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Alex's swim journal

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

  1. 800 IM

    by , February 21st, 2013 at 08:58 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    After a day with some relaxing distance swimming and without any short-axis strokes, I was refreshed and ready to go for my first 800 IM... Dreaming up the 2000-yard descending ladder 800, 600, 400, 200 all IM (did I dream that or was this some diabolical nightmare I could not escape? I began to question myself as I hit the wall and turned after 150 fly!)... as I was saying, dreaming up this purgatorial workout is one thing, but actually doing it? I had never done more than 500 IM, never done more than 125 fly at once, I was beginning to question whether 400 IM was such a good idea. Just sent in my registration for the Whitefish Bay meet in March: 4IM, 200 back, free, and breast, 2IM... a good workout to say the least. If I could do an 800 IM and follow it with 6-, 4-, and 2-IMs in the same workout... yes, then I would feel better about that slate of events I just signed myself up for!

    Here it is... IM mount purgatory (or perhaps IM abyss... Dante's Inferno is a series of ever more constricting concentric circles converging on the earth's physical and metaphysical core):

    1000 wm-up swim on 20:00--free/pull by 200 (build pace); finished in 16:07
    800 IM on 16:00 (14:5?)
    600 IM on 12:00 (11:09)
    400 IM on 8:00 (7:13)
    200 IM on 4:00 (3:35)
    6 x 50 pull/free cool-down

    Another 3300 SCY; in 65 minutes.

    Wow, 200 fly is painful! And 150 fly is painful! And, what was so hard about 100 fly? Yeah, it was painful too! At 75 I honestly didn't know if I would stop at the wall at 100; going for 150 seemed like a good idea and things were going fairly smoothly, I was finding something of a rhythm... at 125 I was beginning to doubt that decision. At 150 I willed myself to turn and start back down the lane... stretch, reach, push the sternum, lift the hips, kick... at 175 my lungs were gasping, my shoulders and lats burning, my abs felt like they'd just done 200 crunches, but I knew I was doing this... 200 fly! First 50 of the back portion of the IM was just recovery, like I was clearing acid out of my lats and catching my breath... I was able to build and increase pace on the last 150 Back. As I leaned back to touch the wall and transition over to the front for breast I saw 7:35... wow, I thought, I'm making good time and might have more than a minute to rest before that 16:00 came around. Then I promptly lost 4-5 seconds on my breast leg... this 200 was pretty sucky and it just went on and on and on...! Freestyle, finally, but I was too tired to push it hard... cruised to a 3:20-something 200 for that leg, maybe it was in the 3:10s (I honestly can't remember if I was in the 14:40s or 14:50s when I finished)... it didn't matter, I was done! My first 800 IM. And in a little more than a minute I would be turning around to do my first 600 IM... 150s seemed a little easier than 200-yard legs, but I was pretty gassed. The fly was steady, the back actually felt good after only about 25 yards, breast was miserable, but improving slightly... during my free leg I kept thinking how similar this feels to the last 150 of a 5k! Maybe that means I'm doing something right. 400 IM was a piece of cake by comparison... never had a "recovery" length and ended up finishing in 7:13 (the seed time I sent in for 400 IM is 7:00; my practice PR being 6:59). 200 IM was not as good (I almost took a backstroke flip turn at the 100 mark... it seemed so weird to have only 50 yards of back!), but I was tired...

    Saw Scotty on the way out and said he should give the workout a try; he shook his head, emphatically, as if trying to ward off some evil spirit. "You're NUTs!" he said.
  2. 3K (3300 SCY)

    by , February 21st, 2013 at 12:45 AM (Alex's swim journal)
    Blog Entry 200!

    Today I needed an easy day... I'm starting to feel the soreness and fatigue of the hard workouts I've been doing over the last couple of months. I'm such a slow-twitch freak, it's still taking me a while to get used to swimming FAST or HARD on a daily basis. Today, I wanted that feeling I used to love... just get in and keep moving, stay aerobic and feel the air in my lungs, the circulation in my veins, that nice warm yet relaxed feel at the end of an hour-long swim, mostly continuous. No long rests, no hard bursts, stay in control. Here's what I did:

    1000 EZ free 17:00 (build to moderate pace)
    1:00 break to switch lanes
    500 Back, steady pace (this took me about 10:10)
    1000 Free, moderate (16:30)
    500 Back, steady (right at 10:00)
    300 free cool-down

    The twist on this nearly continuous EZ swim for about an hour, was the fact that I still managed to work in some backstroke endurance stuff and, since my back has improved so dramatically in the last couple of months, I'm able to use that instead of doing an extra 1000 free.... which means for all intents and purposes it was an EZ day with close to the yardage I've been putting in on my harder days. Three or four months ago I never would have dreamed I could do 1000 in back at basically 1:00/50 pace for an EZ workout, my backstroke was so painfully slow for so long!

    I know, I know... the hard stuff I've been doing over the last couple of months has made those improvements possible, so I'll be back to that soon enough. But it was nice to be able to just relax and enjoy the swim for once. I'm thinking about trying a descending IM ladder for tomorrow while I'm still fresh after the warm-up: 800 IM, 600 IM, 400 IM, 200 IM. No fly or breast today, so I'm hoping a break from that will help me come back with better energy tomorrow. Being a distance guy, I never feel that good about racing a distance that I can't double in practice, so doing even a slow 800 IM and 600 IM will make me feel a lot more confident about being able to swim a hard 400 IM at Whitefish Bay in a week and a half. Those 200s are looming as well... it's gonna be a lactic acid burn fest!