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Alex's swim journal

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

  1. My first organized swim practice...

    by , September 30th, 2013 at 11:45 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    So, at the suggestion of one of my YMCA swim mates, Scott, I went over to Carthage College across town and joined an actual organized swim practice. They're trying to get a masters swim program started there for the first time in a few years if I understand it correctly. They have a beautiful swim facility, tons of lanes when set up as SCY.

    Jackie coached us tonight, took a look at my stroke during warm-up and diagnosed my left arm crossover pretty quickly, and said I had a tendency to cross over with the other arm a bit too. She had me do a bunch of body position drills front and back in the warm-up until straightening out my arms didn't seem so awkward. Even so I swam some of the sets as drill too... six kick and turn body position drill (front and back) and even the dreaded tarzan-drill; this is how desperate the situation has gotten apparently with persistent cross-over. In any event, by the end of the practice I was swimming back stroke without crossing over and coach said it looked great. Front crawl is going to take some time, just because I've got so many more yards in on that stroke and breaking the habit is going to be a little tougher.

    Anyway, here's what we did, well, what I did... the team had a 1000-yard warm-up and I only did 600 to focus on drill, so I did 3600 of the 4000-yard workout:

    WU (700):
    3 x 100 (fr/bk/fr)
    100 IM
    200 in additional drills

    MS1 (1700/2300):
    --4 x 50 stroke drill (did back six-kick and turn)
    --10 x 50 fr on :45 (held :40, but she had me going on 1:00 every third or fourth rep)
    --5 x 100 on 1:40 (the first couple she had me do as drill, then I held 1:27-1:30)
    --500 timed (came in 7:55, which is closer to this summer's 3-5K pace, but faster than 500s I was swimming this time last year)

    MS2 (600/2900):
    --4 x 50 fr on :45 (:39-:43)
    --2 x 100 fr on 1:40 (1:30ish)
    --1 x 200 (3:07... this did not feel good)

    MS3-CD (700/3600):
    --4 x 50 stroke drill (did 2 back and 2 tarzan)
    --2 x 100 stroke (did bk and came in a little under 1:45)
    --300 EZ
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  2. 4400 SCY

    by , September 29th, 2013 at 05:29 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    Today's workout felt a lot better... I finally loosened up at some point during the fly set. Rather than try to do sets on all the strokes hard today, Scotty and I focused on our primary strokes/events (fly and bk for me, fly and br for him); so when I swam the back set we were neck and neck because he was swimming breast. It was a pretty brutal main set though, especially after the week I've had.

    Warm-up (1000):
    5 x thru
    --100 fr
    --50 bk
    --50 br

    MS1 (1200):
    --1 x 200 fly on 4:40 (3:29)
    --100 recovery
    --2 x 100 fly on 2:20 (1:40, 1:44--yuck)
    --100 recovery
    --4 x 50 fly on 1:10 (:46, :47, :47, :47--I was ecstatic about this pace)
    --100 recovery
    --8 x 25 fly on :35 (these were all around :25... not so great, but just trying to power through at this point)
    --100 recovery

    MS2 (1200):
    --1 x 200 bk on 4:40 (3:20)
    --100 pull recovery
    --2 x 100 bk on 2:20 (1:36-1:38)
    --100 pull recovery
    --4 x 50 on 1:10 (:46-:49)
    --100 pull recovery
    --8 x 25 on :35 (all around :25 again)
    --100 recovery

    Cool-Down (1000):
    master's minute
    --100 EZ
    --500 breast, slow but working on streamline, trying to get as much distance out of each stroke (this was more relaxing than I thought it would be).
    --100 pull
    --50 fly (relaxed, 6-7 strokes per length)
    --100 pull
    --50 fly (again, very relaxed)
    --100 pull

    TOTAL: 4400 SCY/~100-110 mins

    COMMENTARY:

    The point of the 200 fly and back was not to swim all out, but to try to maintain form while swimming moderately hard... be about :10 off best time, which is exactly where I ended up. The 100s would be about the same pace... though obviously less relaxed, because the body was really feeling it... nonetheless, the rest at the 100 mark made it easier to maintain form in this 200-yard segment. I was hoping to do the 50s in goal pace and that's what I did (to my surprise, holding :47s on fly)... at least on fly, the back was a little shaky, but I could feel the fatigue setting in at that point. The 25s felt a little slow, but again, I felt like I just needed to maintain form on these.

    The recoveries and the free in the cool-down were all pull w/ buoy to give my legs a bit of a break and to help me to focus on rotation and some other things on the front end of my freestyle. The 500 breast was really just to help me stretch it out a bit on that stroke, nothing hard because I'm not going to do a 200 breast anytime soon... focusing on 200 fly and back... but I still want to put in some time on form with breast to help my 400 IM.

    All in all, I did 750 in moderate to slow breast today, 900 in decent fly, 1050 in back.
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  3. Busy week, tired body...

    by , September 28th, 2013 at 11:59 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    Haven't had a chance to check in on the blog much this week. Most of my swims have been very short with a lot of drill. My body has just felt worn out this week. I did 2000 Wednesday evening around 8PM, 1200 on Friday morning early, and 2300 today. Today's swim was at the Elmhurst, Illinois YMCA, I had my swim kit in the car and decided to stop in after finishing up with a conference at the college. I figured I wouldn't get back to Kenosha in time to get over to the Y. It felt good to swim, but I was watching the pace clock and I was really slow.

    The big workout for me toward the end of the week was a 4500-yard stroke fest on Thursday. Scotty did this one with me, so we were able to push each other, but I was a lot more tired after this one than I was after Tuesday. Tuesday's hard 50s free BTW left my lats really sore. It took me a thousand yards into Thursday's workout before I could shake off even just a little of the stiffness. Here's what I did:

    WU (1000):
    400 EZ swim pull/free
    4 x 100 IM on 2:00
    4 x 50 fr on 1:00

    MS (3200):
    3 x 100 fly on 2:20 (1:39, 1:42, 1:44)
    100 recovery
    6 x 50 fly on 1:10 (all :49s)
    100 recovery
    3 x 100 bk on 2:20 (can't remember what these times were, maybe around 1:40... not very fast)
    100 recovery
    6 x 50 bk on 1:10 (:43, then :45s, last one in :46)
    100 recovery
    3 x 100 br on 2:20 (1:45-1:55?)
    100 recovery
    6 x 50 br on 1:10 (mid :50s)
    100 recovery
    3 x 100 free on 2:00 (1:25, 1:27, 1:28)
    100 recovery
    6 x 50 fr on 1:00 (low :40s)
    100 recovery

    CD (300): 100 pull, 100 fr, 100 bk

    TOTAL: 4500 SCY/110 minutes

    Looks like my weight has finally stabilized in the mid 160s after two and a half months of eating completely vegan. I've been taking a multi-vitamin, but I picked up a multi-vitamin today with a little extra B-6 and B-12, just in case there is any deficiency there. I know that the average person can get more than enough protein from the vegan diet, but am wondering if some of my fatigue isn't due to the fact that my protein requirement might be higher than the average person. I have been trying to time my protein for maximum recovery too... so I take a plant-based protein supplement after my really hard workouts. I'm eating more tofu and almost an avocado a day--along with the normal regimen of legumes, nuts, and high-protein whole grains--to try to keep the protein intake high. And this week I scaled back a lot on the strength training. I don't know. I might have to take a protein supplement every day, instead of just after the tough workouts. I'm also burning the candle at both ends at work. Hoping I'll bounce back some tomorrow morning.
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  4. 50s set improving...

    by , September 24th, 2013 at 04:45 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    I was supposed to do a recovery swim yesterday, but didn't leave the office until 8PM and thought I might be better off just adding a day of complete rest after the time trials on Sunday. So yesterday was a scratch and I felt like today needed to be extra difficult. I'm continuing the 50s sets la Rushall this week, but ramping up the number of reps slowly. Last week I did 10 x 50 on each stroke at 200 race-pace on Tuesday and Thursday, with some improvements already by Thursday's session. Today I decided to move up to 12 x 50 at 200 race-pace. Here's how the workout went:

    WU (950):
    400 EZ (alternated 100s fr/pull)
    4 x 100 IM on 2:00 (these felt really slow, but I was also trying to stretch out my stroke)
    3 x 50 on 1:00 (:40-:42)

    MS (3150):
    --12 x 50 fly on 1:10 (mostly :48s in the first half, :49s in the last half; one :50, so I skipped rep 11= 11 x 50 at race pace... last week I only made 9 on target!)
    --200 recovery (mixed bk and fr)
    --12 x 50 bk on 1:10 (started out with :45s, mostly :46-:47, one :48 in the last half, but I never saw :49, so I made all 12)
    --200 recovery
    --12 x 50 br on 1:10 (the first three were right at :50, then I gradually dropped back to a :55 pace... I was hurting toward the end of the set and dropped back to :56 in my last two reps, but went ahead and did them... my turnover has gotten quicker, but my stroke length hasn't gotten any better, so only slight improvements in time for all the extra effort.. my stroke count when I was hitting :53 was 15 per length, when I dropped back to 11-13 I was hitting :55... I still HATE br!
    --200 recovery
    --12 x 50 fr on 1:00 (:36-:38, there may have been a :39 or two in there, but I started and ended at :36, so my avg. was right at :37-:38 pace... 2:28-2:32 for a 200 fr, which is my goal at this point. I'm especially happy with this set given how late it came in the workout! Big improvement over last Tuesday)
    --200 recovery

    CD (400):
    8 x 50 in 400 IMO on 1:00

    TOTAL: 4500 SCY

    Scotty and I were talking afterward and I really think that adding two reps to the set for each stroke every week, it will only be abut a month before we're doing the workout as 20 x 50 on 1:10... at which point, we'll start bringing the rest interval down; maybe to 1:05 for the strokes and :55 for free.
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  5. 200s Time Trial

    by , September 22nd, 2013 at 03:08 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    After a hard week and a couple of recovery days, Scotty and I figured it was a good time to time-trial some 200s to get a benchmark. Friday I was still pretty stiff from the Thursday set of 50s and the strength training in the weightroom so I only did 2000 in drills. Saturday I went in to get another recovery workout in... didn't want to swim too hard, so I could save it for today's time trials, but I did want to get in a little bit of up-tempo work. Here's what I did:

    400 EZ swim
    4 x 100 IM
    4 x 50 fr fr
    8 x 50 on 1:00 in 4IMO (:45, :48, :50, :50, :53, :53, :46, :44)
    200 recovery
    8 x 50 on 1:00 in 4IMO (:46, :48, :47, :47, :53, :54, :45, :43)
    200 recovery

    I wasn't too disappointed with this effort, wasn't pushing 100%...felt more like I was at 85%. The 400 IMs were both under 6:30 when you add up the times... so it was good pace work for me; a bit of a confidence builder going in to today. After two days without doing any weights, I hoped to be recharged enough to put in some good times. Here's what I did today:

    400 EZ swim (alternated 100s, fr and pull)
    4 x 100 IM on 2:00 (not blazing at all swam thee in mid 1:40s; last one in 1:39-40)
    4 x 50 fr on 1:00 (:37-:43)
    Master's minute

    200 FLY (off the blocks, 3:22)
    200 recovery
    200 BACK (off the blocks, 3:08)
    200 recovery
    200 IM (off the blocks, 3:13)
    200 recovery

    200 pull
    4 x 100 IM on 2:00
    200 pull

    I was a little disappointed in the 200 fly (I swam 3:21 from push at the beginning of August), but given that this was done without any sort of taper and after some hard drylands over the last few weeks, I'm not entirely displeased. I tried to relax as much as possible, I felt a little slow, but at least now I know what my target pace in practice should be now.

    I was much happier with the 200 bk... I started losing steam in the last couple of lengths, but my average pace of :47 was right where I thought it would be... hoped it would be, honestly. I can work to improve that over the next few weeks too.

    For the final time trial I did 200 IM while Scotty did 200 breast. His breast was on fire today and I couldn't keep up. Still, I matched my 200 IM personal best from last spring.

    Now that I have a benchmark, we'll see if I can keep up the pace work in practice and retest again in about three weeks.

    Got into the weight room afterward, but only had twenty minutes, so I did one set of everything instead of three... probably needed a "step-down" session anyway.
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  6. 399.89 miles...

    by , September 19th, 2013 at 09:50 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    ... that's what GTD told me was my current mileage after entering my numbers today. I thought I would be over 400 by now, but I had a rough day at work yesterday, left the office after 7:30, and didn't get to the pool until 8:00PM. I was so stiff from the previous day's workout that the only thing I could really do to get anything out of the swim was to drill. I only finished 1200 yards... I did about 400 of it kick and, man, were my legs sore.

    Today I was planning to do a repeat of Tuesday's Rushall sets and get to about 4200 again... which would have put me over that 400-mile mark; but I got a little bit of a late start and only did 500 for a warm-up. Scotty joined me today, so I had additional motivation going into the sets. Here's what we did:

    WARM-UP (500): 200 free, 100 back, 2 x 100 IM (1:37 and 1:40)

    MS:
    10 x 50 fly on 1:10*
    200 recovery
    10 x 50 back on 1:10 (held mostly :47s, an occasional :48 or :49)
    200 recovery
    10 x 50 breast on 1:10 (held :55s, some low :50s in there as well)
    200 recovery (swum as EZ 2 IM; SAPs instead of full stroke fly)
    10 x 50 free on 1:00 (:38-:40)
    200 recovery (swum as EZ 200 IM)

    COOL-DOWN: 250

    TOTAL: 3500 SCY in about 80 minutes

    *So, I made all the reps on bk, br, and fr sets in my target range, which means I should add a couple more reps per stroke to the set next week. On fly I only missed my target once... held mostly :48-:49, when I saw :50+ I dropped the next rep (probably rep 7 or 8), then finished out the set. We used 1:10 as our interval, because we were swimming slightly different paces (he was doing :46 on fly, but coming in :49-50 on some reps of bk) and :20 RI is tough to keep track of, when you're trying to figure out if you made your target or not--1:10 interval was nice and clean and didn't put us too far off of :20 rest anyway. I'll note here that I missed one less fly rep in the set than I did on Tuesday, so I'm hoping to be able to increase number of reps there in the near future too... am beginning to think 3:12 is in reach for 200 fly, maybe even 3:10... and 3:00 at some point this spring? Time will tell.

    After the pool workout I hit the weight room for a repeat of Tuesday's drylands too. Did everything the same as posted on that day except that I did 3 x 12 lunges this time instead of 3 x 10. I was pretty much fried at the end, but had a good stretch, so I actually don't feel as bad tonight as I did on Tuesday night.
  7. Experimenting with 50s

    by , September 18th, 2013 at 01:30 AM (Alex's swim journal)
    Today I decided to follow through on some Rushall sets... begin to gauge my fitness as I start race-pace training for the short-course season. I went back and looked at my best times in the events that I really want to focus on for this coming season: 200 back, 200 fly, 400 IM. Just a month ago I time-trialed a 200 fly from push and swam 3:21--a :50.25 average pace per 50. In the not too distant future I'd like to swim it in :45/50 pace, but I thought I better take it a step at a time and try to settle in at :48. The same goes for 200 back, for which my PR is 3:16 in a meet context... I really want to break 3:00 this year, but I'll start with breaking 3:10, a :47.5/50 pace. For 400 IM, I'm pretty close to 6:30... of course I'd love to be closer to 6:00, but we'll take it a little at a time. If my 100 fly is in the low 1:30s and I can follow with a 1:40 back and 1:50 breast, then I should be able to manage 100 free in the 1:20s to bring the 400 IM in under 6:30.

    With that in mind, and after re-reading Rushall, I decided to see where I was. Here's what I did:

    WU (1000):
    400 EZ swim on 8:00 (alt. 100 fr w 100 pull)
    4 x 100 IM on 2:15 (all right at 1:40)
    4 x 50 fr on 1:00 (all in :38)

    MS:
    10 x 50 fly on :20 RI*
    200 recovery (pull and fr) on 4:00
    10 x 50 bk on 20: RI**
    200 recovery (bk and fr) on 4:00
    20 x 25 br on :40 (held :27 most of the set... these felt awful)
    200 recovery (fr/pull) on 4:00
    10 x 50 fr on 1:00***
    200 recovery (pull/fr/bk) on 4:00

    CD (600):
    8 x 50 on 1:00 in 4IMO (:48, :50, :51, :50, :58, :58, :48, :44 = 6:47)
    200 EZ (fr and bk)

    TOTAL: 4200 SCY/85 minutes

    *Following Rushall's prescription that rest be set at :20 for 50 repeats, I decided to see how long I could hold a pace under :50 for fly... once I missed that target, I would skip the next rep. I managed to do 8 of the 10. And the lactic acid build up wasn't too bad. My times were: :45, :47, :48+, :50, x, :48, :49, :50, x, :48 (x marks the reps I skipped because I missed the target on the previous rep).

    **I finished the whole set of back with reps between :45 and :49, mostly :47-:48. The :20 RI was difficult to keep track of with odd numbers though... not so much knowing when to start the next rep, but figuring out how fast the rep just completed was.

    ***On breast and free I decided just to go on a set interval which was close to my goal rest interval (:10-:15 for 25s, :20 for 50s). These frees were really tough, I held :40 for most of the set, but missed two reps with :41s.

    I know these sets are not really long enough at this point (Rushall suggests 20 x 50 at 200 race pace), but this is a good place to start. I knew that beginning with fly was going to make the rest of the workout more challenging too. We'll see how I feel tomorrow.

    I know that my work in the weight room is slowing me down for now, but hope that there will be benefits later as my body adapts and gets stronger. Here's what I did after the short cool-down:

    60-70 supine leg lifts/flutter kicks
    20 crunches
    :30-:40 in front plank position
    3 x 12 hanging leg lifts
    3 x 12 squats (w/ 135 lbs)
    3 x 5 kipping chin-ups
    3 x 10 push-presses (w/ 55 lbs)
    3 x 5-6 pull-ups
    3 x 10 push-ups
    3 x 10 lunges w/ 20-lb DBs
    3 x 12 seated rows
    3 x 12 incline press w/ 20-lb DBs
    3 x 12 upright rows w/ 20-lb DBs

    After the core work (ending with the plank) I super-set everything; so I alternated exercises in the following pairs, little to no rest between sets: leg-lifts/squats, chin-ups/push-presses, pull-ups/push-ups, lunges/seated row, incline presses/upright row.
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  8. 10 x 200 IM

    by , September 16th, 2013 at 08:43 AM (Alex's swim journal)
    After two days of drill and recovery swimming (Friday and Saturday) in which I only logged 4500 total yards; I was anxious to get in something a little harder on Sunday, but not too hard.... my body doesn't feel ready yet. Scotty and I chose a set we had done last Spring: 10 x 200 IM on 5:00. I forgot to check what times I was swimming these in the last time we did it, so I had no idea what to expect or if there would be any improvement evident. As it turns out, I was bringing in the 200 IMs in 3:25-3:30 in April, so my performance yesterday was an improvement (though it didn't feel like it at the time).

    I swam the first four reps in about 3:18-3:19, then I was in the 3:22-3:24 range, and I ended the set with a 3:26. I feel pretty good about this, falling into the range I did these 4+ months ago only on the last rep. Fly and Back have gotten stronger; free and breast, maddeningly, are about the same.

    I think my body is starting to adapt to the drylands routine, so hopefully I'll be able to get my daily yardage back up again (to where it was last spring). Sunday's workout, with warm-up and coll-down, was 3500. I like to be putting in 4K+ on the weekends when I have a little more time. Today is a recovery day.
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  9. Working on 200 pace with 50s; 400 IM with 25s

    by , September 12th, 2013 at 08:46 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    Yesterday I was pretty sore and stiff form the drylands and 3K workout on Tuesday, so I just got in to try to loosen up a bit. I did a lot of drill, don't think I swam anything continuous for more than 50 yards and was out before the lunchtime crowd even had time to change. 1500 yards.

    Today had to be a little more challenging, but until my body adjusts to the new drylands routine, I'm trying to keep the reps short (avoid the form falling apart in anything over 50) and focussed on 200 pace. Here's what I did:

    WU (1000):
    400 ez swim (fr and back; some catch-up drill) on 8:00
    4 x 100 IM on 2:15 (descended 1:42, 1:40, 1:39, 1:38)
    4 x 50 fr on 1:00 (:39-:42)*

    *I was watching form here, had Scotty watching from underwater... he confirmed the left arm was crossing over and that it did look like the core wasn't nailed down and working in unison from hips to shoulder; so I have to pay extra attention to my head position breathing to the right and the hip/shoulder rotation... in rotating to that side I tend not to rotate my hips enough... this is probably also an issue with my legs/kick and some extra tightness that I've always had in that left leg.

    MS (1400):
    -16 x 50 on 1:00, 800 IMO (went :45, :48, :50, :51 for fly; :50, :49, :48, :47+ on back --surprised I had enough energy after the fly to descend these; basically :55-:56 on breast; then :45, :39, :40, :41 on fr)
    -Master's minute
    -200 IM, hard (came in 3:18... not bad considering how I've been feeling of late)
    -16 x 25 on :40, 400 IMO (went :20-:22 fly, :20-:22 back, :25s for br, last one in :26, and mostly :17 for fr)*

    *this would actually be dream pacing for the 4IM for me, bringing my fly in 1:28, back in 1:28, 1:40 for the breast and 1:08 for the free. We can always dream can't we?

    CD (600)
    3 x 100 fr on 2:00--mostly catch-up drill
    6 x 50 fr on :55

    3000 SCY in about 70 minutes?--we lost track of time, because they pulled us out of the pool during warm-up with a tornado sighting... so we spent about 20 minutes trying not to cool off in the "shelter" of the locker-room and sauna.

    I did some drylands afterward too:
    40-50 supine leg-lifts and flutter kicks
    45 seconds in prone plank position
    3 x 12 hanging leg-lifts
    3 x 12 squats
    3 x 12 push-ups
    3 x ~5 kipping chin-ups
    3 x 12 push-presses
    3 x 6 pull-ups
    2 x 12 seated rows
    2 x 12 lunges w/ dumbbells
    sun-salutation sequence x 2 to cool-down + another 5 minutes stretching.

    Updated September 16th, 2013 at 12:33 PM by mcnair

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  10. Fighting, not finding, flow...

    by , September 10th, 2013 at 08:17 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    Continuing the theme of really lackluster performances in the last two weeks, I just have not been clicking! I spent some time reviewing older blog posts from July and August, when I peaked I think, and I am a little disappointed in the fact that I can't pull off now the workouts and times that seemed to come a lot easier only a month ago. A lot of that has to do with the busier schedule now... sleeping less, spending many hours more at the desk hunched over the computer or the papers, getting tighter and tighter. Things just seemed to be flowing better last month, a workout could be hard but relaxing.

    Today I tried to slow it down a little and just focus on form (got some free coaching from Jen, the lifeguard at the Y, during a really slow stretch just before the HS girls team started arriving for practice). A couple of folks last night asked if I was really tired because I looked like my stroke was crossing over a lot... darn! First of all, I don't like working out at 8PM, but it was the earliest I could get there with my work schedule... but, yeah, I felt awful... nothing in the tank. I probably shouldn't even have been swimming. Anyway, I asked Jen to take a look at my stroke for a few lengths and we made some slight adjustments... my hips and shoulders seem to be off in rotation... they should be rotating together, but it looks like the wiggle has worked itself back into the stroke, with the shoulders leading and the hips following (is this too much focus on short axis drills of late?). So I tried to nail that down for a couple of lengths. Jen mentioned the stroke looks really good, but in breathing to the right I tend to cross over more and/or initiate the wiggle. OK, I paid attention to that for a couple of lengths and found that when I breathe to the right I start my pull a little earlier, this doesn't happen in breathing to the left... this is an issue I thought I had taken care of ages ago... yikes... all this crap is starting to creep back into my stroke. Granted, I've been focusing a lot more on the other strokes of late, but still! I guess the "adult-onset" swimmer can't take anything for granted!

    Humbling. Frustrating. Emotionally draining. As if life isn't dishing out large enough portions of these things recently, now they are creeping back into the pool-sanctuary.

    Also, I really hate the first few weeks back into a drylands routine. Talk about humbling! I've been sore for a week and a half straight without rest, even though I've only had three drylands sessions in the gym. Back to square one again?! Darn.

    Last night I did 3000, but should have just stayed home... with the exception of about 500 in drill-work I don't think any of the rest helped me at all (except to crush my fragile swimming ego... where are my running shoes? Maybe I should be dusting them off?!).

    Today's 3000 felt a lot better... I spent some time at the beginning working on form, as I mentioned above, and then my 100 IMs felt a lot stronger; not great, but not ridiculous either. Here's what I did:

    WU (1000):
    300 EZ fr/bk swim stopping every length or every other length to focus on a new issue.
    4 x 25 SAPs on :45 (this seemed much faster today than Sunday or Monday)
    4 x 100 IM on 2:00 (1:40-1:44; 5-6 secs faster than last night when I was going on 2:15)
    4 x 50 in 2IMO on 1:00 (:48, :49, :56, :44--not great)

    MS (1600):
    16 x 25 in 4IMO on :30
    6 x 50 fr on :50 (started at :40, but mostly :43--yuck!)
    6 x 100 fr on 1:40 (1:26, then mostly 1:27, last two in 1:29-1:30)
    6 x 50 fr on :50 (:43s)
    --Took a minute rest between each segment; it really helped that the girls team had started a couple of lanes over during my set of 100s, because it seemed like I always had someone keeping me on pace, making me push it just a little, no matter when my interval had me leaving... of course they were just doing their warm-up; sigh. I noticed when they stopped after the warm-up to transition, my times slowed back to the 1:30/100 range.

    CD (400):
    400 half-fly (3 SAPs, two full strokes, 3 SAPs, finish each length ez fr).

    3000 SCY/70 minutes.

    Updated September 10th, 2013 at 08:28 PM by mcnair

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  11. Short Axis Pulse

    by , September 8th, 2013 at 05:55 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    I was cruising through the forums last night and was looking at the butterfly lane for tips and drills, since I hadn't been there for a while and found reference to the Short Axis Pulse (or SAP) drill along with half-fly. Here's the link if you're interested:

    http://www.h2oustonswims.org/article..._papillon.html

    This article is on half-fly for increasing endurance, which makes use of SAP and has a link to an article on that drill. So today I decided to incorporate it into the workout. I initially planned to do a lot of drill anyway, because the short sprints always leave me stiff and not feeling like doing anything tough the next day. For the SAP drill I would take about 3-5 pulses, do a breast stroke (arms only) for breath, then go right back into SAP, and repeat as many times as needed to get to the other side of the pool. This really helped me to engage the hips in a way that I hadn't ever before. I think I was generating most of my kick from the thighs (except in BK dolphins, where for some unexplained reason it seems more natural to work the hips and core--I remembered this b/c yesterday my underwaters on the back set really gave me an awesome core burn).

    I also lifted weights a little bit this afternoon AFTER the swim, while I was still warm (one of the problems I think I probably had earlier this week was that I jumped right into my lifting without any cardio before hand, so I was working out a cold body... then when I got into the pool afterward, instead of being warmed up I was just tired and stiff, which made for a miserable slog... not very productive... hindsight is 20/20, but how long am I going to be making these rookie mistakes?! I mean, I know better... I my brain just wasn't there... must have been somewhere else at the time!).

    I tried adding kipper pull-ups and push-presses from the X-fit repertoire to my normal routine... I still don't like weights. I'm sure as I stick with it and can do more sets and reps of each exercise it will seem like less of a pain and more of an enhancement to my swimming routine.

    Here's what I did in the pool beforehand:

    400 EZ swim (alternate 100 fr and 100 pull w/ buoy)
    4 x 25 SAPs on :45
    4 x 25 breast pull w/ buoy on :45
    4 x 25 breast kick w/ board on :45
    100 1-1-1 fly drill (4-5 SAPs, 1 full stroke fly, 1-arm fly stroke (r), 1-arm fly stroke (l), repeat)
    4 x 50 modified fly on 1:15 (4-5 SAPs 2-3 strokes fly, 2-3 SAPS [or 1-arm fly], etc. on first length; reduced the number of SAPs or 1-arm each length, until the final 50 was all full stroke--still feeling relaxed, engaging hips more)
    2 x 100 IM on 2:15
    200 IM
    400 EZ (alternated 100 fr and 100 bk)

    TOTAL: 1800 SCY/45 minutes
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  12. 80 x 25 workout

    by , September 7th, 2013 at 06:41 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    After a day of complete rest yesterday (not even a short recovery swim) I was itching to get back into the pool. I think I might have suffered a minor cold earlier this week and just not noticed it--resting heart rate was up 2-4 beats, and I noticed some crud in my sinuses--and maybe that was draggin me down a little bit. I needed a good tough workout, some speedwork to get my confidence back.

    Scotty and I met at the Kenosha YMCA this afternoon after my son's XC meet (more on that later), and after a quick warm-up we jumped into a workout that always seems to help me blow the cobwebs off: 20 x 25 on :45 for each stroke. Here's what we did:

    WU (600):
    400 EZ (alternated 100s fr and bk)
    2 x 100 IM on 2:00 (these were in 1:39-1:40, so I knew I was feeling better)

    MS (2500):
    --20 x 25 fly on :45 (these were mostly :21-:22 at the beginning and I did a pretty good job of holding :22-:23 even toward the end; a few months ago these would have been :24-:25)
    --100 IM for recovery
    --20 x 25 bk on :45 (these were mostly :19-:20, some :21s in there too; my abs were begging for mercy toward the end of this set, b/c I was really working the under waters to stay ahead of Scotty... bk is the only stroke I can consistently take him on!)
    --Master's minute
    --20 x 25 br on :45 (this is where Scotty just kills me, but I did a better job of staying up today, found a better rhythm in my stroke and actually pulled off a bunch of :23s in the last half)
    --Master's minute
    --20 x 25 fr on :45 (these were mostly :17, but I saw :15 or :16 a couple of times)
    --Master's minute
    --400 IM; I swam this in 6:53 (meh) and didn't feel that great, but it was the end of a hard workout. Scotty actually PR'd his swim, which is awesome given the set that we had just done. My splits were 1:39 for fly, 1:45 for bk, 1:59 for br (yuck), and 1:30 for fr (double yuck!). My bk needed to be better, but my br is still holding me back.

    CD (500): 100 fr, 100 bk, 100 fr, 100 bk, 100 fr all EZ focusing on long strokes, and body position.

    TOTAL: 3600 SCY

    I'm going to try some of those ankle stretches in the recent Swimmer magazine, I'm hoping that will help the breast stroke kick... maybe the dolphins. I'm also committing myself to get into a routine with Yoga, which I have only been doing sporadically over the last year. There I wrote it, so now I have to do it.

    Anthony (my middle son) ran well today in his cross country meet. I don't know how he feels about the race, he might have even been a little disappointed at running a few seconds slower than last week, but the course was more hilly and it was a lot warmer this week. Plus, I think he took off several minutes from his time at this same meet last year. Here he is coming into the finish today (on the far right):

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    And here he is after the race, which started at 11:15, so they really did have the heat to contend with:

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  13. Ugh.

    by , September 6th, 2013 at 01:12 AM (Alex's swim journal)
    My workout on Tuesday morning, the first one back at the Kenosha Y in a while, was long, but lackluster. I think I made a mistake in my warm-up. Here's what I did:

    WU (1100/20:00):
    400 EZ swim
    100 fr on 1:45
    150 fr on 2:45?
    200 fr on 3:30
    250 fr on 4:30

    MS1 (1400):
    24 x 50 in 4IMO on 1:00 (3 x thru 400 IM)
    200 recovery swim
    Master's minute

    MS2 (1000):
    8 x 100 in 4IMO on 2:00 (2 x thru 400 IM)
    200 recovery

    MS3 (600):
    400 IM on 8:00 (7:06)
    200 recovery

    4100/75-80 minutes

    My big mistake was not doing any stroke work in the warm-up; I usually do 4 x 100 IM on 2:00 or 2:15 before a lot of stroke work in the main sets. I didn't do it this time and I felt the difference (In my defense I was thinking that doing the equivalent of 6 x 400 IM was a lot of work on each stroke, so I didn't want to overdo it by adding stroke into the warm-up). The other mistake I made was not doing any faster 50s in the warm-up. Again, my rationale was that I had a long set of 50s ahead of me, so no need to overdo the 50s. That was a mistake too. My body has gotten used to swimming progressively shorter distances faster throughout the warm-up, but the change had me swimming progressively longer distances at roughly the same speed... my "just started my warm-up" speed. I think these two factors contributed to the difficulty I had finding a rhythm, or hitting the faster times I've been making on similar intervals and sets this summer. Maybe I'm finally just fizzling out at the end of a long summer and need a few days of recovery...

    So, of course, I decided to lift weights yesterday for the first time in more than 3 months... right before my recovery swim... which ended up being a recovery slog. I did 2200, lots of drill with pull buoy and short fins, but all I could really feel was how dead my legs were. Tonight I did 3000, nothing too difficult, but wow, was I surprised at how off I felt: speed nowhere near where it has been in the last couple of months. Here's what went down:

    WU (1000):
    400 EZ swim (alternated fr/pull by 100s) on 8:00
    4 x 100 IM on 2:00 (desc. 1:45-1:43+... yeah, not much descent!)
    4 x 50 on 1:00 (:38-:40)

    MS (1000):
    8 x 100 on 2:00 (fr, except every 4th was BK; fr was 1:28-1:30; bk 1:40-1:42)
    200 pull (alt. fr and bk by 100)

    CD (1000):
    4 x 50 fr (:40-:42)
    4 x 100 IM on 2:00 (1:45-1:47)
    400 EZ (alt. fr and bk by 50; first 200 w/ pull buoy)

    3000/61 minutes

    Again, I felt out of it and tired. Maybe I'll take a day off tomorrow and see if I can come back and manage something more convincing this weekend. Just feel like I've been swimming twice as hard, but going twice as slow.
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  14. Grays Lake swim

    by , September 2nd, 2013 at 11:55 AM (Alex's swim journal)
    So three of us met this morning on Jones Island Park and did the second pirate swim. This time diagonally across and down the length of Grays Lake in Lake county, IL. The route measures .531 miles on Geodistance, so a 1.062 mile round trip trek. Here's the screen shot of the route from geodistance.com:

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    We met again at 7AM; Dirk drove all the way in from about an hour west of Chicago area. Mike and I followed his navigation on the water, which was spot on. Mike used a medium size ISHOF swim buoy and Dirk let me try out his large-sized one. These things are great... nice visibility and I didn't even feel like it was there most of the time. I liked not having to wear a brightly colored cap on the swim as a result of being able to tow the buoy. In the middle of the lake I rolled over on my back to de-fog my goggles and the buoy was right there; I went vertical for a moment to see if it would hold my weight and it did quite nicely.

    Grays Lake was beautiful. Water was just about perfect in terms of temperature, and it was calm and still for us... swimming on a mirror practically. It was only really weedy for about 25-50 yards on the Jones Island side; the other side had a very mushy bottom, but not much in terms of weeds, so that was nice. Another nice feature of this lake was the lack of motorized boating. there were a few kayakers out and about, but that was it.

    Here's a picture of the park from across the road at the parking lot where we met:
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    Here's a view of the lake looking across from our starting point, notice the gorgeous weather we're having (where was that on Saturday AM when we were doing the 5K postal?! ):

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    It sounds like Mike and I both did doubles yesterday... since we managed to get an additional workout in after our morning swim... his team practiced Sunday evening and I went back out to Lake Andrea, met Scotty, and did about 1500 in the lap swim area (included about 350 in fly)... Scotty and I are looking forward to having the Kenosha YMCA open again on Tuesday. For now... a rest. It's been a great Labor Day weekend of swimming.

    Thanks also to Dirk for bringing me a copy of the split sheet from the 5K postal attempt. Looks like my first 1000, even as creaky as it felt, still came in at 18:19. The next 1000 was 18:13, then the 3rd K was 18:40 (guess I was subconsciously relaxing right before the final 2K push). I'm very pleased with this swim. Thanks to Dirk and his great lifeguards and timers... next year, fingers crossed, we'll make the full 5K.

    Next weekend: maybe another lake swim, we'll see. Mike is going to do a little reconnaissance for us. It's fun swimming with these guys!
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  15. Diamond Lake swim

    by , September 1st, 2013 at 12:21 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    The first in what might become many in this pirate swim series (we certainly won't run out of lakes in Lake county, IL or Kenosha county, WI any time soon)!

    Here was the scene from the parking lot where we started:

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    A nice little mist was starting to roll in as we finished. Mike and I had a good swim... nice comfortable pace, the water was nearly perfect. Not a lot of boat traffic, though we did see a waterskier as we were standing in the parking lot after the swim. I just plugged the route into Geodistance and it came up as a roundtrip of .733 miles, so about 3/4 of a mile. We could have taken a more southerly route but there were some fishermen in boats to the south and the inlet I thought we might want to aim for had more boat traffic than our stretch swimming out just north of the park. Here's a shot I took from the boat ramp right after arriving, you can see how inviting it is with the sun just rising behind me:

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    The route on Geodistance is marked out here in the satellite image...

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    It was good fun; a nice relaxing Sunday morning swim. Tomorrow maybe we'll hit Grays Lake since it is a holiday... 7AM was a great time to start. I texted Scotty (my usual training bud from Kenosha Y) to see if he wanted to do it and he said I was nuts (to which I responded "I am what I eat!"). I'll get him out into the open water one of these days!
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