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  1. PRs, 50 and 100 SCY... GTD update

    by , December 3rd, 2012 at 12:31 AM (Alex's swim journal)
    So, I'm much more of an endurance junkie, but I also know that I have to mix in sprint work every now and again to be able to hold faster times for longer distances. Friday I had intended to do an easy 2-3,000 yards. I did a bunch of drills and some easy freestyle, then my friend Scotty showed up. He was doing some interval 200s and was starting to struggle, so I decided to pace him a bit. I did the last 100 with him (that's about how far I can keep up with him when he's doing his fast 200s. We finished right about the same time and he said "whoa, you're flying... what's up?" I didn't really think anything of it, but he said our split for that 100 was about 1:20. That's really fast for me. On his next 200 I told him I would swim the first 100 and the last 50 with him. I came in at 1:18, a new PR for me. Anyway, I managed to help motivate him through the rest of his set and get some unexpected speed work in; it was fun. I finished the day with 3000 yards.

    Saturday, I swam a slow 5000... my distance day. I probably came in at 90 minutes.

    Today, feeling a little stiff from the last few days, I went in to swim some EZ freestyle just to loosen up. I met Scotty again and since we're doing the WI Masters SCM meet next Saturday he agreed to help me with my starts. Now that I have the flip turns down it is time to add the final piece so that I don't embarrass myself too badly at my first meet. I've never gone off the blocks before at the pool (and I haven't started from any blocks whatsoever since my high school track days--25 years ago this spring!). Scotty was really good about giving me pointers, so now I'm not as intimidated by going off the blocks. I decided I wanted to know what the difference in time might be between going off the blocks and a push start, so we timed a 50 free. I came off the blocks OK, nothing spectacular (but no belly flop either) and nailed the flip turn at the other end... other than that I just tried to relax and keep my turn over high. I hit the wall and Scotty said :31. That's five seconds faster than my fastest 50 free (that I can remember), so I was pretty stoked about that. I'm looking forward to seeing what I can do in the meet with a racing start off the blocks.

    GTD: I'm at more than 496 miles for the year now. Still in the top 20 for age group and closing in on the 500-mile goal!
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  2. Post Turkey, poop in the pool

    by , November 30th, 2012 at 11:28 AM (Alex's swim journal)
    Getting back into the normal routine this week after a refreshing break (not from swimming, but from my usual venue and workouts). Monday I decided to focus on just swimming smoothly, with a little bit of up-tempo pace work at shorter distances, so here's what I did:

    100 fr
    100 br
    100 bk
    500 fr on 9:00
    10 x 50 on :55 (mostly :44-:45)
    100 br
    500 fr on 9:00
    10 x 50 on :55 (Mostly: 45-:46)
    100 br
    500 fr on 9:00
    10 x 50 on :55 (mostly :47)
    100 br
    100 bk
    100 fr

    3800 SCY in 70 minutes.

    Tuesday's workout consisted of about 2000 in drills, kick, and pull before I did a 1000 continuous swim in which I had 4 hard 200s each followed by a recovery 50--all freestyle. My 200s were between 3:10 and 3:15, which is in my 1500/1650 pace range... yes, I know, pretty slow; but I've been on something of a plateau this year.

    Wednesday was a total bust because I waited until after work to try to get to the Y (lately I've been stopping on my way in or during the lunch hour). I made it to the Y about 6:45P, but by the time I got changed and spent twenty minutes in the steam and sauna rooms (I've been drinking tons of water and trying to sweat out the toxins to avoid the cold I felt coming on at the beginning of the week... it seems to have worked) the pool was CLOSED DOWN... 1 hour, 45 minutes earlier than normal! Some kid took a dump in the pool.... grrrr! Darn you, pooping kid!

    Yesterday's workout is one I've gone back to several times this fall and I felt like I was swimming it a little stronger: 4000 SCY in 80 minutes, 3000 of which was hard swimming (faster than LT pace).

    500 warm-up (mix of fr, br, and bk)--10 minutes
    20 x 50 on 1:00 (mostly :39-:41)
    no rest
    10 x 100 on 2:00 (mostly 1:29-1:30)
    no rest
    5 x 200 on 4:00 (3:10, 3:09, 3:08, 3:10, 3:11)
    500 cool-down (mix of fr, br, and bk)--10 minutes

    My goal here was to be swimming faster than 1500 pace, but stay relaxed; the last 100 of those 200s at the end of the workout was tough though; falling off from :45-:46/50y pace to :49-:50/50.

    EZ day today... we'll see what I manage to get in. Tomorrow I'll do a distance day.
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  3. Swimming it off...

    by , November 25th, 2012 at 08:18 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    After the nearly week-long food binge I stepped on the scale at the Kenosha Y this afternoon (we flew into O'Hare this morning and pulled into town just after noon)... And I somehow lost two pounds this week!

    I did one last swim, 3K continuous, at Deep Eddy yesterday morning. Air temps in the 50s, water 70, sunny and bright... felt wonderful. The last outdoor swim for a while for me. I decided to go to the Y this afternoon (after the Bears game) to decompress. The long flight left me feeling tight; I thought about skipping today, but thought better of it. By the time I got in the water I had exactly 44 minutes before they closed the pool. So I just did a lot of drill work: 2400 yards total.

    Warm-up:
    100 free
    100 breast
    100 back
    100 free w/ fins
    100 kick w/ fins/board

    Drills (w/ fins):
    100 spear
    100 shark tail
    100 sail
    100 corkscrew
    100 back kick
    200 side kick series
    100 kick w/ board

    5 x through:
    100 pull
    100 free (hard)

    Cool-down:
    100 br

    The scale, post-swim, was very generous to me. I think I did a lot more walking in Austin on top of my swimming regimen... maybe that helped reduce the "bottom" line. But I'm encouraged.
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  4. Thanksgiving swims...

    by , November 23rd, 2012 at 05:21 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    Back in Austin with the extended family for a few days and able to swim outside again for the last time until late next spring probably, barring another unforeseen trip south. I took advantage of the spring-fed waters of Deep Eddy pool again. Two miles on Wednesday and another two today. water temp at around 70 and air temps between 65 (today) and 75 (Wednesday). It couldn't be a more perfect break from the indoor pool at the Kenosha Y.

    Here are a couple of pics of the pool from Eiler's Park next door:

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    I just passed the 480-mile mark for the year and my weekly mileage is creeping back up as I get ready for another long-distance build-up; not too early to start mentally prepping for next summer's open water season.
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  5. Body Position Drills

    by , November 16th, 2012 at 04:23 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    I was looking back through the Open Water work-out thread by Anne Cleveland this week and found the body position drills, which I thought could help me out. I needed a mostly "drill" day after the hard interval day yesterday. Here's what I did:

    WARM-UP (500 yards):
    100 fr
    100 br
    100 bk
    100 pull
    100 kick w/ fins

    DRILLS W/ FINS (1100 yards):
    100 spear
    100 (50 pull/50 kick)
    100 sharkfin
    100 pull/kick
    100 sail
    100 pull/kick
    100 corkscrew
    100 pull/kick
    100 back kick
    100 pull/kick
    100 fr swim

    COOL-DOWN (600 yards):
    100 fr
    100 pull
    100 fr
    100 br
    100 bk
    100 fr

    I'm still using zoomer style fins for most of my drills since my ex-runner's legs still haven't developed a strong kick yet. Hopefully the fins will help move that along at the same time that they help me keep momentum in my drills.
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  6. 4500 interval workout

    by , November 16th, 2012 at 01:02 AM (Alex's swim journal)
    Last night I only had 40 minutes before the Y closed, so I did little more than an extended warm-up--1750 in 35 minutes broken up like so:

    100 fr
    100 br
    100 bk
    500 EZ fr
    10 x 50 on 1:00 (~:45)
    100 bk
    100 br
    250 EZ fr

    Today I had about an hour and a half, so I did the following:

    Warm-up:
    100 fr
    100 br
    100 bk

    MAIN Sets:
    10 x 100 on 2:00 (1:32-1:36)
    10 x 100 on 1:45 (1:34-1:36)
    10 x 100 on 2:00 (1:31-1:38)
    10 x 50 on 1:00 (:44-:46)

    Cool-down:
    100 br
    100 bk
    500 EZ fr (probably 1:45-1:50/100 pace).

    This was much more grueling than I expected... I really have lost endurance from last summer when I could do a workout with 5 sets of 10 x 100 on intervals from 2:00 to 1:40. Today I only had 3500 of not so hard swimming with generous intervals and still felt like crud by the end. The EZ 500 in the cool-down was encouraging though.
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  7. Broken 1650

    by , November 13th, 2012 at 06:55 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    Today I decided, after a rest day, to test myself to find out where I might be for my target event in December... and SCM 1500. Here's how the work-out went:

    WARM-UP (1650 total):
    300 (fr/br/bk)
    500 EZ (8:14)
    10 x 50 on 1:00 (:41-:43)
    100 br
    100 bk
    150 EZ free

    MAIN SET (1650 total*):
    500 fr
    400 fr
    300 fr
    200 fr
    100 fr
    50 fr
    100 fr
    *mile pace (1:36/100), :10 rest after each step of the ladder (total time = 27:24; swim time = 26:24)

    COOL-DWN:
    100 br
    100 bk
    150 EZ fr
    50 br

    I'm pretty pleased with this result... I know it's slow, but my fastest mile (1750 SCY) ever was a 27:40 time trial I think (I'll have to check); so I haven't lost that much fitness since this summer (though it feels like I've lost a lot sometimes). I think I'll use 27:20 as my seed-time for the meet because I honestly don't know how swimming SCM vs. SCY is going to affect my time. This will set an interesting benchmark for me. A year and a half ago I spent several months just trying to get my 1750 down below 30:00 and I dropped 5 minutes off of my mile; but I've struggled since then to take any time off at all. I don't think I've lost ground, but I'd love to break 25 minutes in the 1650 (and eventually the 1750). Just need to be consistent about my regimen to see that kind of improvement.
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  8. Weekend "swims"

    by , November 11th, 2012 at 07:51 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    My "swimming" (so-called because it takes place in the water and represents an intention on my part to emulate that activity, which others do so proficiently... and not because what I was doing looked very much like swimming), my so-called "swimming" was really pathetic Saturday and Sunday. I ran out of time both days and ended up in the pool in the last hour before closing time at the YMCA, which always makes me feel rushed. I thought I would just do a time-trial 3000 instead of the postal, since that's about all I had time for on Saturday. I didn't warm-up and realized about 200-yards in that my legs were going to be a lot more sore from that kick-drill work-out than I wanted. Then, my breathing was off, my flip-turns awkward, eventually I started cramping... so I scratched on the time trial and just did 2500, calling it a day with 15 minutes to closing time.

    Today I only had 45 minutes, so I did the following:
    300 warm-up (fr/br/bk)
    500 fr EZ swim
    100 br
    100 bk
    10 x 50 on :55 (:41-:45)
    300 cool-dwn (fr/br/bk)

    1800 total in 35 minutes

    I just wasn't feelin' it this weekend. Hope I have a little more time next weekend and that my swims are normal this week.
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  9. Kick day...

    by , November 9th, 2012 at 05:28 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    I'm just not a fan of kick drills, but after 5000 yards yesterday I felt like I needed to spend a day just doing drills and maybe stretching out with some easy freestyle... so I did 1000 in kick drills (900 w/ the fins). Here it is:

    300 wm-up (fr/br/bk)

    100 kick w/ board
    w/ fins:
    100 side kick drill (12 + 1)
    100 (50 pull/50 kick board)
    100 side kick drill (12 + 1)
    100 (50 pull/50 kick board)
    100 side kick drill (6 + 1)
    100 (50 pull/50 kick board)
    100 side kick drill (6 +3)
    100 (50 pull/50 kick board)
    200 side kick drills (12, 6, 6 + 3, bk)
    100 swim w/ fins

    500 swim, fr (8:34)

    300 cool-dwn (br/bk/fr)

    I was in the water for 47 minutes, 2300 yards total. I didn't pay attention to the clock (except for that 500 free toward the end). So I was able to keep it relaxed.

    Maybe there's a 3000 postal in me for tomorrow after all... we'll see how the legs feel when I wake up tomorrow.
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  10. 5000-yard workout

    by , November 8th, 2012 at 06:02 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    I missed my workout yesterday... for a good cause (more on that below); so today I felt like I had to make up ground. I started off sluggish, but picked up a little steam. I finished the workout with 5000 total yards in just under 1:45.00, the longest workout I've done since this summer. Here's what I did:

    WARM-UP:
    300 (100 each fr/br/bk)
    500 free on 9:00
    100 br
    100 bk

    SET #1:
    10 x 50 on 1:00 (mostly :43-:44)
    10 x 100 on 2:00 (middle 4-6 at 1:25-1:27)

    300 (br/bk/fr) + 2 minutes rest

    SET #2:
    5 x 200 on 4:00 (all in 3:07-3:09)
    5 x 100 on 2:00 (1:31-1:36)

    COOL-DOWN:
    200 (br/bk)
    500 easy free (counting strokes, stretching it out)

    The two sets, 1500 each, add up to 3000 yards of really hard swimming for me. That's a confidence builder!

    So, the reason I missed yesterday's workout was because of a super busy day ending with the happy occasion of Anthony's (he's my middle son) Cross Country team banquet and award ceremony. I'm happy to see the next generation of kids embrace the endurance sports, so this is always a neat event. And this year Anthony received the "Most Improved" award for the boys team.... He worked really hard for that and I am super proud of him!

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    What a great smile (thanks to the orthodontist for that one!)... oh, and don't tell Anthony I put his picture up; I don't want to embarrass him unduly.
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  11. (in)Decision 2012

    by , November 6th, 2012 at 07:17 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    Today I elected to do a longish workout (4400 yards total), trying to figure out where my pace is... here was my workout:

    500 free wm-up on 10:00
    10 x 50 on 1:00 (these were all :39-:40)
    200 breast (4:10)

    MAIN Set [2000 in 36:00]:
    1 x 400 on 7:00 (6:22)
    2 x 300 on 5:30 (4:55, 4:55)
    3 x 200 on 3:40 (3:15-3:20)
    4 x 100 on 1:45 (1:35-1:38)

    Lactate clearance set:
    200 breast (4:00)
    100 back (too slow to count!)
    500 free (1:45-1:50/100 pace)

    Cool-down:
    100 breast
    100 back
    200 free

    The 50s at the end of the warm-up were fast, but not all-out... I was nailing my flip turns, so that felt good, but mostly I was just trying to swim fast enough so that my :48-:50 pace per 50 would feel easy on my main set. It worked. I felt pretty loose during the 400 (in which I averaged just under a :48 pace), though it was indeed challenging... especially knowing I was going to turn around and do a couple of 300s, trying to hold the same pace. In all, 2000 yards of hard swimming in 36 minutes left me feeling pretty fatigued, but in a good way.

    Since I didn't get one of my postals in last weekend, I have to think really hard about whether or not I want to go for the 3000 or the 6000, realistically I'm not going to be able to do both before the November 15 deadline. Maybe I'll do the 6000 this Saturday (have the kids take turns recording my laps)... and then, since the 3000 doesn't take as long I might convince one of my family members to count laps for me next Tuesday or Wednesday night before the deadline. I'm not really in shape right now for a 6000... hence my hesitation. And Turning around and doing a 3000 hard just a few days after a hard 6000 is not going to result in good times (not that I'm breaking any records anyway, I'm only racing myself!).

    I think I'll see how the rest of the week's workouts feel and make my decision on Friday.
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  12. Progress report...

    by , November 1st, 2012 at 06:39 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    The last couple of weeks have been pretty good for my swimming. I passed the 450-mile mark for the year. My weekend long swim is back up to 5000 yards... I'm looking at doing the 3000 and 6000 postals on successive weekends here at the beginning of November. The flip-turns have gotten a lot better, though still a bit inconsistent. Also, I'm cautiously re-introducing interval training into the routine as my body seems to have adapted to the additional (or just different) stresses of the flip-turn. This is what I did today:

    500 warm-up
    10 x 50 on 1:00 (:43-:45)
    100 breast
    10 x 100 on 2:00 (1:33-1:36)
    100 breast
    5 x 200 on 4:00 (3:20)
    100 breast
    500 cool-down

    [3800 total in 74 minutes]

    This is similar to a 4K workout I did last Thursday; my times last Thursday were faster, especially on the 200s and I added another 1000 in intervals after the 200 set (5 x 100 on 2:00 and 10 x 50 on 1:00). The intervening weekend was hectic as my 92-year old Grandpa passed away and I drove to Austin for the funeral (about 2400-miles roundtrip; 40 hours in the car). But I couldn't miss it, and it was so great to see all the family and reminisce a little about the long life of that wonderful man... he's an inspiration to me.

    While in Austin I did a couple of stress-melting swims at Deep Eddy, about 4K total. The water was perfect (70 degrees) and the air temps weren't bad (50s), though they were cool enough to keep a lot of folks away. Not nearly as crowded as it was this summer... here's a picture of the pool I took in August:
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    Didn't have to circle swim on Sunday or Monday mornings (or even share a lane), unlike in the summer. It was perfect fall weather, though, a true blessing to be swimming through spring water on a sunny, crisp Autumn day in Austin.

    My thoughts are with the folks cleaning up from that terrible storm on the East coast. Hope you're all back to normal soon!
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  13. Interruptions...

    by , October 16th, 2012 at 07:16 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    Haven't been able to get in as much yardage as I'd like in the last few days. Something always seems to stand in the way. Only managed 2000 on Saturday and another 2K on Sunday. Today I had to cut my workout short because they had a HS swim meet coming in at 4 and wanted to have the pool cleared out at 3:30. Here's what I managed to get in anyway:

    3300 SCY in 62-64 minutes

    --1100 warm-up:
    [100 EZ free
    5 x 100 drill w/ fins alternating w/
    5 x 100 pull]
    --2000 main set:
    [1 x 400 on 7:30
    2 x 300 on 5:30
    3 x 200 on 3:30
    4 x 100 on 1:45]
    --200 cool-down (breast)

    I'm a little bit wary of my suddenly "trick" shoulder. Still can't really figure out what I did to it this weekend. It seems to be a lot better today and it doesn't bother my freestyle stroke at all unless I'm really pushing the pace.

    I've let go of the filp-turn for now in case that's what might be causing extra stress on the neck and shoulder. I think I need to incorporate some dry land resistance and flexibility training regardless.... I just never seem to find the time.
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  14. 3500 more; feeling better

    by , October 12th, 2012 at 07:27 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    I got in today feeling a lot better. I hadn't done the steam room or sauna in months, but the last couple of days I've spent some time in there before and after swims to try and warm up, maybe sweat out some of the yuckies. I opted for a long warm-up today... here's the whole workout:

    --1000 warm-up [Alternated 100s between drill (w/ fins) and pull].
    --100 breast
    --1K on 20:00 [this was 1000 free (17:40) and 100 breast (2:00)].
    --1K on 20:00 [another 1000 free (18:00) + 100 breast; on the freestyle I did the 3rd, 6th and 9th 100s at a little bit faster pace (1:40 instead of 1:45-1:50) and incorporated flip-turns, some of which were better than others]
    100 back-kick holding streamline (2:20)

    I also mixed in sprint 25s (four of them) after each 1K and at the end of the work out; these were in :18-19

    3500 in ?? [probably 65-70 minutes]

    I'm still not real happy with the flip-turns b/c every once in a while I have a real stinker (at one point today I missed the wall altogether... whiff!), and I'm not convinced that I'm gaining much if any time on the ones I do stick pretty well. Open turns maybe slower, but at least they're consistent. I'll keep at it, and may even work on the dolphin kick (my goal on turns is usually to keep my legs as streamlined as possible so as not to create any drag... the idea that they might actually be a source of propulsion is a little foreign still at this stage!).

    Scotty wants to get in a 6 x 500 on 10:00 workout tomorrow. It will be a good opportunity to maybe time trail myself on the 500. I think we're going to have to get that in a little earlier than we have been swimming on Saturdays this fall... tomorrow is family day at the Y: water zumba in the lap pool at noon and then family open swim after than!
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  15. Back in the water

    by , October 12th, 2012 at 04:08 AM (Alex's swim journal)
    So, my aches on Monday were the start of a nasty bug. Never ran a fever but have felt pretty weak since Monday.

    I got back in the water today after missing 3 days. I only did 1850, but I did mix in 3-4 hard 100s... I hit one in 1:23, which is a lot faster than I've been doing in a long while.

    Illness sometimes has bonus effect of suppressing appetite... two pounds lighter on the scale today.
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  16. 6000-yard weekend

    by , October 8th, 2012 at 11:05 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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  17. Hate flip-turns...

    by , October 5th, 2012 at 07:30 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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  18. Flipping out

    by , October 4th, 2012 at 06:05 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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  19. It's been a while...

    by , October 2nd, 2012 at 04:21 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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  20. Barton Springs...

    by , August 21st, 2012 at 01:01 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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