After a day with some relaxing distance swimming and without any short-axis strokes, I was refreshed and ready to go for my first 800 IM... Dreaming up the 2000-yard descending ladder 800, 600, 400, 200 all IM (did I dream that or was this some diabolical nightmare I could not escape? I began to question myself as I hit the wall and turned after 150 fly!)... as I was saying, dreaming up this purgatorial workout is one thing, but actually doing it? I had never done more than 500 IM, never done more than 125 fly at once, I was beginning to question whether 400 IM was such a good idea. Just sent in my registration for the Whitefish Bay meet in March: 4IM, 200 back, free, and breast, 2IM... a good workout to say the least. If I could do an 800 IM and follow it with 6-, 4-, and 2-IMs in the same workout... yes, then I would feel better about that slate of events I just signed myself up for!
Here it is... IM mount purgatory (or perhaps IM abyss... Dante's Inferno is a series of ever more constricting concentric circles converging on the earth's physical and metaphysical core):
1000 wm-up swim on 20:00--free/pull by 200 (build pace); finished in 16:07
800 IM on 16:00 (14:5?)
600 IM on 12:00 (11:09)
400 IM on 8:00 (7:13)
200 IM on 4:00 (3:35)
6 x 50 pull/free cool-down
Another 3300 SCY; in 65 minutes.
Wow, 200 fly is painful! And 150 fly is painful! And, what was so hard about 100 fly? Yeah, it was painful too! At 75 I honestly didn't know if I would stop at the wall at 100; going for 150 seemed like a good idea and things were going fairly smoothly, I was finding something of a rhythm... at 125 I was beginning to doubt that decision. At 150 I willed myself to turn and start back down the lane... stretch, reach, push the sternum, lift the hips, kick... at 175 my lungs were gasping, my shoulders and lats burning, my abs felt like they'd just done 200 crunches, but I knew I was doing this... 200 fly! First 50 of the back portion of the IM was just recovery, like I was clearing acid out of my lats and catching my breath... I was able to build and increase pace on the last 150 Back. As I leaned back to touch the wall and transition over to the front for breast I saw 7:35... wow, I thought, I'm making good time and might have more than a minute to rest before that 16:00 came around. Then I promptly lost 4-5 seconds on my breast leg... this 200 was pretty sucky and it just went on and on and on...! Freestyle, finally, but I was too tired to push it hard... cruised to a 3:20-something 200 for that leg, maybe it was in the 3:10s (I honestly can't remember if I was in the 14:40s or 14:50s when I finished)... it didn't matter, I was done! My first 800 IM. And in a little more than a minute I would be turning around to do my first 600 IM... 150s seemed a little easier than 200-yard legs, but I was pretty gassed. The fly was steady, the back actually felt good after only about 25 yards, breast was miserable, but improving slightly... during my free leg I kept thinking how similar this feels to the last 150 of a 5k! Maybe that means I'm doing something right. 400 IM was a piece of cake by comparison... never had a "recovery" length and ended up finishing in 7:13 (the seed time I sent in for 400 IM is 7:00; my practice PR being 6:59). 200 IM was not as good (I almost took a backstroke flip turn at the 100 mark... it seemed so weird to have only 50 yards of back!), but I was tired...
Saw Scotty on the way out and said he should give the workout a try; he shook his head, emphatically, as if trying to ward off some evil spirit. "You're NUTs!" he said.