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  1. 7000 yards and a drink malfunction...

    by , February 25th, 2012 at 07:25 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    Today I wanted to do my first 7K continuous swim; distance has been building nicely since mid-January and after getting really comfortable with the 6K distance and taking a step-back week, I though 7K would be just right.

    For the long swims I always take a water bottle with a replacement drink; usually Gatorade. I know from my running days how important hydration is after you get out past the hour mark and the electrolytes and simple carbs in Gatorade really help keep the glycogen stores from running out in that second hour of swimming. I don't like the bonk!

    So I planned, like I usually do, to take a swig at every kilometer: a few ounces every 20 minutes for me seems just right and leaves me enough to chug at the end of the swim to begin recovery. I left the bottle on the deck, slipped into the water, quickly found my all-day pace, and was just getting into a rhythm when...

    The lifeguard stopped me, apologizing profusely, and began to explain why my water bottle was open, half-consumed, and surrounded by what looked like a Gatorade explosion... huh?

    Apparently, as she retells it, there is a patron with a mental disability who can't control himself when he sees bottled drinks or coffee mugs ("your lucky it wasn't coffee," says the other lifeguard, "he makes a B-line and never lets anyone pull him away from that stuff"). I knew who they were talking about and thought it was kind of sad. As apologetic as they were about it, I said it was no big deal, totally fine. I'm so glad that this disabled gentleman's family cares enough about him to bring him to the Y and let him enjoy swimming. Every time I see them I think, "wow, that's dedication."

    Obviously, it was an inconvenience and w/o replacement drink I ran out of gas at about 6K instead of 7K, managed to squeeze in another few hundred yards to make it an even 7000. But I was reminded the whole time I was swimming of how blessed I am. I'll hit that 7K next week!
  2. Snow + 4000 yards

    by , February 24th, 2012 at 07:54 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    Winter returns to Southeast Wisconsin today; here are some pics from our street.
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    These cell-phone shots from my car don't do justice to the actual sight itself, which was really a winter wonderland... a thick, wet, sticky snow covered everything when we awoke this morning.

    Here was the workout at the Y; I did the 3 x 300 set as a test to figure out my threshold pace. And I realized that I really like doing 300s; very challenging!

    Warm-up (600 SCY):
    100 Free, EZ
    50 kick board*
    50 side kick (12)
    50 kick board
    50 side kick (6)
    50 kick board
    50 side kick (6+3)
    50 kick board
    50 back kick, no board*
    100 free w/ fins
    [*all kick drills in the warm-up were with short fins]

    Main sets (3000):

    20 x 50 on 1:00 (:40-:43)
    2-minutes rest
    3 x 300 on 5:30 (4:30; 4:33; 4:37)
    1:30 rest
    1000 free (moderate pace = 1:42/100y)
    100 breast

    200 free (EZ)
    200 kick (50 Board, side 12, side 6, back; all w/ fins)

    Total = 4000 SCY
  3. Ash Wednesday 3K

    by , February 23rd, 2012 at 12:02 AM (Alex's swim journal)
    My penance for today...

    3K (3300 SCY/ 58:30) thusly:

    3 x through
    1000 Free
    100 Breast

    On the first 1000 free I alternated 100 EZ w/ 100 moderate. On the second I did 2 x 500 (100 EZ followed by 400 moderate). On the third I did 1000 straight at a moderate pace (1:41-1:43 per 100).

    I had very little time today, so it was rushed, not the kind of thing I liked to be. But it encouraged me to push a little harder than I might otherwise have done. I'm happy with the result.

    The swim was more or less continuous; I did stop once between 2-3,000 briefly to say hi to a swimmer in the next lane, who I hadn't seen in a few days. But I finished in time to rush off to a meeting. Come to think of it, the swim was less of a penance than a reward after all!
  4. Yesterday's milestone...

    by , February 21st, 2012 at 09:08 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    I guess it didn't occur to me until much later, but yesterday was a milestone of sorts: 50 blog entries!

    A NOTE on the HEDONISTIC EXCESSES of MARDI GRAS: Today's swim was mostly easy stuff--gearing up for a bigger day tomorrow--but with a new twist. I used fins for the first time on my kick sets. [*gasp* the horror!] The bucket next to the board/bouy bin pool-side had some short fins and I've been hearing from various corners that drilling with the fins might help build some swim-specific muscles. I don't know, we'll see how I feel tomorrow, but I thought it felt too easy. A worthy excess in honor of Mardi Gras? It was interesting, though, to feel what a truly propulsive kick might feel like!

    450 of the warm-up was with fins and the kick lengths went by much more quickly than they do without; my cool-down without the fins hammered this point home for me! Here's the workout (3200 SCY; a little more than an hour):

    Warm-up (800 yards):
    100 free EZ
    50 Side kick drill (12+1) w/ fins
    50 kick w/ board and fins
    50 side-kick drill (6+1) w/ fins
    50 kick w/ board and fins
    50 side-kick drill (6+3) w/ fins
    50 kick w/ board and fins
    50 back kick w/ fins
    100 free w/ fins
    100 pull
    150 free

    Main Set (2K continuous swim = 2200 SCY):
    2 x through
    1000 free (alternating EZ gliding 100s w/ moderate 100s)
    100 breast

    200 in kick drills, no fins (12, 6, 6+3, board)
  5. Question on Best Pace Interval...

    by , February 20th, 2012 at 08:20 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    Back up to about 15 miles ahead of my GTD goal pace after today's swim. Two mile's worth; here it is:

    20 x 50 on 1:00 (first 5-7 serve as warm-up).
    10 x 100 on 1:40
    500 recovery swim (alt. 100 EZ glide/100 moderate)
    2 x 500 (400 moderate/100 EZ)--this was a continuous 1000 broken into two 500-yard segments.
    =3500 SCY/76 minutes

    I cut down on my rest during the sets (a 1:40 interval instead of 2:00 on the 100s, for example), but rested a little more between sets. I probably waited 2.5 minutes between the wm-up and the 100s (I wanted to start the 100s on a nice round number--10:00 in this case--to help my keep track). Then a little later on I stopped to chat with some of the other swimmers.

    My times were OK I probably had 10 of my last 12-13 50s in the :38-:39 range, even a couple of :37s! The 100s started off at 1:24 and then stayed around 1:30 for a long time before dropping to 1:33-1:34 on the last 2-3 reps. So I was definitely able to hold what I thought would be an overly ambitious interval of 1:40. When I'm swimming on 2:00 I can come in at 1:30 all day long (I've done sets of 15-30 reps on that interval over the last year).

    So does that mean that 1:40 should be my BPI? My mile pace is actually just a little faster than that. It seems slow, but then again b/c of my overdeveloped slow-twitch fibers there just isn't that much of a difference between my "sprint" speed (1:20-124) and my all-day pace (1:40-1:50--depending on the day!). Does this seem right?
  6. Back in the pool!

    by , February 19th, 2012 at 05:51 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    After missing four days straight (the first time I've missed that many days in a row since last spring!), I finally managed to get back into the pool today. It was very crowded, but every Sunday afternoon is, which is why I normally try to go Sunday mornings to do my long swim. I also needed a little catch-up sleep; so I had a leisurely Sunday morning, to say the least.

    I did 3600, pretty easy; could've done more, but I decided I would save it for a big workout tomorrow and try to get in consistently every day this week. After two weeks in a row with 6K long swims on the weekend I think my body needed a "step-back" week anyway (which is what we used to call it in marathon training).

    Work has been a little overwhelming the last few weeks and I was really missing the pool on Wednesday-Saturday; but with deadlines looming I spent most of my days and nights hunched over the computer... only able to get my swimming fix vicariously through the USMS blogs and forums for a few minutes here and a few minutes there.

    By Saturday, though, the lack of sleep, the long hours alternating between writing, teaching, meetings, and grading were starting to take their toll; it's like my brain was slowing down... processing speed impeded by running to many applications at once! And I hadn't gotten my accustomed exercise. I really started to notice it toward the end of an otherwise very nice conference on Saturday afternoon in Dekalb, IL. Enjoyed my time there enough, learned a lot, but the two-hour drive back was a torment. I had to stop every 45 minutes or so just to stay awake.

    Feeling much better today after a couple of miles in the pool and a full-night's sleep!
  7. Two steps forward...

    by , February 14th, 2012 at 10:34 PM (Alex's swim journal) step back?

    Today I felt like my 200 times took a step back after seeing improvement for a couple of weeks in a row. I noticed that this would happen to me last summer too, I would do a workout a couple of times, show progress, then do the same workout and see a regression, only to come back the next week to see improvement again. Here was the workout:

    20 x 50 on 1:00 (first few in 45-42 seconds, then hit :40 consistently for the rest)
    4 x 200 on 4:00 (3:03; 3:04; 3:03; 3:02)
    200 breast recovery
    4 x 200 on 4:00 (3:10; 3:07; 3:06; 3:07)
    200 breast recovery
    4 x 200 on 4:00 (3:12; 3:16; 3:13; 3:12)
    200 breast recovery
    100 gliding free cool-down
    --4100 SCY/82 minutes.

    A couple of factors that might be at play: 1. I've been adding a couple of 200s to this workout each of the last three weeks (maybe my body was subconsciously holding back b/c it knew I had a 3rd set to do, as opposed to 2 sets and a final pair). 2. This is the second week in a row I've done this workout two days after a 6K continuous swim (time to take a step-back week?).

    Another issue is the 50s at the beginning of the workout just aren't as crisp as I want them to be. I was hitting :38 regularly two weeks ago, last week I was at :39, today I only had 3-4 reps under :40. That seems like a big difference. It's like the garbage yardage monster (AKA Il Garbagio) is seeking revenge. I've never been fast, but is this my slow twitch starting to assert itself as my weekend long swims get longer? I'm baffled...

    Though that's part of the fun, isn't it? We're all unique science experiments (testing hypotheses, trying to figure out what works, what are the causes and effects of each decision about the training regimen). The miracle of each individual human heart and soul!

    "When the mountain is high..."; well... take it away, Lenny!
    [nomedia=""]Lenny Kravitz - Dig In - Rock In Rio Madrid 2008 - HQ Alta Calidad - YouTube[/nomedia]

    "Life has been waiting for you to care..." Happy Valentine's Day!
  8. Long mile... garbagio yardagio?

    by , February 14th, 2012 at 12:10 AM (Alex's swim journal)
    Did a little bit of what some might term junk yardagio today--ma questo non garbagio!

    A long mile... 1800 yards, a little bit of kick drill for a warm-up and then a lot of EZ free to work out the toxins. Felt better than I did after last week's 6K swim. LSD: bring it on! (but stay away from the brown acid, "that's a bad trip"). 'Scuse me, is that like swimming through purple haze?

    [nomedia=""]Jimi Hendrix - Purple Haze (Live) HDV - YouTube[/nomedia]

    Swim on through, swim on through, swim on through to the other side:

    [nomedia=""]THE DOORS - Break on through (to the other side) at KTLA-TV - YouTube[/nomedia]

    That's not junk!
  9. Into the mystic; 6k today...

    by , February 12th, 2012 at 11:11 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    ... felt pretty good, had good rhythm, things were just clicking. Love it when that happens!

    Like my 6K (6600 SCY) last week, I wanted to do it continuously. But, as it turns out, folks were talkative today at the Kenosha Y. At about 2500, one of our new regular swimmers stopped me to chat about what I might be doing after my swim... it turned into about a 4-minute break, which I wasn't expecting, but, whatever, life intervenes sometimes. BTW, this is what I really had in mind after the swim:

    With the exception of that interruption and a couple of other shorter interruptions, I swam the 6K as I did last week in 1K segments of about 20:00 each (1000 free, 100 breast). Last week I finished in a total time of 123 minutes; today I did it in 124 including the 4-minute break and shorter interruptions, so I was swimming much stronger!

    I'm not swimming my 200 workout tomorrow--will wait for Tuesday--I'll need a recovery day. Last week's long swim was on Saturday, so now I'm a bit off of my routine (whatever that is!). It's all good though... swim today left me feeling pleasantly fatigued (was that a fog horn?):

    "Smell the sea and feel the sky,
    let your soul and spirit fly
    into the mystic
    [...] and magnificently we will float
    into the mystic"

    ...enjoy a little Van Morrison!

    [nomedia=""]Van Morrison - Into The Mystic (Original Version) - YouTube[/nomedia]
  10. Not open water season in Madison...

    by , February 11th, 2012 at 12:05 AM (Alex's swim journal)
    Well, I've spent the last couple of days in Madison (chaperoning for my oldest, who's doing National Honor Choir) and have managed to get in a couple of swims here--though not open water! This is what Lake Monona looked like this afternoon around 5:30 (click on the thumbnail to enlarge):

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    It's hard to imagine that this was the site of USMS 2.4-mile OW championship last August (my first USMS-sanctioned OW swim!). What a difference 6 months makes! Yesterday there were actually some folks out on the ice; today I think it was too cold.

    Needless to say, I found the YMCA--only a few minutes by car from where I took this photo. Yesterday I swam 2k (2200 SCY), mixing in some speed work: 750 warm-up, 10 x 100 (first 3 reps in under 1:24; then I realized I better back off and hit the rest in 1:30-1:33--wasn't supposed to be a hard day), 150 breast, 300 cool-down w/ EZ free and kick drills (no board). Today, I wanted to swim a little longer, because I might not get in a swim tomorrow, so here's what I did:

    400 free (moderate)
    100 free (easy)
    400 free (moderate)
    100 free (easy)
    100 breast
    1000 free (alternated 100 moderate/100 easy)
    100 breast
    [this first 2K was continuous, no rest, in about 39 minutes]
    10 x 100 on 2:00 (50 ez-moderate/50 moderate-hard)
    100 breast
    200 kick drills
    = 3500 SCY/65 minutes

    I was a little sore from yesterday and the rest of the week, so the first 1000 was tough--once I warmed up I was fine, maybe a little tired.
  11. a far road...

    by , February 8th, 2012 at 11:20 PM (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.
  12. Draggin' an anchor...

    by , February 7th, 2012 at 11:16 PM (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:
  13. I love/hate 200s!

    by , February 6th, 2012 at 10:15 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!
  14. 50-mile mark... yesterday's 6K

    by , February 5th, 2012 at 07:33 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.
  15. Like a band of gypsies...

    by , February 4th, 2012 at 12:45 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.
  16. Time to break out the old bike!

    by , February 2nd, 2012 at 12:01 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.
  17. More than good intentions--2K today

    by , February 1st, 2012 at 12:31 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.
  18. It felt like an interval day...

    by , January 30th, 2012 at 11:31 PM (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
  19. Catching my breath...

    by , January 30th, 2012 at 12:14 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!
  20. Back on track...

    by , January 25th, 2012 at 09:31 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!