm up:


    Main set, three times through:

    1 x 100 fast (100%) @ 3:00
    1 x 100 easy @ 2:00
    2 x 50 fast (100%) @ 1:30
    1 x 100 easy @ 2:00
    1 x 200 fast (100%) @ 5:00
    1 x 100 easy @ 2:00

    I swam only two rounds to finish with 3000 meters for the day. Went 1:14/:36/:36/2:37 (1:15/1:22) in round one and felt tight. We were supposed to use fins on round two, but I swam it instead and went 1:14/:35/:34/2:36 (1:15/1:21).
  7. Taper day 2

    Shared a lane with Katy, David, and Mariah, next to Larry on one side and Ben on the other. Whitney coached. Lately there has been more of an emphasis on speed work on Thursdays. I believe that I am the only one tapering right now, but today's workout was perfect.

    Warm up:

    3 x (3:00 swim/2:00 swim/1:00 swim); we swam 200s/100s/50s

    Main set, twice through:

    1 x 50, 200 race pace, @ 1:00/1 x 50 easy @ 2:00
    2 x 50, 200 race pace, @ 1:00/1 x 50 easy @ 2:00
    3 x 50, 200 race pace, @ 1:00/1 x 50 easy @ 2:00
    4 x 50, 200 race pace, @ 1:00/1 x 50 easy @ 2:00
    1 x 400 recovery a@ 8:00

    Averaged :35-:36 on these; on the last four I went :34/:35/:35/:34 (2:18)

    3000 meters
  8. Summer 2015 Taper, Day 1

    Shared a lane in the main pool at the Texas Swim Center with Katy, Mariah, Taylor, Stacy, and Sharon. Yes, I was the only guy in that lane, but we all have to make sacrifices at times; there have been days when we have had to walk around the UT women's team stretching on deck. Whitney coached.

    Warm up:

    200 fingertip drag
    100 fly kick/drill/swim
    200 fist drill
    100 back kick/drill/swim
    200 catch up
    100 breast kick/drill/swim

    Main set:

    4 x 50 fly, swim/drill, @ 1:05; the swim repeats were supposed to be strong
    3 x 50 back, swim/drill
    2 x 50 breast, swim/drill
    1 x 50 free, swim/drill
    1 x 800 with fins as 200 IM/200 kick
    4 x 100 free, swim/drill, @ 2:00; I swam these as 50 @ 400 race pace/50 drill and held :37 feet to feet
    3 x 100 breast, swim/drill
    2 x 100 back, swim/drill
    1 x 100 fly, swim/drill
    1 x 800 pull, negative split; I used a buoy and pulled a 400 moderate, splitting it 2:45/2:44 (5:29). Felt strong and smooth.
    100 easy

    3500 meters
  9. Monday July 13, 2015

    I plan to begin tapering later this week; I will not lift again until after I return from San Jose.

    On Saturday I shared a lane in the main pool at the Texas Swim Center with David and Ande; attendance was light because of the early start time (0530). Whitney coached.

    Warm up:

    200 free, drag fingertips/100 right arm/200 free, catch up, with a buoy out in front/100 left arm/200 10-3-10 drill/100 IM

    Main set:

    8 x 400 @ 6:00, descend 1-4 then maintain the same pace 5-8; I went 5:52, 5:47, 5:46, and 5:42 on the first four, then 5:37, 5:35, 5:35, and 5:34 on the last four

    Final set:

    8 x 50 @ 1:00 as 25 stroke fast IM order/25 easy

    4500 meters

    This morning I shared a lane with Larry, Taylor, Ben, Kristy, Sharon.

    Warm up:

    500 swim as 75 free/25 stroke
    400 pull, same as above
    300 kick with fins
    4 x 50, breath control

    Main set:

    4 x 200 @ 3:00; I led the lane on this round and held 2:53
    1 x 400 as 75 easy, DPS/25 fly fast
    4 x 150 @ 2:10; held 2:06
    1 x 400 as 75 easy, DPS/25 back fast
    4 x 100 @ 1:25; felt strong on these and held 1:19-1:21
    1 x 400 as 75 easy, DPS/25 breast fast

    Final set:

    8 x 50 @ 1:00 with fins, breath control (8/7/6/5/4/3/2/1 total breaths/50)

    4800 meters
  10. Fast Friday July 10, 2015

    Shared a lane at the Texas Swim Center with Taylor, Kristy, David, and Max. Whitney coached. The pool was set up as an eight lane 50 meter competition course with touch pads for Sectionals this weekend.

    Warm up:

    5:00 swim
    4 x 50 @ 1:15
    5:00 pull
    4 x 50 @ 1:15

    Main set:

    20 x 100 @ 2:15 as 4 x (1 each @ 70%, 80%, 90%, 100%, easy); felt tight on the first two rounds, then on rounds three and four went 1:25, 1:20, 1:16, 1:13

    5:00 recovery swim

    1 x 100 fast from a dive in heats; I went 1:08 (:33/35), a practice PR.

    Very solid week of training.
  11. Thursday July 9, 2015

    Shared a lane this morning with Katy and David. Attendance was relatively light today, and we had the entire main pool in the Texas Swim Center. Whitney coached. I was still a bit sore from lifting earlier in the week.

    Warm up:

    20 x 50 @ 1:00, a mix of drill, swim, breath control, and speed work

    Main set:

    6 x 200 @ 3:30, best average; I held 2:42 (1:18/1:24) which is close to 800 race pace

    1 x 400 easy, choice

    5 x 200 @ 3:30, best average; I held 2:42 again and went 2:38 (1:17/1:21) on the last one

    1 x 400 easy, choice

    4200 meters

    Strong set of 200s for me, although I really need to split them better.
  12. Crunch time

    These are my last two weeks of hard training before I begin tapering for the Pacific Masters Long Course Championships, which will be my only summer meet.

    I had a solid workout last Thursday at the Texas Swim Center; the main set was 2 x (4 x 100/2 x 200/1 x 400 @ 1:25 base, followed by 8 x 50 @ 1:00 alternating 25 stroke, IM order/25 easy and 50 with four breaths). I held 1:21 on the 100s, 2:46 on the 200s, and 5:35 on the 400s, which is a very solid set for me on that interval.

    On Friday morning I swam at Blodgett Pool with Cambridge Masters, then ate my way through Boston on Saturday and Sunday. It was bittersweet, though, as I encountered quite a few ghosts on this trip back East--my parents, my aunt and uncle, and sadly my college roommate who died unexpectedly last month.

    As always, it took me a couple of days to find my groove again after a weekend off, but I swam well today despite lifting weights last night. I shared a lane this morning with Katy, Stacy, Taylor, Max, and David. Whitney coached.

    Warm up:

    2 x (200 free/150 breast/100 back/50 fly); round one swim or drill, round two swim or pull

    Main set, 3 x through:

    4 x 150 @ 2:15; averaged 2:01-2:03 on rounds one and three, 2:00-2:01 on round two (pulling with a buoy)
    :30 rest
    1 x 200 IM strong
    1 x 100 easy

    3700 meters (there was a fin set but I had to leave for work).
  13. Hot and cold

    My performance in practice has become more inconsistent over time, to the extent that I never know what to expect until we get into the main set. On Saturday I shared a lane in the well, which was warm as usual, with Dick, Kristy, Mariah, and Katy. Whitney coached.

    Warm up:

    Four times through--
    4 x (choose your distance) @ 1:00; we swam 75s
    2 x 25 @ :30, one fast, one easy with one breath

    Drop down 50s, kick with fins or pull; I pulled with a buoy and made it to :32

    Main set:

    Twice through--
    1 x 400
    1 x 300
    1 x 200
    1 x 100
    on 1:15 base; felt stronger on the second round and went 4:51, 3:33, and 2:23

    I rested Sunday then struggled through yesterday's practice; the main set was four rounds of the following:

    4 x 50 @ :45
    1 x 100 @ 400 race pace; averaged 1:17 which didn't feel great and is slower than my goal 400 pace by :02
    1 x 200 pull

    This morning I shared a lane with Larry, Taylor, Joe, Rachel. We swam in the main pool which was set up long course. Whitney coached.

    Warm up:

    6 x (150 free/50 stroke drill)

    Main set:

    Three rounds of--
    4 x 50 as 25 stroke fast/25 easy free @ 1:00, IM order by round
    1 x 100 stroke @ 200 race pace, IM order by round, then leaving on the next top-
    1 x 100 kick, then leaving on the next top-
    4 x 100 free "aerobic" @ 1:25; I finally put together a solid set of 100s @ 1:25, holding 1:20 (even when I led the lane on the last round). Felt strong on these. Go figure.

    Final set:

    Two rounds of--
    1 x 300 pull @ 4:30
    1 x 200 IM @ 3:30, strong
    1 x 100 with 10 breaths (didn't make that) @ 2:00
  14. Thursday June 25, 2015

    Shared a lane this morning with Mark, Larry, Mariah, Joe, Sharon. Whitney coached.

    Warm up and main set:

    40 x 100 @ 2:00 as follows--

    1-8 as warm up

    9-16 free, best average, 85-90%; held 1:17 but went 1:15 on #16. HR was 144.

    17-24 kick, best average; I used short Keifer fins and held 1:35

    25-32 stroke of choice, best average, 85-90%; swam five of these before I had to leave for work and went 1:15, 1:13, 1:13, 1:13, 1:12 (all free) and felt strong. I just need to put four of these together for my 400 free in San Jose and I can bust 5:00

    32-40 swim or pull, best average; missed these because of an early case

    2900 meters
  15. Wednesday June 24, 2015

    I missed practice yesterday morning due to a mandatory 7 am meeting. And I have another one on Friday. No one ever looks back on their life and regrets that they did not attend more meetings. I will regret missed practices.

    This morning I swam in the fast lane with Ande, Shane (as in "Come back, Shane!"), Taylor, Mariah (as in--never mind), Stacy, Ben, Ned, Tyler. Whitney coached.

    Warm up:

    20 x 50 @ 1:00, every 4th non-free

    Main sets:

    20 x 50 @ 1:00 as 5 sets of 4, 1 & 2 800 race pace (held :38 comfortably), 3 fast (IM order), 4 easy

    12 x 100 "aerobic" @ 1:40 as 4 sets of 3, 1 25 fly/75 free, 2 25 fly/25 back/50 free, 3 100 IM

    6 x 150 swim, pull, or swim with fins @ 2:00; I pulled (buoy only) and made them on 2:05, mostly touch and go. Only a couple of the swimmers in our lane made the 2:00 interval.

    8 x 50 @ 1:00 as 25 fast/25 easy

    4500 meters

    Four weeks until the Pacific Masters LCM Championships, which means I have only three weeks of serious training left.
  16. Lane leader

    I rested yesterday as I usually do on Sundays. Shared a lane at the Texas Swim Center this morning with Larry, Kristy, and several others. I led our lane for the entire main set. After practice Whitney commented that leading is "20% harder" than drafting, which I believe.

    Warm up:

    4 x 200 as 150 free/50 drill, IM order

    Main set, 2 x through (pulling the second round):

    6 x 100 @ 1:30, averaged 1:24-1:25, which isn't great
    6 x 50 @ 1:00, six breaths
    5 x 100 @ 1:25, averaged 1:23
    5 x 50 @ 1:00, five breaths

    1 x 800, kick with fins--skipped this

    4100 meters

    I really need to hold 1:20s on a set like this, but is was Monday and I was leading the lane, so I will cut myself some slack.
  17. Saturday June 20, 2015

    Shared a lane at the Texas Swim Center with Dick, Larry, Mariah, Sharon. Christian coached using Whitney's workout. I felt more rested this morning; the later start time helped.

    Warm up:

    3 x 300 as 150 swim, 50 kick, 100 IM

    Main set:

    4 x 300 @ 4:40, 80%; held 4:15 on the first three and felt smooth (HR = 132), went 4:08 on the last one
    4 x 50 IM order @ 1:00, 25 fast/25 easy
    4 x 300 pull @ 4:40, 80%; held 4:15 on the first three, went 4:07 on the last one
    4 x 50 IM order @ 1:15, 37.5 fast/25 easy
    4 x 300 @ 4:40, 80%; held 4:15 on the first three again (En2), went 4:07 on the last one
    4 x 50 IM order @ 1:30, fast; went :33 high on the free

    5100 meters

    Solid endurance workout after a good week of training. I believe at this point that I am capable of equaling my meet times in the 800 and the 400 from last summer, but I want to go faster than that in San Jose.

    Updated June 20th, 2015 at 03:21 PM by gull

  18. "Fast" Friday June 19, 2015

    I felt pretty rough this morning after yesterday's practice and not sleeping well last night. To be honest, I really have not slept well since I turned 50 and my sleep pattern changed, but that is another story. I shared a lane with Larry, Dick, Joe, Kristy. Whitney coached.

    Warm up:

    20 minutes choice followed by 4 x 50 as 25 fast/25 easy

    Main set:

    4 x through--

    4 x 100 @ 2:15
    1 x 50 fast
    1 x 50 easy

    Round 1 was @ 85%; I held 1:20, which didn't feel great. The 50 was forgettable (:35)

    Round 2 was @ 90%; I held 1:19, but that didn't feel great either. However, my HR was only 138, which for me corresponds to En2 (anaerobic threshhold). So my perceived level of effort was higher than my actual level of effort.

    Round 3 was @ 95%; I held 1:18 and still wasn't feeling the love. My HR, though, was still 138.

    Round 4 was @ 98%; I went 1:16, 1:15, 1:14, 1:14, 400 race pace. I actually felt pretty strong on these. Go figure. I raced Ned in the next lane and was able to hang with him. Should have checked my HR but didn't.

    After some easy recovery swimming, we swam one more fast 100 from a push.
    I went 1:11 high, which was a solid swim for me to end practice.
  19. Some days my swimming sucks

    But not today. I had one of my best long course workouts as a Masters swimmer, even though I felt tired on deck and sluggish during warm up. I had trained Tuesday and Wednesday, both IM workouts.

    I shared a lane with Katy, Larry, Christine, Joe, Ned, and Sharon. Whitney coached.

    Warm up, twice through:

    200 free
    50 left arm/50 right arm
    200 pull
    50 right side kick/50 left side kick

    Main set:

    5 x 150 @ 2:15, cruised these and held 2:06
    50 easy
    4 x 150 @ 2:10, held 2:05
    1:00 rest
    3 x 150 @ 2:05, made 'em (tough interval for me)
    50 easy
    2 x 150 @ 2:00, went 1:57 (out in 1:16) and 2:00
    1:00 rest
    1 x 150 fast, went 1:56
    50 easy

    4 x 150 pull (buoy only) @ 2:10, held 2:04
    1:00 easy
    3 x 150 @ 2:05, made 'em
    50 easy
    2 x 150 @ 2:00, went 1:57 and 2:00
    100 easy
    1 x 150 fast, went 1:56
    50 easy (we were actually out of time but Eddie let us swim this last easy 50, which was very nice of him)

    5200 meters

    Updated June 18th, 2015 at 05:40 PM by gull

  20. Post call, Monday June 15, 2015

    Finding time to train on a call weekend can be challenging; I missed the Saturday morning practice at the Texas Swim Center but managed to swim on my own yesterday afternoon at Life Time Fitness. I don't particularly like the indoor poor because it is poorly lit with narrow lanes, but the outdoor pool is too warm in summer (and unheated in winter, so in reality it is suitable for training only in May and September). I am planning to join Pure Austin next month as they have a quarry for open water swimming and a heated outdoor pool in addition to the gym. Anyway, I did a long slow warm up outdoors (2000 total) then went indoors for a set of 10 x 100 @ 1:30 (scm) holding 1:20-1:21, which is a set I use periodically to gauge my endurance mid-season. The weekend overall was very demanding physically, so 3000 meters was more than adequate considering that I would need time to recover before Monday morning practice.

    This morning I shared a lane at UT with Mark, Jim (who dropped down a lane to rest for his 10K tomorrow), Kristy, Taylor, Colin, Joe. Whitney coached. I slept all of four hours last night due to a late case followed by endless phone calls, so I was happy with my performance in the pool.

    Warm up:

    500 swim as 100 free/25 breast
    400 swim as 75 free/25 back
    300 free as 50 free/50 fly drill
    200 kick drill (10/3/10)
    100 with eight breaths total (made it)
    I missed half of this answering a page

    Main set:

    4 x (5 x 100, 1-4 aerobic, 5 strong), rounds 1-3 @ 1:30, round 4 @ 1:25. In the first three rounds I averaged 1:21s on the aerobic repeats, 1:19s on the strong ones; in the fourth round I went 1:19, 1:19, 1:20?, 1:21, 1:21 (caught the lane leader on the last two--he was beginning to fade) and felt strong

    1 x 800 with fins as 25 fast with no breaths/75 kick on back--missed half of this answering another page

    5 x 100 @ 1:25--skipped this since I was already out of the water

    Planning to lift weights later today (and take a nap at some point)
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