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  1. 6000-yard weekend

    by , October 8th, 2012 at 10:05 AM (Alex's swim journal)
    I managed to get in 6000 yards this weekend... only 2500 on Saturday (continuing to work on flip turns). My neck has gotten really sore over the last few days of trying to keep up the yardage while introducing flip-turns, so Sunday I decided to go back to open turns just to give those muscles in my neck a break. I did 3500 in 63 minutes, mostly freestyle, but I did some breast and back as well.

    Today I just feel achy all over; hope I'm not coming down with something... I think I'll take the day off unless I start feeling a lot better this afternoon.
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  2. Hate flip-turns...

    by , October 5th, 2012 at 06:30 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    Still don't have the hang of the flip-turns, but I did I lot of them today (I swam 3500 mostly freestyle, continuously).

    My timing is way off and I'm having a hard time keeping track of my pace. I feel like my streamline off the wall is falling apart or my distance is off and so my push from the legs is often ineffective... it seems like I'd be better off just doing open turn, where I know I can get a good push and streamline every wall (plus peek at the pace clock). But I'll stick with it 'cuz I know it takes practice.
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  3. Flipping out

    by , October 4th, 2012 at 05:05 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    I missed yesterday's swim b/c I was dealing with a backlog of paperwork and time got away from me. So today I almost forgot that I was supposed to begin working on flip-turns. Scotty was already in the water when I got there and seeing him reminded me... it's good to be held accountable! I had made a pledge to forgo any further open-turns once October rolled around--as comfortable as those open-turns have been for me over the last couple of years. It was time to make good.

    Here's what I did:

    5 minutes practicing flip-turns floating into the wall.
    600 warm-up with flip-turns
    10 x 50 on 1:00 (:43-:45)
    10 x 100 on 2:00 (1:34-1:36)
    10 x 50 on 1:00 (:44-:46)
    100 breast
    [2200 total in 50 minutes]

    So, every once in a while I would just nail the turn and feel pretty good. Every once in a while I would flop and sputter; often I felt like an errant bottle rocket, squirting all over the lane. One thing I have to figure out is my breathing going into the wall. Because my open turn has accustomed me to getting a quick breath at the wall, I would neglect to breathe then come out of the turn with my lungs bursting (or so it seemed) looking for that breath.

    I liked doing the 50s, though they were slow, because I only had the one flip. The 100s were challenging because I had to maintain that concentration for 3 turns. I'm hoping it gets better. I guess it's like anything, it will take a lot more practice.
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  4. It's been a while...

    by , October 2nd, 2012 at 03:21 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    Wow, it's been a while since I've had a moment's breath to blog; I have been swimming fairly regularly, but cutting way back on the yardage after pushing myself to the brink of overtraining at the beginning of August. After several straight months of 50-60 miles swimming, I dropped back to 25-30 in August and September. Disappointed I didn't get to do a 10K postal this year, but that's OK. There's always next year.

    Scotty and I are planning to go to the WI State SCM meet in December; so now I'm easing back into the harder training. Here's what I did today:

    1100 on 20:00 (19:30)
    1100 on 19:00 (18:30)*
    1100 on 20:00 (20:00)
    200 cool-down
    [3500 in 63 minutes]

    *4 x 200 (3:01; 3:07; 3:09; 3:14), 50 active rest after ea 200; then 100 breast.

    I'll try to work in some 100s and some 50s this week too. Also, I promised Scotty I'd start flip-turns in October... guess I'll practice that tomorrow.
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  5. Barton Springs...

    by , August 21st, 2012 at 12:01 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    Did a mile this morning at Barton Springs... air temps in the 70s, water in the springs... always 68. Felt like I was exercising and icing my sore muscles at the same time. Here are some pics:

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    I love that you can see part of the Austin skyline from this vantage, too. Not a very busy morning...

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    the waters were very clear and I was enjoying the view of the Spring's topography and aquatic life... tons of fish today; and they seem completely unconcerned about the humans lumbering about in the surface.
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  6. Recovery...

    by , August 20th, 2012 at 10:42 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    It's been a while since I've had the breathing space to write an entry; my guess is I was pretty overtrained at the beginning of August... trying to keep up with a challenging training regimen and burning the candle at both ends with work finally caught up to me and, well, things fell apart. I did some reading on the internet about overtraining and I had 80% of the classic symptoms. So I took three days off of exercise and concentrated on getting through the end of summer school.

    Friday, 8/10/12, I got home from work around 6:30 PM... exhausted, splitting headache (which I'd been carrying around for hours), and staring down a four hour drive to what I described at the time as the arctic circle. My wife had planned one last family camping trip before sending our oldest off to college. The last family vacation? Very sad. We were meeting four other families at a camp ground just a few miles from the WI-MI (upper peninsula) border... on Saturday's agenda: whitewater rafting. The drive up on Friday was not fun. I joked that we would be driving so far north that the four-lane highway would eventually shrink to two, then to a dirt road and become an episode of Ice Road Truckers before we got to where we were going... and that's pretty much what happened. After setting up tents at midnight we finally settled in, temps were cool (mid 50s), but pleasant for sleeping. I woke up pretty refreshed. and we ate a hearty camp breakfast and headed to the outfitters for rafting. That was a pretty cool experience, when I get a hold of some of the photos I'll post them here. We started on the WI side of the Menominee river and ended on the MI side. Lots of category 2 rapids and one brief section of cat 4 with a really nasty rock waiting for us at the bottom of the waterfall.

    When we got back to the campground, this was the sight that was awaiting me:
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    I couldn't believe it. The water was a nice balmy 70 degrees... I waded right in and swam out to deep water, then turned parallel with the shoreline and swam for a few minutes. I probably didn't do more than 500 yards, but it felt good to swim.

    Since then I've been easing back into it. Last week I did a few 2000-yard workouts (one in the St. Louis, South City YMCA... 84 degrees!) and drove my son down to Texas State. We're staying with family in Austin, so this gives me the opportunity to visit some of my favorite Austin haunts. I've already put in 6+ miles of swimming in Deep Eddy the last 4 days. Tomorrow I'm going to try to go to Barton Springs bright and early.
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  7. Overtraining... or over thinking

    by , August 6th, 2012 at 11:19 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    The last few days have been something of a bummer. After a couple of decent, hard workouts toward the middle of last week I ended up missing two days--not in a row, but I've been pretty good about swimming 6 days per week at least for most of the summer. Summer school is winding down and so I've been pretty busy at work... burning the candle at both ends never helps. I was looking forward to going back to Silver Lake, for the long-awaited OW swim there, but there was a call on my machine when I got home: the postponed race has been cancelled outright due to high bacteria levels. Darn.

    So Saturday I went to the Y to time trial myself in the mile; something I haven't done since the end of May. I didn't really know what to expect. 28:10 was the answer, 20-30 seconds slower than my time a couple of months ago. Then I swam a second mile in 30:00 (whereas in May I turned around after a 27:4? and swam another mile in 29:00). Sunday I got to the lake, late in the afternoon, and despite the beautiful glass-like surface and cooler water temps I just didn't have it in me to swim more than a mile. Today I went back after work and wanted to swim two miles, but only did about 3000 before they were blowing the whistle at closing time. I had given myself a good 70 minutes before closing time, so I should have finished the 2 miles in enough time. I slowed to chat a couple of times with fellow swimmers, but really? Am I slowing down that much?

    One thing I've done recently is to go back and look at some video on swimsmooth.com and a DVD I checked out from the library on TI drills... I had felt like I was swimming onto a plateau and was looking for some technique to work on to get myself to the next level. Watching the olympic swimmers has really helped too, though I was confused to see the 1500-m world record broken without much in the way of bilateral breathing... the stroke looked smooth but asymmetrical somehow. So now I'm armed with all of this info and all of these images and I'm trying to find a rhythm in the lake and it's just not happening; very frustrating. There was a 30-meter stretch at one point where I thought I had found the magic elixir of smooth stroke (look out world record!) and then I turned... never again to find that "sweet spot." I think I know what golfers feel like in their frustrated search for the perfect round.

    And to top it all off, I'm sitting at home tonight and my left shoulder is stiffening up, despite the fact that I've swum less in the last 6 days than I have in any 6-day period for the last three or four months. Am I overtraining or over thinking?
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  8. Infernal 100s

    by , July 31st, 2012 at 06:16 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    Today's workout was not about speed, just survival. I felt slow after several days of pretty hard swimming, so I thought I would do an "easy" workout...straight forward, not too challenging physically or mentally. 50 x 100, which ended up kicking my butt. I decreased or increased the interval in step-like fashion after every set of ten, expecting my 100 times to get faster.

    10 x 100 on 2:00 (mostly around 1:40)
    10 x 100 on 1:45 (mostly around 1:37-1:40)
    10 x 100 on 1:40 (1:34-1:41)
    10 x 100 on 1:45 (1:39-1:44)
    10 x 100 on 2:00 (mostly 1:40)

    5000 yards in about 1:35.00

    I think 1:36-1:40 is my aerobic pace; 1:31-1:34 is closer to my threshold pace, and 1:27-1:30 is probably my vO2-Max pace... that's my best guess right now; so this was definitely a pure aerobic set, though I intended to have some threshold work and even a few reps at my VO2-Max pace too. It just wasn't happening today, so I guess my body is a little worn out. I think I'm going to try this workout next week too, to see if I can't improve the times... eventually even drop the intervals further.

    I usually like working in the aerobic range, but this workout just seemed unrelenting in a way that repeat 1000s don't even seem to be. I guess it took me by surprise, given how easy it looked on paper.

    I finished July with more than 360 miles YTD. Since I started swimming again in January 2011 (17 months), I've logged just a bit more than 700 miles in the water.
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  9. Recovery, weekend "sprint" work

    by , July 31st, 2012 at 12:05 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    It's been a few days since I've blogged--I guess things got busy--but I've had some productive swims since my postal 5K last Thursday morning.

    Friday I did a mile in the lake; just a recovery swim, not wanting to do anything but relax and unwind after a long week.

    Saturday and Sunday I did "sprint" workouts at the Y: 7200 total yards for the weekend.

    My Saturday swim was 3 x 1000 on 17:00, followed by a fast 500... 2 miles in 59 minutes. That doesn't seem like "sprint" speed, but it's about as close as this slow-twitch guy is going to come. I was holding a 1:40/100 pace on the 1000s, which felt hard, but not all-out.

    My Sunday swim included some shorter/faster interval work:
    1000 in drills
    10 x 50 on 1:00 (mostly in :38-:39; all under :40)
    20 x 100 on 1:45 (started off mostly at 1:30, then 1:33-1:36 in the last half)
    50 in :45 before aerobic gab session

    I intended to swim a bit more (another full set of 50s), but ran into a co-worker in the next lane who wanted to talk... that's OK, life intervenes. Short cool-down laps rounded out the faster swimming of the weekend.

    Yesterday, despite feeling really tired all day long, I went back to the lake after work and managed to get in two miles... for a recovery swim, it felt pretty good too; not at all the slog I thought it might be. I think my "faster" swimming is helping out.
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  10. 5K Postal results

    by , July 26th, 2012 at 05:24 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    Short version: 1:37:40 (sigh). Wilson outdoor pool, Milwaukee.

    I wasn't as close to my SCY time as I wanted to be, but I'm not going to complain too much... I'm still learning a lot about pacing in LCM and OW. This is only my third LCM swim of the year.

    Long version:
    My oldest son and I arrived about 8AM, to find half the lanes taken by a youth swim team. Uh-oh. I was a little concerned, so I asked the guard and she said the rest of the lanes would more than likely not fill up. And sure enough the morning lap swim was much sparser than the last two evening swims I've made at this pool. There were never more than 2-3 other swimmers at a time for the remaining 4 lanes; so I never had to worry about exceeding the lane-limit.

    I gave my soon-to-be-college-bound son some basic instructions for filling out the split sheet, gave him my cellphone with the stopwatch function set so he could just push the button when I hit the wall and read the time at his leisure, so I would have a pretty consistent idea of how my splits looked when it was all over. The only thing I didn't do that I wish I had, was tell him how to communicate with me... I can't hear underwater, so he was trying to feed me split times and I wasn't getting anything but "your at...gurgle, gurgle." I finally noticed a digital pace clock set up at an angle for the swim team, but I could only really read it when I was 10-20 meters from the edge of the pool... so sometimes I would see it at 10, sometimes at 15, sometimes at 20; from what I could tell, though, it looked I was swimming under 2:00/100. My son is a really smart kid, and a great conversationalist, I imagine it is hard for him not to speak in complete sentences... bless his heart, what I needed was quick, one word pieces of information: 2000; 38:46. What I was getting instead was "Hi, you're pretty consistent, looks like a ..." [splash].

    Around 3000 I was finally able to communicate that I just needed time and distance, or distance and time... he got the idea toward the end.

    As it turns out my pace probably averaged 1:57-1:58 (I'll find out the exact pace when I enter my splits and total time on-line). So I was pretty consistent... consistently slow. I really wanted to be at 1:55, but it just wasn't happening and I had no way of knowing for sure to make the appropriate adjustments. In 25-yard pools I've done 3-mile swims in under 1:30:00, so I thought I could get it under 1:35 at the very least, but not today. At the 1600 (1-mile split) I was at 30:51; close, but slow. The 2nd and 3rd Ks were my slowest: 3200 (2-mile split) was 1:02:27. I know I can break one hour for two miles, and expected to do so; I'm a little disappointed at not doing it.

    Here are my splits by 1000:
    1K = 19:00
    2K = 38:46
    3K = 58:30
    4K = 1:18:08
    5K = 1:37:40

    I was actually shooting for a 19:00/K pace, but slowed too much in kilometers 2-4 (19:46, 19:44, 19:38)... my last K in 19:32 wasn't much of an improvement. The 100s sure click by a lot faster in SCY.

    Silver lining: my pacing is fairly even, if slow, I made 1:57 and 1:58 a lot. And I can feel it when I slow by even a couple of seconds; I'll lose concentration and the rhythm will suddenly be gone. So when I look at the split sheet I think I can really tell when my good stretches were and when the slow ones set in... need to remember the feel of those faster, more rhythmic laps. I can't be sure because I didn't get the splits on the spot, but I suspect that my slower 100s were also the ones that felt harder too. So I still have a lot of technique work to do.

    More silver lining: it's my first LCM 5K. And 13-14 months ago I was having a hard time holding a 2:00/100 pace in SCY for anything over 2-3000 yards.
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  11. Recovery swim in the lake

    by , July 25th, 2012 at 10:07 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    Just did a mile after work today, focusing on stroke rate and hip rock. I passed the 350-mile mark for the year! I feel tired, but hope to get to bed soon.

    Tomorrow is the day for postal 5K; headed up to Milwaukee bright and early in the AM.
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  12. SCY, GTD, Postal 5K preps

    by , July 24th, 2012 at 05:00 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    The thunderstorms in the area earlier today forced me back indoors... to the YMCA. We're now sharing the pool with a new high school team in the neighborhood during my normal lunch-hour swim. But there was plenty of room today. No open swim, so they had just about the same number of lanes open for lap swimming. The High School is just down the street and I guess this is their first official year as an athletic program (Indian Trails was a magnet school up until a couple of years ago and before this year their athletes have competed on one of the other two high school teams in town). It was neat to have so many "serious" swimmers in the pool today.

    After missing my workout yesterday because of a cramped schedule and just a tiny bit of sloth on my part, I was feeling like I needed to get a good workout in. Here's what I did:

    500 Free warm-up (8:40)
    10 x 50 on 1:00 (1-4 were :41-:40, 5-8 were :39, 9-10 were :40-:41)
    10 x 100 on 1:45 (these were all at 1:30-1:31)
    5 x 200 on 3:30 (3:06-3:09,mostly 3:09)
    10 x 100 on 1:45 (1:33-1:37; mostly 1:35)
    10 x 50 on 1:00 (:44-:46; mostly :45)
    200 breast

    Took an extra :20-:30 rest between sets. 4700 SCY in 1:28. My rests were a lot shorter, but I was also holding back just a little bit on my reps; trying to focus more on form. If I had checked my mileage to-date in the FLOG before this workout, I might have done a longer cool-down and made it an even 5000 to push me over 350 miles for the year. Now I'm at 349.8?!

    In the last couple of days I've jumped to #6 in age group for GTD! There is a cluster of swimmers in the 6-9 positions, with our mileage pretty close to one another... I've got the advantage now I think because I put in an 8-mile weekend (Fri-Sun).

    I have a little extra time on Thursday morning this week, so I'm going to the Wilson pool in Milwaukee (it's the closest public LCM) for their lap-swim hours and see if I can get in my Postal 5K. I have to take advantage of the free time my 18-year old son has before he goes off to college in a month. He said he wouldn't mind marking off times (and listening to his iPod), so we'll head up early Thursday morning. I'm real close to 1:30-1:32, easily under 1:35 for 5500 in SCY; we'll see how that translates into 5000 LCM, I hope my times are comparable. I think I'll be happy with anything in the 1:35 range, but I just don't know what to expect having so little long course experience.

    Whatever happens, I can look back on the last year with a great deal of pride in my progress. I've now swum more miles in 2012 so far than I did in all of 2011!
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  13. EZ lake swim; creaky shoulder

    by , July 22nd, 2012 at 08:20 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    ...2 miles in the lake today (65-70 minutes). I really wanted to take it EZ today after yesterday's 5-miler, which had ended with a pretty sore left shoulder. Today I could feel the shoulder tugging a bit, but only on movements that weren't directly involved in the stroke... oddly; like when I was turning on the buoy, for example. My stroke was unaffected, though my range of motion outside the normal stroke felt restricted on the left. This leads me to the conclusion that my soreness may have to do with one (if not a combination) of the following factors:

    1. my open turns in SCY on my hard day this week;
    2. drills in which I employed eccentric movements (aren't those supposed to help with range of motion?)... in particular, the high-overhead swingers;
    3. couple of hours of guitar on Friday night (I haven't played that long in a while... and a more asymmetrical activity is difficult to imagine);
    4. a twisting of the joint while reaching for the wall on my back during a back-kick drill on Thursday or Friday (my backstroke always causes problems... I'm probably pretty imbalanced, which means I avoid backstroke, which probably exacerbates my imbalance, etc.).

    Anyway, I'm pleased as all get-out that my freestyle feels so good and my rhythm is there the day after doing five miles in the same lake. But I'm thinking that it's probably time to start incorporating some dry land work into my routine, to help with range of motion and strengthen that shoulder joint.

    Oh, and Lake Andrea was awesome today... in spite of the late afternoon swim, the waters were calm (no wind) and still fairly cool (doesn't feel like a luke warm bath as it did about a week and a half ago).
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  14. 5-mile lake swim

    by , July 21st, 2012 at 06:01 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    OK, it's been a few days since I blogged; so it's time for an update.

    Today: 5-miles in the lake, took me exactly 3 hours. I set a gatorade bottle up on the beach in the shade of a cinder block and tied my stopwatch to it so I would know what my pace was more or less when I came to shore for a feed after 3 miles. My 3-mile time was 1:45. So my final two miles, which felt a lot slower were at about a 37:00/mile pace... This is the first really long continuous swim I've done since May. Everything since then has been 2-4 miles for some reason.

    The lake water felt cooler today after a drop in temps and some much needed rain over the last couple of days. Probably mid-70s I'd guess. Water was very calm... almost perfect. Not many other swimmers either, though I was worried when I first walked up and saw 4 people tarzan swimming--literally, they never put there heads down during freestyle--a couple of breast-strokers and an elementary back-stroker; none of them circle swimming. They didn't stay long and one by one they were all out of the water by about 8AM.

    My left shoulder was really stiff today, especially in the last 2-3 miles. I think my workout on Thursday might have tweaked it a little (I did 4000 yards SCY, the main set of which included 8 x 200 free on 3:30; all around 3:00-3:05). And yesterday I rested a bit (2400 SCY), but was doing a lot of drills and think that didn't help.

    I popped a couple of advil today when I got back to the house and will do that again tonight.

    All in all, a good week... more than 15 miles (almost 10 OW), plus I got in lake, LCM, and SCY workouts. Feeling pretty good about that.
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  15. 3.5K LCM

    by , July 18th, 2012 at 12:01 AM (Alex's swim journal)
    I was craving a pool, but didn't feel like being back in the indoor SCY box, so I drove up to Milwaukee again and hit the evening swim at Wilson's olympic-sized outdoor pool.

    The Aqua Zumba class was well-attended, providing quite the spectacle for the 4-6 of us who circle swam in the only lane reserved for lap swim. 4-6 swimmers in the lane would seem really crowded in a 25-yard pool, but I felt like we had plenty of room. There was only once that I had to slow down a little bit toward the end of a length (practicing my "drafting"?)... but passed uneventfully at the wall, and generally had a nice, uninterrupted swim. Not that I was burning up the lane with my speed: I did 3K right on an hour. At the hour mark the Zumba class had cleared out, so I took a break for a couple of minutes and then got back in to one of the free lanes for another 500M before calling it an evening.

    I took a stopwatch with me so I could get an idea of what my pace was like and push myself if I started to drop off (there is no pace clock for the evening lap swim). At first I was a little frustrated with how slow my hundreds were... 1:52-1:56 (I was leaving every 2:00 for the first half of the workout at least). But I had to remind myself that this was 100 meters, not yards. Even so, I felt a little slow... perhaps the last 3 days in the lake (2-3 miles each day) has me more worn down than I thought I should be.

    3K/h is not a blistering pace by any means, but it does put me right at 9K for 3 hours, which means that I might be able to get in my 10K postal this summer. I'm trying to figure out the logistics, and I'll do my 5K postal first as a test run, but Wilson only has a 3-hour lap swim weekday mornings (no lap swim on weekends)... so I either have to finish the 10K in 3 hours or convince them to let me stay in just a little longer to get it in. Obviously, I'm a little worried about not making the 3 hours, something pretty drastic has to change for me to be able to make up that much time... I can do 2 mph, but I don't think I will be able to sustain that pace for three hours. 3:20:00 seems more realistic right now.
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  16. Three miles on the lake...

    by , July 15th, 2012 at 04:54 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    The postponement of the Crystal Lake OW swim until early August saw me back at Lake Andrea in Pleasant Prairie, WI, this morning. I got there a little later than usual, but the water was beautiful (warmer sections probably still in the 80s, but I could feel some of that deeper, cooler water cycling in regularly; surface very calm). There was a bigger group of swimmers this morning than the last few Sunday mornings; and I think most of this group was a beginner triathlon class.

    They hadn't been briefed on the concept of circle swimming in the swim area and so I never knew where they were going to be. Three of them seemed to be swimming abreast at one point (a sort of side stroke-breast stroke combo I couldn't figure out exactly). I heard the instructor, who was standing in shallow water about 20 feet away, yell to a doggy-paddler "You are going to waste a lot of energy doing that" (apparently she had asked if this was acceptable for Tri swim). I saw one swimmer doing elementary backstroke... the survival stroke!

    I was getting a little frustrated after my first few laps, but I told myself they can't be in here too much longer. I was wrong. They had been given the task of swimming a quarter mile (eight lengths). I was on my second mile before the last of them cleared out. My two-mile split was two minutes off of my two-mile swim time from yesterday... not bad, considering all the dodging and weaving I had to do to avoid stray torpedoes.

    After mile two I got out for a 2-minute bathroom and gatorade-swig break... then back in for another mile. A solo swimmer again. The water was beautiful, as I mentioned before, so this was a truly blessed experience. Then as I was coming in to the last half mile of that third mile I was joined by a young age-group swimmer. She swam behind me for several lengths and I noticed here gaining on me (doing fly and breast!); I stopped at the turn and told her to go ahead... I was worried she might not want to pass me out of politeness. She switched to free and was pretty quickly ten yards ahead of me; totally smoked me. After a couple more lengths she was stopped at the start of the course and I asked here if she was doing a 400 IM; she said "No, I have zones coming up, and my coach wants me to swim a mile in this lake." She emphasized the "this lake" part in such a way that I understood she would much rather have gotten her laps in at the pool.

    I chuckled and swam on; she had to be maybe 12-13, good kid. I think she passed me one more time before I got out. So I started off the swim annoyed by the middle-age crisis traffic in the swim area and ended the day humbled by a talented tween. I'm laughing (inside) as I write this... humanity is fantastic isn't it?!
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  17. Between thunderstorms...

    by , July 14th, 2012 at 05:11 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    So today I left town at 5AM in time to get registered for the Crystal Lake (IL) OW 2-mile race... and after a rain delay of half an hour they finally decided to postpone the whole thing until Sunday. Boohoo. At least I'm already registered and I can sleep in a little later now that I know exactly where I'm headed. It's a beautiful setting; nice changing and shower facilities. The triathletes are out in force, and with the rain it might just be cool enough for them to wear wetsuits.

    I drove home and after not being able to take a nap decided to hit my local lake for a late morning swim. My stroke adjustments earlier this week are starting to pay dividends as I begin to feel more power coming from my hips, and slight changes in my hand exit/entry are really helping me speed-up my turnover. I did 2 miles in 66 minutes... with 60+ wall-less turns and a couple hundred breast stroke to mix things up it usually takes 70-75 minutes. So I must be doing something right.

    We'll see if I can transfer that skill to the race tomorrow!
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  18. Blowing out the cobwebs...

    by , July 12th, 2012 at 10:36 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    Every once in a while I have to do this kind of workout; it's always daunting, but I always feel great afterward (3500 SCY/70 mins):

    Warm-up (4 mins):
    2 x 50 on 1:00 (:45)
    1 x 50 fist drill
    1 x 50 on 1:00 (:43)

    Main set (60 mins):
    10 x 100 on 2:00 (started off at 1:29-1:28, then settled in at 1:26-1:27)
    5 x 200 on 4:00 (3:03, 3:01, 3:00, 3:05, 3:01)
    10 x 100 on 2:00 (mostly at 1:28, some 1:27s, a couple of 1:29s)

    Cool-down (6 mins):
    200 breast (3:45)
    100 free (1:45)

    It probably doesn't look very fast, and the interval looks long, but I needed the longer rest to keep up the crisper pace. I've gotten so used to swimming at a 1:40-1:45 pace on my long continuous swims over the last few months that I've "forgotten" what 1:28 feels like, or a 3:00/200. I concentrated a lot on my hips and hand entry... trying to get rhythm and thrust from the leverage created by hip movement plus efficient catch... I have a long way to go, but I think I was doing better today than in the past b/c I had something to focus on rather than just trying to "muscle" through as I tired in the final reps.
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  19. Evening lake swim... fighting the chop.

    by , July 11th, 2012 at 10:21 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    Got to Lake Andrea after work this evening and was happy to put in a couple of miles. The chop was brutal in one direction... a nice stiff current to swim against.

    I had gone in thinking I would maybe do a ladder-interval workout, but the conditions dictated a hard 50 in one direction for every recovery 50 in the other. The hard swimming felt good, more efficient than on previous days. I was really working from my hips and felt like I was making good progress. Maybe the fist-swimming drills in the calm pool water helped more than I thought they had at the time... I really needed to use the whole arm in my pull and find some forward thrust from the lower body.
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  20. Pool work... time trial

    by , July 11th, 2012 at 12:24 AM (Alex's swim journal)
    So, I decided to do this workout that caught my attention while I was surfing around looking for drills:

    http://www.active.com/swimming/Artic...500-meters.htm

    I did a modified version of the first set as part of my main set... a "Lactate threshold test set."

    It was modified in two ways. One, I couldn't get to a LCM pool so it had to be yards rather than meters. And two, I ran into my friend and fellow swimmer, Scotty, at the Y and convinced him to do it with me so we could push each other... this was a rare treat because our schedules hardly ever coincide lately, but his pace is a bit faster than mine and he likes to take longer rests. So we agreed to stop after the first 800 TT + 200 EZ, regroup and then start the final 500 (200 TT + 200 EZ + 100 TT) of the set together.

    Warm-up:
    100 EZ Free
    100 side-back kick series
    300 Free alternating fist drill and normal 50s
    100 free

    Main set:
    800 TT (12:32; went out pretty fast (:37, 1:26, 2:58, etc.)
    200 EZ
    rest
    200 TT (2:51; went out in :38, 1:21, avg. :45/50 in last 100)
    200 EZ
    100 Hard (I think this last 100 came in at 1:24-1:26)
    rest
    500 in 8:20
    500 in 8:40

    cool-down:
    4 x 50 on 1:00 (:38-:40)
    100 breast
    200 free in 3:30

    Scotty left after the penultimate 500 in the main set, and I stayed on to put in the final 1000 solo. It was a tiring, but invigorating workout. I'm surprised that when I have someone swimming right next to me I can swim 100 yards in the 1:20-1:25 range. I was shocked on my first 50 of the 800 to see :37 as came to the wall (I do open turns, so it's pretty easy for me to sneak a peek at the clock).

    I guess I'm pleased with the "test" and will probably use it again to gauge my progress. I've come a long way since last year, when hitting that kind of pace for 200 yards and then holding on to finish out the 800 strong would have seemed impossible. Now I feel like I really should be shooting for 1:30/100 as my goal pace for something like a 1500 or mile swim (my mile pace/100 is closer to 1:36 now, SCY)... eventually my pace for 5K or 10K? Sometimes I get impatient with myself and want the times to start dropping faster... one thing that would definitely help me to improve would be to swim with people who are faster than me (like Scotty) on a more regular basis. We don't have a Masters team at the Y, though, so I guess I need to look into some other options.

    After OW season, Scotty and I have talked about doing the WI Masters SCM state meet (it's in December)... if we could get in even just a couple of workouts together each week that would help a lot. September I plan to start working on flip turns and incorporating some sort of drylands routine for strength and power (stuff that seems like work for an endurance junkie like me... I much prefer just to jump in a go for as long as I can, but if it helps improve the times... I should find time to work it in).
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