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  1. a far road...

    by , February 9th, 2012 at 12:20 AM (Alex's swim journal)
    "He came a far road, was weary, found peace,
    and set all his labours on a tablet of stone"
    --The Epic of Gilgamesh

    Like Gilgamesh, I feel like I had to experience "all things" today, "discover what was hidden." And here I am, again, at the tablet of stone, blogging away about it. The workout today had its ups and downs, started off very slowly. I felt very sore and stiff still from earlier workouts in the week, but just when I thought I didn't have anything left I found a rhythm and some speed I didn't know I had.

    Here was today's workout:

    50 free
    25 kick w/ board
    50 kick drill (12+1)
    25 kick w/ board
    50 kick drill (6+1)
    25 kick w/ board
    50 kick drill (6+3)
    [300 total]

    Main set (3000):
    4 x 200 (moderate)*
    *each moderate paced 200 followed by 50 easy recovery [1000 in about 17:40]
    10 x100 (alternated easy 100s w/ moderate; no rest) [1000 in about 19:00]
    2 minutes rest
    10 x 100 (alternated moderate 100s w/ easy) [1000 in about 17:30]

    200 breast in about 4:00

    Total = 3500 SCY/65 minutes

    The moderate 100s in the last 1000 of the main set were actually pretty fast. Another swimmer I hadn't seen in a few weeks, Pete, shared the lane with me for the last half of the workout... he was wearing fins. So, I was motivated to not let him pass me too many times. I stayed with him on the first 100 (which probably came in around 1:25) and on each moderate 100 after that I would stay with him, let him speed ahead when I was on my easy, cruising 100s (and they WERE cruising, not like earlier in the week).

    So Gilgamesh needed Enkidu, a companion, to complete his humanity--such is the power of friendship, as we learn from the epic poem. I needed an Enkidu to complete this workout, to find a hidden reserve I didn't know I had, to break out of the rut I had swum myself into.
  2. Draggin' an anchor...

    by , February 8th, 2012 at 12:16 AM (Alex's swim journal)
    So the love-hate relationship with interval 200s continues today... decidedly in favor of hate. I felt great after the 200 workout yesterday, but today... not so much so. I just wanted to get in and swim about 3000 or so, nothing hard, just enough to loosen up. The loosening never happened.

    I felt like I was dragging a freakin' anchor the whole time. Very fatigued, very tight, maybe a little dehydrated. I made it through 2650 (5 x 500 all around 9:00-9:20--crawling!--with recovery 50s using breast; cool down with some mixed stroke and kick drills, no board). And it felt like a struggle the whole time.

    I'm sure this is just the body enforcing an easy day after the hard intervals yesterday. We'll see how it goes tomorrow.

    WATER WARRIORS FITNESS EVENT: Got some good news yesterday after I blogged. I went online to check the Wisconsin Masters website and the results were in from our Nov-Dec fitness challenge, to see who could record the most yardage in any 14-day period during those two months. My 47,000 yards in the middle two weeks of November were good enough for first place in my age group! OK, ok, I know... I was the ONLY male in my age group... but, hey, I came with my game; can't win if you don't play!

    Take it away banana dude:
  3. I love/hate 200s!

    by , February 6th, 2012 at 11:15 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    The workout today was the same pretty much as last Monday, but I added a couple more 200s and my 200 times were consistently a little faster.

    20 x 50 on 1:00 (after about rep 5 these were all at :39)
    4 x 200 on 4:00 (3:00; 2:57; 2:58; 2:59)
    200 breast (recovery swim)
    4 x 200 on 4:00 (3:00; 2:58; 3:04; 3:07)
    200 breast (recovery swim)
    2 x 200 on 4:00 (3:09; 3:04)
    100 breast
    100 free (easy)
    100 side kicking drill, no board (25=12+1 drill; 25= 6 + 1 drill; 50 = 6 +3 drill)

    3700 total SCY/74 minutes

    The 50s in the warm-up were stuck on :39; I could not, for the life of me, hit the :38s and even :37s I would occasionally hit last week; lingering fatigue from the long swim on Saturday? The first few 200s felt pretty good, the :45/50 pace seemed very reasonable. It won't feel that way tomorrow, but that's why I only do the serious interval stuff once a week.

    Caught up a little on sleep last night after the Super Bowl, so I'm feeling recharged after a good night's rest and a few good days of swimming.
    It can't hurt that the sun was out yesterday and today; days are getting a little longer! My friend Scotty was headed in to the Y as I was headed out and he said, which I hadn't heard from him before, "I'm really looking forward to summer."

    Bring it on!
  4. 50-mile mark... yesterday's 6K

    by , February 5th, 2012 at 08:33 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    During my 6K continuous swim yesterday I crossed the first GTD milestone of the year: 50 miles.

    The 6K (6600 SCY) went pretty well, though I had technical difficulties. I don't normally like to wear swim caps, but I did today because I was looking for something that might help me preserve body heat as I get into my second hour in the water and my times start to slow with fatigue. But for whatever reason the cap (the GTD 50-miler cap from last year to commemorate this year's milestone) was getting in the way of my goggles and the seal kept breaking. Every time I would come off the wall into streamline the slightest nudge would have my goggles filling with water. At the hour mark I finally just took it off and then never had an issue with my goggles afterward.

    I mentally broke the swim into 1-kilometer segments; 1000 yards freestyle followed by 100 breast. I would then stop at each K to drink gatorade while treading water in the deep end. Note to self: take the energy drink in a water bottle with a nozzle next time... treading water and trying to twist off the cap was a real pain.

    My 1000-yard free portions were broken up between moderate 50s (or 100s) and easy 50s (or 100s) to help me keep track. My first three kilometers were just under 20 minutes each. I lost time while trying to drink, obviously. Finished the entire 6K in 2 hours, 3 minutes.

    Today I just swam a 1750... just enough to stay loose. Long warm-up (500 yards = 200 kick drills, no board, 100 free, 100 breast, 100 back), 5 x 50 on 1:00, then 10 x 100 on 2:00. I started off pretty stiff on the 50s and the first few 100s, but then was coming in at 1:43-45 pretty easily.
  5. Like a band of gypsies...

    by , February 4th, 2012 at 01:45 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    Brakes fixed, car back on the road! After towing it over for a second opinion, the 17-year-old junker is back on the street for only a $133. Phew!
    [nomedia=""]Willie Nelson / On The Road Again - YouTube[/nomedia]

    Celebrated last night by driving it over to the Y and swimming a couple of miles. Pretty good work out for me. I wanted to do something a little tougher because I missed Thursday's swim, but I didn't want to push too much because I've got my weekly long swim today (6K? We'll see...). I incorporated a broken 1650 I've been wanting to do from one of Mallory Mead's OW workout threads. The rest of the workout I just made up on the spot:

    300-yard warm-up (mostly free, some drill and breast).

    Broken 1650 (275, 250, 225, 200, 175, 150, 125, 100, 75, 50, 25--:10 rest after each step) = 29:37 [27:57 after subtracting the rests].

    350-yard recovery swim (breast, gliding, back)

    10 x 100 on 2:00 (moderate; consistently swimming 1:45s alternating easy 50s, :55, with harder 50s in :50)

    200 cool-down (50 each: free, breast, back, fly).

    True story: I almost never do fly, mine is so sad, so when I finished my workout with 50 fly I looked up at the guard and said "Man, my fly sucks" and he said "you were doing fly?"

    No dolphin kick... will have to work on that.
    My 1650 was a little slow for my taste, but I may have lost count and done an extra lap at some point. With a 1750 time around 28:00 I would expect my 1650 to be closer to 26:00-26:30. But I'm ok with this for now, because I'll need the extra oomph to get me through the last 1000 yards of my long swim today.
  6. Time to break out the old bike!

    by , February 2nd, 2012 at 01:01 AM (Alex's swim journal)
    Got into the pool late today, but I really needed it!

    The brakes on my 17-year-old car are shot, and because it's 17 there are a whole lot of other expensive issues too... bottom line: I've been promoted to family taxi driver with our one remaining car. We really can't afford a payment on a new car, but we can't afford to fix the old jallopy. When it rains it pours!
    February starting off ok from a swimming perspective; I did two miles today in 62 minutes and felt great most of the time. I did it in three 1100-yard segments, each about 19:00, followed by a 200-yard cool down. No rests, so the swim was continuous.

    3 x through:
    4 x 250 (50 easy/200 harder)
    100 breast

    Cool down with 200 free, relaxed, lengthening out my stroke (10-12 strokes per 25).

    My harder 200s, when I could check the pace clock were around 3:20--that was in the last set when I was already pretty tired (I started four lanes from the clock and worked my way over a couple of lanes during the course of the workout as folks started leaving). But, I felt pretty comfortable the whole time.

    I'm hoping for an early spring that will make the 10-mile bike ride to work less painful, and then my wife can have her minivan back--though she might like having the chauffeur at that point.
  7. More than good intentions--2K today

    by , February 1st, 2012 at 01:31 AM (Alex's swim journal)
    It takes more than just good intentions! I Almost didn't make it to the pool today, but am glad I did.

    After running around this evening with errands I arrived home feeling pretty tired and would have just said "eh, the ol' shoulder feels a little stiff anyway!" but I talked myself into going back out into the night and hitting the pool for even just a short swim... every little bit helps. I figured it wouldn't be spectacular, but a mile is a mile--it all counts.

    As it turns out, I ended up with 2k (2200 SCY) easy freestyle in 40 minutes. It was just what I needed to feel human again. Then rewarded myself with a few extra minutes in the sauna and steam rooms before they closed the joint down.

    January was a 45-mile month, my best since November.
  8. It felt like an interval day...

    by , January 31st, 2012 at 12:31 AM (Alex's swim journal)
    ... or as Indiana Jones would say "I don't know. I'm making this up as I go."

    Here's the workout today (any resemblance to something a more competitive swimmer might actually do is purely coincidental... I'm seriously just making this up as I go):

    20 x 50 on 1:00 (slowly walked the times down from :48 to :40 and then around rep 6-7 started swimming under :40; probably had one :37, but most in the :38-:39 range, with a couple of :40s toward the end of the set).

    then w/ only 20 seconds rest I started my main set...

    2 x through
    4 x 200 free on 4:00
    200 breast, recovery swim, :20-:30 rest

    went 3:01, 3:03, 3:03, 3:06 on the first round of 200s and 3:04, 3:06, 3:06, 3:09 on second. The last couple of 200s were tough.

    cool down w/ 4 x 50 on 1:00, relaxed.

    3200 yards in 64 minutes, I accomplished my only real goal for the day going in, which was just to be gasping for air at the end of each rep and leave the pool feeling wiped out.

    The first few 200s I was managing to keep right around a :45-:46 per 50 pace--which felt super relaxed after doing around a dozen 50s in about :38! That is until I hit about the 125 mark on each rep... So maybe I've found my Monday workout. I'll try to add a set or two more of 200s over the next few weeks as I gauge my progress... hoping to see the 200 times drop and my relaxed, all-day pace inching down into the :40s.

    That's the plan for now... subject to change next Monday
  9. Catching my breath...

    by , January 30th, 2012 at 01:14 AM (Alex's swim journal)
    It's ironic that one of the ways I know I'm balancing my life well (family, work, etc.)--dealing with the hectic pace of the everyday and the anxieties of middle (?) age--is by counting the number of times per week I can get to the pool...

    I "catch my breath" from the rat race when I'm pushing my pace down the lane and finish up a nice interval workout completely out of breath...

    Or when I'm swimming nonstop for 1.5-2 hours, never out of breath, but pushing my muscles to exhaustion.

    A lot of people think this is insanity. I think it's what keeps me sane.

    5-6 days a week in the pool is my minimum; I'd prefer not to miss any days at all, but a missed day here and there is inevitable. Beginning of the month was excellent... 20 days straight. But the last ten days I've missed four days of swimming! Sanity suffering... near... breaking... point!

    Yeah, this is starting to look more and more like an unhealthy obsession to the untrained eye (I'm aware of this). But I'm healthiest when I'm indulging these behaviors that others think insane. We're all on a journey; mine is just a really long one that requires lots of endurance! Or, if we're all headed to the same place, I'm cool with getting there a little late to get in a few extra laps.

    I had two miles in the pool on Thursday and then missed Friday and Saturday (two days in a row for the first time in a really long time!). Two miles again today.

    I got into a rhythm right away today, so it felt good--and I've had no real pain for several days now, so the body probably needed the rest anyway. I thought this month would be my first 50-mile month, but, alas, it was not to be... with the busyness of the last week I'm at 42 miles, but only two days left in the month.

    Maybe February will be my 50-mile month!
  10. Back on track...

    by , January 25th, 2012 at 10:31 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    Had less time today than I thought I would, but I still managed to get in 3000 yards in an hour. Felt good, too. As much as I hated missing a day in the water yesterday, it probably helped out a lot... no shoulder pain or stiffness at all now.

    Here's the workout:

    10 x 50 on 1:00 (these were all in :40-:43)
    10 x 100 on 2:00 (1:26-1:30)
    5 x 200 on 4:00 (3:04, 3:03, 3:06, 3:04, 2:57)
    5 x 100 on 2:00 (relaxed, 1:36-1:40)

    Tomorrow I'll put in a little more yardage, but with easier paces (for me) and no rest. I like the continuous swims!
  11. Another day, another dollar, another mile

    by , January 25th, 2012 at 02:24 AM (Alex's swim journal)
    Yesterday (Monday) I swam an easy mile (1750 SCY)... pretty stiff at the beginning, probably because I didn't have enough time to cool-down after my postal swim on Sunday... I had to beat feet for the showers and get to my son's basketball tournament game. Toward the end of my mile on Monday I was loosening up and feeling better. Finished in just over 31 minutes, but then had to rush to get back to work.

    [nomedia=""]Del Reeves Another Day, Another Dollar - YouTube[/nomedia]

    It's been pretty busy the last few days with meetings and administrative deadlines on top of the normal teaching duties... lots of bad news about the budget; only surprise at this point is that it can still be getting worse. Today I even <gasp> missed my swim... sigh; only the second day this month.

    Planning to make up for it with a monster swim tomorrow... swim out some of the stress.
  12. Long way to go... Postal Swim

    by , January 23rd, 2012 at 02:08 AM (Alex's swim journal)
    When Dante and Virgil finally reach the surface after their arduous climb out of the abyss, they still have to climb Mt. Purgatory.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    I felt like I'd climbed up from the center of the earth, only to see how much higher I need to go. I swam my fastest two-mile time by about 50 seconds en route to postal one-hour swim of 3530. My fastest 3500 before today was at the end of summer when I swam 1:00:21. Today I was at 59:31 when I hit the 3500 mark.

    I told myself I would be happy with anything over 3500, but honestly thought I would do a little better since I hit 3500 in 61 minutes earlier in the week... feeling pretty good. My first mile was in 29:10 and I was right at 1800 when the pace-clock hit 30:00, so I really thought I would hit 3600 at least and was hoping for closer to 3700. Between 2000 and 3000 I slowed down too much. I don't think I necessarily ran out of gas though... my first 500 was in 8:07 and my last 500 was in 8:10, so I had enough left in the tank (even swam the final 100 of my 3500 in 1:30). I think I just slipped into a rhythm that felt good for about a 1000 yards, but was a couple of seconds slower per 50 (no wonder it felt good!).

    So, I know I've got a long way to go, but I've come a long way too! I went back and looked at my exercise log from last winter; if I'd done the postal one-hour then I would have struggled mightily to do 2800-2900.
  13. A couple of easy days...

    by , January 21st, 2012 at 12:15 AM (Alex's swim journal)
    Every journey needs its pauses and rests... yesterday I planned to do more, but it just felt right to get out of the pool after a mile (1750, nothing too hard, 10 x 50 on 1:00 and 10 x 100 on 2:00, with a brief cool-down). It had been a long day at work and I was ready to be home.

    Still at number 8 when I checked GTD this morning (which surprised me after the short day yesterday). Today, I stopped again at the Y on my way home--a little earlier (5:30)--and felt good doing a ladder workout: 1000, 500, 400, 300, 200, 100, 50 with 50 breast stroke after each step (recovery swim instead of rest). I swam an easy 100 cool-down and was finished at about 55-56 minutes.

    Tomorrow I hope to get in one last short swim, just to stay loose, before the postal one-hour.

    Winter hit hard today... lots of snow, really cold temps last night (saw negatives for the first time this winter); it was pretty quiet tonight at the Y as a result. I'll probably break out the snow-blower tomorrow morning for the first time this winter... really could have gone a whole winter without having to do that!
  14. Swimmer's high? ...a pair of two-milers

    by , January 19th, 2012 at 02:33 AM (Alex's swim journal)
    The last couple of days I've been getting my body used to swimming for an hour non-stop; not pushing the pace too hard, though (trying to save that for the one-hour postal this weekend).

    I've found some interesting ways to keep count and keep moving in the process. Yesterday's swim was in three 1K segments, almost exactly 20 minutes each:

    4 x 250 (50 EZ/200 harder, but relaxed)
    100 breast stroke
    [3x through for 3300 yards]

    I took no breaks and finished the 3 Km right at 1 hour, then swam an easy 200 to round out to 2 miles... 64 minutes total.

    Today I did another 3500 continuous swim, but I broke it up mentally into seven 500-yard segments: 100 EZ/400 up-tempo. My first 1000 was about 17 minutes, the next 1000 finished at just under the 35-minute mark. At 52:20 I was at the 3000 mark, and I finished the last 500 right about 61 minutes. I actually felt like I was getting stronger in the last 1500 yards. I was tired and could feel the fatigue, certainly, but it seemed easier to be in rhythm... things were just clicking.

    Sort of like runner's high (experienced that a bazillion times; completely addicting!), I knew my body was becoming more tired the farther I went, but some kind of endorphins started kicking in... I was feelin' it!

    I pulled myself out of the pool and I could feel the dull ache through my whole body, which says "good job... you can rest now." I almost couldn't walk straight, it was funny. I probably looked like Bernini's St. Teresa in Ecstasy; I was out of it for a while... in a good way.
    Click image for larger version. 

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  15. getting' ready to go postal...

    by , January 17th, 2012 at 01:29 AM (Alex's swim journal)
    A little less than a week before the Kenosha Y irregulars do our postal one-hour. Sunday at 10AM is the plan now.

    Yesterday I got in 2000 yards, some breast stroke, kick, pull, slide and glide, but nothing very tough... wanted to make sure I was giving my body a break from the 6000 continuous swim Saturday (mostly freestyle).

    Today I got there as my friend Scotty was getting into the pool and he suggested we do a workout together; perfect, I wasn't really set on what I wanted to do today (except that I wanted to do 3000). We ended up pushing each other in ways that we probably wouldn't have pushed if we were swimming solo. I got him to do about 500 more than he originally planned and he got me to swim a lot faster than I planned. After our 500-yard warm-up I hit five 200s between 2:57 and 3:01 (the 3:01 was the only one at 3:00 or slower)... I initially thought I would stick to around 3:12 (:48 pace per 50). He was coming in around 2:45.

    We did some 100s and some 50s (I ended up hitting :36 on the 50 mark during one of my 100s, which is flying by my standards.... but I couldn't hold it; finished in 1:21-1:22). We finished up with a nice hard 500 (I came in at 7:55) I took off on the top and Scotty on the bottom, so I had a :30 head start--he didn't catch me until about the 400 mark--which really pushed us both to swim faster than we otherwise would have. Nothing like a good cat and mouse game.

    I'm so used to training solo ("loneliness of the long distance runner" and all that) and being alone with nothing but my own thoughts, my own discipline, to keep me going... this was a nice change of pace! Someone else pushing me for a change!

    GTD still has me at #8 for men 40-44; I know I can't hold off the mega-mileage monsters all year, so I'm going to bask in it while I can ... yeayuh!

    AND, this is blog entry #30, since I started doing this last month... Wow, time flies when you're havin' fun!
  16. First 6000-yard swim of the year...

    by , January 15th, 2012 at 04:27 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    GTD is telling me I'm back in the top ten for men 40-44 this morning, thanks to the 6000-yard continuous swim I did yesterday. It was my first 6000 since early November. But, there's always a price to pay! The first 4000 felt pretty good (a little under 72 minutes), but the final 1000 was really rough (I had to mix in 300 yards worth of breaststroke over the course of the last K just to keep moving). Finished the entire swim in 1:51:?0.

    The left shoulder started off pretty stiff, but loosened up over the course of the swim. In the last 1000-1500 everything was stiff.

    Drank some "Joint Juice" last night and I woke up this morning actually feeling pretty good (tired and tight, but that's to be expected). I'll do a short recovery swim today to try to loosen up.

    For now, I'm sitting in a sunny window and enjoying the sunlight for the first time in a few days; ok, we've had snow now, I'm ready for spring.
  17. Winter returns to WI

    by , January 13th, 2012 at 08:09 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    Nothing like shoveling a few inches of snow--the wet, heavy kind--to loosen up the ol' back and shoulders! [*Sarcasm Alert*]

    Winter returned to Wisconsin yesterday and, man, it doesn't take much to keep the folks away from the gym. The Kenosha Y seemed nearly deserted yesterday. I was, for almost an hour, the only person in the 8-lane pool. "Hello, hello, helloooo... echo, echo, echooo." Of course, it was the last hour of the day and the pace clock was broken. I decided just to alternate gliding 100s with easy swim 100s and finished 3150 yards in about 55 minutes. I was happy to get there at all; the roads were awfully slippery with new snow and ice.

    Today the roads were better and I had to go in for an early afternoon swim before my son's basketball practice. Just 2000 yards easy swimming (35:50--pace clock working again!). So, a couple of recovery days; tomorrow I'd like to get in a 6000-yard continuous swim.

    I'm a little concerned that my left shoulder is achy today... yesterday it was not as bad (feeling like I expect it should after three 3000-4000-yard days in a row). I thought an easy swim today might give it enough rest, but I have a feeling it's the accumulation of swimming over the week + the snow-shoveling today; basketball with the sixth-graders doesn't help. I'm going to see how it holds up tomorrow in the first couple of thousand. I hit 20 miles for the year today and was still in GTD top-ten for Men 40-44 (barely!).

    Updated January 13th, 2012 at 09:52 PM by mcnair

  18. "stretching beyond..."

    by , January 12th, 2012 at 02:31 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    "I saw--color of gold as it reflects
    the sun--a ladder gleaming in the sky,
    stretching beyond the reaches of my sight"
    (Paradiso XXI, lines 28-30)

    I love these lines in Mark Musa's translation (Penguin's Portable Dante--not portable enough to fit in the swimsuit btw). Dante, the pilgrim, is so far into the heavens already, yet this ladder extends so much farther above him that he cannot see the top. A couple of nice versions of this can be seen on Hollander's Princeton Dante Project website, such as this painting by Amos Nattini:

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    As we learn from St. Benedict in canto XXII a little later, this is Jacob's ladder:

    "It was the patriarch Jacob who saw
    our ladder stretch to touch the final height,
    the time he dreamed of it so thronged with angels"

    We're always trying to reach that "final height" ("la superna parte" in the original, the "supernal part"). And it often seems beyond reach. Like the beginning of a "ladder" workout. In August I started working in these massive ladder workouts, starting at the top, then working my way to the bottom and back again (1000, 500, 400, 300, 200, 100, 50, 100, 200, 300, 400, 500, 1000), trying to hold the same pace, maybe :10-:15 rests after each rep. It was a lot of yardage. Getting "down" the ladder was a piece of cake, but headed back up again? Phew, took a lot of mental discipline.

    Yesterday's 3Km (3300 SCY) incorporated a ladder of sorts... using different distances and different paces (as most folk's workouts). As my distances got shorter I tried to make my pace faster. So the ladder was working in both directions at once: distances easier (down), but paces harder (up). I did 300 yards in warm-up and cool-down, so the main workout was 3 twenty-minute, 1000-yard segments:

    5 x 200 on 4:00 (3:07-3:10)
    10 x 100 on 2:00 (1:26-1:30)
    20 x 50 on 1:00 (:40-:44)

    My goal at the start was to hold :48/50 on the 200s, :45 on the 100s, and :42 on the 50s. The theory is that I'm tricking my body into swimming faster and faster as the distances add up, rather than slowing the pace as fatigue sets in over the course of the sets. I was pretty close to attaining this "height"--though I had my doubts as I began my "final" 1000 and was staring into the faces of 20 reps!

    My average pace on the 200s was closer to :47 (though, my pace was all over the place over the course of any given 200--one 50 at :41, another at :51--I'm still not a very good judge of my own pacing). I was averaging :44 pace on the 100s... only two reps of the last three were at 1:30. And my 50s probably averaged :43--there were some :41-:42s, but also some :44s.

    As I headed to the sauna afterward, I was thinking about my years of running experience and how this is beginning to translate in my swimming. I guess developing different paces in swimming is similar... my gliding warm-ups with :58 50s are like brisk walks, the :53 all-day pace is like a trot or jog, the :48-:38 range represents my "running" speeds at 70-90%.

    Like Jacob, or eventually Dante, we get to the top of every set. Tomorrow's ladder will reach even higher, though, so we persevere in each workout... even when that ladder is "stretching beyond the reaches" of our sight!
  19. 4K yesterday

    by , January 11th, 2012 at 10:42 AM (Alex's swim journal)
    My 4K (4400 SCY) swim yesterday was enough to catapult me into the GTD top 10 for 40-44 men.

    Temporarily, I know.

    I originally started out thinking I would only get in 3500 or so, especially when my warm-up felt more taxing than usual.

    10 x 50 on :50 (mostly :46-:47)

    2 x 500 on 9:00 (8:01, 8:05)
    4 x 100 (50 easy/50 hard)*
    4 x 150 (50 easy/100 hard)*
    4 x 250 (50 easy/200 hard).
    *no rest after the 9:00 on second 500, just "recovery" swimming.

    4 x 150 (50 breast/100 glide)
    3 x 100 (50 breast/50 glide)

    After finishing the first 1500 of the workout at the 26:05 mark (only took :30-:40 rest between my warm-up and the main set), I was feeling off. I thought, oh great, the ladder up is not going to be fun. On my 500s I was trying to hold :48 50s, which was my mile pace last summer, but it felt a lot harder than I wanted. I would love for :48 to be my 1-hour pace, so it was discouraging that it didn't feel relaxed.

    By the time I was through my 150s, though, I was settling into a pretty good rhythm. The hard 200s didn't feel as bad... though my pace had dropped to :51 per 50 by then. I was at about 3325 yards at the 1-hour mark. Rather than just do a couple of easy 100s for a cool down, I decided to work my way back down the ladder (easier swimming this time). My stroke count on the gliding free laps was about 24 per 50. Felt pretty good, though slow.

    Not nearly as slow as I was this time last year!

    The ladder workout reminds me of Jacob's ladder and how Dante wrote about it from its base.
    I'll have to write my thoughts about that some other time.
  20. Let's dance!

    by , January 10th, 2012 at 12:00 AM (Alex's swim journal)
    Chaos at the Y... or, how did I pick this time to swim?

    Usually, we don't worry about lap swim schedules b/c there are always plenty of lanes open regardless of whatever else is going on. Today was an exception.

    Today's workout only 2200 yards (2K), all freestyle:

    20 x 50 on 1:00 (:45, :46; :43, ... second half started with a :39, :40, then were mostly :41, some slow :43s mixed in).

    5 x 100 on 2:00 (1:24, 1:25... then some 1:30s)
    rest for a few
    500 in 8:00 (200 was about 3:05)
    rest for a few

    2 x 100 (around 1:30 ea.)

    Where I "rest for a few," these are probably averaging 3 minute breaks. I was catching up with Scotty in the next lane; we hadn't had a chance to talk in a while. He shared a lane for part of my 5000 on Saturday, but we didn't chat b/c I never stopped. We set a tentative date for doing our postal 1-hour swim together: Saturday, January 21. I'm working on him to re-join USMS!

    I had intended to do a much more extensive workout today, but the pool was really crowded: only 3 lanes open for lap swimming, all the lap swimmers swimming at widely differing paces, three swim lesson groups and a large water aerobics class took up the rest of the pool. I got the lane right in front of the clock (great), but also the side right next to the lessons and water aerobicists (this was a challenge!). Turbulent waters (Instructor on deck: "Come on, move that water, girls!") and stray arms and legs kept sneaking under the lane separaters. I kept telling myself that this was great, though unexpected, preparation for open water! Just not what I felt like dealing with when I wanted to get a nice, crisp interval workout in... see what my times were looking like. So, I'm treating it as an additional recovery day.

    Scotty and I decided that the morning, early afternoon crowds were a lot less "distracting"; in his lane, he had a guy just jump in and start paddling about--weaving in and out of the way of oncoming swimmers on both sides of the lane--during our hard 500 (no "hey, can we circle swim" or anything). Craziness.

    We should probably start a regular workout group.

    Or join the water aerobics class... let's dance!
    [nomedia=""]David Bowie - Let&#39;s Dance - YouTube[/nomedia]