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Alex's swim journal

It's a journey: musings on art, literature, life... and occasional notes on training.

  1. 30:00 swim...

    by , March 25th, 2014 at 05:37 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    A steady 1800 today on 1:40/100 pace; followed by some 25s on :30 at a quicker pace. 2000 SCY total.

    I didn't want to do a hard swim, just get my body used to swimming for 25:00+ straight in anticipation of the 1650 this weekend. The 1800 in 30:00 was a nice round number, and mentally kept me from slowing to a slog, while also keeping me from building up too much lactic acid.

    Thought I would post some photos a friend from Milwaukee sent a few days ago. His daughter-in-law was at the last meet in Whitefish Bay by coincidence, so he decided to get my start and finish for the 400 IM:

    Click image for larger version. 

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  2. finding the 1650 pace...

    by , March 24th, 2014 at 04:21 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    The core
    was sore
    today
    after all the SDKs
    yesterday...

    Nonetheless, I put in a little bit of pace work, to see if I could find something I might be able to hold comfortably for 1650. Here's what I did:

    --375 EZ free warm-up on 7:00
    --4 x 50 on 1:00 (:43-:45)
    --4 x 25 on :30 (:19)
    1:00 rest
    --10 x 100 fr on 2:00 (1:25-1:30*)
    --4 x 50 fr on 1:00 (:40-:43)
    --4 x 25 fr on :30 (:17-:19)
    1:00 rest
    125 EZ free/bk cool-down

    2100 SCY/42:00

    *These clustered mostly around 1:27-1:28, though there were a couple in the 1:25-1:26 range and a couple in the 1:29-1:30 range (which might be closer to my 1650 pace; last year's pace was 1:31).
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  3. 100 Free PR

    by , March 24th, 2014 at 02:43 AM (Alex's swim journal)
    So the last few weeks have been very inconsistent; not because of illness, work and travel as happened earlier this winter, but because I tried to come back too quickly and messed up my left shoulder. I didn't have the base, but I was going for the same intensity I had last year in the run up to the state meet.

    The shoulder started hurting in the pull phase of breast stroke and I kept tweaking it during back as well. Finally it started giving out on me during fly. So I have a hiatus on all the strokes except freestyle (and a very slow backstroke) for a while. If I breathe to my left I don't have any issues with it... I've had issues with this shoulder before, it's like there's inflammation or some kind of impingement there when I build up too quickly and don't give my muscles a chance to adapt to added stress, and then I'll tweak it if I'm not being really careful and it becomes something more than just soreness or discomfort.

    For today's 80 x 25 on :45 workout--the last one before state--instead of doing fly, back, and breast, I did kick with fins: SDKs, back dolphins, back kick, and then when everyone else was swimming the 20 x 25 breast set, I just alternated front and back dolphins. My legs and core will be pretty sore tomorrow... but in a good way.

    I went ahead and did the 20 x 25 on :45 freestyle as full stroke... and they were pretty fast (for me--:14-:16). After the recovery swim, Jen and Scotty did a 100 IM for time off the blocks, to see where they were; I swam my time trial as 100 freestyle and PR'd, breaking 1:10 for the first time (1:08 is my new unofficial PB for SCY 100 free)... technique and speed work are paying off.

    I'm still going to state, but will not swim my favorites--200 IM, back and fly; 400 IM--focusing instead on freestyle, which I can still do without hurting myself: 100, 200, 1650.

    I'm not really in shape for the 1650 because I haven't had time to build a decent base or work on my pacing. I'm hoping that the gains I've made in technique over the last year will help me not be so slow. I did an EZ 1650 in the pool on Saturday (all I had time for because I got to the pool just 30 minutes before closing time); finished in 27 minutes. I put down 26 as my seed time, though I would secretly love to be around 24:45. Last year I was just over 25, so we'll see where I am.
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  4. 80 x 25 Sunday

    by , March 9th, 2014 at 05:12 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    First time I've done this workout in a while, so I felt like I was working the rust out. But I needed the shorter reps and longer rest to feel myself swimming faster... otherwise it's easy to swim myself into a rut. Also, it was good to swim against Scotty again... schedules just hadn't worked out over the last couple of weeks.

    Here's how it went:

    Warm-up (500):
    400 EZ (100 fr, bk, fr, br)
    100 IM

    MS (2400):
    20 x 25 fly on :45 (:22-:23)
    100 recovery + master's minute
    20 x 25 bk on :45 (:20-:22)
    100 recovery + master's minute
    20 x 25 br on :45 (:24-:26)
    100 recovery + master's minute
    20 x 25 fr on :45 (:15-:17)
    100 recovery

    --The 20 x 25 sets take 15 minutes to complete, so we started a new set every 20 minutes to allow for a little recovery.

    Cool-Down (600):
    400 IM on 8:00 (6:51)
    200 EZ free

    3500 SCY/1h45m

    With the exception of freestyle, my times seemed a bit slow... maybe a second on fly, a couple of seconds on back, compared to where I was a month and a half ago on this workout. Freestyle doesn't seem to have suffered as much, but I've been paying a lot closer attention to my stroke counts than I was before, even if I haven't been putting in as many yards. Today I had a lot of reps in :16 with 16 strokes, which seems pretty balanced to me.
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  5. Distance day

    by , March 8th, 2014 at 04:44 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    WU (1000):

    400 EZ fr on 7:00
    4 x 100 IM on 2:00 (desc. 1:47-1:37)
    4 x 50 fr on 1:00 (:37-:40)
    1:00 rest

    MS (2000)

    --200 BK on 4:00 (3:24)
    --8 x 100 fr on 1:45 (1:29-1:30)
    Masters' minute
    --200 Fly on 4:00 (3:21)
    --8 x 100 fr on 1:45 (started at 1:33 after the 200 fly, then mostly 1:31-1:32, until the last couple of reps in 1:28-1:29)

    CD (200):

    200 EZ BK

    TOTAL: 3200 SCY/64 minutes

    Tomorrow: the weekly 80 x 25 sprint fest!
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  6. Freestyle workout... allure of the 1650

    by , March 7th, 2014 at 10:02 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    I haven't done a strictly freestyle workout in a long time, and I only had a short time before I needed to get ready for work this morning, so I did a warm-up, hammered out a quick set of 100s and then a quick cool-down:

    2000 SCY/40 minutes

    Warm-up:
    400 EZ on 8:00 (100 free, 100 bk, 100 bk pull, 100 free)
    4 x 100 fr on 2:00 (desc 1:28 to 1:21)
    4 x 50 fr on 1:00 (:38-:40)
    4 x 25 fr on :30 (:18-:19)
    1:00 rest

    Main set:
    6 x 100 fr on 1:40 (1:25, 1:27, 1:26, 1:27, 1:26, 1:26)

    Cool-down:
    300 EZ (100 bk pull, 100 bk, 100 fr)

    I'm a long way way from being able to do the 20 x 100 on 1:40 set that I was doing last year before the 1650 at state, but my pace is also about 3-4 secs faster than it was then too. If I can keep adding 100s to the set, I could be at my goal pace for this set and the 1650 (1:25/100) in about 5 weeks... the problem is, of course, that our state meet is three weeks from this weekend.

    I don't know... if I add two reps to the set and do the set twice/week, that puts me at 1600 in race pace work after 2.5 weeks; five more workouts... hmm. Maybe I'll do the set MWF next week and see how I feel when I'm swimming 12 x 100 on 1:40 next Friday before I decide to scratch the 1650 altogether this season. I'm swimming my fly, bk, IM workouts on Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday, so maybe it will work.

    Am I crazy?
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  7. OK, I'm ridiculously slow!

    by , March 6th, 2014 at 10:08 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    Today I did something like a repeat of Tuesday's workout with broken 200s (4 x 50 on 1:00 for fly, back and breast)... only I was slower! I was supposed to be holding 200 pace... so apparently 200 pace has gotten really, really slow. I even took yesterday off (not really on purpose, but I had to make a choice at the end of the day to go to the Y or go to Ash Wednesday service... and if there's anything that's more atrophied than my lungs right now it's probably my soul... ha, ha).

    Anyway, here's what I did today... reversing the order of fly and back sets from Tuesday:

    WU (1200--1:00 rest after ea 400-yard segment):
    400 EZ
    4 x 100 IM on 2:00 (desc. 1:47 to 1:41)
    16 x 25 on :30, 400 IMO

    MS (1200):
    4 x 50 back on 1:00 (:49, :49, :50, :52)
    50 recovery--start next set on the next "up"
    4 x 50 back on 1:00 (:48, :49, :50, :52)
    50 recovery
    4 x 50 fly on 1:00 (:48, :50, :50, :52)
    50 recovery
    4 x 50 fly on 1:00 (close to same times as the first set of fly)
    50 recovery
    4 x 50 BR/FR on 1:00 (working on the back half of the 4IM)

    CD (400):
    200 IM on 4:00
    200 back EZ

    2800 SCY/65 mins

    Updated March 6th, 2014 at 11:42 PM by mcnair

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  8. Prepping for state meet...

    by , March 4th, 2014 at 04:27 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    Encouraged by my times on Sunday, all improvements over last SCY season in spite of my sporadic training, I decided that I probably could do a decent 200 and 400 IM at state, and that 200 back and 200 fly--being on different days--are also feasible. These are the events that enjoy training for the most, so I might as well go ahead and make them my goal events. I'll decide whether or not I want to do the 1650 (last event on the last day) at the end of this week, after I have a chance to do some long freestyle sets... see where my fitness is.

    The results from Whitefish Bay are already in the USMS database. I'm pretty pleased with my splits in the 4 and 2 IMs. My fly and free legs are almost even (1:29 fly and 1:26 free in the 400 IM; 40+ fly and 40+ free in the 2IM)... the free should be a lot faster, but that's where my lack of conditioning is making itself felt. There and with the backstroke leg as well... there's no reason, with all the backstroke work I did last fall, that I shouldn't be swimming around 1:30/100 pace, even after the fly leg... but again, I think it's just lack of conditioning. Back and Breast are "recovery" legs in the IMs.

    Took a break (that I didn't need) yesterday because I couldn't find time to get to the Y. We had our annual appointment with the accountant for taxes right after work, and then after dinner my wife and I sat down with the boys to talk about the contract that I'm probably going to be signing and sending off in the next couple of days. We're still "negotiating" with Anthony, who is finishing his senior year this semester and headed off to college next year. He doesn't want us to move... he wants to be able to come back "home." I understand. I didn't expect this to be as traumatic for him, since he won't be around for most of the year anyway, but I get it... he didn't expect that saying goodbye to his friends for college would be saying goodbye forever. Our youngest is going into high school next year and will miss a couple of good friends he has from elementary and junior high, but he's pretty much starting over next year anyway and so he's taking it in stride.

    Today I decided to get my swim in over lunch and not risk missing another day by waiting until the late evening to get it in. Here's what I did:

    400 EZ
    4 x 100 IM on 2:00 (desc. from 1:47 to 1:37)
    16 x 25 on :30 in 400 IM order
    100 recovery
    1:00 rest
    4 x 50 fly on 1:00 (:44, :46, :46, :47)
    50 recovery
    1:00 rest
    4 x 50 fly on 1:00 (:46, :46, :48, :48)
    50 recovery
    1:00 rest
    4 x 50 back on 1:00 (:47, :48, :49, :49+)
    50 recovery
    1:00 rest
    4 x 50 back on 1:00 (:48, :49, :49, :50)
    50 recovery
    1:00 rest
    4 x 50 breast on 1:00 (:54, :57, :58, :58)
    1:00 rest
    100 recovery

    2600 in about an hour... tomorrow need to do some freestyle sets.
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  9. Meet results... PRs in 400 IM, 200 IM

    by , March 2nd, 2014 at 04:33 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    A goodly contingent from Kenosha YMCA made the trip up to Whitefish Bay this morning for a meet. Scotty, Scott, Ryan and I were planning to do the 200 medley relay; and Jen surprised us by showing up to her first meet since high school. Everyone swam well and we had a great time. The group is growing little by little and it's been loads of fun getting to know folks and their families, and to root each other on.

    It's been about two weeks since I've written here and a lot has happened in that time... unfortunately for my training not a lot in the pool for me. I've been set back by those illnesses and then schedules, meetings, conferences have all conspired to keep me out of the pool except sporadically in the last month... so I'm going to call it a taper!

    I am really pleased with my swims today. I started with the 400 IM, which I haven't done in an SCY meet since last season, so I had no idea what my time was going to be. I crushed my previous meet PR by 12 seconds, coming in at 6:37. I'm in much worse conditioning than I was when I swam it at the state meet last March, but obviously my technique has gotten a lot better... especially in fly and back.

    I toyed with doing the 200 fly, but noticed when I was registering that it would be right before the 200 medley relay; and since I was doing the backstroke leg I didn't think this would be a good idea... wouldn't even be able to get out of the pool and would be heading right into the backstroke blocks after totally expending myself on 200 fly. I saved my energy for the back leg of the relay and broke 40 secs (at 39.xx I was pretty close to my 50 back time from the Evanston meet). Scotty followed with a 34.xx breast leg, Scott swam 27.7 fly and got us within striking distance. Ryan then brought us home with the victory and a scorching freestyle leg. I had apologized in advance for making them all swim from behind! But of course nobody minded, we were just happy to have a team on the blocks and it was just a bonus that we won the only heat of that relay!

    Next up for me was the 200 IM, and I had put a 3:20 seed time down, seriously not knowing what to expect or if I would even have the energy (my endurance has fallen off a lot), but again all the work on technique came through for me. Mike from Libertyville, who I did some of the pirate lake swimming with last summer, asked me what I was thinking with the seed time, and I said... "yeah, I'm just trying to be conservative because I haven't done the 2IM since last season in a meet setting." I felt pretty good about my fly leg (I think I counted 4-5 strokes to the first wall) and my back felt smoother than it had since Evanston, by the time I hit the breaststroke leg, though, my legs were screaming for mercy. I pushed as hard as I could on the freestyle leg and turned to see 3:07, my fastest SCY 200 IM by 6 seconds. Can't wait to see the splits on that one.

    I finished out the meet with 200 breast a couple of events later. My goal was just to hold form for the full 200, not dq. I swam 3:35 and felt pretty relaxed the whole time. It's interesting how my legs never feel as fatigued during a 200 yard race of any type as they do in the breast leg of the 2 and 4 IMs. I expected my legs to be killing me throughout this 200 breast, but they really never did.

    Anyway, as a team we probably had 20-22 individual splashes on top of the relay, so we were busy cheering for each other the whole meet, which kept things hopping. Meet ran smoothly too.

    Can't say how much I'm going to miss the WMAC when we move this summer... oh, yeah, forgot to mention I was offered the job I interviewed for a couple of weeks ago. It's a great community here, and I am sad to have to leave it, my swim partners have become really good friends over the last couple of years... among the best I've made in Wisconsin in my 14 years here... but the new job is an incredible opportunity too. A lot of mixed feelings. I'll write more on the details over the next couple of weeks.
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