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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. Sprint Day

    by , July 20th, 2011 at 11:45 AM (Year Three: The Road Back)
    As long as yesterday was, today was just that short. With a focus on AFAP sprints, we had a lot of time built in for easy recovery swims before hitting the next sprint hard. Here's what we did:

    150 Warm-Up (stood chatting too long )

    1 x 300 Drill/Swim on 6:00 (fist for 200, free for 100)
    6 x 50 Speedwork Free on 1:05 (vary "fast" part)
    2 x 50 Free AFAP on 4:00 (got :37, :40)
    - 1 x 150 Recovery Free after 1st 50
    - 1 x 100 Recovery Free after 2nd 50
    2 x 100 Free AFAP on 8:00 (got 1:27, 1:22)
    - 1 x 200 Recovery Free after 1st 50
    - 1 x 200 Recovery Free after 2nd 50
    2 x 50 Free AFAP on 4:00 (got :38, :37)
    - 1 x 100 Recovery Free after 1st 50
    - 1 x 150 Recovery Free after 2nd 50
    600 Cool-Down
    Total Meters - 2650

    All in all, today wasn't too bad. While we were doing the set of 6x50 speed play, I was really hurting in my legs and figured the sprints would just be horrible. Actually, I was pleasantly surprised. While I wasn't happy with the :40, I added rest instead of trying to squeeze in another length of recovery. That seemed to help. My best ever LCM 50 Free race (the beginning of this month) from the blocks was a 34.97. To hit a :37 (especially at the end of practice) from a push was pretty decent. On the 100 Free, my best racing effort (also the beginning of this month from the blocks) was a 1:19.09. Three seconds off - that's easily related to coming off the blocks for me. I've found that my AFAP swims in practice are generally almost 2 seconds slower than my from the blocks time (at least in SCY - not enough LCM experience to really know how that correlates). So, all in all, pretty happy with today's efforts.

    Tomorrow is a fun 20x50 test set. We'll see how that goes....

    Until then, enjoy your swims!
    Swim Workouts
  2. Distance Tuesday

    by , July 19th, 2011 at 12:17 PM (Year Three: The Road Back)
    Going into today's set, I was determined to do as much as I could without resorting to my fins. Since I'm really loving the open water thing, I have decided that I need to up my overall endurance and "enjoy" the long swims. That being said, I tried.... I really did. Here's what I ended up with:

    200 Warm-Up
    5 sets:
    - 1 x 400 on 7:00 (did free, pull, kick/free w/ fins by 50, pull as 350, free w/fins)
    - 2 x 100 Free Fast on 2:15 (all no fins - ave ~1:40)
    400 Cool-Down
    Total Meters - 3550

    All in all, I was pretty okay with today's workout. The fast Free's were not as fast as I would have liked and I ended up dropping a 50 in the middle, but at the end of the day... I did better than I expected, especially since my shoulders were ready to fall off at the end. So... here is the start of trying to build up my overall endurance, while not losing too much speed. After all, 2012 LC Nationals is not that far away.....
    Swim Workouts
  3. IM Day with a Special Fly Focus!

    by , July 18th, 2011 at 12:01 PM (Year Three: The Road Back)
    After a day completely off, I was looking forward to hitting the water again this morning. The vast majority of my soreness is gone (although my thighs are still a bit tight), so I wanted to enjoy the lack of soreness. Yes, we have another softball doubleheader scheduled for Thursday. Since we're in the season-end tournament, everyone plays two games on Thursday. Then, it's down to win or go home. Hope we do well enough to keep playing, but today is only Monday... Thursday is a long time from now. Today, just enjoying feeling relatively rested and pain-free. Here's what we did:

    400 Warm-Up
    10 x 100 IM (rotating stroke order) on 2:10
    8 x 25 Fly Drill on :40
    4 x 50 Back Dolphin Kick on 1:15
    4 sets (did stroke as fly/back/fly/back):
    - 1 x 100 as 50 Stroke/50 Free on 2:10
    - 1 x 100 as 25 Stroke/50 Free/25 Stroke on 2:10
    - 1 x 100 as 50 Free/50 Stroke on 2:10
    200 Cool-Down
    Total Meters - 3200

    Knowing that tomorrow is distance day and how challenging doing all the stroke would be, I did most of this with fins on. That said, I did do all the stroke as written. Tomorrow's distance day should be interesting, especially as I'm debating whether or not to enter my first open water race and am trying to decide if I should do the 1K or the 2K for this first race, and the 2K or 4K for the second race. I might opt out of the first one (July 30) and just do the second one (end of August) - but the question still remains for that one 2K or 4K. If it's my very first race, it's easy to make the 2K call. Huh... as I said... still debating. Thoughts and/ or suggestions?

    Enjoy your swims today and - if you are anywhere in the Midwest - try to stay cool!
    Swim Workouts
  4. Open Water is a Blast. Who Knew?

    by , July 17th, 2011 at 12:16 PM (Year Three: The Road Back)
    First of all, I will freely admit to completely enjoying the fact that I am not swimming at all today! It's been a pretty brutal week - with lots of IM mixed into our practices and a softball double-header on Thursday that left me multi-colored (note to self: do not lose a ball in the sun again!). On top of that, I'm designing a new product catalog from scratch at work and that has been fairly mentally draining for me - but also a LOT of fun!

    With all that being said, I was not really sure how I'd feel on Saturday morning when I was invited to an open water swim with a few of my teammates. Not wanting to miss swimming two days in a row (since I never swim on Sundays) and having really enjoyed the open water practice the week before, I decided to do the open water swim, but wear fins. I must interrupt myself to say that playing third base really leaves your legs feeling nasty tight - at least it did mine. It was like an almost continual squat for the entire game!

    Anyhoo, we swam in a lake quarry off of a dock that belonged to a friend of a swimmer. The water was beautiful, amazingly clear, and nicely warm. I've decided that I love the early morning outdoor swims where all you hear are the birds singing and water splashing. There ended up being five total swimmers - everyone else being an accomplished and experienced open water racer. So, I was very glad that I made the decision to wear my fins. We ended up going around the lake twice and they estimated the total distance was about 4000 meters. With my fins on, I was able to keep up without struggling and really feel and stretch out my stroke. A great time!

    So, that's where I am. What I'm really liking about open water swimming is the lack of a clock, which makes the entire swim that much more relaxing for me. I'm now debating whether or not to enter the Planet Adventure 1/2K and 2/4K events just to see how I'd do. Open water compares to half marathon training in that you just keep going - adjust your pace as necessary - but just keep going. And, I like that. Who knew? I'm as shocked as anyone that I'm liking this so much - and that the fishies are not nibbling on me as I swim by. YAY!

    Well, those are my thoughts for the day. I'll try to be more regularly posting the workouts again this coming week.

    Until then, happy swims to you!
    Swim Workouts
  5. Thoughts from the Past Few Days....

    by , July 12th, 2011 at 12:04 PM (Year Three: The Road Back)
    Life just gets really busy all of a sudden, doesn't it? Sorry I haven't posted anything since last Friday....

    On Saturday, I did my very first Open Water swim. Our team had an open water practice that began with one of our coaches going over open water tips and techniques (including drafting and sighting) before letting us loose on the lake. I must say, I liked the open water swim much more than I had anticipated - and am really looking forward to the next open water practice. Then, in a really dumb move, I ended up going to the team's pool practice - and spent much of the afternoon napping. Two practices in one day - haven't done that since the February Fitness Challenge ended. It definitely tuckered me out. All told, it was about 5100 meters (not much to some of you... a bunch to me ).

    When Monday rolled around, I headed to the pool as always, but was slightly disappointed to find it still set up for SCY. Today's workout focused on IM - and I decided to wear my fins for a lot of it, but I did take them off for the backstroke at the end. Then, during my cool-down, I worked with my coach on my breaststroke kick for a few minutes. There must be hope for me yet because he keeps saying "almost there" - I just doing go anywhere yet. Oh well, here's what we did on Monday:

    300 Warm-Up
    2 sets:
    - 1 x 150 Kick
    - 1 x 200 Swim (1st as free, 2nd w/ fins as 50 Breast/50 Free)
    8 x 50 Drill/Swim on 1:05
    6 x 200 IM (w/ fins)
    4 x 50 Back (w/o fins) on 1:05
    4 x 50 Free on 1:05
    300 Cool-Down
    Total Yards - 3300

    Today (and for the rest of the summer), the pool will be set for LCM. YAY! Today's practice was distance focused, but I shortened some of the distances and did a bunch of stroke instead. Here's what I did today:

    200 Warm-Up
    1 x 500 Free on 10:00
    1 x 300 on 5:00 (50 fly, 50 sdk, 50 back, 50 back kick, 50 breast, 50 free - w/ fins)
    2 x 250 on 5:00 (50 fly, 50 sdk, 50 back, 50 back kick, 50 breast - w/ fins)
    1 x 500 Pull on 10:00
    2 x 250 on 5:00 (50 fly, 50 sdk, 50 back, 50 back kick, 50 breast - w/ fins)
    1 x 500 Pull on 10:00
    1 x 300 on 5:00 (50 fly, 50 sdk, 50 back, 50 back kick, 50 fly, 50 free - w/ fins)
    300 Cool-Down
    Total Meters - 3600

    It was just fun today. I am really enjoying doing stroke and wanted to focus on that. It was, however, absolutely exhausting and my shoulders are definitely still feeling my efforts in the pool hours ago.

    Oh well... live, learn, and swim!
    Swim Workouts
  6. An IM Kind Of Day

    by , July 8th, 2011 at 12:05 PM (Year Three: The Road Back)
    Whew! If I wasn't tired going into today's workout (which I was), I am absolutely beat now - almost six hours after finishing today's workout. Last night's tennis match was a lot of fun, but with the humidity... it was one of those nights when you don't have to be even moving to break out in a sweat, much less play a 1 1/2 hour doubles match. While I tried to hydrate well enough, I obviously didn't do enough and am still trying to drink as much as I can right now.

    Back to today, I knew from the warm-up and the first hard/easy; easy/hard set that today was going to be a "just survive it" kind of practice. In a way, I'm pretty bummed that I'm so tired because we have both an open water AND a pool practice set for tomorrow and I was wanting to do both.... Time will tell just how truly nuts I am.

    As for today's workout, here's what we did:

    350 Warm-Up
    4 x 100 Kick on 2:00
    8 x 25 Hard/Easy; Easy/Hard Free on :30
    1 x 500 Free on 7:30
    4 x 125 100 IM + 25 Free (w/ fins) on 2:15
    1 x 300 Free (w/ fins) on 6:30 [supposed to be a 400]

    4 x 100 IM (w/ fins) on 1:50
    1 x 300 Free (w/ fins) on 5:00
    4 x 75 Fly/Back/Fee by 25 (w/ fins) on 1:15
    200 Cool-Down
    Total Yards - 3450

    To be honest, I was just glad I survived the last set of 75s and didn't give up. While I did wear fins, I did do stroke for all of the IMs. YAY!

    As for you, enjoy your swims today and send any extra rest you get my way.
    Swim Workouts
  7. An "In the Middle" Day

    by , July 7th, 2011 at 11:52 AM (Year Three: The Road Back)
    The thought for today's workout was "in the middle". You'll soon see what Coach Kris was thinking. As for the pool, we are still in SCY until the end of the week. Here's what we did:

    400 Warm-Up
    6 x 50 Drill/Swim on 1:00
    3 sets (wore fins for last two sets):
    - 1 x 300 on 5:30 as 100 Free/50 Fly/50 Back/100 Free
    - 2 x 150 on 2:45 as 50 Free/50 Fly/50 Free
    - 4 x 75 on 1:30 as 25 Free/25 Stroke/25 Free (did 2 fly, 2 back)
    400 Cool-Down
    Total Yards - 3800

    Well, so much for my "doing as much as possible stroke without fins" effort. Actually to be honest, I felt lousy after the first rounds and really and truly wanted to climb out of the pool. Putting on my fins was my justification for staying IN the water. So, when I look at it that way.... .

    I'm trying to still get my swimming in without damaging my shoulder any further. When I first started, I got paddles (love toys and all) and used them too much on a bad free technique. I've had shoulder issues off and on since then. Typically, if I can do some weights on my Total Gym 3x/ week or so, I've been all right. I just recently went back to using paddles - and love it because I can feel the catch better which translates to when I'm swimming without paddles too. Duh... however, this week I did a 500 pull w/ paddles one day and 3 x 200 pull w/ paddles the next day. All in all, way too much pulling with paddles for my shoulder to take, so I'm off the paddles for anything over a 200 - and definitely off for any pain. Guess we're back to only using paddles marginally until I'm feeling 100% again.

    I'm hoping tennis tonight won't be too much of a strain (but if you've seen me play tennis, you know that's not too likely ). But.. it will be blazingly hot still, so the "down as much water as possible" fest has begun.

    Enjoy your swims and stay cool!
    Swim Workouts
  8. LCM to SCY - But Not in One Practice

    by , July 6th, 2011 at 11:52 AM (Year Three: The Road Back)
    Tuesday's practice, which I forgot to blog about yesterday - sorry!, was in LCM. I'll get into that shortly. Today, however, and for the rest of the week, we'll be in SCY. It's Indiana's moratorium week, i.e. high school coaches cannot have contact with their high school athletes. So, the pool won't be changed over after practice at the end of the day due to lack of swimmers..... At least we don't have to change the pool out mid-set. It should be LCM again on Saturday. YAY.

    Tuesday's swimming endeavor:
    300 Warm-Up
    8 x 50 Free on 1:00
    4 x 100 Kick on 2:15
    8 x 50 Drill/Swim on 1:05
    1 x 1500 on 27:00 (could do as straight swim or change it up a bit - I did 500 free; 500 kick/IM stroke by 50 as fly, back, breast, fly, back; 500 pull)
    200 Cool-Down
    Total Meters - 3200

    As for today, here's what we did this morning:
    350 Warm-Up
    8 x 50 Drill/Swim Free on 1:00
    3 x 100 Kick on 2:00
    16 sets (4 fly, 4 back, 4 breast, 4 free - all w/ no fins):
    - 1 x 50 Free Easy on 1:00
    - 1 x 25 Stroke FAST on :40
    3 x 200 Pull on 3:10, 1>3
    400 Cool-Down
    Total Yards - 3250

    Here's my new challenge to myself - to do as much stroke work as I reasonably can without using fins for the added boost. Since I know you're wondering, I'm defining "reasonably" as making me really tired, but still holding some semblence of proper form. Of course, that being said, we've got two stroke heavy days coming up... so we'll see how I do.

    Off to get a new cell phone after work, as my current cell phone was accidentally knocked into the toliet (clean water, whew!) one morning when I was wondering why I get up so blasted early to swim. I'm only sharing this (other than so you can all laugh at me) to let you know that should something this stupid happen to you, dry the phone off as best you can, remove the battery, and completely cover all parts with rice and be patient. It took almost 36 hours for all of my cell's functions to come back (and I must mention it wasn't a smart phone), but come back they did. Now, if this new phone can just stay dry.....

    Enjoy your swims today!
    Swim Workouts
  9. Monday's Holiday Practice

    by , July 4th, 2011 at 12:11 PM (Year Three: The Road Back)
    Today was for the entire team, as on holidays we only have one practice scheduled. Today's was at the Riviera Club - an outdoor, 50 yard pool. However, because so many people showed up for practice, we did a station-oriented practice. There were three stations total:

    Station One focused on open water sighting. We did Tarzan drills, sighting drills, and swimming with our eyes closed to see how straight we typically swim - and thus how many strokes we can let go by before sighting. Fun... as a non-open water swimmer, it was really nice to have sighting explained and then practiced.

    Station Two was in a large area of the pool with no lane lines. Here, we did open water simulations, including practice sighting, swimming in crowds, and drafting off of other swimmers.

    Station Three was back within lane lines. Since the pool was only about 4 feet deep, we did a number of drills/exercises that we never otherwise do. We did one round of 100s where we swam 75 yds and ran the other 25 yds. We also did a 50 yd swim followed by a 50 yd dolphin dive drill. We also did streamline jumps. Things like that.

    While the yardage was less than a typical team practice, I had a blast - and was very excited that I decided to attend practice today. We have an open water practice on Saturday before the regular pool practice for anyone who wants to attend. I think I may actually go.... I guess time (and weather) will tell.

    Enjoy your 4th!
    Swim Workouts
  10. The All American Invitational

    by , July 3rd, 2011 at 06:30 AM (Year Three: The Road Back)
    First of all, let me just say - the meet was a BLAST! I had a great time. I got to see many swimmers I haven't seen since either last year's Fall Classic (also at the IUPUI Nat) or Y Nationals. And, as the first meet hosted by Indy Aquatic Masters, the meet seemed to go off without a hitch. It did go really fast - so they put in an additional 10 minute break - and was over just before noon. YAY to my new team for a meet well done!

    As for me and my swims, well....

    Swim #1 - 50 Back - 45.83
    Ugh... but it's backstroke. It's a stroke that hasn't really improved since I first started swimming almost two years ago. Even during warm-ups, one of my teammates who I rarely see told me that my hips were rotating funny. Guess that's something to work on. I am just happy that I can finally feel where the catch is supposed to be. One step at a time... my backstroke is definitely a work in progress. Not happy with the swim, but not surprised.

    Swim #2 - 50 Fly - 37.42
    In reality, I was hoping for a faster time (a USMS LCM qualifying time to be exact), but I'm not far off and it's definitely do-able in a year. All in all, the stroke felt great. I was able to keep a 3 stroke to 1 breath pattern up until the last 15 meters when I switches to a 2 to 1 pattern. Felt good - apparently looked really good to my coach. All in all, after feeling really slow and tired in the water at practice all week - and not taking any time off or resting at all before this meet, I swam a time that was just off my fully tapered Y Nats time. Happy with this one.

    Swim #3 - 50 Free - 34.97
    Again, I was hoping to be faster and get the qualifying time outright, but it's close enough that I'm confident - especially based on how I was feeling prior to racing in this meet. Much better breathing pattern maintained for most of this 50 too. I know people say you shouldn't have to breathe at all during a 50 - and I laugh. I have, however, gone from breathing every stroke to breathing every 6 (which is what I was able to maintain for almost the entire 50). Making progress there. Overall, happy with this swim.

    Swim #4 - 100 Free - 1:19.09
    This race started off well when I remembered to head to the opposite side of the pool from where all my other races had started. And, I remembered to flip turn AND COME BACK! Other than that, my plan was to swim the first 50 strong, build the 3rd 25, and be ALL OUT for the final 25. Not so much. By the final 25, my legs were burning something fierce. Not quite sure how I should have swam it differently and think the last 25 especially is where the lack of rest really caught up to me. Happy with this swim? Not exactly. Upset with this swim? Not exactly. Just really not quite sure what to make of this swim. Guess it's back to the pool to continue working on form, breathing, and stamina.

    All in all, this was a great way to begin a long holiday weekend. And, last night, my husband and I picked up his daughter from the airport. She will be with us for the rest of the summer!

    Saturday... it was a good day! Enjoy your swims and have a wonderful and safe holiday!
    Swim Workouts
  11. What a Week!

    by , July 1st, 2011 at 12:06 PM (Year Three: The Road Back)
    Since it's been a few days since I last posted, you can safely assume that I've been really busy and/or am really tired. Actually, both are true. Life has been busy - in a good way - and swimming has been wearing me out - also in a good way. But... I have my first (and only) LCM tomorrow and am a tad nervous. I get nervous before every meet, but I've felt nasty slow in the water ever since Y Nationals and am just not sure what to expect. I've been trying to take it easier in practice for the last two days, just to rest a bit, but as I sit at my desk and type this, my legs are aching. Huh... guess I'm not as rested as I want to be. Of course, that also gives me a great excuse to lie down on the couch after I get through grocery shopping... so maybe we'll just call it a win/win for now.

    The events on tap for me tomorrow are the 50 Back, 50 Fly, 50 Free, and 100 Free. The one that I'd really like to nail is the 50 Fly. I love that race and when my fly is working really well, it feels amazing to swim. So, I'm keeping my fingers crossed. Here's the thing though. The meet is at the IUPUI Natatorium - an admittedly beautiful facility. Sadly, it's a pool that is supposed to be really fast - and I've never had a great meet there. But, since I'm trying to stay positive - there's a first time for everything, eh? Maybe tomorrow will be my breakout meet at the Nat. Time will tell....

    Wish me luck and I'll get back to posting workouts again next week.

    Happy 4th of July!
    Swim Workouts
  12. It Sure Seems Like a Monday....

    by , June 28th, 2011 at 12:34 PM (Year Three: The Road Back)
    Well, I got up to go swim this morning and accidentally knocked my cell phone into water. Ugh! Not exactly the way I wanted to start my day. It's home right now sitting in a bowl of rice. Hope that works....

    Then, once I got to the pool, I scraped up my arm on a misjudged turn while wearing paddles. Ugh!

    I checked the calendar... it's not Monday today. Just feels like it.

    As for practice, since it is Tuesday (really, it is!), it was distance day. Here's what we did:

    150 Warm-Up (supposed to be 400... oh well)

    1 x 750 Free on 13:30 (supposed to be 800)

    4 x 200 on 3:15?? - did 2 kick, 2 free w/ fins
    8 x 100 Pull on 1:40
    16 x 50 on 1:00 - did in groups of four (wore fins): back, fly, 2kick/2 free, fly/back/fly/free
    400 Cool-Down
    Total Meters (for me) - 3700

    On the 200s, I really don't remember the interval. The 3:15 is a total guess. All I know is that I had about 8-10 seconds rest before I had to go again. Not my best practice, but not my worst either.

    On the plus side, our swim meet this weekend is NOT going to be cancelled. This will be my first LCM meet since last July and my second ever LCM meet. I am swimming the 50 Fly, 50 Back, 50 Free, and 100 Free. Should be an interesting (and quick) meet.

    Also on the plus side, it is finally a beautiful day in Central Indiana. The sun is shining, there is a light breeze, and it's not raining!!!! YAY! Can't wait to go home after work and enjoy it!

    Enjoy your swims today!
    Swim Workouts
  13. Yep...It's a Monday....

    by , June 27th, 2011 at 02:42 PM (Year Three: The Road Back)
    What is it about Mondays that they always seem to behave the way they do? When I got up this morning, I learned that my younger sister spent her early am hours in the ER. She had been trying to pick vegetables out of her garden for a late night snack (I know... what WAS she thinking....veggies for a snack?! ) and ended up spearing her finger on a stake.

    Then, I got to swim practice - early, no less. I was excited because I thought I'd get the entire warm-up in. But... when I jumped into the pool, my goggles snapped. Yep... snapped. The plastic piece holding the nose piece together simply snapped. Ugh... at least I had another pair of goggles in my bag. Guess it's time to hit up Swim Outlet again.

    As for today's practice, here's what I did:

    100 Warm-Up
    4 x 100 on 2:15 Kick 1>4
    8 x 50 on 1:05 25 Drill/ 25 Swim
    8 x 50 on 1:05 Match and Descend by 2,
    8 x 25 on :35 hard/easy, easy hard by 12.5
    1 x 200 on 6:00 BROKEN 200 every 50 for 10 seconds rest. Got 2:43.
    16 x 50 on :55 PULL Descend by time 1>4, 5>8, 9>12
    400 Cool-Down
    Total Meters - 2900

    To be honest, I'm not sure whether I was happy or not with my broken 200. It felt really bad - like I had no speed at all. But... the last time I raced a 200-meter free (last July), I raced a 3:06. So.... I don't know. I just can't seem to find any speed at all. Just overall kind of frustrating - and my coach is trying to change my arm motion on my freestyle. All in all, it will be a good change, I think. I can definitely feel a much better catch when I do it her way. BUT... I can only do it slowly right now and I'm supposed to have a meet on Saturday (if it doesn't get cancelled for lack of entries). So.... .

    Those are my trials and tribulations for today. I'm off to vacuum my house - because having a clean"er" house will make me feel a bit better. Crazy, isn't it?

    If you're headed to the pool, enjoy your swims. I'll check in tomorrow.
    Swim Workouts
  14. Happy Kicking....

    by , June 24th, 2011 at 11:46 AM (Year Three: The Road Back)
    Well, today's workout was a totally fun / totally painful extravaganza - depending on which half of the workout I was on. I love to kick with my fins on - make no secret of that fact. I just love it. (OH! Did I tell you that I realized that kicking without fins on helps you swim faster?! I changed yesterday from a 2-beat to a 6-beat kick for our freestyle set when I knew the interval would be challenging and it really made a difference - who knew? ) Then, after my fun and lovely kicking was over, we went to - ugh - gag - ahem - breaststroke.

    Before you breaststrokers yell at me, you have to understand that my legs just don't want to go however it is they are supposed to go in order to get any sort of propulsion from my kick at all. Needless to say, breaststroke is not my most favorite stroke. But... Mel was on deck. So, I did breaststroke.... kind of..... Here's what we did:

    300 Warm-Up
    6 x 100 Kick on 2:10
    2 sets:
    - 1 x 100 Kick on 2:10
    - 1 x 100 Kick 75 + Free 25 on 2:10
    - 1 x 100 Kick 50 + Free 50 on 2:10
    - 1 x 100 Kick 25 + Free 75 on 2:10
    - 1 x 100 Free FAST w/ Fins on 2:00
    4 x 100 Pull w/ paddles on 1:45
    4 x 100 Breaststroke on 2:30 (1-all breast, 2-4 50 breast/50free)
    400 Cool-Down
    Total Meters - 3200

    I must say, I haven't done this much breaststroke in, well, forever. Literally forever. I did an entire 100 meters straight! Whew! After that, I did a 50 breast/50 free split and was still pretty happy that I kept doing the 50 breast portion. I'm thinking about going to the late morning team practice tomorrow. I think CG will be there, and he has been promising to take a look at my kick and tell me how to fix it. There may be hope for my breaststroke yet... but the jury is still out on that one.

    Plus, I actually wore my paddles for our pull set. I hurt one of my shoulders when I first started swimming and have been leery of paddles for a long time. But, with the better technique I have now, THEY WERE A BLAST! I went really fast (relatively speaking) and I really felt the catch well. I've been cautioned not to do over 200 pull with paddles straight, but these 100s were fine - and I made the 1:45 interval with almost 10 seconds to spare. YAY!

    That was my day in the pool. All in all, it was great. I hope yours is too.

    Happy swimming!
    Swim Workouts
  15. Long Course... Seems Like It Gets Longer

    by , June 23rd, 2011 at 11:58 AM (Year Three: The Road Back)
    Arriving at the pool today, we were already switched over from scy to lcm! As a result, practice got started on time and was not interrupted because of lane lines. It was fabulous!

    At the start of practice, my coach moved me from the lane I routinely swim in (with the people who are much faster than me) to a lane with two guys that I didn't know. Turns out, they swim about the same speed as I do. It was a really good combo and we pushed each other well - at least I thought so.... Of course, it seemed like the longer the set went on and the more tired I became, the longer the 50 meters got. I could've sworn it was at least 65 meters across by the 4th round.

    Here's what we did:
    400 Warm-Up
    12 x 50 Free on 1:05, every 3rd fast
    1 x 300 Kick on 6:00
    4 sets:
    - 4 x 100 Free on 1:45
    - 2 x 50 Free on 1:30 (Faster than 50 split in 100s)
    200 Cool-Down
    Total Meters - 3500

    What made me the happiest at practice this morning was that I really pushed myself and did the entire practice as written - WITHOUT PUTTING ON FINS DURING THE FREE SET! In the other lane, I know I would have put on my fins when I got really, really tired. I was barely making the 100 interval by the end of the 4th round, but I pushed through it and finished! My right calf was threatening to cramp up, but I am feeling more and more confident in my abilities to do what's written and just push through. Of course that being said, I'm swapping tomorrow's breaststroke round for back. But... that's another issue entirely. Until then...

    Enjoy your swims today!
    Swim Workouts
  16. Confusion... Then Sprints

    by , June 22nd, 2011 at 12:15 PM (Year Three: The Road Back)
    We got off to late start because of changing from scy to lcm again. At least we did the lanes at the beginning of practice instead of in the middle of a set. Still, it's pretty annoying to have to change these. There has been no time allotted for the change and many of our swimmers are getting short-changed on their workouts. A nice solution needs to be found during the summer session of school. They keep switching it back (apparently) so the kids during the school day can play water basketball - at least that's what I've heard. Oh well, I got in an extra 100m or so from in changing lines..... Here's what we did:

    300 Warm-Up
    8 x 50 Kick on 1:10

    2 x 100 Drill/Swim/Drill/Swim by 25 on 2:00

    12 x 25 on :40 Odd: Sprint (2 fly, 2 back, 2 free); Even: EZ Free
    7 times:
    - 1 x 50 Free ALL OUT (held :38-:40) on 1:00

    - 1 x 50 Free Recovery (added meters as follows: 1-2 50; 3-4 25) on 2:00

    1 x 200 Kick on 4:00

    1 x 200 Free w/ fins on 4:00

    200 Cool-Down
    Total Meters - 2275

    I'm never quite sure during sprint practices early into my year's lcm whether my sprint times are where they should be or not. But... being that my sprinting has been pretty terrible lately - and I had been getting :35-:36s scy, I'm taking :38-:40s lcm right now. Hopefully, I'll be able to find my sprinting gear before the All American on July 2nd. I signed up for the 50 Fly, 50 Back (ugh!), 50 Free, and 100 Free. Last year, I did the 200 Free, which is the first event, and completely blew up during the race. Needless to say, it shouldn't be hard to top my LCM times from last year in the 50 and 100 Free. I guess time will tell...

    Enjoy your afternoons!
    Swim Workouts
  17. SCY to LCM... all in one practice

    by , June 21st, 2011 at 11:57 AM (Year Three: The Road Back)
    Yesterday just got away from me and I didn't have time to blog the workout. The pool was set-up LCM. Here's what we did:

    400 Warm-Up
    12 x 100 Pull on 1:45
    8 x 50 Kick on 1:00
    2 sets (w/ fins):
    - 1 x 100 as 50 Fly/50 Back on 2:00
    - 1 x 100 as 25 Fly/50 Back/25 Breast on 2:00
    - 1 x 100 as 50 Back/50 Free on 2:00
    - 1 x 100 as 25 Back/25 Free/50 Fly on 2:00
    - 1 x 100 as 50 Free/50 Fly on 2:00
    400 Cool-Down
    Total 3,400 Meters

    Today, I was hoping for LCM again, but when I walked in, no luck. SCY - and width-wise so no backstroke flags. Nevertheless, I got in and started warming up. Of course, being slightly late, I only had time for a 300 warm-up. Here's how today's workout started:

    300 Warm-Up
    Round One (fly w/ fins):
    - 4 x 50 Drill/Swim on 1:00
    - 1 x 200 IM on 3:40
    - 4 x 50 Kick on 1:05
    - 1 x 400 IM (done as 2x200) on 7:20

    extra 50 yds & 50 meters moving lane lines to convert pool from scy to lcm - yep... you read that right... FULL STOP to convert the pool in the middle of our practice so the age groupers could swim their entire practice LCM.

    Then we continued:
    Rounds Two and Three (back, then fly w/ fins):
    - 4 x 50 Drill/Swim on 1:00
    - 1 x 200 IM on 3:40
    - 4 x 50 Kick on 1:05
    - 1 x 400 IM (done as 2x200) on 7:20
    200 Cool-Down
    Total - 1350 SCY + 2250 LCM

    Fortunately, our coach allowed those of us who could to stay late and finish the workout - and I did. Crazy...

    Actually, I was just happy to get through the workout and was surprised how good I felt considering that the night's sleep was very short and fitful. On Sunday, I drove my daughters to meet their father. They are with him in Minnesota for the next five weeks. Last night (yes, one day...), I got a phone call that my youngest (and most adventurous) daughter had fallen out of a tree and was on her way to the ER. Fortunately, no broken bones - just bad elbow and wrist sprains. Of course, I didn't know all of that until this morning -thus the bad night of "rest". Apparently, my daughter is a lot like I was at that age - and the tree just HAD to be climbed.

    Hopefully tonight I will rest a lot better because tomorrow is happy sprint day - and I haven't sprinted in quite a while. Until then...

    Enjoy your swims!
    Swim Workouts
  18. Back to LCM... to Stay???

    by , June 16th, 2011 at 11:22 AM (Year Three: The Road Back)
    Arriving at the pool this morning, I was pleasantly surprised by the LCM format. I am hoping it now stays this way throughout the remainder of the long course season. Plus the age group team that swims there is hosting a LCM event in a couple of weeks, so I'm hoping it will stay so that they can practice in LCM too! Keep you fingers crossed....

    Here's what we did today:
    200 Warm-Up (was supposed to be 400, but I was chatting....)
    5 sets:
    - 1 x 50 Drill/Swim on 1:10
    - 1 x 50 Kick/Swim on 1:10 (did kick w/o fins!)
    3 x 100 Free on 2:15
    3 x 100 Free on 2:10
    3 x 100 Free on 2:05
    3 x 100 Free on 2:00
    3 x 100 Free on 1:55
    3 x 100 Kick w/ fins on 1:50
    3 x 100 Free w/ fins on 1:45
    3 x 100 Free w/ fins on 1:40
    300 Cool-Down
    Total Meters - 3400

    Once the 100s started, I ended up jumping lanes. I went from being last in a lane of 5 swimmers (read: no place to hold on between intervals, so was always treading water) to being first in a lane of 3. While I felt bad leaving my typical lane mates, I needed to be able to hold on between swims. Plus... it's nice to lead once in a while instead of always being at the back of the pack. Besides, they understood. Five in a lane when other lanes have only two swimmers.... just thought I'd even it out a bit.

    Relatively easy day after I get off work today - just a cross country parent meeting for the high school team later. Tomorrow, however, will be a different story. After swimming and work, I get to drive up to Purdue to pick up my daughter from her engineering camp. Hope she had a wonderful time - and at least the weather should have been really nice except for yesterday's storms.

    Enjoy your swims!
    Swim Workouts
  19. Change of Pace.... and Stroke

    by , June 15th, 2011 at 11:44 AM (Year Three: The Road Back)
    With so many of the last workouts being distance focused, today was a total change of pace - and we got to do stroke too! Unfortunately, the pool was back to SCY - and it went sideways. So... we get to DO backstroke; we just can't tell where we are. With no flags up, the coach simply kept reminding us to be careful and count strokes. Fortunately, I didn't hit the wall; unfortunately, I didn't do many good backstroke flip turns either. The age group coach says working on getting the pool LCM for the rest of the season in just a few days. As for today, here's what we did:

    400 Warm-Up (yes, I actually stopped chatting and did the full-warm up )
    4 x 100 Kick on 2:00
    1 x 600 Pull on 10:00
    4 sets:
    - 1 x 200 Drill/Swim by 25s on 4:00
    - 4 x 50 Stroke FAST on 1:10
    300 Cool-Down
    Total Yards - 3300

    For the main set, I did fly (w/ fins), back (w/ fins), and two rounds of free (w/o fins). I don't seem to be able to feel the backstroke catch (where I actually get any power) if I don't have my fins on - even if I don't kick. My new theory is that my butt is dropping too much when I swim backstroke without my fins. So, now that I have a theory, I can experiment. If I could actually figure backstroke out and improve - that would be awesome. I'll report back what I figure out.

    Until then, happy swimming!
    Swim Workouts
  20. Surprise LCM Day....

    by , June 14th, 2011 at 09:57 AM (Year Three: The Road Back)
    Life has gotten incredibly busy and, while I've managed to still find my time in the pool, blogging about it had to take a back seat for a little while. But.... at least "busy" did not mean "bad" - just busy. My oldest is doing a Women in Engineering camp at Purdue for 9th grade girls this week and was thrilled at the chance to be on campus. I'm hoping she has a blast! My youngest is taking pottery this week and given her propensity for getting dirty, should have a wonderful time too.

    On an interesting little side note, team practice at North Central was cancelled both Saturday and Monday (although I still swam both days, but just at the Y). Oddly enough, during a storm on Saturday morning (when no one was fortunately in the pool), North Central was struck by lightning - which knocked out the electrical system and filter system for the pool. Repairs were finally completed Monday and we were back at it this morning. The bonus? Since they were doing repairs, no one had time to switch the pool from LCM to SCY this morning, so we got a bonus LCM swim in. Here's what the team (I) swam this morning:

    400 Warm-Up (managed 250 before time was up)
    2 x 350 Free on 6:00 (2 x 300 for me)
    7 x 100 Free on 1:40 (6 x 100 w/ fins; 1 x 50 putting fins on)
    1 x 700 Free on 12:00 (I did a 600 kick)
    7 x 100 Free on 1:40 (made them all w/ fins)
    2 x 350 Free on 6:00 (2 x 300 Pull for me)
    200 Cool-Down
    Total as Written - 4100 LCM (me - 3600)

    All in all, I was pretty happy with how I swam this morning. There were a few lanes of swimmers who were doing 7 x 75s instead of the 7 x 100s. Of course, they were NOT wearing fins. I'm in debate mode right now.... I really like the people I share a lane with, but they are so much faster than me that keeping up with them requires me to wear fins - BUT it does give me that extra burst of motivation to really push it. But, would I be better off moving down a few lanes and swimming with people of my own ability level? Not sure I would push as hard to improve then....

    Is it better to share a lane with people much faster than you and wear fins to keep up or share a lane with people who reduce distance, but swim without gear? Thoughts?

    Enjoy your swims today!
    Swim Workouts
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