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Year Three: The Road Back

"Sometimes God calms the storm. At other times, he calms the sailor. And, sometimes he makes us swim. " - Author Unknown

Having killed my knees running half-marathons, I turned to swimming at the ripe young age of 39. I attended my first Masters' practice in August of 2009 and competed in my first ever swim meet in January 2010. My second year focused on training, improving, and competing. My third year... that will be another story.

  1. Taper Day...The One-Day Taper...Tee Hee

    by , January 28th, 2011 at 12:41 PM (Year Three: The Road Back)
    So, the meet is on Sunday. My goals are:
    1. to break :30 in the 50 Free (for the 1st time ever)
    2. to get :32 in the 50 Fly (for the 1st time ever)
    3. to go under 1:10 in the 100 Free (for the 1st time ever)
    4. to finish the 100 Fly (with style, if possible)
    5. to be legal on the 100 IM (esp. breaststroke)

    I'm 2 seconds away from the first two goals in each. The 100 Free shouldn't be a problem. I've raced a high 1:10 before, but it all comes down to how good my turns are. The 100 Fly is still freaking me out mentally. I'm trying to remember it's just 4 25's - and I can do 4 25's . As for the IM, breaststroke is such a challenge for me (my best racing time for a 50 breast - only done once - is :51 ) that any time I finish legally (my best to date is 1:32) is great. A time drop would just be an extra bonus. The 100 IM is not too long after the 100 Fly though, so it could be that remembering the IM order will be a challenge in itself .

    Today was IM day in the pool, but I took it a bit easy. My legs were still feeling tight and I didn't want to burn them out, so I wore fins for most of the IM work (especially the 400 IM - of which I did 100 Fly straight instead of 4x100 IMs, which I have done in the past). I got out early and soaked/stretched in the whirlpool for a while.

    My plan is to do a light swim (maybe 1000 yards or so) tomorrow and rest until the meet on Sunday. The only reason I'm planning on hitting the pool tomorrow at all is because I just got my Yingfa kneeskin from George's company (www.swimdownhill.com) and I've never worn a kneeskin before - and a trial run is in order to increase my comfort level with the suit. Anyhoo...

    Wish me luck!
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  2. Easing Up...Just a Tad

    by , January 27th, 2011 at 12:53 PM (Year Three: The Road Back)
    Typically in the week before I race, I try to mini-taper and take it easier in practice the Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday before the Saturday races. This week, however, Wednesday's workout was just fun - and so no getting out early. Today, even from the warm-up, I felt sluggish and my shoulders were aching. So, I decided today would be a great taper day.

    Here's what I did:

    400 Warm-Up
    9 x 100 Free on 1:40 (held 1:25s for all, but shoulder really started aching during this round...)
    8 x 75 Kick on 1:35 (was supposed to be free, but wanted to give shoulder a break)
    1 x 100 Kick on 1:35
    8 x 75 Drill/Swim on 1:30 (3 fly, 3 back, 2 free)
    1 x 100 Free on 1:30 (went 1:25)
    400 Cool-Down
    Total Yards - 3100

    Okay, okay...so my mini-taper ended up only dropping 400 yards off the main set, but it was just me and my training partner - no other teammates showed up and he was swimming Free 100's the whole way. Didn't want to abandon him totally to finish on his own....

    On the happy front, my daughter's fever is gone and she went back to school today. On the not-so-happy front, I still can't kick this cold once and for all. On the happy front, I didn't get my daughter's fever yet. On the not-so-happy front, I had to go to the dentist yesterday. Ugh... for those of you who remember, one of my goals for the year was to be much more regular (read "daily") in my flossing. I will admit to being much better than I have been (I once went 9 years without visiting a dentist - not my favorite activity), but still not the every day I was hoping for. This goal is, obviously, still a work in progress... but the cleaning wasn't too bad and if I floss more, the cleanings won't be as bad as they could be.

    Anyway, tomorrow's workout is IM in nature and I haven't decided just how much of it I should do - and how much I should rest my shoulders. The meet is on Sunday, not Saturday, this time and I'm planning on taking all day Saturday off - and attending my daughter's first Color Guard competition. So... I may focus more on the fly/free aspects in the IM set (since those are my main events on Sunday), or I may just cruise... Time will tell.
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  3. Wednesday - 100s

    by , January 26th, 2011 at 04:08 PM (Year Three: The Road Back)
    Today's focus was on 100's. It was actually a pretty neat workout once we got into it. Here's what we did:

    400 Warm-Up
    16 x 25 Drill on :40 (8 fly, 8 free - these got pretty monotonous)
    16 x 25 Kick on :30 (h/e; e/h by 12.5)
    3 sets (all intervals are 2:15):
    1 x 100 Free (swim 25, rest :10, swim 75)
    1 x 100 Free (swim 25, rest :10, swim 25, rest :10, swim 50)
    1 x 100 Free (swim 25, rest :10, swim 50, rest :10, swim 25)
    1 x 100 Free (swim 25, rest :05, swim 25, rest :05, swim 25, rest :05, swim 25)
    1 x 100 Free ALL OUT - did 1:11, 1:09, 1:12
    400 Cool-Down

    Total Yards - 3100

    Didn't really know what to expect on this set, but ended up enjoying it. 2nd All Out 100 felt the best (until I ran into the 4th girl in my lane as I was touching the wall on my 100 and she was flipping for her second 50). The most important thing - remembered how to pace a 100 - go out strong, but not too strong for the first 75 to sprint the last 25. Racing the 100 this weekend. Hoping to shave a couple seconds off of my best racing time of 1:10. The 1:09 from a push today gives me a lot of hope. Keeping my fingers crossed.

    Just as I'm starting to feel healthy, my oldest daughter is home today with the flu. Hopefully, I won't relapse (at least not until the meet on Sunday is over ).

    All in all, a good workout day
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  4. Tuesday - Distance Day

    by , January 25th, 2011 at 01:04 PM (Year Three: The Road Back)
    With the huge number of yards put in last week (even with a sick day thrown in), I wasn't really looking forward to distance day. I did, however, manage to get in 4000 yards. Pretty decent for a Tuesday. The intervals were a bit of a challenge for me and - since I'm racing 50s and 100s this weekend - by the end of practice, I was more concerned with sprinting the last 25 than I was with making the entire distance. Does that make sense?

    Here's what I did:
    400 Warm-Up
    5 x 100 Kick/Swim by 50s (did fly for swim)
    3 x 500 (did free, kick, free - bit dizzy during 1st round, so kicked 2nd round)
    4 x 200 Pull (in theory - did as 1x200 pull, 2x175 pull, and 1x150 pull w/ sprint at end)
    4 x 100 Free on 1:30
    4 x 50 Free (with fins) on :45
    300 Cool-Down
    Total Yards - 4000

    Right now, I'm finding it tricky knowing just how hard to push. The warm-up and kick/swim's felt great. Then the 1st 500 came and I started feeling dizzy. What I am nervous about is overdoing it and getting sick again - or not actually getting totally better. Plus, my first meet is on Sunday and I would prefer to be healthy.

    I'm looking forward to the meet because Ball State's meet last year was the first meet I ever competed in. It'll be interesting to see the time differences in this first year. I am also wanting to use these times as a gauge to help me figure out what events I want to swim at Y Nationals in April and where I need to focus my training (other than the 100 Fly - that's a given). So....

    Has anyone ever been to Y Nationals in Fort Lauderdale? I've never swam in an outdoor pool, so competing backstroke...well, let's just say it should be interesting....
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  5. Predictor Set...Such Fun

    by , January 24th, 2011 at 04:08 PM (Year Three: The Road Back)
    Today's happy Monday workout was a short workout in terms of yardage, but one of those workouts that kicks your butt if you do it right. We did the following:

    400 Warm-Up
    4 x 100 Free Drill Cycle on 2:15
    3 sets:
    1 x 50 Kick WITHOUT FINS (ugh!) on 1:15
    4 x 25 Kick WITHOUT FINS (ugh again!) on :30 - by the 3rd set, struggling with interval
    8 x 25 hard/ez; ez/hard free on :30
    20 x 50 Free Predictor Set (maintain best average) on 1:30
    400 Cool-Down
    Total Yards - 2,850

    The idea with the Predictor Set is to hold your best average over all 20 swims. My best ever 50 free diving off the blocks is :32. I managed to hold :35ish for the entire set. I did, however, have some issues feeling any rhythm at all, so a few of my 50s (all from a push - not dive) were at :34, while a few were at :37. Felt a bit nauseous halfway through the set (still not totally recovered from being sick), but managed to hang in there and finish the set - even though my lovely inner voice was screaming at me to stop. One of my main challenges of this season is to learn to better deal with the negative inner voice and hang in there when the sets get really tough.

    The oddest thing of the day is swimming a bit healthier. I got so used to my nose being completely plugged from my cold, that I forgot to blow out through my nose during flip turns and kept getting water up my nose. But, I'll take those distractions if it means that overall, I'm finally getting rid of my cold. Here's a hopeful YAY! And a grand wish that I'm not celebrating too early and jinxing my recovery.
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  6. Back in the Water

    by , January 22nd, 2011 at 09:36 PM (Year Three: The Road Back)
    After missing my first day of practice in months due to a fever, I felt better this morning and hit the pool. Instead of swimming the team's scheduled Saturday practice, however, I went to the Y because I wasn't sure how I would feel. To my surprise, two other teammates (one who coaches me 2x/week) were also there, so we all swam together. That was a nice surprise.

    All told, I think I overdid it a tad as I'm not feeling too hot again tonight. Oh well, Sunday is my total day off and hopefully, I'll recover fully - my first meet of this year is next Sunday.

    Today's workout was as follows:
    400 Warm-Up
    2 sets:
    6 x 50 on 1:10
    3 x 100 on 1:45
    1 x 300 on 5:00
    3 x 100 on 1:35
    6 x 50 on :50
    1 x 400 Kick
    200 Cool-Down

    Of course, then during the cool-down, the coach started swimming kick/drill/drill/swim in fly by 25's with :15 rest between sets. Joined him for the last two (what was I thinking?!) After the second 100, I did a nice and easy 50 free to get my breath back before getting out. Total distance swam today - 4250 yards. Not too bad!

    Time will tell if I did any damage, but it just felt good. After swimming almost every day for 17 months, missing a day feels awful. Just so glad today to be able to get back in the water.

    As for tomorrow, time to put my feet up, relax, and cheer for the Packers and Steelers. Wouldn't that be an awesome Super Bowl!
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  7. Woozieness Wins...

    by , January 21st, 2011 at 08:20 AM (Year Three: The Road Back)
    Got up this morning to swim as usual at 4:30, even though I came home sick from work yesterday and spent the afternoon sleeping on the couch. Since all the schools around here are on a two-hour delay due to icy roads and cold temperatures, I decided to make sure the Y was still opening as scheduled. While I waited for my computer to turn on, the wooziness of yesterday returned and I started to feel feverish again.

    That being said, I stood in my kitchen for the next five minutes putting my shoes on and taking them off again. My cats must think I'm absolutely nuts! I just really wanted to swim and not less the sickness win. Finally, however, common sense won out as I realized that wooziness, while not helpful when swimming, would be downright dangerous on icy roads. So, I gave up the dream, took off my shoes, and went back to bed.

    Even though I'm sick and shouldn't swim, I still feel like a failure for giving up and going back to bed. Trying to keep the difference between "can't swim because I'm physically sick" and "won't swim because I'm being lazy" in perspective here. But, I am still going to try to get through the work day. Hopefully, I will make it - a few things really need to get done before the weekend. Plus, I really want to be well enough to swim again tomorrow.

    Oh well, time will tell...
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  8. The Best of Intentions....

    by , January 20th, 2011 at 09:36 PM (Year Three: The Road Back)
    I was planning to do another 4000+ yards workout today - and continue the monster distance week for me with every day so far being over 4000 yards. Alas, it was not to be.

    Got to the pool this morning and felt pretty good during the warm-up. I was planning to do three sets of: 7x50 Stroke on 1:00 and 8x100 Free on 1:40 before cooling down. However, as I was going through the first round, I started to feel worse and worse. Ended up kicking and pulling the 8x100's for the first two rounds (although kept the 1:40 pace). Still did stroke (fly, back, free) for the 7x50's. By the end of the third round, I decided to do 4 instead of 8 100's and call it a day. It's not like me to cut a workout short, but I was really dragging (although I still managed a respectable 3650 yards total) - plus the snow was coming down and I wanted to leave extra time to get back home and make sure the girls got on the bus okay.

    Two hours into work, I was miserable - feeling nauseous and dizzy. Gave up the ghost and told my boss I was going home. Spent the next three hours sleeping on the couch before the girls got home from school - then dozed off and on between homework helps.

    My wonderful husband did the shoveling for me today - and the girls helped clean the kitchen after dinner. Here's the sick thing for me - after feeling awful all day, I'm still debating whether or not to swim in the morning. The smart thing would be to stay home and get the extra rest (I get up at 4:30 to be at the pool when it opens at 5am). But.... I hate to miss even a day - feel guilty about it - don't want to miss a flog entry - and figure that as soon as I start having it be "OK" to sleep in once, it will become that much easier to sleep in for much less valid reasons.

    I guess time will tell what I decide to do....
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  9. More of a Recovery Day...

    by , January 19th, 2011 at 12:30 PM (Year Three: The Road Back)
    I was debating doing the 1650 Postal swim today, but my shoulders and legs had other ideas. I knew from my warm-up that the postal swim would be best left for another day. So, I decided today would be more of a "recovery" swim. Of course, then other swimmers showed up - and pushed me right along. Don't get me wrong - I'm glad they were there; it just didn't end up being much of a recovery swim. Here's what we did:

    400 Warm-Up
    2 sets:
    2 x 200 Free on 3:30
    2 x 200 Kick on 3:30
    2 x 200 Free on 3:30
    2 x 200 Pull on 3:30
    400 Cool-Down
    Total Distance: 4000 scy

    Now, most days I don't swim 4000 yards. Most days, I am good with between 3400-3800 yards. So far, I've now got 4 days in a row of 4000 yards, including yesterday's monster 3825 hour swim + warm-up + cool-down. E-gads. We'll see what tomorrow holds. If I do the workout as written, it should be another 4000+ day. (3600 in the main set, plus 400 warm-up & cool-down - 4400 total). We'll see how that one goes. Friday, I may just concentrate on stroke - fly at least maybe with some back thrown in for fun. Whatever else can be said about this week... I will eventually reap the rewards for this monster week - just after I stop feeling weak.

    Thanks for reading my . Enjoy your day!
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  10. Check Off the One Hour Swim - YAY!

    by , January 18th, 2011 at 01:19 PM (Year Three: The Road Back)
    Quote for Today's Swim: "One may go a long way after one is tired." ~ French Proverb

    Woo-hoo! It's done - at least for me. Last year during the one hour swim, I went 3625. Quite happy with it last year. This year, my goal was to go 3800 yards. My actual yardage? 3825! Woo-hoo!

    By the end of the hour, I was really hurting... my right calf was threatening to cramp up on me, as was my left instep. To prevent the foot cramp (which I felt with each flip-turn), I started skipping flip turns and just pushing off the wall. It seemed to help - and I was dog-tired too, so didn't have to take as big of a breath before the turn.

    All in all, I am terribly pleased with my swim this morning. Gained a heap of yardage swam in one short year and didn't quit when I wanted to. Just kept pushing and pushing through.

    Depending on how I feel tomorrow, I might tackle the 1650 Postal - but that will depend on my shoulders. Might turn tomorrow's swim into more of a recovery focus. Now that the hour is done, it's time to turn back to more of a stroke/speed focus again. After all, the first meet of 2011 is only 11 short days away....
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  11. Saturday and Today

    by , January 17th, 2011 at 03:41 PM (Year Three: The Road Back)
    After having a nasty day on Friday, I couldn't wait to get into the pool on Saturday and simply "swim Friday off". Besides, I was feeling a bit guilty on skimping on some of the actual stroke work from Friday's workout in order to concentrate on the IM portions of the workout. So, Saturday, I did a 200 of each stroke followed by 300yds of drill/swim per stroke broken into 50s. Between stroke sets, I either pulled, kicked, or swam freestyle - rotated those. All was great - until my left foot cramped up as I was starting my cool-down. Needless to say, my cool-down was very short. Total swam on Saturday - 4100 scy. Sometimes, there is something so comforting about just getting in the pool and swimming - where everything else can be left in the locker room. Aaaahhhhh!

    Today, I was initially going to attempt my hour swim. However, my shoulders and legs just weren't feelin' it! My training partner did his hour swim today - and did 4100! For me, I did 4 sets of 1x100, 1x 200, 1x300, 1x400. I tried to keep it on a 1:30 base, but wasn't successful at holding that pace towards the end. I did the first set all free; the second set 1/2 free & 1/2 kick. The third set was a pull extravaganza and the final set was all free. E-gads my shoulders were smarting at the end. After work today, the plan is to rest up for tomorrow's attempt at the hour swim. My goal for is to go 3800 yards, which is 200 yards farther than I swam last year. Wish me luck!
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  12. IM Day

    by , January 14th, 2011 at 01:01 PM (Year Three: The Road Back)
    Quote for today's workout (from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe): "Enjoy when you can, and endure what you must."

    Today was all about stroke. Total distance ended up being 3,600scy. Very challenging for me indeed - but I made it and my shoulders are indeed reminding me of what I did first thing this morning.

    My workout (not necessarily the one that was written down - removed a lot of 200 stroke to concentrate more on the IM's) was:

    400 Warm-Up on 8:00 (did free)
    12 x 25 Kick on :40 w/ every 3rd dolphin
    4 x 100 IM on 2:00 (did 1st all IM, 2-4 fly, back, free, free - breaststroke is my biggest challenge right now)
    1 x 200 Fly on 4:00 (since I've never done a 200 fly in my life and wasn't sure I could get that far, I did 50 full fly, 25 right arm only, 25 left arm only, 50 2 right-2 left-2 full drill - made it!)
    4 x 100 IM on 1:55 (did 1st all IM, 2-4 fly, back, free, free)
    1 x 200 Kick on 4:00
    4 x 100 IM on 1:50 (did 1st all IM, 2-4 fly, back, free, free)
    1 x 200 on 4:00 (100 kick, 100 back)
    4 x 100 IM on 1:45 (did all 4 IM, but used fins)
    1 x 600 Cool-Down (200 kick, 200 pull, 200 free)

    Staying on task during the 4x100 IM's was my biggest challenge. As I'm preparing to race my first ever 100 fly, I decided to skip the breaststroke leg on most of the IM's in order to get enough rest in order to swim a good fly leg. All in all, the workout kicked my butt (shoulders, actually), but I'm glad I gutted it out. Even with fins, the last 4 IM's were really hard - even my breaststroke pull with the dolphin kick needs help. That's probably part of what I'll work on tomorrow during my solo Saturday swim.
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  13. It's Getting Better?

    by , January 13th, 2011 at 12:51 PM (Year Three: The Road Back)
    I've been struggling lately with having "dead" legs in the pool. No matter what kind of break or taper I try to do, nothing has seemed to help. I started really tracking my nutrition and thought I was doing fine, but that didn't seem to make a difference in my legs either.

    For the few weeks, I've been focusing on higher amounts of proteins/carbs right after my workouts - the idea being that the muscles need to repair themselves - and getting more rest through easier afternoons, naps, or longer nights' sleeps.

    I typically swim at 5:00am and get up about 4:30. Per doctor's instructions, I have a medication I need to take upon awakening and am not supposed to eat anything for at least 1/2 hour. Consequently, I hadn't been eating anything before practice. This week, however, I've been getting up a few minutes earlier (try 5) and having a small protein shake (roughly 4 oz.) before getting out of my car to go into the pool. I have also been making a concerted effort to stretch out my legs after swimming, after work, and before bed. Maybe drinking the shake is the difference, maybe it's the stretching, or maybe it's both. I don't know. But, what I do know is that right now my legs feel better than they have in a while and I'm not reaching for my fins or pull buoy as much or as quickly.

    Here's hoping that things will continue to improve! My first meet of the year is only two weeks away....
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  14. Tough Mental Set

    by , January 12th, 2011 at 01:27 PM (Year Three: The Road Back)
    Today's workout didn't look that hard on paper. I should know by now that the ones that don't LOOK hard have a way of kicking my butt. Today was no exception. We did the following:

    400 Warm-Up on 8:00
    1 x 200 Kick (but I counted wrong and did 300 )
    8 x 25 Free on :30 (odd: hard/ez by 12.5, even: ez/hard)
    8 x 50 Free ALL OUT on 3:00 (did 50 back/free recovery after each all out - held :33's, with two :32's mixed in)
    4 sets:
    1 x 200 Free on 3:20
    1 x 100 Free on 1:40
    5 x 100 Kicking Cool-Down on 2:00

    I was absolutely psyched to get two :32's from a push! Hopefully, this progress (when I started swimming, I was at :38's, last scy season I was at :35's) will translate into racing under :30 for the first time during this SCY season .

    Of course, that effort kind of killed me for the 200's and 100's still to come. After struggling through the first round, I decided to pull the 200's (while still making the interval) and swim the 100's (holding 1:25ish). The hardest part of the set was the mental aspect of not quitting when my shoulders wanted to fall off - even though I really wanted to. As I finished the third round and was reaching for my fins, I heard my coach say "Hang in there" - so I did. When the entire workout was finished, I was really proud that I had made it.

    It hasn't been too long since I've been able to do the workouts for our team on the intervals that are written (and on distance days, I still drop yardage sometimes). So, any day I can complete the set's yardage on the intervals written feels like a victory. With today's mental challenge and having to fight for those last swims, it was definitely a victory.

    Now... to go home when I get off work, shovel (again), and still find a way to recover for tomorrow's practice. Aaah...the joys of swimming (and winter).
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  15. Not As Bad As I Feared...

    by , January 11th, 2011 at 01:13 PM (Year Three: The Road Back)
    Today's workout was originally written as 4600scy with everything done on a 1:30/100 base. This tends to be a tricky interval for me - partly because of the lack of rest I get between repeats and partly because when I panic that I won't make the interval, my stroke falls apart. That being said, I went in to today's workout not being tied to the total distance, but focusing on relaxing during my swims and keeping up as much as possible.

    All told, I did 4300scy. I basically tried to "rest" on the 1x400 pull on 6:00 by doing 350 instead of 400. I did manage to hold all of the 1:30-based shorter sets (4x100, 8x50 - two times each). The only other distance that I dropped was when I went to adjust my swim cap and it split in two - got out of the pool and found another cap in my bag. So, not too bad of a workout. I was pretty proud of what I accomplished - and still amazed by how consistently fast my training partner is.

    Now, as I try to recover from today's distance day in preparation for tomorrow's sprint day, I am realizing that I should have taken into account the "up to" 5 inches of snow that is still falling - and the shoveling that will require when I get home from work - and maybe cut the distance a bit more to save my shoulders. Oh well, live, learn, and swim!
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  16. Monday...Monday

    by , January 10th, 2011 at 02:08 PM (Year Three: The Road Back)
    Practice this morning was not spectacular, but not completely ugly either. As I am having trouble kicking this cold that is lingering horribly long, I wasn't expecting all that much from practice. All told, we did 3,600 scy - most of that derived from a 1x300 pull on 5:00, 3x50 free descend set that was repeated four times. On the pull, I used my paddles for the last 3 300's. I had quit using my paddles after injuring my right shoulder early on in my swimming. After my shoulder "recovered", it never felt the same and would twinge any time I put extra pressure on it (such as with paddles). This is one reason I decided to add light weights 3x/week to my new year's swimming regimen. Using paddles today reminded me of why I like them periodically - the arm/shoulder muscles were really burning at the end of the third 300. However, there was no shoulder pain.

    So, today's workout was a pleasant surprise for me. I actually felt good during the pulls and was holding about 1:25/100 throughout. Tomorrow's workout is slated to be 4,600scy all based on 1:30/100. Yikes! It will be interesting to see how I do - I can typically hold 1:22-1:25 if I don't panic (when the interval is such that I don't feel rushed). However, when I know the interval might be tight, I tend to fall apart. Tomorrow's focus - relax! I'll let you know how it goes....

    What I wish I could figure out (other than how to kick this cold for good) is what I need to do to best recover between swims. I've started to add much more stretching (legs especially) in between swims, and I'm trying these protein powder shakes to up my protein levels. Can't see much improvement in how I feel between swims, but it hasn't been that long yet. Don't know right now if using the protein powder is working or not (or if my slump is just from my cold). Guess I'll keep on that for a little while longer and see what happens. Suggestions?
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  17. Easing into the weekend?

    by , January 8th, 2011 at 05:49 PM (Year Three: The Road Back)
    As I headed to the Y this morning, I was debating swimming with the team or swimming on my own. That decision became easier when I actually got to the Y and no other teammates were there. Of course, neither was a lifeguard. After waiting 15 minutes for a guard to show up, I left my regular Y and drove to the next closest Y about 20 minutes away. Once there, I decided to scrap the team workout and do my standard Saturday swim. I do two rounds of 500 free, 500 pull, 10 x 50 drill/swim (did all fly both rounds), and 500 kick. With a 250 cool-down, I did 4250 yards. Not bad for a "lazy" Saturday!

    While the morning did not get off to the start I hoped for, once in the water, things started to improve. While I didn't feel especially good the first 500 free, I managed to do the pull in 7:30 (which is good for me!). On the second round, I changed up the order of events because I was tired and dreading doing a 500 free straight through. Even as I was swimming the 500 free, it felt terrible and slow - so bad I debated giving up halfway through, but made myself continue. When I finally touched the wall, I was amazed to see that my "slow" swim was actually 7:13!

    That time really surprised me. I will say that my "easy" swims are now much faster than my fastest swims when I first jumped in the pool sixteen months ago. Nice to see the improvement, but hard for me to actually be patient for the next leap of improvement. Why is it that as my swimming gets faster by the clock, it doesn't feel faster? Why does it never get faster fast enough? Obviously, patience is not one of my virtues. But, I will keep plugging away and next year at this time, I hopefully be wondering how I could have been so slow swimming a 7:13.

    As I realize that we're already midway through January, I find myself getting nervous for my upcoming meet the end of the month. I signed up to race the 100 fly for the first time ever - and have only made a 100 fly in practice twice. The 100 fly comes after I swim the 50 fly, 50 free, and 100 free. (I may scrap the 100 IM - my last event - based on how I feel after the 100 fly - content to play that one by ear.) My main goal is to just finish the 100 fly legally - the time on this one is of secondary importance. Any tips out there for strategy or final week preparation for me?

    Oh well, enough about swimming for now... it's wildcard weekend. GO COLTS!!!
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  18. 2011 Kickfest #1

    by , January 7th, 2011 at 01:32 PM (Year Three: The Road Back)
    Today's workout was heavily kick (NO FINS) oriented. I am a great kicker when I have my fins on - not so much on the greatness factor without them . After this week's workouts, my legs were feeling pretty dead, so I was kind of dreading this workout. I should mention too that my coach on Friday's tends to take my fins from poolside and put them over by the wall on kick w/o fin sets, so I can't put them on when the going gets tough.

    Overall, I did 3200. The main set was 40 50's and alternated between kicking with no fins (4 repeats) and either 6 fly/back, back/free, or straight free repeats. The 50 yd kicks were on 1:10 and I was pretty proud of myself for making the interval for the first set. (You need to understand how bad my kicking was when I first started and would never have been able to kick a 25 in 1:10.) For the rest of the kick sets, I kicked 25/swam 25 to maintain the interval. While I have vastly improved my flutter kick, there is a lot of room to improve. At the end of practice, we did a 100yd kick (w/o fins) for time and I got 1:51 - woo hoo! Celebrating because I went under 2:00 for the first time ever!

    All told though, my legs feel better right now than I expected them too. I am going to try to faithfully stretch my legs out every day and see if that helps with the tightness that starts to affect my swimming style by week's end. Maybe?

    Tomorrow's practice is titled "Descending for Dummies" - another skill I am trying to master. Should be fun!
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  19. Feeling Sluggish

    by , January 6th, 2011 at 01:24 PM (Year Three: The Road Back)
    Looking at today's workout, it should have been challenging - but not hard. Does that make sense? We did 400's, 300's, and 200's all based on a 1:30 per 100 scy pace. I should be able to keep up - it feels like it should be that simple. And, while I did keep pace on the first 400, first 300, and both 200's, I dropped 50 yds on the second 400 and 300. I was just sluggish all morning. While I blame part of it on my cold, I simply couldn't find a rhythm and get in gear until practice was almost over (on the 200's). Frustrating to say the least.

    What do you do when you feel like you should be able to go faster, but can't find the speed? Here's one of my problems: when I think an interval will be challenging (like the 1:30 pace), I don't exactly panic, but I don't swim well - whether it's going out too hard or just spinning my wheels - my times are never fast - and I end up exhausted. On the other hand, when we do intervals that are greater, such as 100's on 1:40, I can swim repeats in 1:22-1:25 without fail - and without thinking about it. I find a rhythm and it feels good. Is that because of greater rest between repeats or just simple relaxation? Even when I try to tell myself to relax on the fast intervals, I still feel like I'm spinning my wheels? Tips?

    Now, I'm just hoping to recover enough to make a manageable showing at tomorrow's kick-fest. I ate my protein and carbs after practice - and stretched a bit - but my legs feel dead right now... kicking with no fins and making the intervals will definitely be a challenge.... Here's hoping for the best.
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  20. Starting the New Year

    by , January 5th, 2011 at 11:45 AM (Year Three: The Road Back)
    Going into the second year of competing as a Master swimmer, I find myself wanting to change things up a bit and be more accountable to myself for my efforts in - and out of - the pool. With that in mind, I resolve to do the following:

    1. Practice - 5x per week with the team. 1x per week on my own. 1 day per week (Sunday) to rest/recover.

    2. Weights - at least 3x per week.
    3. Sit-ups - every night.
    4. Nutrition - watch what I eat (aka fewer cookies, more fruits/veggies) and make sure I'm getting enough protein to help my muscles recover.
    5. Flossing - every night (or at least until my next dentist appointment is over ). ** Not swimming-related, but a big step for me anyway.

    Today's workout was nasty tough for me - not much yardage (only 3100 scy), but a good deal of sprinting (did a 50 free from a push in :32 - best race time from a dive is low :31) and then a TON of fly. Was proud of myself though because I hung in on the fly as best I could and surprised myself at the end with a solid 50 fly instead of a "cheating" 25 fly/25 free combo as I had done the set before. Hard to climb out of the pool at the end, though. But - hanging in there is going to be my theme for this year. Today was a good day... We'll see how tomorrow goes.
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