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Alex's swim journal

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

  1. 100 miles...

    by , April 21st, 2014 at 12:40 AM (Alex's swim journal)
    Happy Easter!

    100 mies is the swimming milestone I hit for the year this week. Took me about a month and a half longer to do it this year than last, but I'm starting to feel a little better about my [slow] build-up now. Today the YMCA was closed for Easter observance of course, but Thursday thru Saturday I managed to get in some good workouts in the pool: 3000-3500 each day. I'll summarize my main sets here:

    20 x 100: Thursday's main set was a 20 x 100 on 1:45. My times were slow, I averaged 1:27 probably on the first 5 or 6, then I was working hard to keep it under 1:30 until the last 5 or so in which 1:31 seemed to be the theme... even a couple of 1:32s in there (my 1650 pace at state last month). The goal is to keep this set at 1:25 or better on a 1:40 interval when I'm back in shape.

    Broken 1650: Friday's main set was a 1650, swum as 3 x 200 on 3:20, 6 x 100 on 1:40, 6 x 50 on :50, 6 x 25 on :25... I felt pretty strong through this whole set. My 200s were right around 3:02, my 100s, 1:29-1:30, the 50s, :42-:43, and the 25s all around :21. Total time was 27:25, but total swim time would have been under 25:00 (the short term goal for 1650).

    50s Day: Yesterday I did a couple of set I hadn't done in a long time. 10 x 50 fly on 1:10, and 10 x 50 back on 1:10. The back started slow and faded quickly, but the fly 50s were consistent at :48, even a some of :47s; the last two were :49, so I cut the set off at 10... eventually I'd like to build up to 20 x 50 at that target pace of :47-:48, and still have the energy to come back with a decent set of backstroke.
  2. 3000-yard swims

    by , April 12th, 2014 at 06:00 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    In the interest of just getting in some low-intensity cardio to help my base I decided to do something I haven't done in a while: a couple of 3000-yard straight swims in the last couple of days.

    Yesterday I did 6 x thru 400 free + 100 back. Today I did 3 x thru 800 free + 200 Back. Both swims were right around 54 minutes (a little faster than that today). I also hit the weights again today after a 2.5k row on the machine (11+ minutes). Felt a lot better today than I did after drylands on Thursday.


    So, as I mentioned about a month ago, I went back out on the academic job market this year... things at my home institution looking really bad (no raises, again; more benefits cuts; enrollment dropping; more cuts to the institution; increased workload; imminent bankruptcy--we've been running off our reserves since the crash; now they're looking at vacating buildings and shrinking the library space?--yikes!). In January and February I interviewed with Baylor University (in my native Texas) and was selected to head their division of Spanish and Portuguese, starting this coming fall semester. The position comes with tenure (so I don't have to go through that again) and is in a very vibrant department... it will be a little strange being in a place that's actually well funded and supports language and culture study, after all the years of struggle at a small state university.

    Needless to say, I'm pretty excited about this opportunity, but uprooting the family after fourteen years in the Chicago-Milwaukee area is tough. They are resigned to the move, but not happy about it. Sigh.

    Our real estate agent is coming over on Tuesday for a walk through to see exactly how much value our house has lost in the seven years since we moved into it (we got in high, right before the crash--Murphy's law!). Now we're only about 3 months out from our move and there is so much to do... argh! Guess I'll continue to chronicle the madness here.

    Swimming: 94+ miles
    Rowing: 39 K
  3. Back on the blog... 100-200 PRs

    by , April 11th, 2014 at 12:11 AM (Alex's swim journal)
    Wow; it's been a while since I've had a chance to blog, so I haven't even been able to report on the Wisconsin state meet. As I mentioned in the run up to that meet (March 29-30), I was having some real shoulder discomfort in all the strokes but freestyle, so I decided to take it easy the week before and focus on the freestyle events: 100, 200, and 1650.

    My last 100 in a meet was in January and I ended up doing a 1:11; a week before the meet (after I had already sent in my seed time, of course, based on my earlier meet time) I swam a 1:08. At state I swam 1:07.04 and took the heat by .06 against our Kenosha YMCA team-mate Jen. She came back with a 1:06 at the IL state meet last weekend, which I couldn't do because I was in Tuscon, and made sure to let me know about it.

    I hadn't done a 200 free in a meet since last spring and was quite a bit slower then I guess (with a 2:45), but since I hadn't swum a 200 in meet context and my training has been so erratic this winter-spring I really had no idea how I was going to do... I think I put a seed time of 2:44 down. When I saw the other swimmers seeded around me in the mid- to upper-2:30s I decided just to go out and try to win the heat... as it turns out I faded pretty badly toward the end, and probably finished third or fourth in the heat, but my time was a PR: 2:35.86. My first time breaking the 2:40 mark. And it didn't feel too painful.

    The 1650 was really just to test myself and see what kind of pace I could hold, since I really didn't have time to prepare for this one. I swam 18 secs slower than my best time of 25:04 at last year's state meet for a 25:22... I took a look at my splits and they were not too far off of last year, but definitely fading in the middle third. I was averaging about :01 slower per 100. So my current pace is about 1:32. I really want it to be 1:25, so I've got some work to do.

    Last week I had a ball in Tuscon for a conference. The society ended up with a great deal at a swanky resort... but their "lap" pool was only about 20 yards long. Tremendous desert/mountain views though. Check this out:
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    This week I start back into the training more earnestly. Will try to be more consistent and do the weights/x-training too for a little more injury prevention. Today for example I swam 2400 yards then got out and did 2K row on the machine and the following:

    2x thru...
    lunges w/ 20 dumbells
    bench presses w/ dbs
    squats w/ dbs
    military presses w/ dbs
    dumbell rows
    incline presses w / dumbells
    lat pull-downs

    The weights always make me feel so out of shape and the soreness of the first couple of weeks is awful (and not helping me in the pool), but I'll stick with it and be stronger for it I guess.

    Tomorrow I'll have to write more about the impending move... that's been taking up a lot of mental and emotional energy of late.

    Swimming: 90+ miles
    Rowing: 36.5 K