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Alex's swim journal

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

  1. 7K-weekend; June in review...

    by , June 30th, 2013 at 07:05 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    Well, I finished a 7000-yard weekend and a 47-mile month today with my 3000-yard recovery swim at the Y.

    As luck would have it, today was the first time in ages I felt like I had a good chance of getting into the lake... beautiful Sunday morning, blue skies, temps in the 60s, calm waters... such a contrast to the "scattered" thunder showers that have kept me indoors since my return from TX--I can be staring at sunny skies all day through the classroom or office windows, but some sort of weird cosmic irony has dictated that every time I grab my swim bag and get ready for the lake... clouds crowd in, thunder booms. Not today; the morning was glorious... but as I drove up the parking area was packed... age-groupers had their zone championships in OW today at my favorite venue... no, I wouldn't be able to get into the lake until early afternoon, after the last heats were done. I packed it back up and headed for the Y... foiled again. I'm beginning to think the OW gremlins are conspiring against me this year.

    Here were my weekend workouts, not the high mileage (either this weekend or this month) that I've been able to put in previous Junes, but probably more quality:

    SAT, 4000 SCY/80 minutes:

    WU: 400 EZ, 4 x 100 IM on 2:00, 4 x 50 on 1:00 (in 200 IMO)
    5 x 200 on 3:30 (3:03-3:10)
    5 x 100 on 1:45 (1:29-1:33)
    5 x 50 on :50 (:42-:46)
    250 recovery swim
    CD: 4 x 50 on 1:00 (200 IMO), 4 x 100 IM on 2:00, 400 EZ

    The main set was basically a mile of hard freestyle... with rests I finished the whole 1750 in 30:15, not that great, but my actual swim time was a lot faster--which is what I was going for. I was still feeling sore throughout this workout, from my hard stroke and drill work of earlier in the week.

    SUN, 3000 SCY/60 mins:

    WU: 400 EZ, 4 x 100 on 1:45 (1:32ish and feeling very sluggish!), 4 x 50 on 1:00 (focused on form, but was slow... :42-:43s), 2:00 break
    MS: 5 x 200 IM on 4:00 (3:29-3:34)
    CD: 4 x 50 fr on 1:00 (:40-:42), 4 x 100 IM on 2:00 (1:44-1:46), 400 EZ swim.

    The main set felt difficult, but I wasn't pushing to the limit... just really feeling the blahs right now. I did pay close attention to the splits (I was starting right in front of the pace clock so I got a great view at every 50 turn, fly was consistently in the :48-:49 range; back was a little more erratic (depending on the efficacy of the turn), in :49-:53, but was mostly around :50; the breast leg was stuck between 1:00 and 1:03 (yuck!), and so my free was usually a relaxed :45-:50.

    Looking back over the month I can be pleased at least that I had 27 swims and only missed 4 days (one of my 26 swim days I managed a double), in spite of all the travel... though I don't have the mileage I might normally have with that many days of swimming. Reduced yardage was more quality though. I did a lot of IMs in the 200-yard range, for example. And I'm ending the month ahead of my GTD goal pace (barely!)... #13 in age-group the last I checked. My FLOG is also telling me that my weight and RHR have been relatively stable despite my diet being less than normal; I think I'm sleeping a little better... summer school seems a little less hectic this year.
  2. 40-45 minute workouts

    by , June 29th, 2013 at 12:26 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    So I haven't had much time the last couple of days, which is OK because I'm still pretty sore from the 4K on Wednesday... I guess all the drills and stroke work, which I really hadn't done as much of in the last couple of weeks, was a real shock to my system. Thursday night I got in around 8 PM and was surprised at how stiff, sore I was. I did 2600 SCY:

    200 EZ fr
    200 pull w/ buoy
    200 kick w/ board and zoomers
    4 x 50 fr on :50
    200 EZ bk
    200 bk pull w/ buoy
    200 bk kick w zoomers (in streamline)
    4 x 50 bk on :60
    200 EZ br
    200 br kick w/ board
    200 1-arm fly
    8 x 25 SDKs on :40
    200 EZ fr

    Friday AM I woke up even more sore, mostly in the shoulders, so I decided on a real quick workout... just freestyle (I noticed the fly and breast work over the last few days was increasingly difficult, so those muscles need some recovery). I did 2200 SCY:

    4 x 50 on 1:00 swim golf (was at 12-14 strokes/length; :46-:47 per 50)
    400 EZ swim
    4 x 100 on 2:00
    4 x 100 on 1:50
    4 x 100 on 1:45
    2 x 100 on 1:40
    4 x 50 on 1:00 swim golf

    The 100s were all between 1:29 and 1:33, mostly in the 1:31-32 range. I felt really tight the whole time, even with the swim golf, which usually helps me to lengthen my stroke and relax... It's been a while since I've done any swimming golf, but usually I start off around 14 strokes/length and end up around 9-11 strokes/length after loosening up. Yesterday that never happened; I stayed at 12-14 SPL (25-27 per 50).
  3. Biding time in SCY...

    by , June 26th, 2013 at 06:39 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    Thunderstorms have been timed perfectly with my windows of opportunity for swimming this week, so I'm still trapped in the SCY box. Yesterday I did a quick 45-minute workout, all I had time for, and got in 2400:

    2 x 600 (200 fr, 200 kick, 200 pull, 200 kick, 200 pull, 200 fr);
    6 x 100 on 1:40 (1:24, 1:27, 1:30, 1:29, 1:27, 1:25);
    4 x 100 IM on 2:00 (1:38-1:44);
    200 EZ cool-down.

    Today I had time to do a longer workout and I like the idea of doing lots of drill and stroke work on those days when I am in the pool for the rest of the summer and not working on OW--so I did Laurie Hug's second workout for the week on the Stroke-IM thread. I'm cutting and pasting here w/ slight adjustments.

    WU: 2 x (100 swim, 100 kick, 100 pull)

    3-4 rounds of:
    [3 x 25 drill R10s
    1 x 100 good technique and build speed R5s
    1 x 25 skate R10s]
    IMO by round (so for round 1 the 25s drill are all fly and the 100 is fly, for round 2 the 25s are back and the 100 is bk and for round 3 the 25s are br and the 100 is br. If a 4th round is done, it is all free)

    1 x 300 IM steady pace

    3-4 rounds of:
    [3 x 25 kick with fins R10s
    1 x 100 swim with fins R5s
    1 x 25 skate R10s]
    IMO by round (breast can be done with small fins like Finis positive drive fins or with no fins)

    1 x 300 IM swim with fins

    3-4 rounds of:
    [3 x 25 pull (buoy/band and small paddles optional) R10s
    1 x 100 build R5s
    1 x 25 skate R10s]
    IMO by round

    1 x 300 IM swim (with small paddles optional)

    CD: 500 (pull, bk pull, fr, br, fr)
    Total: 4400

    MY NOTES: good thing I had lots of time because this workout (the full 4400) took me 1:45. I am not that great at drills (really just like to swim), but I know I need to do them to develop more efficient strokes, so it was good to have this model before me... otherwise I'd probably just do a little drill in the warm-up and cool-down and that's it (and for me, pull and kick would count as drill too!). But this workout got me to do a lot more drill than I would normally do... it's just slower (even slower than I normally am).

    I did the full 3300 of the main set. My rests were all over the place, depending on how taxing the drill, but I kept to the 5-second rests after the 100s... my 25 recovery swims were less and less like skating and more and more like bath-tub wind-up toy as the workout wore on. Doing the 4th round (freestyle) of each main set was great at first--but I barely cracked 1:30 in my last set!

    I used zoomers as my fins for the kick round (and in the warm-up), but just used the board for br kick, no fins. On the 300 IM following the kick set, I used the zoomers and didn't take them off for breast... that slowed me down quite a bit for 75 yards. I'll have to look into the Finis PDFs. On the pull set I didn't use paddles, but did use buoy.

    All in all, a great workout... pretty challenging; and I know that if I were more proficient at drills it would be even more challenging.
  4. Post-meet...

    by , June 25th, 2013 at 12:25 AM (Alex's swim journal)
    Well, still haven't seen my splits for the events I did Sunday. Anthony got video of my 50 back, but I'm really interested to know what the breakdown was on my 200 back, 400 IM and 1500 events. Got a great night's sleep after the meet yesterday and felt pretty good when I made it into the Y today. I did 4400 SCY in 91 minutes:

    WU (1000):
    500 (100 ez fr, 100 pull, 100 bk pull, 100 bk, 100 pull)
    4 x 25 SDKs w/ short fins on :40
    4 x 25 bk SDKs w/ short fins on :30
    2 x 50 br kick w/ board on 1:15
    2 x 50 fr kick w/ board and fins on :50
    100 IM (1:37)

    MS (2000):
    3 x thru
    -300 fr on 6:00, 5:15, 5:30
    -200 fr on 3:50, 4:00, 3:30
    -100 fr on 1:50, 1:55, 2:00
    1:00 rest
    200 IM in 3:22 (:47, 1:37, 2:38, 3:22)

    [Got the freestyle set from Laurie Hug's Stroke and IM workout #1 for this week; she actually had 4 x thru, but I liked the idea of varying the rests...cycling through intervals of 2:00, 1:55, 1:50, 1:45 per 100; this really kept me busy doing the mental math; my pace per 100 was consistently 1:27-1:32]

    CD (1400):
    600 EZ (200 pull, 200 8-3-8 drill w/ fins, 200 fr)
    4 x 100 IM on 2:00 (1:38-1:42)
    400 Ez (200 pull, 200 fr)

    Felt like I needed a long cool-down today after all of the hard swimming yesterday... but I needed to put in some more yardage than I had done all of last week, trying to taper. My body likes the fatigue, it doesn't like several days in a row with less than 2000 yards... I get wound up tighter than... I don't know what, just doesn't feel right.

    Tomorrow I think I might go back to something boring like 10 x 100 fr on 1:40, 10 x 100 IM on 2:00... we'll see what I have time for. Thunderstorms are keeping me out of the lake these days... I'm itching to get into OW.
  5. LCM State meet...

    by , June 23rd, 2013 at 11:17 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    My first Long Course meet ever!

    I'll have to write a more complete account tomorrow; right now I'm pretty tired and just want to go to bed. Also I want to take a look at my splits, which I haven't had a chance to do yet, to comment in more detail.

    400 IM = 8:10, my seed time was 7:45, but I wasn't last! I had no idea what to expect or what the long course would feel like... I felt pretty smooth on everything, just slow. Siren song? What I was hearing was more like a banshee wail.

    200 Back = 3:47; only about 5 minutes after my 400 IM... beat my seed time and came in a close second in the heat (was 4IM just a warm-up for the 200 back?).

    50 Back = :46 (seed time was :48).

    100 Back = 1:41 (seedtime 1:40).

    1500 Free = 26:43; just trying to stay smooth... nowhere near my 1650 time, but about :10 faster than my 1500 SCM; being that it's long course, I feel like that's a sign I haven't lost too much fitness since short course season.

    We had a good time... I swept the back stroke events in my age group! 4IM was fun with two of my Kenosha swim buds doing it with me, Carl and Scotty; there were only two other 4IMers at this meet apart from the Kenosha contingent, everyone else scratched... which means I got a top 5 spot (4th actually) overall in that gnarly event.
  6. Starting short taper...

    by , June 18th, 2013 at 10:24 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    Did only 2000 SCY today; starting the taper for Sunday's meet.

    400 on 7:00 (200 fr/200 pull)
    4 x 100 fr on 1:45 (1:29-1:33)
    4 x 50 fr on :50
    4 x 200 on 3:20 (3:08-3:10)*
    200 EZ


    *these 200s were actually broken into hard 100 fr (which came in around 1:27-1:28) straight into 100 pull.

    Tomorrow will be another tick up in yardage, maybe 3000 or so, then back down to 2500, 1800, and 1000 for Thursday thru Saturday. That's going to have to be it for the taper... hope that lets me re-charge enough to come back strong for 2250 of hard swimming in the LCM meet.
  7. 400 IM TT (SCY); 50s day

    by , June 18th, 2013 at 12:26 AM (Alex's swim journal)
    After one last outdoor swim in Austin on Saturday (I did a little more than 2000 meters), my legs were pretty shot. I noticed it walking up three flights of stairs at my sister's condo Saturday night. I had done maybe 10 miles of swimming over the week, but a lot of walking and more vigorous hiking in the heat and on the hills than I'm used to (probably 3+ miles/day, whereas I normally get in about 2/day on considerably flatter terrain)... I think it was finally starting to take its toll. Yesterday, we got up early to fly back to Chicago ORD and were back in Kenosha by 12:30. After filling my gut with a father's day burger (we grilled out on the back deck; beautiful weather!), I met Scotty at the Y. We wanted to time trial a 400 IM, SCY, even though we're going to be doing LCM next week... just to see if our seed times were more or less in the ballpark after conversion from yards to meters.

    I was not feeling it... my legs were tired; I had a short warm-up; I was belching burger for most of it. I still swam a 7:07 off the blocks, which is not bad (my PR is 6:49), and I'm generally happy with anything under 7:10 in practice off the blocks. So my seed time of 7:45 is probably on target... it's not going to be a relaxing swim by any means, but with a little bit of a taper I should get a good benchmark for gauging future LCM/SCM 400 IM times. I turned around and did a hard 200 Back in about 3:30 with only about 3 minutes rest (my PR is 3:16), because I've got the 200 BK only two events after the 400 IM next Sunday. I also time-trialed a 50 and a 100 BK (:43 and 1:37 respectively). My legs were so sore at this point that I literally could not find anything faster than 2nd gear. An 800-yard freestyle swim finished out my 2000-yard day. My wife and I went for a nice walk in the evening, only a couple of miles, but I could really feel the fatigue in the legs.

    So, for this week I'm forgoing any cross-training... just pool or OW work. Today I did 3300 SCY. A 50s day; this was some serious pain/fatigue.

    WU: 400 EZ on 7:30, 4 x 100 IM on 1:10, 4 x 50 fr on 1:00
    --10 x 50 fly on 1:15 (:47-:52)
    --10 x 50 back on 1:15 (:49-:51)
    --10 x 50 breast on 1:15 (:53-:56)
    --10 x 50 free on 1:00 (:40-:46)*
    CD: 300 EZ

    *These free 50s were awful... the last 4-5 I decided would just be part of my cool-down at :45-:46, trying to get my HR down (It was at or above 145 for most of the sets, which is 82% or more of MHR when I do the normal age calculations, a rate I held for 47 minutes today--don't know if that's good, bad, or indifferent... guess I'll find out tomorrow).
  8. 250 miles...

    by , June 14th, 2013 at 08:59 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    Today's swim put me over 250 miles for the year, still ahead (barely) of my 550-mile/year pace. The last few days have been pretty crazy as far as schedule goes, so I've just been squeezing the swims in when I can. I missed Tuesday altogether, I could have gotten a very short swim in at 5AM, but opted for a few extra zzzzs to help me make the drive to Dallas, then a two-hour tour of campus, then over to Fort Worth to meet up with my aunt and uncle for a little while, then back to Austin.

    Wednesday DOUBLE:

    Wednesday found me at Barton Springs at 5:30 AM, after only 4 hours of sleep; still dark (unlike in Wisconsin this time of year at that hour), water still cold, but I warmed up pretty quickly. It was really quite beautiful and quiet (maybe only half a dozen other swimmers); I rolled over for a few strokes on my back after the first 1/4 mile and could see the sky beginning to lighten... shades of dark blue-green interrupted by pink clouds... nice. I even did about 300 in total fly. After about 1/2 mile, I started at the 1/8-mile marker and kept up my fly all the way to the dam... about 200 yards or so, no walls, no turns, so that was a bit of a confidence booster for me, taking the fly out into the open. I paused briefly twice to avoid other swimmers, but other than that I managed to fly consistently the whole length of the spring. After a recovery swim back to the start, I did another half length of fly. I only did a mile total, then had to rush back to pick up my son and head over to College Station. Nice tour and info sessions, starting at 10 AM and ending at 2:30, it was about 3:00 before we left. As we got back into town, I realized I might have time to sneak in a second swim at Deep Eddy. At 6PM I did another 1800 M (600 Warm-up; 5 x 120 IM; 600 cool-down), so I was over 2 miles for the day.


    Anthony and I hit the cold spring water of Deep Eddy again on our way back in town from Texas State U's tour in San Marcos, before the evening's activities with family. Here's what I did:

    3600 M

    WU: 600 EZ
    MS: 10 x 120 fr :10-:20 RI
    2 x 240 IM
    1 x 120 IM
    10 x 60 fr :10 RI
    CD: 600 EZ


    Today I needed to get in a little more IM work... I was thinking about going over to Longhorn Aquatics for their noon workout, but Anthony had a couple of afternoon appointments on campus, so I opted for a morning swim again at Deep Eddy, but not early enough (as I found out) to join their masters practice--which I'm going to try to make one of these days. There were few enough lap swimmers around 9:30-10:30 AM that I had the lane to myself for about 1200 meters... amazing! Here's what I did:

    WU: 600 EZ
    MS: 5 x 240 IM on :20-:30 RI
    5 x 120 fr on :10-:15 RI
    10 x 60 fr on :10 RI
    CD: 600 EZ

    Another 3600-M day.

    Tomorrow I've got to sign up online for the WI state LCM championships (our only LCM meet). I think my line-up will be 400 IM, 200 BK, 50 BK, 100 BK, 1500. The 400 IM is event #1 and 200 BK is event #3, so I'm really just treating these as LCM time trials (I don't have any other LCM times to compare with, so really have no idea how it's going to turn out... just plan to swim hard and set a benchmark). Next week I won't be tapering so much as transitioning into open water training. I'm going to keep the IM work in my routine, though, as drill work and x-training for open water freestyle.
  9. Non-standard pool length

    by , June 10th, 2013 at 05:52 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    So I've been back at Deep Eddy in Austin for the last couple of days, visiting family and touring my middle son Anthony around colleges. Deep Eddy is the spring-fed pool that is 33 and 1/3 yards long... so figuring out laps/distances is always interesting. Basically, 20 lengths is 600 meters (actually, 666 yards... a seemingly diabolical number). Yesterday I just got in 1320 meters before thunder storms forced us out of the water. I needed a rest day anyway.

    Today I got in and did the following (counting in meters):

    600 Warm-up, fr
    4 x 240 IM (no pace clock, but my rest ranged 15-45 seconds)
    600 fr
    2 x 240 IM
    600 fr

    3240/70 minutes

    I was a little discouraged when I looked at the clock and noticed that nearly an hour had passed and I was still only at about 2640, until I remembered the conversion back to yards put me at almost 3000. Did about two miles total, so I felt better about the effort. The last 60 meters of fly today was a real bugger!

    Tomorrow we're off for day trip to visit UT-Dallas, then Tex AM on Wednesday (Anthony's interested in engineering and computer science--doesn't take after his old man... thank goodness!), so I'll probably be swimming at Barton Springs at 5:30 AM the next couple of days... 1/8-mile lengths and 68 degree water!
  10. Friday-Saturday workouts

    by , June 8th, 2013 at 11:53 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    Yesterday, did a sprint workout...

    WU: 500 fr (8:10)
    MS: 80 x 25 on :45*
    CD: 500 (100 fr, 200 IM, 200 reverse IM)

    3000 SCY/80 mins
    *Did 20 on each stroke; flys were mostly :21-:22, BK :19-:22, BR mostly :24, FR :15-:17, mostly :16. Was racing Scotty on these... he took all the Fly and Breast, I took all the BK, we split the Frees.

    Today, did another continuous swim: 3600 SCY/61+ mins.

    1200 on 21:00 (alt. fr and pull every 200)
    2 x thru
    1000 fr + 200 bk

    Was finishing the 1200 with free and bk in a little over 20 minutes.
  11. Continuous swimming...

    by , June 6th, 2013 at 09:42 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    Having spent the last six months focusing on intervals, stroke development, IMs, I've done a lot less continuous swimming of the kind I used to do... 2, 3, 4000 straight or maybe 1000 free, 100 back, 1000 free, 100 breast, etc., never stopping between strokes... little to no rest. After the 200s yesterday I wanted to do something today in the less intense range of the aerobic spectrum, so I opted for one of those longer continuous swims... trying to maintain my stroke mechanics at a lower intensity, but for a lot longer stretch; I really do like this kind of training, though I know it's probably not going to bring my race times down any... I still crave the cardio and this satisfies the craving just fine.

    3600 SCY/61 minutes

    1200 on 20:00 (alt. fr and pull every 200)
    2 x 1100 on 19:00 (1000 fr + 100 IM)
    100 pull
    50 fly
    50 back

    A year and a half ago my postal 1-hour was 3530, for the longest time it felt like I was really pushing hard to make two miles an hour, swimming freestyle. Now I can make 3500 in an hour pretty comfortably even mixing in a couple of IMs, some pull work, and 2-3 rests of 30-45 seconds each.
  12. 200s Day

    by , June 5th, 2013 at 05:01 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    I decided to do a 200s day, the first one in a long time. I felt like I needed a good, hard workout after missing yesterday.

    400 EZ fr on 7:30 (6:45)
    4 x 100 on 1:50 (1:29-1:32)
    4 x 50 on 1:00 (:38-:41)

    5 x 200 fr on 4:00 (2:52-2:59)
    5 x 200 IM on 4:00 (3:30s to 3:50)
    2:00 break
    5 x 200 fr on 4:00 (3:05-3:15... these felt awful!)

    4 x 50 1-arm fly drill 1:10
    4 x 100 back on 2:15
    4 x 100 IM on 2:00

    5000 SCY in about 1h45m... I had a long masters minute between warm-up (19 minutes) and the rest of the workout (about 85 minutes), so I was in the pool for almost two hours.
  13. Feelin' the drag...

    by , June 3rd, 2013 at 05:20 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    Felt tired again today, almost as if my strokes were stalling out. I started paying attention to body position again and narrowing my profile to get more distance out of each stroke. Started the workout feeling like I was really swimming against the current, so to speak: high drag. As I neared the end, however, the times started to come down without any added effort, so I felt like I found a sweet spot on free and breast especially. A bit of a confidence booster.

    Warm-up (1000):
    400 EZ on 8:00 (6:50)
    4 x 100 IM on 2:00 (1:50s)
    200 IM on 4:00 (3:45?)

    MS (2000):
    8 x 25 SDKs w/ short fins on :45
    8 x 25 BK SDKs/flutter kick w/ short fins on :30
    4 x 50 BR pull w/ buoy on 1:15
    4 x 50 1-arm fly drill on 1:10
    2 x 50 BR pull w/ buoy on 1:15
    2 x 50 BR on 1:15
    5 x 50 fr on 1:00 (:37-:39)
    5 x 100 fr on 2:00 (desc. 1:30-1:24)
    5 x 50 fr on 1:00 (asc. :41-:45)

    Cool-down (600):
    4 x 100 IM on 2:00 (1:56, 1:53, 1:51, 1:45)
    200 EZ pull, focus on shoulder/hip rotation

    Total = 3600 SCY in 80-85 minutes
  14. 5K Sunday

    by , June 2nd, 2013 at 06:49 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    After missing a couple of days in a row I felt sluggish and not at all comfortable today. Still managed to gut out 5k in the pool (5500 SCY).

    10 x 100 on 1:45 (alt. fr and pull)
    1:00 rest
    5 x 400 IM + 100 recovery swim on 10:00 (4 IMs in 7:19-7:30*)
    10 x 100 on 1:45 (alt fr and pull)
    200 IM on 4:00
    4 x 100 IM on 2:00
    400 EZ cool-down

    The first 4IM was actually my slowest, I was still warming up I guess... but both fly and breast timing felt off today. At least I got back in the pool and didn't have any nagging soreness (or outright pain).