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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. Glad I Had a Coach Today!

    by , October 6th, 2011 at 11:06 AM (Year Three: The Road Back)
    Whew.... today was one of those workouts where without a coach telling me when to go, I am hopelessly lost at keeping the correct time. So glad Coach B was on deck to tell me when to start - of course, for a few of the intervals, he was telling me to go basically as my hand was hitting the wall from the previous swim. No matter.... until the last part of the workout when I was wanting to do anything BUT freestyle, I was at least making all the intervals without fins, albeit sometimes with no extra time to rest. Anyhoo... here's what we did:

    400 Warm-Up
    6 x 50 Kick on 1:00 Kick, 1>3, 4>6
    1 x 25 Free on :40
    1 x 50 Free on 1:00
    1 x 75 Freeon 1:10
    1 x 100 Freeon 1:25
    2 x 25 Free on :35
    2 x 50 Free on :55
    2 x 75 Free on 1:15
    2 x 100 Free on 1:30
    3 x 25 Free on :30
    3 x 50 Free on :50
    3 x 75 Free on 1:20
    3 x 100 Free on 1:35
    2 x 25 Kick on :25 (dropped 2 - 25s to catch my breath)
    4 x 50 Free (w/ fins) on :45
    4 x 75 Kick / Back / Kick by 25 (w/ fins) on 1:25
    4 x 100 Fly Drill Cycle (w/ fins) on 1:40
    400 Cool-Down
    Total Yards - 3550

    If you attempt this one without someone watching the clock for you, then I wish you well! Of course, M in the lane next to me didn't have any problems remembering when to go next. Between the coach telling me when to shove off and watching when M left, I was able to basically stay on task. YAY!

    Two days until my first SCM meet of the season. Should be a great meet!

    Enjoy your swims today.... and I'll check in tomorrow.
    Swim Workouts
  2. Off the Blocks!

    by , October 5th, 2011 at 11:35 AM (Year Three: The Road Back)
    With our meet coming up fast, we switched to the main pool in order to utilize the blocks. YAY! I love starting with the blocks - nothing like taking :02 off a 50 from just doing a good start. Today's swim left me feeling more confident about my starts (not necessarily about my swimming......). Here's what we did:

    400 Warm-Up
    4 x 75 Kick on 1:30, 1>4
    4 sets:
    - 4 x 50 Drill/Swim on 1:00
    - 4 x 25 Build on :30
    - 4 x 50 Fast on 1:15 (went from blocks - did mainly free, some fly, some back)
    - 2 x 50 Free Easy on 1:00
    100 Cool-Down
    Total Yards - 3200

    On the fourth round, I concentrated on back starts - mine have been notoriously bad. I did a back block start for the drill/swims even. When I came up from my second "attempt" laughing, the coach decided to simply sit on my block and critique each one. By the end of 8 starts, my back was a bit red , but the starts were getting better - not too deep, but also not the massive smack on my shoulders. So.... we'll see how that one goes on Saturday. Here's hoping....

    The plan for tomorrow and Friday is to back off a bit in practice to be "fresher" for Saturday. Sometimes it works; sometimes it doesn't.

    Regardless of how Saturday goes, there should be a number of swimmers there from my team and I'm looking forward to being part of it.

    Enjoy your swims today!
    Swim Workouts
  3. A Distance / IM Mix

    by , October 4th, 2011 at 01:58 PM (Year Three: The Road Back)
    Today's workout was written as a distance (pace) workout mixed with IM. As my shoulder was hurting, I substituted most of the IM with kicking, so I could focus on maintaining pace in the freestyle swims. Having never competed anything longer than a 200 Free (and then only rarely), I am looking at my first 800 Free in competition the end of this month (assuming my daughter's high school cross country team does NOT make the state finals - if so, then no swim meet for me as they are on the same day). So.... that being said, here's what we did:

    400 Warm-Up
    1 x 200 on 4:00 Kick - descend by 50's
    1 x 450 Free on 7:30
    1 x 100 IM on 2:05
    1 x 400 Free on 6:40
    1 x 100 IM on 2:00
    1 x 350 Free on 5:50
    1 x 100 Kick on 1:55
    1 x 300 Free on 5:00
    1 x 100 Kick on 1:50
    1 x 250 Free on 4:10
    1 x 100 Kick on 1:45
    1 x 200 Free on 3:20
    1 x 100 Kick on 1:40
    1 x 150 Free on 2:30
    1 x 100 Kick on 1:35
    1 x 100 Free on 1:40
    1 x 100 Kick on 1:30
    300 Cool-Down
    Total Yards - 3900

    If you want to do this one, be warned. It's pretty brutal. It was actually written starting at the 100s and working up to the 450s, but we decided to swim the other way around so we needed to be swimming hard at the end of the workout to make the intervals instead of lolly-gagging through the 400 and 450 free.

    Swim Workouts
  4. 200s Rule the Day

    by , October 3rd, 2011 at 11:42 AM (Year Three: The Road Back)
    Today's main set was 200s. I must say - I really, REALLY don't like 200s. I'd rather do either 50s and 100s or even 400s. Just not 200s. There is something utterly difficult for me about a 200. But... that being said, today's workout went really well and I was able to keep all the intervals without a problem - and did the workout exactly as written without adding fins or pull sets when I got tired. YAY! Some days it's the little things....

    Here's what we did today:
    400 Warm-Up
    1 x 300 Kick on side on 6:00
    10 x 50 Free on 1:00, 1>5, 6>10
    4 x 25 Fist Drill on :40, lower stroke count
    4 x 25 Left Arm Drill on :40, lower stroke count
    4 x 25 Right Arm Drill on :40, lower stroke count
    4 x 25 Free on :40, lower stroke count
    1 x 200 Free on 3:15, 50 fast/150 moderate
    1 x 200 Free on 3:15, 75 fast/125 moderate
    1 x 200 Free on 3:15, 100 fast/100 moderate
    1 x 200 Free on 3:15, all fast
    1 x 200 Free on 3:30, 150 moderate, :10 rest, 50 fast
    1 x 200 Free on 3:30, 125 moderate, :10 rest, 75 fast

    1 x 200 Free on 3:30, 100 moderate, :10 rest, 100 fast
    3 x 100 Kick on 2:00, middle 50 no board
    200 Cool-Down
    Total Yards - 3500

    I plan to work really hard in the pool the next couple of days, but back off on Thursday and Friday. I'm laying off the biking until after Saturday's meet is over. And, Coach B figures that Wednesday's workout will lend itself best to block starts - so that should be fun. Before that, however, is Distance Tuesday. Have to see how that one goes tomorrow, but I actually felt pretty decent in the water today and was happy about that.

    Back to work, so until I'm back to the pool....

    Enjoy your swims!
    Swim Workouts
  5. IM Killer Set

    by , September 30th, 2011 at 12:38 PM (Year Three: The Road Back)
    Well, I was right. Today was an IM day. Of course, it was a "Killer" IM day - as alluded to by the coach who wrote the work-out (thanks Coach Kris). Besides, when Coach B on deck encourages me to use my fins for the last set of 16 50s (the one who is trying to wean me off my fins), I know I'm in trouble. Having said that, with my fins on, I was able to make all of the 16 50s!

    Here's what we did today:
    400 Warm-Up
    12 x 50 Free (3 on :50, 3 on :55, 3 on 1:00, 3 on 1:05)
    3 sets:
    - 1 x 100 IM Drill Cycle on 2:15
    - 1 x 50 Kick on 1:00 (wore fins)
    - 1 x 100 IM on 1:45 (wore fins)
    - 1 x 50 Kick on 1:00 (wore fins)
    - 1 x 300 Free Moderate on 5:15
    1 set (continuous - no rest between - wore fins):
    - 4 x 50 IM Order on 1:00
    - 4 x 50 IM Order on :55
    - 4 x 50 IM Order on :50
    - 4 x 50 IM Order on :45
    200 Cool-Down
    Total Yards - 3800

    It was a pretty brutal workout by the end and I was having trouble getting my legs to move after the final 4 50s on :45, so I made my cool-down a kicking cool-down. And, I decided not to bike this morning. I'm pretty much done biking until after next weekend's meet in order to give my legs more recovery time.

    It's threatening to rain AGAIN here in Indiana. My husband is one of the coaches for the HSE high school tennis team. They were supposed to do their sectional semi-final round on Wednesday. It got rained out. They were supposed to do their sectional semi-final round then on Thursday. It POURED! So, they are supposed to do their sectional semi-final now today. Please, oh please, do not rain. The sectional FINALS are tomorrow. It just may turn into a double header tennis match if the skies unleash once again. And, tomorrow is my daughter's first high school conference meet in cross country. It's supposed to be cool and sunny tomorrow. Hopefully, everything will get done! Now my only issue is... when do I get my swim in?

    Enjoy your Friday, your swims, and your weekend!
    Swim Workouts
  6. Predictor Set Day

    by , September 29th, 2011 at 01:40 PM (Year Three: The Road Back)
    Well... today was a happy predictor set. I knew that going in and my legs were pretty beat after doing the kick against the wall, flip turn, 50 on :50 set. So... overall I was pretty happy with holding a :36-:37 average. I never went up to :38 and went down a few times to :35. Decent, but I've decided that I should lay off the biking until after next weekend's meet is over. Swimming and biking is taking its toll on my thigh and calf muscles. Recovery before the meet sounds like a great idea.

    As for today's workout, here's what we did:
    300 Warm-Up
    4 sets:
    - 1 x 50 Human Stroke Drill / Free on 1:10
    - 1 x 50 Tarzan Drill / Free on 1:10
    6 sets:
    - 1 x :20 Kick against wall

    - 1 x 50 Free on :50
    8 x 25 Free on :30, odd: Hard/EZ, even: EZ/Hard
    20 x 50 Free Predictor Set on 1:30 (hold best average)
    1 x 300 25 Drill / 75 Free recovery on 5:00
    300 Cool-Down
    Total Yards - 2800 (plus 1:20 kicking against wall)

    I'm pretty sure that tomorrow will be an IM day, since we've been pretty IM crazy lately and haven't done much stroke this week. I'll check in and let you know how it goes.

    Enjoy your swims!
    Swim Workouts
  7. Sprinting...At Least A Little

    by , September 28th, 2011 at 12:59 PM (Year Three: The Road Back)
    450 Warm-Up
    1 x 200 Kick on 4:00
    After staying up late with my daughter last night discussing what the fictional Greek hero she has to create for class should be like, this morning dawned a lot (I mean, A LOT!!!) sooner than I wanted. Still, I hauled myself out of bed and headed to the pool. Here's what we did:

    1 x 150 Kick Faster on 3:00
    1 x 100 Kick Faster on 2:00
    1 x 50 Kick Fastest on 1:00

    4 x 25 Fist Drill on :40
    4 x 25 Left Arm Only Drill on :40
    4 x 25 Right Arm Only Drill on :40
    4 x 25 Perfect Free on :40
    12 x 50 Free on :50

    4 sets:
    - 1 x 50 Free FAST on 1:00 (did :34, :34, :33, :33)
    - 1 x 50 Free EZ on 2:00
    6 x 100 Pull on 1:45, 1>3, 4>6
    400 Cool-Down
    Total Yards - 3350

    I must say that I was pleasantly surprised by how I felt in the water during warm-up. A bit more like how I was feeling before I got sick. Then, we did the fast 50s and I was happy with the times considering that I felt sloppy while swimming them. And... I forgot to dolphin kick off the wall at the turn. Even reminding myself before the next fast 50 to dolphin kick didn't help. I just kept plain forgetting. Ugh! But... I know there are a few tenths to pick up when I remember. I also worked on not breathing into the flip turn - a new feat for me. So... all in all, a much better day in the pool than I anticipated. YAY!

    I also signed up for my first SCM meet yesterday. I'm swimming the 50 Free, 50 Back, 50 Fly, and 100IM. I remember this meet from last year and it goes really quickly. So... four events instead of five, but it should be fun. I seeded myself with my best times from last year's SCM season and I'm hoping to see some time drops - especially in the back and IM. I guess time will tell. The meet is a week from Saturday and I'm hoping to be feeling great in the water by then.

    Until next time, enjoy your swims!
    Swim Workouts
  8. Distance Day

    by , September 27th, 2011 at 01:05 PM (Year Three: The Road Back)
    I am not the most patient person in the world (which my husband will tell you is a HUGE understatement ). But... I was really hoping for more during today's distance workout. However, most of the intervals were at a 1:30 per 100 pace, which I should be under. Today, however, not so much. I was completely struggling to keep a 1:30 pace going and after promising myself that I would get through the first round of 3s doing all freestyle (with NO fins or paddles), I switched to using fins to keep up. In a perfect world, the entire workout would have been done as freestyle. In my world... here's what I managed to eek out:

    450 Warm-Up
    3 x 300 Free on 5:00
    1 x 200 Free on 3:00
    2 x 175 Free on 3:00 (supposed to be 200s)
    3 x 100 Free on 1:30
    2 x 300 Kick on 5:00
    2 x 175 Back (w/ fins) on 3:00 (again written as 200s)
    2 x 100 Free (w/ fins) on 1:30
    1 x 300 Kick on 5:00
    1 x 200 Back (w/ fins) on 3:00
    1 x 100 Free (w/ fins) on 1:30
    150 Cool-Down
    Total Yards - 4100

    I realize that I'm my own worst enemy and harder on myself than anyone else ever could be, but I was just hoping to feel so much better in the water today. Alas, that was not the case.

    Here's hoping tomorrow will be a better swim day.

    Hope you enjoy your swims today!
    Swim Workouts
  9. Back To The Pool.... Finally!

    by , September 26th, 2011 at 12:47 PM (Year Three: The Road Back)
    So, it's been a week and I haven't written anything. After last Monday's early am practice and a 10 mile spin, I went to work as normal... and only made it for an hour before getting physically sick and heading home. The next two days were exactly like that... ugh! I never get sick, but when I do.... There's nothing like being really, really sick to make you appreciate how healthy you normally are. And, it takes absolutely no time to feel lost again when trying to return to the pool. Even now - a full week later - I'm still feeling sluggish and slow (and a bit weak) in the water. But... time to get back at it. After all short course meters season is getting started.

    This morning's workout was supposed to be a full 3800 yards, but when the coach was late, I decided that if he didn't show, I would "coach" the workout for everyone else. So... no actual warm-up for me (which is the 400 yards I'm lacking). As I was about to get everyone started, the coach arrived, so I did the first 2 of the 100s as a warm-up. Here's what we did:

    200 Warm-Up
    4 x 100 as 25 Kick / 50 Back / 25 Kick on 2:00
    4 x 200 Free on 3:30
    1 x 100 Free EZ on 2:00
    3 x 200 Free on 3:20
    1 x 100 Free EZ on 2:00
    2 x 200 Free on 3:10
    1 x 100 Free EZ on 2:00
    1 x 200 Free FAST on 3:00 (did 2:49)

    1 x 100 Free EZ on 2:00
    400 Cool-Down
    Total Yards (for me) - 3400

    I guess I can't really complain with holding a 1:30 per 100 pace too much, but I was faster than that before getting sick and - face it - today's swimming was pretty disheartening. BUT... by the last "FAST" 200, I realized that I was moving my head all over the place while swimming and so I really concentrated on keeping my head still. What happened? My 200s on 2:59s turned into a 200 on 2:49 - without a noticeable difference in effort! Guess I forgot to do a "little" thing that makes a big difference in my swimming. YAY! Glad I remembered that before tomorrow's distance day extravaganza.

    To catch you up, my swim portion of the Sprint Tri relay I was part of right before I got sick (within hours....) was a 500 meter swim in 8:40 (done in a snaking fashion in a 50 meter pool). Not my best time (and I was really hoping for faster), but it is what it is. And, I did have to pass several swimmers in front of me - and even did a three-wide pass of two guys coming down the 400-450 lane. Woo-Hoo! Plus... flip turns to the side I'm used to while going under the lane line was no issue.... flipping to the opposite side (every other end of the pool).... let's just say that was a bit challenging.

    So.... that's where that is. I must say that it was quite a learning experience. And, I got to see what other people are riding, what equipment they have on their bikes, how bikes are set up, and what transitions are like - all good preparation for the Aquabike racing I want to do next summer. Now.... it's time to start that pesky training thing.....

    Enjoy your swims today!
    Swim Workouts
  10. Recovery Day... Not So Much

    by , September 17th, 2011 at 06:48 PM (Year Three: The Road Back)
    Well, the point of swimming today was to simply swim out the tightness in my shoulders and feel good and rested going into tomorrow's race. That was the goal.... not exactly what happened.

    It started out simply enough - with a 500 Warm-up and then 10x50 Drill/Swims on :55. The team usually does the drill/swims on 1:00, but I find that doing them on the :55 helps me keep track of where I am. For whatever reason, it's easier for me to remember when to go than what number of the set I'm on. Go figure....

    So then, I decided I was going to do a simple 2000 easy swim the whole way. That was the plan. The first almost-500 felt so awful that I was debating simply quitting at that point, but at about the 450, I started to feel the rhythm that I wanted, so I told myself to swim in that rhythm until 1000 yards. And then I just kept going.... except that nearing 1500, my hip started to feel tight and my calf was in danger of cramping. That finally got through to me that I was not "easy" swimming. I stopped at 1500 and did an easy pull - that was actually easy - and then a nice long kick/back w/ fins cool-down. Then, I sat in the hot tub at the Y with the jets on my achy parts for a little while. Here's the shocker of the day.... I did the 1500 in 20:44. WHAT?! It felt nasty slow and I was shocked when I stopped my timer at the end. I keep trying to think back and see if I miscounted, but I really don't think I did. Still hoping tomorrow's swim feel as good as Friday's and is as fast as today's!

    Shout out to my oldest daughter. She ran another cross country meet with the varsity squad at the high school. Her 5K time was a full 1:25 faster than her personal best! Thinking she was in danger of dropping back to the JV ranks before the meet started, she finished 7th of the 12 girls on her varsity team. Think she cemented where she will run for the rest of the season. Heck... if she keeps this up, she'll make the squad of 7 that runs at sectionals, regionals, etc. WAY TO GO, GIRL! So proud of my daughter today.

    And, a shout out to the high school tennis team who won the conference meet today. My husband is one of the coaches on the team and, while the conference tournament is always a long day, it was definitely worth it! WAY TO GO HSE!

    All in all, a great Saturday at my house. Hope yours is just as good!
    Swim Workouts
  11. An Easier / Recovery Day for Me

    by , September 16th, 2011 at 11:38 AM (Year Three: The Road Back)
    Today, I was really just hoping to get into the pool and not have any pain my shoulders. My goal for today's workout was to simply swim out any lingering stiffness and try to find easy speed - while not working too hard because I'm racing a 500m on Sunday. I plan to do an easy swim tomorrow morning too. With that as my goal, practice this morning went pretty astoundingly! Here's what I did:

    300 Warm-Up
    1 x 400 IM 25 Drill/25 Swim on 9:00 (did w/o fins)
    8 x 50 Kick on 1:05
    4 x 200 Free w/ rotating 50 Kick on 4:00 (w/o fins)
    8 x 100 Free on 2:00 1>5, 6>8
    2 x 100 Free Cool-Down
    Total Yards - 2900

    The last set was supposed to be a set of 10, but I needed to get home to early as my husband had to take older daughter to cross country practice before school, as they race tomorrow.

    I was actually pretty pleased with the no fins aspects of the workout - the drill/swim 400 and the kicking portions of the 200. Maybe it's my imagination, but my kicking w/o fins seems to have gotten stronger since I've started biking. It's only been a few weeks of biking, but my kicking wasn't even the slowest w/o my fins on today. YAY!

    However, that was not the highlight of my workout. On the last 100s set, I had decided to not descend them, but just try to hold a good pace throughout - in anticipation of holding a good 500 pace this weekend. My 1st 100 didn't feel particularly fast, but decent - I was expecting to see a 1:25-1:27 on the clock. Instead, I was shocked to see a 1:22. WOW! You have to realize that I don't swim that fast unless I'm racing.... So, I decided to hold that pace again. After all, it felt pretty good. My 2nd 100? A 1:20! Then, my coach whispered "Just a tad faster" and my hold pace set became a descend set - my 100 times for the first 5 were 1:22, 1:20, 1:19, 1:18, 1:17. Color me shocked.... for the next three I did 1:23, 1:20, 1:18. The last two were simply cool-down. I just hope the water feels this good on Sunday! That would be awesome. Here's to hoping! I'll let you know how it goes.

    Enjoy your swims this weekend!
    Swim Workouts
  12. A Bit of Everything

    by , September 15th, 2011 at 11:44 AM (Year Three: The Road Back)
    Today's workout was a wonderful extravaganza featuring some kicking, pulling, fast swims, drills, and IM. What more could you ask for?!

    Here's what we did:
    400 Warm-Up
    4 x 100 on Drill/Swim by 25s on 2:00
    3 sets:
    - 1 x 225 Pull on 3:30
    - 9 x 25 Stroke on :30 (alternated fly & back with free)
    4 x 100 Kick on 2:00 (middle 50 w/o board)
    6 x 125 on 2:00 (wore fins - did kick, kick, IM w/ 50 kick for last 4)
    100 Cool-Down
    Total Yards - 3400

    I was not planning on wearing fins for the last set of 125s, but my shoulder was really hurting - on the recover of both butterfly and on the pull of freestyle. It's just my left shoulder, but it's really bothering me. One of my teammates said I probably just need to stretch my shoulders more. Not sure if that will do it or not, but I'm being hopeful. Tomorrow, I just plan to take it easy and try to stretch it out in the water. I am racing a Sprint Tri as part of a team on Sunday and I certainly don't want my shoulder to interfere with my swim and affect the team's overall finish. So... easy swims and lots of stretching.... and we'll reassess next week.

    After swimming, I decided (against my earlier decision to take the rest of the week off of spinning until the race is over) to do a jaunty little 10 mile spin (and at a higher level than before). Much to my surprise, I did the entire 10 miles in almost 3 minutes less than my ride earlier in the week. WOW! Hope that wasn't a mistake, but for now I'm really proud of myself.

    My FLOG is still mad at me - says I'm almost a mile behind where I need to be (yes, only a mile, but still...). Here's my question for you, I moved up a spot in my age group and I'm wondering why the gal I just passed hasn't been swimming? She's been at the same distance all week. Is she on vacation? Sick? Injured? Why hasn't she been swimming. Of course, I don't know her from Adam, but hope she's okay. Does anyone else wonder about the others logging their Go the Distance swims? Just curious....

    Enjoy your swims today. It's a beautiful and cool fall day in Indiana. Hope it's as lovely where you are too.
    Swim Workouts
  13. Sprint Wednesday (Kind of)

    by , September 14th, 2011 at 11:50 AM (Year Three: The Road Back)
    Since yesterday wasn't completely a Distance Tuesday, it only made sense that today wouldn't be a typical Sprint Wednesday. There was both sprint work and pace work in today's workout.... all in all, a really good one. Here's what we did:

    400 Warm-Up
    1 x 200 Kick on 4:00
    4 x 100 Kick on 2:00, 1>4
    8 x 25 Free on :35, odd: Hard/EZ; even: EZ/Hard by 12.5
    4 x 50 ALL OUT Free on 3:00 (:34, :34, :34, :33 from push)
    4 x 50 Recovery Free w/i 3:00 interval
    4 x 100 Free pace on 1:40
    4 x 100 Free w/ rotating Fast 25 on 1:50
    4 x 100 Free pace on 1:40 (I kicked these)

    4 x 100 Free w/ rotating Fast 25 on 1:50
    200 Cool-Down
    Total Yards - 3400

    Not too bad. I was a bit bummed that I couldn't seem to get under :34s on the 50s, but then managed to squeak out a :33 on the last one. I keep having to remind myself to add a slight glide even when sprinting. It seems to help set up a stronger pull.... but I still need to play with it and really get it to be second nature. Ah well... that's the thing with swimming... always learning.

    My only bummer thought today is that my FLOG is mad at me that I haven't "picked up the pace" to meet my goal yet. Granted, I'm only behind by less than 2 miles (which is one extra workout), but still.... every day I have to be told.... Really? Actually, I'm thinking about revising my Goal distance down from 625 miles to 600 miles because I am anticipating doing more biking on the weekends, which may limit the extra swim. Not sure yet. Guess I'll keep going as is for right now and just let my FLOG be upset. Who else treats their FLOG like a real person?

    Enjoy your swims today!
    Swim Workouts
  14. Distance Tuesday... Sort of

    by , September 13th, 2011 at 11:57 AM (Year Three: The Road Back)
    Tuesday's are traditionally distance days with average workouts being 4000+ yards. Today started out that way... initially. Here's what I did:

    400 Warm-Up
    8 x 50 Kick on 1:00 - even w/o board
    1 x 1000 Free pace on 18:00 Broken at 400 for :30, 300 for :20, 200 for :10, final 100 faster (did last 100 on 1:24)
    8 sets:
    - 1 x 50 Free FAST on 1:00 (did mainly :34s)
    - 1 x 100 Free EZ on 2:00
    3 x 100 Free on 2:30 (supposed to be decreasing breaths per 25 - not so much for me)
    200 Cool-Down
    Total Yards - 3500

    The broken 1000 was written as each segment (400, 300, 200, 100) as a different stroke, but I am doing a 500meter race this weekend as part of a Sprint Tri relay team and wanted to focus on maintaining (and increasing) pace over a longer swim. So... pretty happy with the 1:24 at the end and happy to be able to hold under 1:30 pace over the entire 1000 swim.

    As to the :34s for the Fast 50s. Wish they were faster, but I did give it my all on those and think I may have figured out a slight tweak in my freestyle speedy stroke that might help. Stay tuned while I play with it. There is, I think, more speed work on tap for tomorrow.....

    Then, getting home, I went into "Aquabike training" mode and did 10 miles on the basement bike in 34 minutes. Happy with that too. One of these days, I need to actually get biking outside, but when trying to balance the extra distance with actually getting to work on time.... morning bikes in the basement avoid the problem of overestimating how far I can go in the allotted time. Biking outside will have to be - for now - during those weeks that my girls are visiting their father.

    Enjoy your swims today and I'll check in tomorrow.
    Swim Workouts
  15. Not Bad for a Monday....

    by , September 12th, 2011 at 01:42 PM (Year Three: The Road Back)
    I definitely did not feel like getting up this morning. This was one of those rare days when my alarm clock actually got the chance to wake me up. Sad as it is, I've been getting up at 4:30am for so long now that sleeping in on weekends until the cats wake me up at 6:00 is actually sleeping in!

    But... I got up and headed to the pool - still half asleep when I got there and expecting a less-than-great workout. Here's what we did:

    350 Warm-Up
    4 sets:
    - 1 x 400 on 7:00 (did 2 pull, 2 kick)
    - 1 x 200 on 4:00 (did 1st 100 IM, 2nd 100 free)
    - 1 x 100 Free Easy on 2:00
    - 1 x 50 Free FAST! on 1:00 (did :35, :35, :35, :34)
    350 Cool-Down
    Total Yards - 3700

    All in all, it went better than I expected. My shoulders were getting a little sore with all the pulling, so I kicked the last two 400s. Here's the weird thing. When it's an "easy" free like our 100s today, my stroke felt amazing - and I did the "easy" free on 1:25 without a problem. Why is it than when it's all ALL OUT or I think the interval will be tight, my stroke doesn't feel nearly as good and I fight to hold 1:25s. Must have something to do with being more relaxed, but I could feel the water and was getting a great catch! If only I could always duplicate that feeling (and speed it up too). Oh well... at least I have something to work on.

    Now for my , I went home and decided to do a short (7.5 mile) spin on our exercise bike downstairs. Nothing felt off or weird as I biked - but my knee started smarting when I was walking back up the stairs and it's definitely not feeling great right now. I have a history of knee problems which is why I stopped running and started swimming in the first place. I'm hoping this is no big deal because I really want to train for and do the Aquabikes next summer. Just not sure if my knee is reacting to the breaststroke kick or the biking. I guess only time will tell.... I am definitely hoping for the best. I've rather enjoyed this time away from running where I've been able to walk without my knees aching. It's been blissful. If that starts to happen as I add biking... ugh... maybe it's a good thing I haven't upgraded to a road bike yet.

    That's my grumble for the day. Hope your day goes well and you enjoy your swims!
    Swim Workouts
  16. IM Day

    by , September 9th, 2011 at 12:05 PM (Year Three: The Road Back)
    Since I'm short on time, I won't say much other than what we did today. I will, however, say that I was doing most of this without fins again (even one of the KICK parts) - woo hoo. Actually, coach came over and made a point to say how nice it was to see me swimming without fins. Kind of made my day.... Anyhoo, here's what we did:

    400 Warm-Up
    4 x 100 Reverse IM on 2:00
    4 x 100 Kick on Back on 2:00 (w/ fins)
    4 x 250 Pull on 4:15
    3 x 100 on 2:15 (25 Kick, 50 Drill, 25 Free (w/o fins)
    3 x 100 on 2:00 - 50 Stroke / 50 Free (1st 50 fly w/ fins, 2nd 50 back w/o fins, 3rd 25 breast/75 free w/o fins)
    4 x 100 IM on 2:00 (w/o fins - did 25 fly, 25 back, 50 free)
    100 Cool-Down
    Total Yards - 3300

    Of course, then I came home and did 15 miles on my stationary bike. Why? That's a good question. All in all, a good workout day and I'm doing everything I can to stay awake at work.... I should really sleep well tonight.

    Enjoy your weekends and your swims - and good luck to everyone swimming Big Shoulders in Chicago. My team is sending 30 swimmers up - say hi to the Indy Aquatic Masters folks if you see them! They are a great group!
    Swim Workouts
  17. Descending 100 Intervals

    by , September 8th, 2011 at 11:53 AM (Year Three: The Road Back)
    So, I must admit that I looked ahead at the workouts (as I always do) and really tried to get myself psyched up for this one. All in all, I did about how I expected to do and was relatively happy with the swims. My uh-oh moment of the day is that my left shoulder is tweaking again. It tweaks at the end of my pull into the recovery motion of my freestyle. According to my coach, I wasn't doing any unusual motions during my stroke. So... grumble... grumble... grumble... I'm not sure exactly what's up and I didn't want to push the speed too hard, so I was content to hold 1:25s w/o fins throughout this set until the interval got to 1:30s. See what we did:

    400 Warm-Up
    1 x 300 Pull on 5:00
    1 x 300 Kick on 5:00
    4 x 100 Free on 2:00 (held 1:25s)
    1 x 50 Free Easy on 1:00
    4 x 100 Free on 1:50 (held 1:25s)
    1 x 50 Free Easy on 1:00
    4 x 100 Free on 1:40 (held 1:25s)
    1 x 50 Free Easy on 1:00
    4 x 100 Free on 1:30 (wore fins - held 1:16s pushing a bit, but not too hard)
    1 x 50 Free Easy on 1:00
    4 x 75 Free ALL OUT on 1:20 (wore fins - held :49-:50s)
    400 Cool-Down
    Total Yards -3500

    I did really push the 75s. Coach told me I could only decrease distance if I really pushed the speed doing 75s, so I pushed hard and my legs were really shaking by the 4th one.

    As for the rest of the day, I decided that my legs need a break from the bike today. With the Aquabike arena in my sights, I've been biking each day between 7.5-14 miles - with a goal of getting up to 25 miles for next summer's Aquabike races that are a 1500 meter swim followed by a 25 mile ride. It should be do-able... and I'm hoping the increased endurance will help on the sprinting side of things too.

    The "big boy" Aquabike near my house is 4000 meter swim and 52 mile ride. That may be a goal for two summers from now.

    Enjoy your swims today!
    Swim Workouts
  18. AFAP = Exhausted :)

    by , September 7th, 2011 at 12:16 PM (Year Three: The Road Back)
    Whereas yesterday was all about distance, today was all about sprinting - as fast as possible. All in all, I was really happy with how I swam this morning - and how much I did of the stroke without fins at all. This weaning from fins will pay off - hopefully big time by the time I get to the Qwest Center in Omaha.

    Here's what we did today:
    400 Warm-Up
    16 x 25 on :30 (odd: kick; even: stroke - did rotating IM w/ fins)
    2 sets:
    - 1 x 200 Free Moderate on 3:30
    - 2 x 100 IM on 2:30 (1st set w/o fins; 2nd set w/ fins)
    - 4 x 50 Free Moderate on 1:00
    - 8 x 25 Stroke AFAP on 1:30 (did both sets w/o fins in IM order - times listed below)
    300 Cool-Down
    Total Yards - 2700

    For the 25s Stroke AFAP, here's how I did:
    Fly - :18 (no dive), :16, :15, :15 (last 3 from dive)
    Back - :16-:17s
    Breast - :26 (no dive), :23, :23, :21 (last 3 from dive)
    Free - :16, :15, :14.5, :15 (all from push)

    Here's why I'm happy.... first of all, my fly when I really got going felt better w/o fins than it has in a really long time. That was awesome.

    Second, my best ever 50 Back racing time is a :38 - and has been a :38 ever since I started competing two years ago. I think I finally have the feel of where the catch is supposed to be. To be doing :16s & :17s would be :32-:34ish race. That would be an awesome drop for me.

    Third, my best ever (and only) 50 Breast race was a whopping :52. Clearly, I had never really worked on it and the breaststroke kick is an amazing struggle to get both my feet to behave properly. To do low :20s from a dive. YAY!

    Finally, my free from a push being :14.5-:16 gave me hope there too. I guess I finally feel like I'm getting back to being able to sprint. I've spent the summer more focused on long distance (and open water) that my sprints have felt really sluggish. Glad I may be breaking out of that.

    Oh... and then I went home and biked 14 miles. Yep... glutton for punishment.

    Hope you enjoy your swims today!
    Swim Workouts
  19. Distance Rules (on Monday and Tuesday...)

    by , September 6th, 2011 at 11:41 AM (Year Three: The Road Back)
    My entire household has had this nasty cold and it looks like its finally my turn. Why oh why do my kids need to share everything?!

    Yesterday, we didn't have an official team practice, so I ended up doing an open water swim with BD's group. The kicker is that everyone in this group except me is doing Big Shoulders or LaJolla next weekend, so they took it easy and only did 2K. So... I went home after the 2K and biked 10 miles - part of my build-up to start racing AquaBikes next summer.

    As for today, here's what we did at the pool:

    300 Warm-Up
    1 x 600 Free on 9:00 pace
    2 x 100 Free on 1:30
    4 x 75 Free on 1:30
    1 x 500 Free on 7:30 pace
    1 x 50 Kick on 1:30
    4 x 75 Kick on 1:30
    1 x 400 Free on 6:00 pace
    4 x 75 Free on 1:30
    1 x 300 Free on 4:30 pace
    1 x 50 Pull on 1:30
    2 x 75 Pull on 1:30
    1 x 200 Free on 3:00 pace
    2 x 75 Free on 1:30
    100 Cool-Down
    Total Yards - 3900

    This was intended as a 4400 yard day, but I was struggling to make the 100s on 1:30 and opted to do 75s instead. Just chalking today up to one of "those" days in the water and trying to stay positive. All in all, I don't feel 100% and can't really breathe through my nose. Hoping this is the worst that my cold will get. My husband was down for almost a week; my older daughter just a day; my youngest just the sniffles. Come on sniffles!

    Hope you stay healthy as the weather takes on a decidedly autumn feel.

    Enjoy your swims!
    Swim Workouts
  20. Holy IM, Batman!

    by , September 2nd, 2011 at 12:04 PM (Year Three: The Road Back)
    Going into today's set, I knew it be a stroke-focused kind of day. Fridays usually are. Today, however, was not just stroke, but IM. Add that to the fact that my coach is trying to wean me off my fins.... it was a long morning. Here's what we did:

    400 Warm-Up
    2 x 200 IM Drill/Swim by 25 on 4:00 (w/o fins)
    4 x 200 Rotating IM on 4:00 (w/ fins)
    6 x 50 Kick on 1:10 (w/o fins)
    2 x 25 Kick on 1:10 (breaststroke - see below)

    2 x 400 IM on 8:00 (w/ fins)
    200 Cool-Down
    Total Yards - 2950

    I was supposed to do 8x50 Kick on 1:10 and was trying out a buddy's breaststroke fins. Still sucked. I got in a 25 breaststroke kick (w/ his fins) in about a minute. No Lie! So, I waited :10, took off his fins (which didn't fit quite right either), and did a 25 unassisted breaststroke kick to get back to the starting side of the pool. It actually was faster w/o fins than w/ fins. For the other 6 50s, I went w/o fins and made them all! YAY!

    Not sure what the weekend holds for swimming. My daughter has been bumped to the Varsity XC team for the first time in this Saturday's race. I wasn't going to drive the almost two hours to her meet; I am now. Racing varsity as a freshman (at least for this one meet) - awesome girl! That kind of lets out swimming with the team. And, my back-up pool (the close one) is closed for cleaning until Tuesday. Hoping for an open water swim on Sunday. We'll see what the weather does. If nothing else, maybe an alternate YMCA will NOT be re-doing their pool. One can only hope.

    Hope your weekend swims are good ones!
    Swim Workouts
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