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Alex's swim journal

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

  1. Sleep... ah, yes!

    by , June 24th, 2012 at 10:39 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    I awoke this morning feeling refreshed after my first full night's sleep in over a week. It was a wonderful feeling. And I had no residual soreness or aches from the USMS OW 5K yesterday. I probably didn't swim hard enough (big Homer Simpson "DOH!" here).

    I went to Lake Andrea and swam two miles. The water was noticeably cooler than Morse Reservoir, probably back around 70 after some clouds and a cooler spell late last week (though air temp was up around 90 this afternoon). But I like the way the cool water feels as I swim... it feels therapeutic on working muscles.

    I decided that I needed to do some up-tempo work in the lake, not just in the pool, so I decided to swim hard in one direction and easy back in the other direction. Water was really calm, so I could feel the difference when I increased effort. The distance between the "no wake" buoys at either end of the swim area is about 55-60 yards; a nice little sprint without wall assist. It's not a straight line either, there's a nice little dogleg that you have to account for, so it's good practice for navigation as well. I alternated 10 sprints with 10 relaxed lengths, did a couple of lengths breast stroke, then repeated the set.

    In my final 10 laps of the day I swam hard out and back (110-120 yards), then swam out and back again with a relaxed pace; 5x through.

    It felt like a pretty good workout; I was working off of perceived effort alone, instead of watching a pace clock. A very different experience; not unlike the fartlek runs I used to do cross-country. In fact I think the difference between this kind of swimming and the pace-clock driven pool workout is a lot like the difference between trail running and running on a track or measured road.

    Temps cooled off this afternoon--felt like maybe a front had come through--and I couldn't resist an evening stroll in the county park next to campus. A glorious summer moment:
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  2. Open Water 5K; Morse Reservoir

    by , June 23rd, 2012 at 11:58 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    Click on the thumbnail images to see the photos of our adventure in Indiana...

    My son and I drove into the Indianapolis area last night and were able to get a little sleep (we didn't leave Kenosha, WI until about 6PM, and with the time change it was midnight by the time we were tucked in); after a long week at work and without a full night's sleep in at least a week, I was a little groggy. But I was happy to get away, and to be getting ready for my first Open Water 5K.

    The reservoir was beautiful this morning when we got there at around 6:30-6:45. The water was as smooth as glass:
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    Here's a picture I took with the cellphone of Anthony (my son) and me looking into that same sun!
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    Air temperature was perfect and the water was even a little warm. Anthony took this picture of my wave (the third one) waiting for the starting gun.
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    Water was about 78 degrees and still; the scrum at the start was not all that bad either, a little crowded but we soon spread out pretty nicely after a few minutes. I have to say I'm not used to the feeling of swimming almost literally on top of people; and when I'm dodging bodies at home it's usually someone riding a noodle or sidestroking at a pace of 1000-yards/hour. It was a real learning experience to have strong swimmers closing in from both sides and behind, while I'm staring at a pair of feet in front.

    I got into a rhythm (a slow one) after the first couple of buoys; and absolutely loved the feeling of swimming through fresh water in the cool of the early morning without having to make a 180-degree turn every 25 or 50 yards. The anti-fog effect on my goggles has definitely worn off and this pair, which has seen probably 150 miles in the last three months, is ready for retirement... it made sighting a challenge at times, at a few points I had to take two or three breast strokes to get my bearings and locate the next buoy. I'll have to remember that for next time.

    But that was only a minor annoyance. I was thoroughly soaking in the experience; as the t-shirt says "no lanes, no lines, no walls" (see picture of me next to the USMS National Championships sign below with the t); it was exhausting, but exhilarating at the same time.
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    I remember on the home stretch thinking that the last couple of buoys seemed like they couldn't come fast enough, but then, crossing the finish line I was sorry it was over and didn't really want to get out of the water I don't think. My time was 1:49:00, which is about 10 minutes slower than I wanted it to be, a 22 minute per kilometer pace. I was really hoping that my open water time would be closer to my 5K PR in the pool (1:35), especially since I've been averaging 20 minutes per kilometer for up to 6K in my longer pool swims this spring. But I guess the push-offs and streamlines from the wall work to my advantage. Here I am at the finish with one of Anthony's photos:
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    I asked Anthony about my form and he said I needed more power in my kick, which is probably spot on... I've been working to convert my runner's legs into effective swimmer's legs over the last year. My swimming endurance is way better than at last year's 2.4-mile OW swim, but I need to work on power and probably stroke-rate. In my last few half-marathons as a runner I was getting used to finishing in the top 10-20 percent; even took a second in age-group in a 22-mile trail run a few years ago... passing often, not being passed very much. I don't think I passed more than one or two swimmers today, if any at all, but I know I got passed by quite a few! I was seeded 119, but finished 132nd.

    So my first couple of USMS open water swims have been humbling experiences, to say the least, I'm happy just to be out there, finishing 132 in a field of 200-something. My old, competitive runner's soul starts to bubble up to the surface and is prodding me to train harder, make improvements... which I will certainly do, but at the same time... wow, what a cool experience! I wish more people would do it (and not just because 132nd place out of 500 would look better than 132nd place out of 200... no, seriously, it's a blast).

    In addition to some great father-son time, and a fun swim, I think I'll have the sounds, smells, and sights of this morning for a long time... I'll remember that calm scene of the first photo the next time the wind kicks up and chop pounds, or the water is too cold, or the Y's pool is too short

    Updated June 24th, 2012 at 12:04 AM by mcnair

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  3. Back in the pool for a couple of days

    by , June 21st, 2012 at 11:36 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    Yesterday I stopped in at the YMCA again and did a couple of miles (3500 SCY); took about 64 minutes and I was feeling pretty run down the whole time. Today I went back and did a short work out, trying to keep it crisp... I felt slow. Here's what I ended up doing:

    10 x 50 on 1:00 (mostly in :44)
    5 x 100 on 2:00 (mostly in 1:33)
    500 in 8:24
    200 breast
    300 free (1:45/100 pace)
    200 breast


    Tomorrow morning if I have time before work I'll do one last easy swim in the lake, maybe a mile, before heading out to Noblesville.
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  4. Windy day...

    by , June 19th, 2012 at 09:38 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    I got to Lake Andrea today and did 2 miles... it felt like an interval workout with the wind really moving the chop against me in one direction.

    I would swim really hard to the buoy on the far end and could feel the resistance all the way out; then I'd turn back and just cruise... rinse, repeat! 32 times!

    It was a good enough day aside from the wind: sunny skies, warm (one thermometer read 96!), water still cool.

    I finished in 75 minutes (which seems really slow), but no walls!
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  5. June in the lake

    by , June 19th, 2012 at 12:56 AM (Alex's swim journal)
    I've spent most of the last two weeks just getting accustomed to swimming in the lake again, after nine months exclusively in the pool.

    Very different without the black line! And I'm realizing that my streamline and push off the wall are helping me a lot every 25 yards. The lake I'm swimming on (Lake Andrea) is owned by the municipality and has an ordinance against open water swimming, so I'm trapped inside the lap swim buoys... 16 laps for a mile... 32 wall-less turns every mile slows things down a bit.

    One thing I've enjoyed is getting used to the chop and churn when the winds kick up on the late afternoon swims. I want to be prepared for as many contingencies as possible and so I'm enjoying the challenges when they present themselves.

    Also have enjoyed the water temps around 70, instead of the 78-80-degree indoor pool setting at the YMCA pool. The triathletes are mostly still wearing wet suits, I think it's probably too warm for that. Water feels perfect to me at 68-72 degrees. I asked one guy and he said he wore the wetsuit more for the extra buoyancy.
    A wet suit would be nice if I were swimming in Lake Michigan right now.

    I've mapped out a few courses on a couple of other lakes farther west, without "no swimming" ordinances. The longer drive makes them much less convenient, but it will be nice to be able to swim continuously without having to turn 180 degrees and lose all that forward momentum.

    I did 3000 yards at the Y today on my way home from work, because I couldn't get to Lake Andrea; I felt like I had "auto-pilot" on... not having to navigate!

    Looking forward to the 5K this coming weekend!

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  6. confidence builders...

    by , June 4th, 2012 at 10:11 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    The last couple of days I've decided to do some confidence-building workouts for long distance... looking forward to the USMS OW 5K later this month.

    Saturday's workout was 3 x 1750 on 29:30; I was trying to come in at around 29:00, a 1:40/100 pace. I finished three miles in just under 1:29.00; my first two miles were 29:05, 29:15; and my last mile was 29:50.

    Today I did 3500 in 60:20.00 minutes, broken up as so: 1000 in 16:45, 100 breast in 2:00, 1000 in 17:00, 100 breast in 2:00; 1000 in 17:15; 100 breast in 2:00; 200 free in 3:20.

    Feels good to be swimming "hard" for long stretches and gives me that confidence I'll be able to sustain the pace during the 5K.
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  7. May in review...

    by , June 1st, 2012 at 04:01 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    Can't believe I only posted to the blog five times in May... busy month! But I certainly kept up with the swimming. When I opened up the FLOG this morning it had already switched over to June... a full-month's worth of blank days to fill, but I wanted to review May, so I clicked the back button.

    62 miles: this is what I managed to get in at the pool last month, May was my first 60-mile month! I also crossed two milestones: 200 and 250 miles for the year. This has me up to number 9 in my GTD age group.

    Things are moving along!
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  8. 12K... finally.

    by , May 26th, 2012 at 05:13 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    The planets were all aligned properly. Even though I got a late start today, I still managed to finish my first 12K continuous swim (SCY--I'm still stuck in the box at the YMCA: motor-boat races on my usual lake venue. After this weekend I should be able to get out on the open water a few days a week).

    The first 10K was in 3:24.00, which may be my fastest 10K time yet... I'll have to go back and check. I had one short bathroom break at 4K, so it was probably closer to 3:22.00. I'm still mixing in 100 breast after every 1000 free, so I'm pretty happy with this time... it means I can plan on breaking 3:20:00 this summer in the 10K. After 10K I put it into low gear and churned away on the last 2200 yards... trying to maintain a nice, slow rhythm (I was hurting pretty bad at this point). I finished the final 2K in 44 minutes, which brought me in for a total time of 4 hours and 8 minutes. That's a long time in the chlorine!

    For the month I'm over 55 miles now; second month in a row with 55+ miles. Also had my second 16+ mile week in a row (another first for me). All this mileage had me briefly back in the top 10 for GTD age group. I think I'm back to 11th place now, but might sneak back into the top 10 with today's 7.5-mile swim!

    On another note, I managed to sign up for the USMS OW 5K last weekend... just in time to get the early-registration rate. I'm looking forward to that. Thursday I did 5K continuously in the pool, playing with different paces, to see what might feel comfortable at that distance (obviously, I'll be able to swim a lot harder than for 10K or 10 miles). I did 1000 Easy (17:40), 100 breast, 1000 a little harder (17:20), 100 breast, 1000 at my BASE pace (16:40), 100 breast, 1000 a little easier (17:30), 100 breast, and finished off with a relaxed 1000 (17:50?), and one last 100 breast. It felt pretty good; I'm not sure if I could maintain the BASE pace for the full 5K, but something around 17:00-17:20 per 1000 might be doable. We'll see. I'm looking forward to it!
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  9. Progress

    by , May 20th, 2012 at 08:26 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    I decided to take the day off from swimming today. I'm still pretty wiped out from yesterday morning's 11K (12,100 SCY). It was slower than the last time out for a long continuous swim. As I blogged here a couple of weeks ago, my goal was to hit 12K, but the last 3-4K yesterday had me really slowing and I could feel the shoulders burning like I hadn't in a while. I got out of the water after 3 hours, 49 minutes; I had only allotted myself 4 hours for the 12K (until 11AM) because I needed to be somewhere at noon. I might have gutted out the full 12K, but I just ran out of clock.

    My 3:49.00 included two bathroom breaks (which I hadn't needed the last time around; one too many cups of coffee!). Actual swim time was about 3:45. My 10K split wasn't as fast as the last couple of long swims either. Last night, I felt like a train wreck.

    So why "Progress" in the title of this entry?

    I decided to take a look back over my FLOG and did an inventory of weekly mileage stats. Going all the way back to mid-march, this week was the highest mileage week by more than a third of a mile. I think maybe I just ran out of gas. Here are the last ten weeks and their mileage totals, starting with week of 3/11/2012:

    13.24
    14.09
    8.64
    15.85
    10.68
    12.50
    16.48
    12.10
    9.43
    16.82

    There is sort of a pattern here, a rhyme-scheme if you will, not unlike the terza-rima of Dante's Divine Comedy. I wish I could say I planned it that way, but I originally thought to execute a quite different pattern. Sometimes life gets in the way, though, and our body imposes its own rhythms. I wanted to be building up my mileage (and my long-swim distances) by increasing the mileage two weeks, backing off on week three, then repeating the process... that's what the first three weeks look like: 13, 14, then back to 8 miles. But for the pattern to continue like that it would have to be 15, 16, then back to 9-10. That isn't what I ended up with at all. Instead I got UP then down, then slightly up, then WAY UP, then down just a tad, then way down, then WAY UP again. Like so:

    UP
    down
    slightly up
    WAY UP
    down a tad
    way down
    WAY UP

    Rather than building two weeks and then stepping back a week, my weekly totals look to be spiking one week, then spending two weeks down, then spiking again. Maybe my body was doing this naturally as a response to the long swims getting out past 10K, perhaps my body sensed it needed to back off just a bit for two weeks after those long swims. The UP week included my first 10K if I remember correctly; and the two highest weeks, the WAY UP weeks, ended with 11K swims.


    OK, enough of the mystery of my body's reaction to mileage! Looking at this, I think that if I plan my workouts more than a day or two in advance I won't be letting my body decide for me how far it needs to go... the climbing of mount purgatory is a series of divine revelations in Dante, but also a series of self-realizations... The soul charts its own progress; always upward. Don't look down!
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  10. mile time trial...

    by , May 14th, 2012 at 03:04 AM (Alex's swim journal)
    It's been more than a week since I've been back on the blog. Still swimming, but way too busy with everything else. I put in about 10 miles this last week and am up over 215 miles for the year now.

    Being a step-back week with yardage, I decided to do a mile time trial on Saturday instead of just slogging through a shorter-long swim. I hadn't time-trialed myself since last summer at that distance. Last time I swam a 1750 SCY for time I did 28:20, holding :48/50 pace until it fell apart in the final 200-300 yards. My endurance has gotten much better. I held the :48 pace and had enough left in the tank at 1500 to speed it up for the final 250. I finished in 27:49.

    After a 2:00 rest I swam another mile for time, holding a :50/50 pace and coming in right at 29:00.

    I was very happy with this result; knocking 30 seconds off of my best mile time trial and then turning around and holding my BASE pace for another mile.

    This week: back to the mileage build-up! Though I wonder if my BASE hasn't gotten faster. I probably need to go back and test that again. Am I supposed to be able to hold that pace for a couple of miles?
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  11. 5 de mayo... milestones

    by , May 5th, 2012 at 08:15 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    Looking back over my exercise journal from last year (I was still keeping it in paper then) I find that this very week in 2011 I swam only 8000 yards... not even 5 miles... and it was the highest yardage week of the the year at that point. Summer 2011 was the season I became a "full-time" swimmer after years of 2-3-miles a week, some months, interrupted by long periods with no swimming at all.

    This year Cinco de mayo caps off a 12-mile week, I'm up to 12th on GTD in age group, and I've passed 200-miles for the year. Today's 10K in the pool put me over the 200 mark.

    I was a little slower than last week, but maybe the body hadn't fully recovered from the 11K. Last week I hit the 10k mark in 3:20.00 exactly; today I swam 3:25.00. I could have swum more, and I'm still shooting for that 12K continuous swim in the pool, but I ran out of gatorade* and decided to call it a day, having started an hour later than I did last week. Next week will be a step-back week and then I'll have another crack at that 12K mark the following week. Hopefully that will be my last SCY long swim... for now at least... I'm looking forward to the beaches and the LCM outdoor pools opening for the season.

    Also, I'm excited to see announcements for the 5K/10K postal swims already up... something to look forward to; in addition to the OW 10-miler in MN. I'll need a kayak for that one probably. My 16-year-old son has agreed to kayak, but I need to find a kayak for him to use. The long swims in the pool are teaching me how to space my feedings, but they're also teaching me how critical feedings are going to be in open water to maintain energy out past 5K. For the OW 5K in June I'm not going to worry about it... it's a short enough race that the water station at midpoint and a gel should get me through.

    *Gatorade Bandido was there today for the last couple thousand yards or so; but his family was watching him like a hawk. One of the brothers even came and moved my bottles over to the far side of the lane when they slid into the lane next to me. Nice folks, it was good to see them.
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  12. May 1...

    by , May 1st, 2012 at 10:55 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    Started off a new month in the FLOG with a "measly" 2000-yard workout and a sea of blank days in front of me. April was a good month, filling the FLOG screen with swim workouts. April was my first 50-mile month (55 actually). Now a new month begins!

    Still a little sluggish from my 11K on Saturday and Sunday's service project, I took the day off yesterday. Today I told myself I had to get in for a short swim at least. After 500 I was feeling slow, so I stopped to adjust my goggles and jumped into a couple of short sets to knock the cobwebs off: 5 x 100 on 1:45 and 10 x 50 on :55. I finished with another 500 in a 1:45/100 pace.

    2000 SCY in 36 minutes total time. And so it begins again...
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  13. Weekend 11K; week in review...

    by , April 30th, 2012 at 02:11 AM (Alex's swim journal)
    I haven't blogged in almost a week, but today is the first swim I've missed in ten days. Things have been super busy, but I've been able to squeeze in the swim time with a little creative scheduling. Highlights since my last blog:

    Had a nice 4000-yard workout on Wednesday, sandwiched by 2000-yarders on Tuesday and Thursday. The 4000-yarder opened with 1000-yards worth of kick work with fins. My kick is feeling stronger after a couple of weeks of long kick sets!

    Friday's 2400 opened with 24 X 50 on :55. This was challenging (mentally) because I normally swim the 50s hard and leave every 1:00. I backed the throttle off a little and I felt pretty comfortable coming in at :40-:42 with 5 secs. less rest. Even though I have been hitting :36-:37 occasionally and holding :38-:40 on most of my 50 sets recently, this was still nice up-tempo work for me... I needed that neuromuscular refresher, so that my 1:45/100 pace for long-distance would seem way too easy.

    Saturday I swam continuously for 3 hours, 42 minutes... 11K total (12,100 SCY). No bathroom breaks this time; I'm guessing because I started so early in the morning (6:30). I still went through 2 bottles of gatorade. I finished 10K in just under 3:20 (a ten minute improvement on the 10K swim I did 3 weeks ago--previously my longest continuous swim)... then I crawled through the final kilometer; I think I still had a little left in the tank, but the shoulders were mighty sore in that last 1-2K.

    I woke up pretty tired this morning, but not too sore from the 11K effort. It didn't help that I then proceeded to put in 7 hours on a service project (shoveling, mixing cement)... now I'm really beat! More ibuprofen please!
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  14. Missing workout...

    by , April 24th, 2012 at 12:09 AM (Alex's swim journal)
    I wanted to post this workout, because I don't want to forget it and didn't get a chance to blog last week (Friday) after I did it:

    10 x 100 (no rest, alternated hard and easy)
    100 breast
    10 x 100 (no rest, alternated hard and easy)
    100 breast
    10 x 100 (no rest, alt. hard/EZ)
    100 breast
    200 free at Base + 5
    =3500 SCY in 1:02.00

    On these the "hard" was BASE -5; EZ, BASE +10. For me BASE or BPI is 1:40/100. A nice continuous swim, but with enough variety to make it feel like a more structured workout. I like the active recovery (my form probably fell to in the last 1000), but I had to lower my expectations on the times I could hold for those faster 100s (I like to be under 1:30 rather than at 1:35)... which in turn got me swimming at a pace that I hadn't used in a while. The "somewhere between fast (for me) and my BASE" pace? Interesting.
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  15. Weekend swims... search for lakes/kayak

    by , April 23rd, 2012 at 11:53 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    Haven't had a chance to blog in a while, but have managed to get my swims in over the last few days: Saturday's was a 7000-yarder; 4 miles of more or less continuous swimming (took a bathroom break at 4K), which took about 2:07.00. I was doing a kilometer every 19 minutes for the first hour or so, but then dropped off pretty steadily after that. Have I mentioned how tired I am of doing these long swims trapped in an SCY box? Anyone swimming in the lakes in southern Wisconsin or North-east Illinois yet? I'm looking for spots that might allow swimmers before the "official" opening of many of the open water venues (Memorial Day weekend).

    Sunday I did another two miles (3500 SCY); a pretty relaxed, recovery swim... well, actually it was more "slow" than "relaxed"; but it was a recovery swim.

    Today I got in during the lunch hour and to give my usual free-style muscles a break I did a lot of kick drill and other strokes (which slows me down quite a bit because I just don't practice breast and back often enough). 3000 SCY: first 1000 warm-up and kick drills, next 1000 alternating breast and back 100s, last 1000 alternating free and pull 100s.

    I'm just a hair short of 180 miles on the year now. This week I'm going to do one really tough workout (probably threshold 200s and "sprint" 50s) and then do a lot of recovery yards, experimenting with different paces, working on form. I hope to get in 12K this coming weekend for a long swim... maybe hit the garage sales looking for a deal on a kayak for my boys to follow me around in! (I keep offering this duty to my wife, but she seems *yawn* unimpressed by the possibility... even though I would totally kayak for her... you know, if she actually swam).
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  16. New GTD goal...

    by , April 19th, 2012 at 02:37 AM (Alex's swim journal)
    Did 4000 today, 2000 yesterday; things are going pretty good right now. So, I decided to adjust my GTD goal upwards: 500 miles.

    Last year I did just over 330 if I remember correctly, but that was mostly May through December. My goal for 2012 had been 417 miles, which was like 2000 yards a day (maybe 2200, I'm not sure now), I was already more than 40% there and 50 miles ahead of pace. Now I'm at 33% of my yearly goal again; still about 20 miles ahead of goal pace.

    And, as if to punctuate the decision, my new 50-mile GTD cap was in the mail when I got home today. Pretty cool, though I still hate wearing caps.

    Backstroke felt a little better today too; just have to keep sprinkling that into the work outs.
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  17. 4000 more... how much is enough?

    by , April 16th, 2012 at 05:50 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    Had a little bit of extra time today at lunch, so I decided to stretch my swim a bit, work on backstroke, which I don't normally do (I figure I've just got to commit to it).

    4000 SCY in 1:20.00

    1000 in kick sets (see last monday's wk-out)
    1000 alternating pull and free 100s
    1000 breast and back (100 breast / 50 back)
    5 x 100 on 1:45 (these were all around 1:33-1:35)
    500 in BASE + 5 pace (1:45/100)

    I felt really slow on my 100s at the end of the workout, tired; but the 500 at 1:45/100 pace felt pretty good... that's a pace I couldn't maintain for as long as I wanted on Saturday, though I kept it going for 6K on my way to 10K the week before. That's a confidence builder after two miles in the pool.

    I've been reading through some of the marathon swimming webs and looking at what folks are saying about "appropriate" amount of yardage per week leading up to a big open water swim. I feel like I'm on target with my long continuous swim on the weekend (though being in the pool still at this point is driving me nuts)... I need a good lake venue; Lake Michigan is out of the question right now (no wetsuit), but a lot of the smaller in-land lakes have "no swimming" ordinances except in designated swim areas (which won't open up until Memorial Day!). This is a huge drag!

    Anyway, my weekly long swim slowly increases, but my weekly total yardage swings dramatically because of my hectic schedule right now (In the last month I'm swinging between 9 and 15 miles per week). I feel like my downfall is not having a set routine during the week and so if it gets late and I decide to blow off a day it doesn't seem like a big deal... mentally I've anchored my "program" with the weekly long swim. As long as I don't miss that (I tell myself), I'm ok. But, I'm starting to feel like that's not enough. I want to do the 9-mile+ USMS-OW swim in Minnesota this July (it's a 10-mile course), but wonder if I'll be prepared.
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  18. 10,000 yards yesterday

    by , April 15th, 2012 at 09:27 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    Today I got in and loosened up with a 27.5-minute swim (I only had half an hour in my schedule): 1500 SCY. Last Sunday I didn't get back in to loosen up after swimming 10-K on Saturday... and I think it makes a difference in recovery. I felt pretty sluggish all week. We'll see if this week's workouts are any crisper.

    Yesterday I did 10,000 yards in 3:15.00. I didn't feel all that great, but just kept churning away. I convinced myself I was just going to do 6K earlier in the day and when I got there I thought, "eh, 9K is just one more hour in the water... why not?"; I got to 9K and it seemed silly not to do an extra 100 to round it up to 10,000 yards.

    With Open Water season approaching and a couple of the USMS championships within driving distance (5K in Indiana; 10-mile in Minnesota), I'm trying to build some mental toughness on these long swims in the pool... it's not the same as open water (it's a little claustrophobic at this point), but my body and mind are getting used to being in the water for 3+ hours. And, now, 5K seems really short. So this is all good for confidence. Nonetheless, I can't wait to get into the lakes.
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  19. 3400 yards

    by , April 10th, 2012 at 11:58 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    Today I found my legs to be really tight and sore, which kept me from finding my "sprint" speed on the 50s. Looking back over my FLOG, yesterday's long kick sets were the first I had done in a while, so it shouldn't be a surprise. I wasn't aware of that going in, but figured it out about the time I hit my breast stroke. In my cool down, my legs were sinking big-time, a problem I never have, which means my core was probably starting to feel the effects of tired legs too!

    3400 SCY in 68 minutes:

    500 free warm-up (9:00)
    20 x 50 on 1:00 (mostly :42)
    10 x 100 on 2:00 (first 8 in 1:28-1:29; last 2 in 1:30)
    500 breast in 10:00
    300 EZ free
    100 side-kick drill series
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  20. 10K aftermath...

    by , April 9th, 2012 at 05:27 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    So, apart from feeling really tired and run down yesterday I didn't have any ill side effects or unexpected soreness (just the expected kind), which is good. When I was primarily a runner I would work up to 3- or 3.5-hour long runs before a marathon and can remember limping for most of the rest of the day, sometimes the day after as well. Not so with swimming (so far!)... it is an equivalent level of exertion I think, but it's a lot easier on the joints.

    Following Slow's advice, I was trying to listen to my body, see what it might be telling me... and I think my shoulders/upper back would appreciate it if I engaged my core a little more. When I was purposely thinking about swimming from my hips and not my shoulders I noticed my rhythm was much better during the 10K; my kick was more productive among other things. But all and all, I didn't feel much more sore in my shoulders than I did after 8K or 9K back in March... so the concept of gradual progression is working to help avoid the over-use injuries (so far!).

    Today I got in and did 3000 in a pretty relaxed fashion. First 1000 was mostly kick:
    100 free
    100 free w/ fins
    100 kick w/ fins and board
    100 sidekick w/ fins (12 kicks/stroke)
    50 kick w/ fins and board
    100 sidekick w/ fins (6 kicks/stroke)
    50 kick w/ fins and board
    100 sidekick w/ fins (6 kicks + 3 strokes)
    50 kick w/ fins and board
    100 back kick w/ fins
    50 kick w/ fins and board
    100 free with fins

    The next 1000 I alternated 100 free w/ 100 pull. No rests in all of this. For the last 1000 I decided to pick up the pace a bit:
    4 x 100 on 1:45
    rest 1:30
    2 x 200 (about 3:00 each; 1:30 rest after each)
    200 breast cooldown

    The rests were for some chat time with a swimmer who is moving out of the area this week; who knows when our paths will cross again. Haydn, an Australian emigre who's only been in Kenosha for a few months, is moving on to Newport, RI, with his wife. I suspect he'll find the Y there. He mentioned that I had inspired him to do some open water swimming as well. So maybe you guys in the Northeast will see him this summer!
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