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Alex's swim journal

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

  1. 500s day; time in the kitchen...

    by , July 31st, 2013 at 09:57 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    I'm waiting for the split-pea and barley soup to cool a bit, so I've got some time to blog after spending a good hour and a half in meal prep (more on that presently). Today I did a distance workout that totally kicked my butt, BUT made me feel pretty good about my progress. Here's what I did:

    4000 SCY in 75 minutes

    WU (1000)
    400 EZ swim (200 fr, 100 bk, 100 br)
    4 x 100 IM on 2:15 (1:39, 1:35, 1:37, 1:38)
    4 x 50 fr on 1:00 (:40, :39, :38, :39)

    MS1 (2500)
    5 x 500 on 8/9:00 (7:35, 7:36, 7:46, 7:50, 7:56)
    --Went on 8:00 for the first 3 and then 9:00 for the last two; I felt like I was swimming through quickly hardening concrete in the last couple of 500s

    CD (500)
    10 x 50 on :55
    --these were all around :45-:47... wasn't pushing it, just trying to bring the heart rate down a bit

    PROGRESS: There was a time, a few years back, when I was straining to do 500 yards in 10:00. In January I probably could have counted on one hand the number of times I'd swum a 500 in under 8:00. In fact, my time in the only 500 I've done in a meet setting was 7:38, last January. My split at the 1650 in March was faster than that. I feel pretty good about this set, the first of its kind I've done... something to extend the speed work and pace work I've been doing at shorter distances and help bridge the confidence gap for holding faster paces for longer distances.

    TIME IN THE KITCHEN: One of the things about a plant-based, whole foods diet is the amount of time it takes to prepare food... washing and chopping veggies, taking time to cook my own meal even when the rest of the family is just pulling pork out of the crock pot and depositing it on buns. I could save a lot of time with microwave dinners or canned one-dish wonders, but it's definitely worth it to prepare everything myself. I mentioned in a previous blog that I've been cooking in big batches on Sunday nights the last couple of weeks... so I have a nice assortment of combined grains, legumes, kale, nuts and dried fruits to mix and match during the week. A dinner salad on other nights (mixed greens, chopped tomatoes and beans is a good combo) or throwing together some vegan tacos generally doesn't take that much time, though it does involve more chopping. I'm also trying out new recipes for hot meals... Here are some tofu migas I made (had enough left over to reheat for lunch the next day... and tofu migas keep a lot better than their egg counterparts):

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    Served with a side of vegetarian refried beans (from the can) and my own guacamole (mash half an avocado and add in some finely diced onions, tomato and cilantro) on a bed of mixed greens. I adapted the "Migas Especiales" recipe from Rip Essylstyn's Engine 2 Diet website.

    But what about soups and stews?

    I've got this one figured out too... it does take some time, but I'm organizing my time differently to adjust. Today, for example, I made that split-pea and barley soup (from Nava Atlas' "The 5-Ingredient Vegetarian Gourmet"... the book has lots of recipes that are "uncomplicated"; thank goodness!). Putting the ingredients together was a piece of cake (ooo, bad analogy!), it took 5 minutes to get everything in the pot and headed toward a boil... but the recipe calls for the soup to simmer on low for an hour, then add two more cups of water and simmer for another 30 minutes... yikes, that's a long wait. But, hey, I'm not just going to sit there and watch the pot boil. I prepared and ate a dinner salad while I waited. Here's a picture:

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    We picked up three different varieties of lettuce at the farmer's market and have been using that for salads all week... I also chopped in some spinach, some cilantro, a tomato and an avocado. Sprinkled in chopped walnuts and sliced almonds, then drizzled on some balsamic vinaigrette. After I took the picture I even remembered to sprinkle on some ground flax seed. Yummy. I had plenty of time to prepare it and eat it (actually went back for a second plate!) while the split-pea/barley soup was working on the stove top.

    The dinner salad is an awesome thing. As I mentioned you can give it a little more "meat" by putting on some beans or hominy... Didn't do that tonight since I'm going to have plenty of legumes in the soup. Speaking of the soup... it smells really good. I'm going in!
  2. 4K workout and a protein hiccup...

    by , July 31st, 2013 at 02:29 AM (Alex's swim journal)
    So, yesterday (Monday) I did a reprise of the 200-pace workout that I did last week... I was still worn out from back-to-back hard days on Thursday and Friday, and maybe a little gastro-intestinal issue that I'll explain in a bit. First, the workout... warm-up was really slow and creaky. I don't like doing the harder workouts in the late afternoon or evening, so timing was an issue. I did have my rabbit Scotty with me for a while, but he couldn't do the whole workout with me... he was still beat from last Friday's pyramid too. Here's what I did:

    WU (1200):
    400 fr/pull on 7:00 (held 1:40/100 pace)
    4 x 100 IM on 2:00 (desc. from 1:52 to 1:41... started much slower than last week)
    4 x 50 fr on 1:00 (desc. from :42 to :39... last week I started at :39 and swam :38s)
    200 pull, trying to build rhythm

    MS1 (1000):
    4 x thru--
    4 x 50 bk at 200 goal-pace on :10 rest
    -- <1:00 rest after each 200 (the 200s were coming in 3:38-3:41, 3:08 to 3:11 when you subtract the rests... about :05 slower than last week )
    200 recovery swim (fr, bk, fr, bk)

    MS2 (1000):
    4 x thru--
    4 x 50 fr at 200 goal-pace on :10 rest
    -- <1:00 rest after each 200 (the 200s were coming in 3:08 to 3:11 I think, 2:38-2:41 when you subtract the rests... a little slower, but not by much, like last time it was more like my current 200 pace than what my goal should be)
    200 recovery swim (fr, pull, fr, pull)

    MS3 (1000):
    4 x 50 fly on 1:00 (:45, :48, :49, :50)
    2:00 rest
    4 x 50 fly on 1:00 (:47, :49, :49, :52)--this set was a little faster than last week, but I did a couple on 1:05-1:10 instead of 1:00... fading fast at this point
    1:00 rest
    200 recovery swim (pull, fr)
    3:00 rest
    400 IM... wanted to push (6:58--a decent effort considering the day I was having... my splits by 100 were: 1:36 fly, 1:54 bk, 1:56 br, 1:32 fr... bk felt really slow, but I was at about 1000 yards of bk already at that point)

    CD (200)
    200 pull

    PROTEIN HICCUP: my sister, another cardio/endurance addict, called when she found out I had gone plant-based, whole-foods diet. She's very supportive, but suggested I get a protein supplement, especially for right after hard workouts to jump-start the recovery. She pointed me in the direction of a vegan protein powder... sounded like a good idea. I chose one with probiotics... that sounded like a good idea too since I have been live-culture yogurt-free for two weeks. My first round of this left me feeling terribly bloated and just generally icky, though. That is apparently a side effect of a hefty dose of probiotics for some people. And the thing that upset me more than anything was that, really, I don't need all that much extra protein... what I've been able to find out about plant-based diets is that if you are eating the right amount of whole grains, nuts, legumes, even greens, you'll have plenty of protein in your diet. The protein supplement wasn't going to give me anything I couldn't have gotten from a couple of teaspoons of peanut butter and a piece of fruit right after the workout, and then a salad of mixed greens and spinach topped with beans, nuts, ground flaxseed and a little balsamic vinaigrette after I got home. Supplements are convenient, but as with everything else I'm finding that a natural, whole-food solution is always best.

    I did take the protein again after yesterday's workout just as an experiment and because it is convenient... I cut back to about a third of the serving size. No adverse effects... so I'm guessing that the good bacteria levels are starting to balance out in my body. Next time I'll try 2/3 the serving size and see what happens. I am concerned about getting enough protein right after the workout... and quickly absorbed for recovery; but I'm going to use the whole foods when I can.

    THE BINGE: No, not a food binge (at least the bad-for-you kind), a binge of documentaries about food and its effects on our health, about big corporate agribusiness and its effects on our diets and our environment... that has been the inspiration (along with the underlying interest in improving my health) for my choice to adopt a strictly vegan lifestyle... swearing off all animal sources... their fats are solid at body temperature, whereas unsaturated fats from vegetable sources are liquid at that temperature... this has to help my blood flow better and my heart pump more efficiently, right?

    I have Netflix and have been scrutinizing documentaries such as "Vegucated," "Food Matters," "Forks over Knives," "Hungry for Change" and others which all have a similar message... we need to start paying more attention to the stuff we put into our bodies and start paying attention to what the science is saying about nutrition and human health rather than letting the marketers for processed foods, fast foods, and meat and dairy industries tell us what we ought to be eating. Dr. Klaper's lecture and slide-show, "Foods that Kill," though it's already dated (1993 I think), is a nice, common sense, starting point... and it's on YouTube.

    The "Forks over Knives" website has a lot of great material, even recipes, and also led me to the Engine2Diet website, which has some great recipes and support materials as well. This is something that world-class athletes are doing, so as an enthusiastic amateur I feel like going plant-based is not going to put me at any kind of disadvantage.

    Updated July 31st, 2013 at 02:35 AM by mcnair

  3. Eating healthy in WI...

    by , July 28th, 2013 at 07:27 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    My oldest son, Andrew, follows the comedian Jim Gaffigan's feed. Apparently, just this afternoon he tweeted "Eating healthy in Wisconsin is like going to rehab in Amsterdam."

    Pretty funny! And, oh, how true on a summer weekend... it's festival season, beer and brats freely flowing at any given parish on any given weekend; Milwaukee's summer fest is fading into history, but state and county fair dates are approaching quickly. Just this weekend we had "Taste of Kenosha" competing with the usual farmer's market down at the Harbor... this is, I think, where all of the restaurants in town come out and set up a stand with their version of festival/fair food. Why have a nice combo plate at the Mexican restaurant when you could go down to the harbor and have a plate of greasy tacos on your way to the funnel cakes and cream puffs?! Yeah, I can see where Gaffigan wouldn't be mistaking the Dairy State for an organic, whole foods commune.

    I enjoyed the smells--and nothing but the smells--as I strolled with my wife and Andrew through the Harbor Market yesterday. I dipped into all the produce stalls and picked out some nice locally grown kale and zucchini, tasted green beans right from the garden, ate a totally vegan cranberry-walnut roll made with unbleached and unbromated flour. I admit that the smells of the brats and sausages, tacos and egg rolls were awesome... but I really had no desire for them beyond their smells. I couldn't wait to get home and make my own vegan versions. What has happened to me?!

    Two weeks ago I finally took the plunge, kicked the packaged, processed foods to the curb, and decided I would do everything in my power to avoid anything from animal sources... yes, that means dairy too... in the Dairy State! No more cheesy Chicago-style pizzas, not even a yogurt. I'd been mulling this over for a few days and once I started it was surprisingly easy... much easier than I thought it would be. The kids had pizza last night for an impromptu "Dr. Who" viewing party... I had vegan tacos...
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    ...and didn't miss the pizza at all. I keep thinking about all the good things I'm putting into my body, instead of the highly processed, overly sweetened or salted, high-fat stuff I was filling my pie-hole with before all this. And my body loves it. I'm not a slave to the refined sugar highs and lows; I'm not wondering about the digestive (or cardiovascular) payback from beef and cheese enchiladas. In future blog entries I'll write about some of my inspirations for this new lifestyle (I can't just call it a "dietary" change any more). But for now, some background would probably help...

    BRIEF HISTORY OF MY DIET (2003-2013)

    If you're looking for the unabridged version you'll have to wait for the book (it should be a full chapter in my sequel to Augustine's "Confessions" and Dante's Divine Comedy, which might also be a pre-prequel to Star Wars). The brief account is this...
    --Prehistory: I've always eaten my fruits and veggies, actually liked a lot of them as a kid, so I never really stopped eating them. But I have my weaknesses too... how often did that extra cookie crowd out a piece of fruit?! More than I'd like to admit. And I have, like most, been a slave to convenience... it's easier to throw a pot-pie into the microwave than chop veggies... didn't I see a pea or two and some carrots in the picture on the package? I knew what a balanced diet was, however, and tried (when convenient) to pack in the plants. But those conveniently processed foods could provide a balanced diet too... so I thought. I didn't read the labels too carefully. Plus, as long as I "intended" to have a balanced diet and got my cardio it was ok, in my mind, to have extra chocolate too. This was my starting point.
    --Circa 2003: As a runner I thought I was immune to things such as high cholesterol and the issues that came with it; as long as I ran enough to burn everything off and control the weight I was good, right? Well, not so much so. As I entered my early thirties, working on the cardio and maintaining the weight, I was surprised that my cholesterol still came back borderline high... HDL high (good), but LDL high as well, blood pressure creeping up... as Dante might text, WTH? I started reading labels... and found to my horror that some of my favorites were high in trans fats. Actually, my horror was at finding out what a trans fat is in the first place... we do this to our arteries on purpose?! Thus began the era of trans-fat elimination.
    --After paying much more attention to the fat-with-a-shelf-life, avoiding the trans fats like the plague, my cholesterol went down to the high normal range. It stayed there for almost a decade, my HDLs were high and LDLs normal, which meant that my ratio was good... no worries; I could still have that bowl of ice cream every night, or maybe a midnight plate of waffles... high sugar, "low" fat, right? I was burning enough calories... I was bullet proof. What's more, while I was still running I naturally gravitated toward the higher calorie refined stuff and away from the heavy red meats and dairy products because they were to heavy in my stomach, left me feeling weighed-down. But I was riding the high fructose corn-syrup roller-coaster without realizing it.
    --Circa 2010: As we began the second decade of the new century I began looking back on my diet; I had given up sodas on all but "special" occasions about the year 2000 to help with weight control (I never did take to the diet sodas). Why was I still feeling those chemical imbalances then? The headaches late in the day, the difficulty rolling out of bed? High fructose emerged as a likely candidate and I started reading labels again, not just looking for the trans-fats, but looking for and finding high fructose EVERYWHERE in my favorite packaged foods, cereals, even in the "healthy" whole wheat bread and bagels. Augustine's ghost perched over my shoulder in the grocery store and whispered "WTF?" (no... I really don't know what he whispered... it was in Latin... like the freaking ingredients lists!). "That's it!" I thought to myself, "bread... I'm sick of you; you're outta here!" I went paleo... ok, except for the midnight waffles... "ice cream? That's a healthy dairy product" I rationalized, "with antioxidants from cocoa if it's chocolate!"
    --2011: My running self begins its slow metamorphosis into a swimming self. As my swimming endurance gets better, my workouts longer, muscles I never used (or used differently) while running were in serious need of help. "Protein-man to the rescue" was the battle-cry... if I was going to build new muscles and repair damaged old ones I needed more meat and dairy to help out. I used skim milk to help me hydrate (didn't realize how much added sugar was in the skim... why would I have to read the skim milk label?!); I ate lots of yogurt (and more ice cream); cheese was now good (no trans fat, right?); and meat, lots more meat. In my running days I rarely ate red meat more than once a week; a hamburger, maybe once a month. As a swimmer I pretty much doubled that amount of red meat... and added lots of fish (mostly tuna; thank you, mayo... not!). It's "paleo" right? Paleo with a side of frozen waffles and maple-flavored high fructose corn syrup, topped with chocolate chips... maybe some microwave popcorn... our ancestors on the savannah had the miracle of pizza to help them escape leopards and run down antelope, didn't they?
    --June 2013: It'd been a couple of years since I last had my numbers checked... but what did I have to worry about? I strode into the doctor's office with confidence. I'm a swimmer now with excellent cardio, plus I know so much more about eating healthy now than I did back in 2003. I knew, for example, that I probably shouldn't have the midnight waffle or the extra cup of ice cream... OK, bad example. I knew to avoid trans fats... check. I knew to avoid refined flours and sugars... ok, I did that most of the day. I knew to eat lots of whole foods, veggies and fruits, which I did... most days. Alright, the diet could use some work... I knew that, but hey, the extra exercise could make up for the occasional (i.e., daily) dietary lapses... right? right? Wrong. Cholesterol came back 241, way too high... LDL was only borderline high and HDL was super high, which makes for a good ratio, but it was still a wake-up call. Saturated fats... I started seeing them everywhere... mostly in the dairy (cheese) and, of course, in the meat.
    --July 2013: I needed to take charge of the situation... I looked at all the foods we had in the house... there were a lot of good healthy choices there, but there were a lot of labels to scrutinze... why are there so many labels? And this milk, this packaged meat, where do these things come from? I began to look for answers... next time I'll write about what I found.

    [Training note: an easy weekend after a hard week. Swam 2000 at the Y yesterday to recover from Thurs-Fri workouts: 100 fr, 100 pull, 100 bk, 100 pull, 100 fr, 400 IM ez (did single-arm fly), 100 pull, 400 IM ez (single-arm fly drill again), 100 pull, 200 fr, 100 pull, 200 fr... 2000 scy/38 minutes. The swim area of the lake was closed yesterday, I believe b/c of the threat of thunder storms. Today it was open again... it was a chilly mid-summer swim though with air temps in the 60s even at 1PM. It's been a cooler-than-average few days now, so the water temps are dipping as well... that part is nice... getting out of the water into a cool breeze, not so much. It's just about perfect for running though... here's my son Anthony (black shorts, grey shirt smiling for dad!) at the start of the Parkside Cross Country summer classic race yesterday at 5:30 PM...
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    ... he had a good race, was happy with his time; and they haven't even had two-a-days yet!]
  4. Updates on 1650 pace

    by , July 26th, 2013 at 06:15 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    Have just finished the week with a couple of good days. This is always encouraging. Yesterday I focused on my 1650 pace with a long set of 100s on 1:40. It was a good test set because I had done this just a couple of weeks before the SCY state meet in March, so I had both my performance in that workout and my meet time to compare with. Here's how yesterday went:

    WU (1000):
    400 EZ on 7:00
    4 x 100 IM on 2:00 (walked times down from 1:43 to 1:39)
    4 x 50 fr on 1:00, relaxed, focus on form at pace (:41-:42)

    MS (2000):
    20 x 100 fr on 1:40 (1:24-1:31)
    --I averaged 1:25 in first 5, 1:26-1:27 in the middle, then some 1:28, a couple of 1:29s and finally 1:30 and 1:31 to end the set. When I did this test in March most of my reps were in the 1:29-1:31 range (see that entry here) and my pace at the state meet ended up being about 1:31/100 for a time of 25:04... my goal being to be in the neighborhood of 25 minutes. Today, only my last rep was in 1:31 and only in the last 500 did I fall to 1:28-1:29 regularly. My short term goal of 1:30/100, a 24:45 1650, is probably already a reality and 1:25/100 is looking like a definite possibility as a realistic medium term goal.

    CD (500):
    5 x 100 EZ swim (fr, bk, fr, br, fr)

    TOTAL: 3500 SCY/65 minutes

    Today, Scotty and I were finally able to get together for a good sprint to middle D pyramid scheme. I was also glad to have company for a much-needed hard day working the strokes. Here's what we did:

    WU (1000):
    4 x 100 relaxed on 1:40 (fr, pull, fr, pull)
    4 x 100 fr on 2:00, negative split (was splitting :44-:45/:39-:41)*
    *the last one of these I actually took a quick bathroom break and used the extra rest as an excuse to get up on the blocks and swim a hard, but in-control 100... went 1:16. Start felt good and I nailed at least the first turn... it felt hard, but I kept my stroke long and controlled.
    4 x 50 on 1:00 (alt. fr and pull, :38-:41)

    MS (2100):
    500 fly ladder**
    5:00 rest
    500 bk ladder**
    5:00 rest w/ 100 recovery swim
    500 br ladder**
    5:00 rest
    500 fr ladder**
    master's minute

    CD (500)
    5 x 100 EZ (pull, bk, fr, br, pull)

    TOTAL: 3600 SCY/1h40m (??)

    **The ladders in this set were 25-50-75-100-100-75-50-25 with the interval set at :45/25... this is a lot more rest than I'm used to now, but I was glad to have it. My 100s fly were 1:34 and 1:35. 100s bk were both in 1:34. 100s br were slow at 1:46-1:47, but the 100s fr came in at 1:17 and 1:16... everything was between my current 200 pace and my goal 200 pace. The fly is actually ahead of my 3:20 goal, but the back was closer to my current 200 pace (3:1?) than my goal (3:00); adding up the two fr 100s brings me within a second of my goal (2:32).

    Later this weekend I'll have to blog about my latest adventure: the plant-based, whole foods diet... I've lost at least 5 lbs in the last week and a half (the scale said 172 this afternoon!); resting heart rates are also down, and I feel more energetic... honestly didn't know I could feel this healthy (or how badly pre-packaged, processed foods were treating my body). More on that later...
  5. 3000-yard wave ride?

    by , July 24th, 2013 at 02:45 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    I intended to do a nice and easy recovery swim at the lake today, maybe get in a little work on breast stroke since I focused more heavily on the other three strokes yesterday.

    The air temps were cool (upper 50s, lower 60s) and the water is cooling off a bit too--probably back in the 70s. The morning was bright with crisp blue sky and puffy white clouds scattered low on the horizon... and a nice cooling breeze, which unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your take), was kicking up some nice waves and driving them across the lake in regular intervals. This created a nice rolling surface constantly pushing me shoreward from the lap swim area. In one direction it would give me a little extra forward momentum, but coming back I would pay for it.

    Would I rather swim through calm and crystal clear waters? Sure. But I "rolled" with it... thankful for an unexpected opportunity to become stronger and better acclimated to the unpredictable conditions of the open water.

    Here's what I did:

    5 x thru
    200 fr
    100 breast

    4 x thru
    200 fr
    100 drill/recovery (swum as 50 3r/3l one-arm fly, 50 back recovery)

    300 cool-down (fr, br, fr by 100)
  6. 4400 SCY; 200-pace workout

    by , July 23rd, 2013 at 01:21 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    My rabbit (Scotty) couldn't make it today, so it was more difficult than last week even to hit the target paces for this middle-d workout. I added 200 to my back and free sets, subtracted one from the fly... net gain of 200 at goal paces. Here's how it went down:

    WU (1000):
    400 fr/pull on 7:00 (held 1:40/100 pace)
    4 x 100 IM on 2:00 (1:41-1:45)
    4 x 50 fr on 1:00 (:38-:39)

    MS1 (1000):
    4 x thru--
    4 x 50 bk at 200 goal-pace on :10 rest
    -- <1:00 rest after each 200 (the 200s were coming in 3:33-3:40, 3:03 to 3:10 when you subtract the rests)
    200 recovery swim (fr, bk, fr, bk)

    MS2 (1000):
    4 x thru--
    4 x 50 fr at 200 goal-pace on :10 rest
    -- <1:00 rest after each 200 (the 200s were coming in 3:07 to 3:11 I think, 2:37-2:41 when you subtract the rests... not that great, more like my current 200 pace than what my goal should be)
    200 recovery swim (fr, pull, fr, pull)

    MS3 (1000):
    4 x 50 fly on 1:00 (:45, :48, :49, :50)
    2:00 rest
    4 x 50 fly on 1:00 (:46, :49, :50, :53)--much slower than last week!
    1:00 rest
    200 recovery swim (pull, fr)
    1:00 rest
    400 IM... wanted to push this, but decided maybe the cool-down should start here! (7:35ish--yuck)

    CD (400)
    200 pull
    200 EZ fr

    4400 SCY/90 minutes

    I think I wasn't fully recovered from Sunday's sprint work... when I've done this workout over the last few weeks it is usually after at least 2 recovery days.
  7. 3000-yards in the lake

    by , July 22nd, 2013 at 01:31 PM (Alex's swim journal)
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    This was the scene Friday morning at the boy's camp, just north of Rhinelander in far north-central Wisconsin. My youngest son Aaron is on the dock in the last session of his Emergency Preparedness merit badge. The scenery was gorgeous, weather perfect. Later that afternoon I got a chance to take a dip in the lake and chase fish under the dock with the kids. Great time.

    The water in the lake back here in Pleasant Prairie, 5.5-hour south by car, was a little bit warmer than Clear Lake at Camp Tesomas, but yesterday's rain and the relatively cooler air temps of the last couple of days meant that the water temp was much more comfortable than it was at the end of last week... not at all like the bath water temps of last Thursday morning's swim at Lake Andrea.

    Here's what I did this morning:

    WU (1000):
    400 EZ
    4 x 100 fr on :10-:15r (build pace)
    200 IM

    MS (1000):
    Descending ladder, fr, :10-:15r between steps:
    400-300-200-100 (build from moderate to hard pace with each step)

    CD (1000):
    200 IM; :15r
    4 x 100 fr on :10-:15r
    400 EZ swim (br, fr, bk, fr)

    TOTAL: 3000 yards/<60 minutes

    Wish I could say I felt great today... I felt "meh." I didn't feel as beat up as I thought I would feel, however, after yesterday's sprint fest. I took 2 advil about an hour or two after the swim yesterday and I think that helped a lot. I woke up this morning with only the slightest of residual soreness, but didn't push it on this planned recovery day.
  8. Sprint Sunday...

    by , July 22nd, 2013 at 12:09 AM (Alex's swim journal)
    After a couple of rest days... actually it was far from rest--a lot of hiking at the boy's camp--but a break from serious swimming... I was chomping at the bit to get back to training though and arranged to meet Scotty at the Y for a sprint workout at noon today. I was stiff from 6 hours on the road yesterday and from sleeping on the ground Thursday and Friday nights, so it took me a while to warm up and loosen up, but I felt pretty good.

    Here's what we did:

    WU (950):
    400 EZ swim
    4 x 100 IM on 2:00
    3 x 50 free on 1:00 (felt 80-85%; all in :39)

    MS (2000):
    20 x 25 fly on :45 (:18-:23; managed to hold mostly :21-:22s)
    2:00 rest
    20 x 25 BK on :45 (:19-:22, mostly :20-:21)
    3:00 rest
    20 x 25 br on :45 (:22-:25; mostly :23-:24)
    Master's minute (i.e., 5:00 to chew the fat with our pool mates)
    20 x 25 fr on :45 (:15?-:18; these were mostly in the :16-:17 range)
    Masters minute

    CD (550):
    400 IM relaxed, 7:15
    150 pull EZ

    TOTAL: 3500 SCY

    The workout was challenging, but fun. Scotty's teenage daughter joined us for most of the workout (skipping the last set of 20 x 25 for an early cool-down), she swam the fly and br sets as freestyle, but her back is getting really good and she kept up with us on that portion. She'll be 18 in the not so distant future, so we're already working on her as a nice addition to Master's swimming. Another swimmer, one of the lifeguards off-duty, joined us for the breast set. It was fun to have four lanes all going on :45, swimming hard. We're building a decent community of swimmers. Pretty soon we might have to start scheduling regular workouts!
  9. Calm, clear, warm lake water...

    by , July 18th, 2013 at 11:23 AM (Alex's swim journal)
    Back at Lake Andrea early this morning; even as early as it was the air was pretty warm and moist. But the still, humid air has some advantages. It also meant the waters were incredibly calm and clear. Hardly as much as a ripple at points. Which is a lot of fun to swim in... like taking the snowshoes through fresh powder in the winter... breaking a new path.

    Water on the surface was probably in the mid 80s after the heat wave we've had, but I could feel the cooler water beneath as my hand and arm went through the stroke. After the tough day yesterday I was a little stiff and cooler water would have been more welcome, but it was a really enjoyable swim nonetheless.

    EZ 2000 (1500 fr and 250 ea of bk and br).

    Here's the scene:
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  10. 300 miles; 400 IM PR... again?!

    by , July 17th, 2013 at 04:54 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    Took my GTD "50 Miles" cap to the Y today as a reminder that I would be crossing the 300-mile threshold in my warm-up. Today's 4600-yard workout put me over 302 miles for the year... and had me PR from push in the 400 IM for the second week in a row... at the end of the workout no less. So this is making me feel good about my progress. The workout was almost a replica of last Wednesday's 1500 goal-pace workout with 4IM set added. I note the changes below...

    WU (1000):
    400 EZ on 8:00 (actually swam it as 2 x 200 this week focusing on stretching it out... second 200 was 3:10 and felt easy)
    4 x 100 IM on 2:15 (1:45ish; not that great but I was going for "relaxed"; last week I swam 100s fr here on 2:00)
    4 x 50 on 1:00 (right at :39-:40, not pushing it, trying to get into the "pace-work" frame of mind)

    MS1 (1800):
    3 x 200 on 3:20 (2:50, 2:53, 2:54; last week was at 2:49; 2:55, 2:55)
    6 x 100 on 1:40 (1:23-1:26; first 4 in 1:23-24, only the last one was 1:26)
    12 x 50 on :50 (:39-:42; mostly :41)
    --What I said last week: "These were a little faster and felt a little more comfortable than last week's set..." I've changed my mindset from a 1:30/100 pace for 1650 to 1:25 as my pace per 100 goal; slight improvements in the 200s, the 100s are right on goal pace, the 50s even a second or two ahead of pace. Last week most of my 100s were in the 1:25-1:26 range, so a slight improvement there.

    MS2 (1200):
    2:00 rest
    8 x 50 on 1:00 in 4IMO (:45, :47, :49, :49; :49, :53, :43, :42)
    2:00 rest
    4 x 100 on 2:00 in 4IMO (1:34, 1:41, 1:51, 1:32)
    Masters minute
    400 IM in 6:42
    --My BK was improved over last week in the set of 50s, so was the br; fly is holding steady; free was rough... I think I was starting to feel the accumulation of hard work and free lengths were a mental break. One inadvertent change in the workout was that the 100s were on 2:00 this week instead of 2:30 from last week... times were only slightly slower after the fly 100, but the rest interval was reduced by :30 per rep in that set!). Can't believe I dropped 5 seconds from my 400 IM time of last week. Fly splits were :44, 1:35. Didn't catch the Back split, but my BR definitely felt faster (stayed a lot closer to Scotty on that leg than I did last week)... I was at around 5:15 when I transitioned from breast to free... I think I remember seeing 5:13, but can't be absolutely sure what it was.

    CD (600):
    200 EZ fr
    200 EZ bk
    4 x 50 on 1:15 (br, br, fr, fr)

    Scotty really helped push me on both main sets today. There's no way I would have been able to keep hitting those targets without having him right there out of the corner of my eye in the next lane. I'm going to have to nickname him the "rabbit"!

    Tomorrow: an early morning lake swim to loosen up (hopefully), then a 5.5-hour drive after work to the north woods of WI, where I'll join my younger two boys for their last couple of days of summer camp. Heat and humidity have been positively tropical here this week... probably not going to need that sweatshirt.
  11. Double today puts me at...

    by , July 16th, 2013 at 09:53 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    299.92 miles for the year so far. Seriously?! I do a double and I come .08 miles short of the 300-mile mark? Whatever.

    I'll pass the 300 miles tomorrow with my warm-up. Today I did an early lake swim just to loosen up: 2000 yards, mostly freestyle, but mixed in about 300 in back and 300 in breast.

    This afternoon on my way home from work I stopped at the Y to do a little drill work, because I didn't have the equipment at the lake. Just 1200, as follows:

    100 EZ free
    100 pull w/ buoy
    8 x 25 SDKs w/ short fins on :40
    8 x 25 BK SDKs and kick w/ short fins on :30
    2 x 50 BR kick w/ board on 1:15
    2 x 50 BR pull w/ buoy on 1:15
    2 x 50 BR hard on 1:15 (:50, :51)
    2 x 50 fr pull w/ buoy
    4 x 50 fr swim golf on 1:00 (was swimming a real easy :45-:46 pace in avg. 25-26 strokes/50, which means I was scoring around 71... one over par? Not bad for a recovery day cool-down).

    Tomorrow: a lot more challenging. A repeat of last Wednesday's workout for 1500 and 400 IM goal-paces. It'll be interesting to see how my times compare and if I'm adapting well enough to the recent changes in my routine to feel these workouts getting easier. I'll wait for tomorrow, but am already thinking about what ramping up from here might look like if I'm adapting well enough.
  12. Middle-d pace workout: lackluster!

    by , July 15th, 2013 at 02:39 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    I really wasn't hitting my targets today and was a little frustrated... the fly sets made me feel pretty good, but pacing for 200s is still going to be really tough for me I think. This is the third Monday in a row that I've done a version of this workout so I thought it would go a little better than it did. My explanation of it is in the last half of this entry from 14 days ago:

    I had done essentially 8 x 200 (each 200 swum as 4 x 50) in 200 goal-pace for back and free (4x [4 x 50] for each). 800 yards at 200 goal-pace was a great workout. Last week's version saw me cut back my number of fr and back sets by one, in order to add 2 x (4 x 50) of fly. This week I wanted to do the equivalent of 3 x 200 fly, 3 x 200 bk, and 3 x 200 free... all broken into 50s and swum at goal-pace. I started with the back, since I remembered how exhausted I was after fly last week... but instead of starting each new set of back 50s on 4:30, I was starting on 4:00... so my 50 times deteriorated from goal-pace to current PR pace after the first 200... blah! Then the frees weren't all that great, each set starting with a goal-pace :38/50 then quickly going down to :39, :40, even :42 I think I saw at one point? Blah.

    Part of the lackluster performance, I'm sure, has to do with the fact that Scotty couldn't do the workout with me. He did his workout really early because he had to start work earlier and said he probably wouldn't have made it through my sets anyway because he did a hard 3500 yesterday and wasn't feeling very good today. When I texted him the workout last night he was down-right enthused... but these things always look better on paper, right?

    Anyway, here's what I did:

    4 x 100 on 1:40 (fr pull, fr, pull)
    :20 rest
    4 x 100 IM on 2:00 (1:40-1:46)
    Masters minute
    4 x 50 on 1:00 (:38-:39)
    1:00 rest

    MS1 (800):
    3 x 200 BK on 4:00 [i.e., 4 x 50 BK in 200 pace on :12, :10, :08 rests]
    200 fr, bk, pull recovery

    MS2 (800):
    3 x 200 FR on 4:00 [i.e., 4 x 50 FR in 200 pace on :12, :10, :08 rests]
    200 fr, pull recovery

    MS3 (800):
    3 x 200 FLY on 6:00 [i.e., 4 x 50 fly on 1:00 in 200 goal-pace]
    200 fr, bk, pull recovery

    MS4 (1000):
    200 BK ez, stretching it out on 4:00
    200 BR, focus on extension, on 4:00
    200 pull, focus on rotation, on 4:00
    1:00 rest
    400 IM from push start, hard but in control (6:58, w/ 100, 200, 300 splits: 1:41, 3:32, 5:28)

    CD (600):
    200 recovery swim (pull, fr)
    4 x 50 on 1:00 (:43-:47)
    200 pull

    TOTAL: 5000 SCY/110 minutes

    Since my goal-pace for 200 fly is :48/50 now (3:12), I just decided that going at 1:00 would be really convenient... giving me an average of :12 rests between 50s. I also extended my rest to 2 minutes between sets (so 3 x 200 on 6:00) which helped me maintain pace too. My times were: :45, :47, :49, :50... :46, :48, :49, :50... :47, :49, :50, :50. That makes my average pretty close to :48/50, though dropping to 3:20 pace for the 200 by the end of each set.

    The improvement in Fly makes me feel a lot better... and I had 800 in total fly today, all swum at a :50/50 or faster pace, in the context of a 5000-yard workout. I really should have given myself at least a minute rest between sets of back 50s (starting each new set at 4:30 instead of 4:00), that would have helped me maintain the 200 goal-pace... and maybe my freestyle would have been fresher as a result. I seemed to have been recovered enough by the fly... the recovery 200s at the end of each stroke really helped the lactic acid from building to an intolerable level.
  13. Closing in on 300 miles...

    by , July 14th, 2013 at 12:33 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    I got back into the lake this morning for another 3000 yards. Air and water temps were beautiful; a lot more wind than there normally is that early in the morning provided a nice current to swim against (coming in at an angle, so it wasn't helpful swimming in either direction... of course!).

    The Sunday morning crowd was sparse, seems like there were always a lot more swimmers on the weekends last summer. Pleasant Prairie's triathlon is coming up, so there was a triathlon class that looked like it was trying out new wetsuits, caps, etc. Their coach was very encouraging to this group of maybe 6 swimmers that seemed pretty hesitant in the deeper areas... they spent a lot of time practicing crowded starts, swimming in bunches, following each other, etc. but kept it in the shallow area for the most part, so I really didn't have to doge anyone the whole time, which was nice. Great to see other folks out swimming, but also great not to have to deal with the less positive side effects of crowded lap-swim areas.

    Here's what I did:

    800 fr build from ez to moderate by 100s
    200 bk/br (alternated stroke by 50s)
    4 x 200 fr moderate on about :20 rest
    200 IM
    400 fr
    100 bk/br
    400 fr
    100 br
  14. Lake swim, 2K

    by , July 13th, 2013 at 03:41 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    Today was a recovery day so I decided to change venues and head out to Lake Andrea and hit the 50-yard lap swim area they have set up at the beach. Not exactly open water swimming, which I need to start thinking about if I'm going to be doing OW swims in August, but it's easy to keep track of distance and it helps me to get used to swimming in lake water without a line to follow.

    Things got pretty choppy in the last 5-10 minutes or so as the wind picked up... which is also good training.

    I did 2200, mostly ez freestyle, but I did manage to do about 200 in fly work (50 of it was 1-arm), 150 back, 150 breast.

    The water was warm in spots, but probably still in the 70s over most of the lake. Air temps in the low 80s, clear skies, not too muggy... really nice day!

    In a side note: I felt less stiff and sore after yesterday's workout than I thought I would. In fact, my swimming today felt good in comparison to the 2K I did last Saturday after my first real LCM workout of the summer on 7/5.
  15. 100 free PR; Not another recovery day...

    by , July 12th, 2013 at 05:54 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    OK, so the "sprint" workout was definitely not another recovery day. Scotty had us doing hard 200s and 100s, which I don't think of as being sprint workouts... I was expecting more 25s and 50s, but he had us doing the 200s and 100s on longer than normal intervals; definitely hard swimming and my guess is that it's going to improve my 200-500 times a lot, where Scotty was thinking more along the lines of improving the 100s. One thing I did like was doing the hard 200s first, because that really encouraged me to push the limits on the shorter stuff... knowing I didn't have to hold anything back.

    He did the first 2500 with me and then had to go to work, so I had a nice long 1000 cool-down and was able to get some extra IM work in to boot. Here it is:

    WARM-UP (500):
    400 EZ swim (fr, bk, fr, br by 100s)
    2 x 50 on 1:00 at 80% focus on form (came in at :39)

    MS1 (1000):
    3 x 200 on 4:00 (2:44, 2:48, 2:46)
    3 x 100 on 2:30 (1:14, 1:14, 1:11*)
    2 x 50 on 1:30 (:32-:33 range)
    *This last one, we took a little longer rest and went off the blocks for time, with Scotty's daughter starting/timing for us; Scotty came in at 1:09, I was right behind in 1:11--a new SCY PR for me; my previous best off the blocks was back in January... 1:15.

    MS2 (1000):
    250 in fly swum as 25, 50, 75, 100*
    250 in bk " "
    250 in br " "
    250 in fr " "
    *We went off a :45/25-yard interval, so we left on :00, :45, 2:15, 4:30; I really only remember my 100 times because of the position of the pace clock and trying to remember send-off times: fly went 1:39 (split :47-:52); bk, 1:32 (split :45-:47); br, 1:46 (split :51-:55); fr, 1:19 (missed the 50 split, but I know I ran out of gas pretty dramatically in the final length). Building from 25s to 100s in each stroke was pretty brutal in fly, br and free. My backstroke seemed to get smoother as I went on, rotation and catch felt really good today, in synch, so I was able to maintain speed pretty well.

    RECOVERY (500): continuous EZ swim, fr, bk, fr, bk, fr by 100s

    COOL-DOWN (600):
    4 x 100 IM relaxed* on 2:00 (1:45-1:46 range, was even splitting my 50s)
    200 EZ
    *I really focused on DPS for the first two legs of these IMs (I think this is a good thing to do in cool-down)... the 25 fly was taking 6-7 strokes, the 25 back, 17.

    TOTAL: 3600 SCY

    Additional comments: This was probably the toughest workout of the week--but don't tell Scotty I said that . A lot of really hard swimming with a very short warm-up (for me) put me into discomfort early and often, but I did swim fast times. Scotty has been telling me I need to adjust my goal-paces and goal times down again, and the last couple of weeks' worth of workouts has convinced me that I should be shooting for faster times... on all distances for freestyle, maybe ending with 1:25 pace for the 1650; certainly my fly and back have improved a lot, and I should be getting that 200 SCY back under 3:00 before long; 3:20 for a 200 fly doesn't sound so far-fetched now.
  16. 2000 EZ recovery swim

    by , July 12th, 2013 at 12:36 AM (Alex's swim journal)
    Took it easy today and didn't have much time anyway...

    2000 SCY/42 minutes:

    200 EZ
    200 Pull
    16 x 25 SDK/kick in streamline w/ zoomers
    --switched from front to back every 50 yards
    200 fr body position drills w/ zoomers
    800 IM ez (swam 200 fly as 3r/3l one-arm drill)
    200 pull

    Tomorrow: Scotty's sprint workout. What these 40-somethings actually do in the pool probably doesn't do justice to the word "sprint"; but we'll see.
  17. 4K: 1500 goal-pace work and 400 IM PR!

    by , July 10th, 2013 at 10:22 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    Yesterday I just barely had time to sneak in 2000 SCY before they closed the Y. I did about 600 in kick, 400 pull work and the rest ez swim or drill... good recovery day routine. Today I hoped to be recovered well enough from Monday's 200 goal-pace workout, to do a little pace work for my longer events: 1500-1650 and 400 IM. The plan was to repeat the 1800-yard set from last Wednesday and add another 1200 pacing the various segments of the 4IM: 3 x 200 fr, 6 x 100 fr, 12 x 50 fr holding goal pace for 1650 on aggressive (for me!) intervals; then 8 x 50, 4 x 100, and 2 x 200 in 4IMO trying to maintain 4IM goal pace... a nice round 3000 of hard swimming: 1000 each in 200s, 100s, and 50s.

    Scotty convinced me to ditch the 2 x 200 in 4IMO at the end and just swim a flat out 400 IM. And I swam a PR by :02... even though I was starting from push! So, I guess my goal-pace is my actual pace, which means I'm going to have to adjust those goal-paces... that's good news! Well, maybe I'll just wait and see how I feel tomorrow first. The difference is mostly in the fly, where my endurance and form are much better than they were a few months ago. Here's what I ended up doing on the day:

    WU (1000):
    400 EZ on 8:00
    4 x 100 on 2:00 (1:26-1:28)--tried to negative split these
    4 x 50 on 1:00 (desc. from :39 to :37)

    MS1 (1800):
    3 x 200 on 3:20 (2:49; 2:55, 2:55)
    6 x 100 on 1:40 (1:23-1:27)
    12 x 50 on :50 (:40-:43)
    --These were a little faster and felt a little more comfortable than last week's set... I went out too fast on the 200s, but didn't feel too bad, still kept my 100s and 50s at a pace 2-3 secs faster per 50 than my goal pace [:45/50 is a 24:45 1650 if I remember correctly]

    MS2 (1200):
    8 x 50 on 1:00 in 4IMO (:44, :47, :52, :51; :55, :53, :43, :41)
    4 x 100 on 2:30 in 4IMO (1:35, 1:39, 1:51, 1:25)
    Masters minute; Scotty goading me...
    400 IM in 6:47

    CD: 400 Ez fr, BK, and 1-arm drill
    TOTAL: 4400 SCY.

    No idea why I swim IMs so much faster after a good threshold workout... except that, maybe, I'm such an endurance junkie that it takes me that long just to warm up. I'm getting to the point where I can swim a decent 100 fly with a fairly even pace... I can go out in :45 and bring it back in 1:35 now, whereas at the state SCY champs I swam splits of :43 and :58 (1:41) in fly on my way to 6:49 in the 4IM. Today I probably swam 1:34 (:45-:49 split)... my back and breast were slower than the state time though. So, I'm finishing the fly faster and with enough energy left over to swim the other strokes decently... rather than just surviving the fly and trying to make up lost ground in bk and free.

    Scotty hates these "pace" workouts... and complained a lot, but I told him to suck it up and stick to it because he has his chance to get me back with his beloved sprint workout later in the week. We'll see... I think I'll complain the whole time about having another "recovery" day every time I "only" have to do sprints
  18. Twin Cities wrap up; still figuring out how to pace 200s

    by , July 8th, 2013 at 07:00 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    Saturday evening I managed to get back to the West St. Paul YMCA and do another outdoor LCM workout. Man, was I sore from Friday morning's 3000 LCM! I felt creaky and slow the entire time Saturday... only managed 2000. Of course, we had spent most of the day walking around downtown Minneapolis: sculpture garden, Loring Park, Nicollet Mall, all the way down to the Minneapolis Institute of Art. But that's no excuse, it doesn't explain why my shoulders and arms felt like they were coming undone during an easy 2000. I felt like this guy...

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    I.e., as stiff as stone, and stuff cracking/falling off! BTW, this is the Doryphoros (Greek for "Spearholder")... one of only four Roman marble copies of an original bronze by the classical Greek sculptor Polykleitos (c. 440 BC). The original bronze has been lost since antiquity and the Roman copies (from 1st-2nd centuries BC) are all that we have left of Polykleitos' masterpiece. The Minneapolis Institute of Art is the only museum in this hemisphere with a copy dating from antiquity. The three other copies are in places like the Uffizi gallery in Florence or the Vatican collection; there is a copy in Greece as well. Those copies, of course, have their own imperfections and have weathered the centuries differently. One of the things I find fascinating about municipal museums around our country is that they each have their surprising little (or not so little) gems... those unique works of art that form part of our common human heritage, but which you really can't find anywhere else except Minneapolis, or Milwaukee, or Chicago, or St. Louis, or New Orleans... to name just a few of the cities whose museums I've visited in recent years.

    I suspect my soreness and stiffness on Saturday evening's swim had more to do with the 5 x 200 IM set I did LCM on Friday morning than with the Satuday's adventures in Minneapolis art collections.

    Friday after the swim and blog post, I practically gave myself a crick in my neck... craning to look at the ceilings and fabulous decorative elements in the Minnesota Capitol building and St. Paul's Cathedral. Minnehaha Falls and Mall of America rounded out our Twin Cities mini-vacation. Made some great memories with the family... they will, among other things, never forgive me for making them spend so much time in art museums! But, a Mall with an amusement park inside?! Talk about overstimulation... that was their revenge! Here's the gang (excluding yours truly--I took the photo) on the roof of the Capitol building looking out toward the Cathedral in St. Paul on Friday afternoon:

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    Today I was back at Kenosha Y. I wanted to do a repeat of last week's workout, focusing 200 goal pace. Last week I did the equivalent of 8 broken 200s, 4 back, 4 free. Today I wanted to work in some fly as well, so I opted for the following:

    WU (1000):
    4 x 100 on 1:40 (fr, pull, pull, fr), :20 r,
    4 x 100 IM on 2:00 (1:45, 1:40, 1:41, 1:41)
    4 x 50 fr on 1:00 (:38-:40)
    Masters minute

    MS (2000):
    -2 x 200 fly on 5:00
    --swum as 4 x 50 on 1:00 in goal pace for 200 fly (:44, :48, :49, :50, then :47, :49, :50, :53)*
    -200 recovery swim
    -3 x 200 back on 4:30
    --swum as 4 x 50 on :12r, :10r, :08r in 200 goal pace (these ended up coming in closer to my current PR pace [:48-:49] than my goal pace [:44-:45]).
    -200 recovery swim
    -3 x 200 free on 4:00
    --swum as 4 x 50 on :12r, :10r, :08r in 200 goal pace (:38)

    MS2 (1000)**
    600 recovery (200 pull, 200 free, 200 mixed back pull, free)
    400 IM relaxed but hard (6:57)

    200 EZ swim

    Total: 4200 SCY/ ?? (90 mins?)

    * I have no idea how to pace a 200... until recently my version of pacing this distance was "swim as fast as you can until you die." I was purposely holding back on the first 50 and it would still come in 4-6 secs faster than the goal pace. So If I want to swim a 3:20 200 fly, for example, I should be swimming :50/50... as it turns out I swam a lot faster than that on most of my 50s given the 1:00 interval. The challenge will be to decrease that interval to :12, then :10, then :08 rest after each 50 and maintain that pace. My lungs were exploding during this set of fly! Which left me wondering if that goal of :50/50 pace for the 200 fly is a reasonable goal... typically I swim the first 50 of a 200 in around :50 and struggle to maintain a 1:00/50 pace after that when I'm swimming it continuously. And the fly really tired me out for the back and free sets... those times were much slower than last week. Back was tough, especially, I was way off my goal pace, whereas last week I was pretty close to it. The free 50s started out fast (:36-:38), but quickly fell off the goal pace... bringing me in closer to a 2:40 pace than a 2:32.
    **The 600 "recovery" was supposed to be my cool-down, but my training partner goaded me into doing a 400 IM... Scotty got there right as I was getting ready to start the 200-free pace work and so he swam those with me as his warm-up. I really shouldn't have done the 4IM, but he didn't have to twist my arm too hard to get me to do it... love the challenge. I brought my first 50 fly in around :47 and the 100 split, as relaxed as I could manage, was 1:42. I swam a lot more relaxed on the back than I normally would, but pushed the breast and free... 6:57 from push is a practice PR for me. Don't know what got into me!

    Updated August 5th, 2013 at 11:06 PM by mcnair

  19. LCM in MN...

    by , July 5th, 2013 at 09:15 AM (Alex's swim journal)
    So I had a double treat today... visited the West St. Paul YMCA. Not only do they have an outdoor pool, but it's long course. So few opportunities for outdoor long course down in my neck of the woods!

    I got there about 5:15, this is what it looked like as I was drying off about 7:30 AM:
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    Air temp was in the upper 60s, so the water temp had to be upper 70s. Felt great, all you had to do was stand up to cool off.

    I did 3000 M/65-70 mins:

    WU (1200):
    400 EZ (3 x 100 fr, 100 bk)

    4 x 100 fr on 2:00 (1:45ish)

    8 x 50 fr on :5-:10 rests

    MS (1400):

    5 x 200 IM on 5:00 (4:10-4:20)

    400 fr on 8:00 (7:40)

    CD (400):

    4 x 100 fr on 2:15

    My body is just not ready for LCM yet... the fly on the 200 IMs was awful toward the end. And I really should have done a short recovery swim yesterday... I felt very stiff and sore from Wednesday's workout and yesterdays lawn work plus travel. It was difficult finding a rhythm today.

    It was really nice to be swimming outside for the first time since getting back from TX... I feel like everyday should be an outdoor day in the summer!
  20. Pace work for 1500; new PR in 100 IM

    by , July 3rd, 2013 at 05:56 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    After doing pace work for the 200 bk and fr, and 400 IM over the last couple of days I decided I needed to be mostly in the aerobic zone today and devised a 30-minute, 1800-yard set... broken into 200s, 100s, and 50s swum at 1500 goal-pace at an interval that was roughly my 5K goal-pace. I talked Scotty into doing it with me; to exact his revenge he guilted me into doing some stroke-IM work with him at the end of the workout. Here's how it went:

    4 x 100 on 1:40 (alt. fr/pull)
    :20 rest
    4 x 100 IM on 2:00 (1:40-1:45)
    4 x 50 on 1:00 (200 IMO)
    --Master's minute

    3 x 200 fr on 3:20 (2:58, 3:01, 2:58)
    6 x 100 fr on 1:40 (all 1:24-1:26)
    12 x 50 fr on :50 (all in :42-:43 except last 2 in :38-:39)
    --Master's minute
    4 x 50 hard on 1:15 (fly, bk, br, fly: :44, :45, ??, :44)
    2:00 break
    200 IM TT--went 3:15 from push (my PR is actually 3:13)
    --Master's minute
    100 IM TT--went 1:28 from push (this is a PR! the last time I swam a 100 IM for time was off the blocks in a meet back in January just a few weeks after I learned fly... with a 1:29.77 I barely broke 1:30; my seed time was 1:33)

    50 EZ bk
    50 EZ fly
    100 pull/skate
    100 EZ fr

    Total: 3600 SCY

    OK, so despite the fact that I was hurting pretty badly in my recovery swim last night after Monday's lactic acid bath, today I felt great... faster than I've felt in weeks. The 1800-yard set was in fact aerobic, never really felt the lactic acid accumulating too much, despite swimming faster than goal-pace (:44/50) in everything after the 200s... guess I held back enough on the 200s to have plenty in the tank for those 100s and 50s with much shorter rests.

    The real shocker for me was coming back after almost 3000 yards and in the middle of a pretty tough week and swimming close to PRs in 200 IM and 100 IM. Granted, my PRs are a bit dated (January for the 100IM and March for the 200IM), but those were also meet times off the blocks, not push starts like today.

    This is encouraging; my fly and back have gotten a lot better, my breast is still holding me back, but even there I'm seeing ever so slight improvements. Patience.

    Kenosha Y is closed for the 4th, so I'll see if I can't get in a recovery swim at some point... though we're headed to the Twin Cities tomorrow for a long weekend getaway, so if I miss the swim it won't be the end of the world since I haven't missed a day since June 20.
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