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Alex's swim journal

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

  1. 3000 in sun-burn relief

    by , May 30th, 2013 at 10:11 AM (Alex's swim journal)
    I thought I had about a four-hour window yesterday between rain storms. I took the day off to get some landscaping done at the house... my wife is having some friends over for an end-of-year/graduation celebration on Saturday, but the weather didn't look that great for the rest of the week so I thought I would take advantage. Sure enough, the sun came out almost as soon as I stepped into the yard. And it was muggy from all the rain, so I was working up a sweat right away... I decided to go shirtless for a little while. Then I lost track of time. And, seriously, it's been cloudy and cold all spring long... sun burn was the last thing on my mind. My thought process was more like: Why am I digging up and replanting this whole bed again? Why does this lawn have to be so time consuming? Don't I have better things to do? We should sell the house and move to a condo...

    Three and a half hours later I was stiff, sore, dehydrated, and... burned to a crisp, mostly my back. I noticed as I got into the shower, thinking "oh, this one is going to hurt." after a few minutes it felt like I could scramble eggs on my back... was I glowing? ...I wondered. And, despite all the forecasts... no rain. I could have done all the work in the cool of the late afternoon/evening, rather than in the one 3-hour period all spring long when we've had temps in the 80s, with maximum UV exposure. Oh the irony... cruel irony.

    Didn't get my swim in until late last night, in the last hour before the Y closed. The water felt good on my burned back. The swimming didn't feel that great. I was still pretty tired and very stiff from the hoe and shovel action on top of yesterday's 5000. Here's what I did:

    3000 SCY/63 minutes:

    200 EZ fr
    200 pull
    4 x 100 on 1:45 (1:29-1:33)
    200 IM, EZ

    20 x 50 on 1:00-1:15
    -swam this as quick sets of four: 4 fr, 4 br pull, 4 br, 4 1-arm fly, 4 fr.

    200 IM on 4:00 (3:30ish)
    4 x 100 IM on 2:00 (all around 1:45)
    400 EZ fr
  2. IM ladder... now my breast sucks again.

    by , May 28th, 2013 at 05:21 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    Well, after only about 175 yards of breast that felt really good on Sunday... for the first time ever... I was disappointed not to be able to get into the Y yesterday to follow up and try to recapture the feel. Alas, the Y was closed on Memorial Day--as it should be. No open water venues available (drizzly and highs around 50, yuck). So I bought my first new pair of running shoes in over two years and *gasp* I went for a two mile run... my hamstrings now feel like they want to snap; it took a while to loosen back up this morning in the pool.

    Today's workout was all about seeing if I could find that rhythm with my breast stroke again... it was there, fleetingly for a few moments in the warm-up, but in the context of an actual IM... well, let's just say I have a lot more work to do.

    Here was my torment fest for today, 5000 SCY:

    Warm-up (1400):
    200 EZ fr
    200 pull
    4 x 50 single arm fly (each length: 3-4 sdks/3r/3l/1-3 whole stroke)
    200 bk pull
    200 br kick w/ board
    200 br pull
    2 x 100 br

    IM Abyss with bounce (3000)*:
    800 IM
    600 IM
    400 IM
    200 IM
    4 x 100 IM
    200 IM
    400 IM

    Cool-down (600):
    200 pull
    200 fr
    4 x 50 EZ (1-arm fly, bk pull [focus on hip/shoulder rotation], fr, fr)

    *Rests between steps of this ladder varied from :15 to 1:30 (I gave myself a little more recovery after 800 and 600 IMs, rest after the 200s and 100s was closer to :15-:30). Times were slow, I was just trying to survive the set, though my first 400 IM was around 7:15, not bad considering the abuse I've been heaping on the body in the last week or so.
  3. Training for 400 IM LCM...

    by , May 27th, 2013 at 12:12 AM (Alex's swim journal)
    ... and is open water training even thinkable in WI right now? It's already Memorial Day weekend and none of the area lakes are even close to opening for swimmers... only two weekends ago they were postponing opening day of fishing in MN, because there was still too much ice cover on the lakes. I'm hoping that the water done here in southern WI is warming faster than the air temps; we've had highs in the 50s for a few days now, but at least it's sunny. Morning swims with air temps in the mid 40s to mid 50s won't be so bad if the water is in the 68-70 range, but I have the feeling my local lake might not get that warm for another few weeks. Would love to know where my fellow Southeast-Wisconsinites are doing their OW training right now; Lake Andrea doesn't look like it will open this week and I don't have a wet suit, so I'm not going to brave the 40-degree temps in Lake Michigan.

    So, I'm stuck at the Y in the SCY box for now... which means I'm getting a little worried about being ready for the LCM state meet on 6/23. I'm trying to compensate by adding distance and working on endurance for fly, back and breast. For two weeks now I've managed to get in (per week) at least three 4000-yard days, and three 2-3000 yard days; I'm still managing about 12 miles/week. Here are some of my favorites from the last couple of weeks from the 4000-yard range:

    OK, Tuesday 5/14 was 4000 in about 90 minutes; focus on 200s:
    6 x 200 alt fr w/ pull (buoy and paddles)
    4 x 200 fly on 5:00
    4 x 200 bk on 4:00
    4 x 200 br on 4:30
    400 EZ (4 x 100 fr/pull on 1:45)

    Two days later I did this one, 4000 SCY in 85 minutes, focus more on turnover, being quicker, but still 800 on each stroke, my endurance is getting better:
    400 EZ on 7:30
    4 x 100 IM on 2:00
    200 IM on 4:00
    1:00 rest
    10 x 50 fly on 1:05
    10 x 50 back on 1:00-1:05
    10 x 50 br on 1:05
    10 x 50 fr on 1:00
    200 IM on 4:00
    4 x 100 IM on 2:00
    400 EZ

    Two days after that one, Saturday 5/18, I did this monster endurance workout; Scotty thinks I'm crazy for doing 800 IMs... I think I'll be glad I did them when I'm doing 400 IM long course for the first time:

    400 EZ on 7:30
    4 x 800 IM on 16:00 (15:10, 15:05, 15:01, 15:20)
    400 EZ in 7:00
    --I finished this whole workout, 4000 SCY in only 78 minutes

    This week I also had three 4000+ days; Tuesday's was painful (4200)... 450 IMs? I'm trying to account for that extra 40 yards in the 400 meter version:

    6 x 200 on 3:30-3:20 (alt. fr/pull)
    6 x 450 IM on 9:00 (8:20-8:45)*
    CD: 300 EZ

    *reps 1-2 = 125 fly, 125 bk, 100 br, 100 fr; reps 3-4 = 100 fly, 125 bk, 125 br, 100 fr; reps 5-6 = 100 fly, 100 bk, 125 br, 125 fr

    Thursday was also an 85 minute, 4000-yarder with a lot of stroke work and drill... one-arm fly drills are really helping my flow on the full-stroke fly.

    Saturday, I came back for another 4400 and swam a decent 10 x 200 IM set... felt pretty strong the whole way through:

    WU (700):
    200 EZ fr
    100 bk
    100 br
    100 fr
    100 3r/3l fly
    100 fr

    MS (3200):
    10 x 200 IM on 5:00 (3:25-30)
    6 x 200 on 4:00 (alt. fr on 3:30 and bk on 4:00-4:30)

    CD (500):
    2 x 100 fr
    4 x 50 fly (1, 3 in :48-:49; 2, 4 3r/3l fly)
    100 EZ

    Today I had something of a break-through with breast... I finally found my caterpillar... after struggling with rhythm on breast and what seemed like a really slow turn-over, never seeing my times come down (busting a gut to swim 50 in under a minute), I swam a :49 50 br today after some pull drills... now I know why it's a short-axis stroke! I had been putting way too much energy and focus on my arms and shoulders, trying to get a stronger pull, when really it's all about the abdomen and back, timing with the kick and streamline. Today, for the first time, I felt like I was doing it right!
  4. 200 miles, playing tag with GTD...

    by , May 13th, 2013 at 10:40 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    Yesterday's swim got me up to 199.90 miles on the year; ahead of my GTD goal-pace by only a mile. Since I started the week about 4-5 miles ahead of pace, this is not a good thing... the dreaded "you'll need to pick up the pace" was bound to reappear after its nearly four-month break. Sure enough, as the calendar clicked over, the exclamation-point-in-triangle warning symbol made its appearance. My 2000 yards in 39 minutes today was enough to stave off the GTD demons for another few hours... and put me over 200 miles for the year.

    The swimming has been spottier over the last few weeks, back to 5-6 times/week. Last week, with busy-busy being the order of the day at work and home I only managed to do 4 workouts. My times feel slow. So maybe I needed a little break anyway.

    I'm trying to get back on track this week with training for distance open water and middle distance IM. Of the four workouts I did between last Wednesday and Sunday, I felt pretty good about 3 of them, though I do feel like I've lost a bit of fitness, I'm trying to maintain and be efficient (get the workouts done faster).

    Maintenance Workout #1:
    3000 SCY/57 minutes
    WU: 400 fr on 7:00
    4 x 100 IM on 2:15
    200 IM on 4:00
    10 x 100 fr on 1:45
    200 IM on 4:00
    4 x 100 IM on 2:15
    CD: 400 fr < 7:00

    Maintenance Workout #2:
    3600 SCY/69 minutes
    6 x 200 alt. fr and pull < 21:00
    800 IM on 16:00
    600 IM on 12:00
    400 IM on 08:00
    200 IM on 4:00
    400 EZ CD

    Maintenance WRKout #3:
    4000 SCY/75 minutes
    Basically the same as #2 above, but added 4 x 100 IM on 2:00 before the cool down; so 600 of each stroke and an additional 1600 of fr and or pull. Fly feels a lot better, less tiring... back is slow, not as crisp as earlier this spring; same can be said of free-style... breast speed could be described as glacially slow, painfully slow... the stroke's evil-overlord laughter taunting me constantly... kick is so sad that hip replacement might be an option, just ditch the whole thing and start over. If going cyborg gets me breast stroke proficiency I'm prepared to assimilate, I hate that I can't conquer breast.