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  1. Another 4000 in the cold pool

    by , March 22nd, 2015 at 09:04 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    Overheard someone complaining to the lifeguard about how cold the water in the YMCA lap pool was today; he told this person that the small warm-water pool was open (and 90 degrees!). I have to say the water feels really cold the first few laps, but it's just fine after that... if there were more light in this airplane hanger of a natatorium it might not feel as cold; sunlight makes everything seem warmer this time of year. The first main set in today's work out was to work on pace for the 1650... 1800 in 30:00 with the 50s meant to trick my body into swimming dream pace for a little bit, 100s and 200s were respectively right under and right over the pace I'd like to be able to hold later this spring (1:30/100). Here's how it went:

    Warm-Up (1200/27:00)
    400 EZ on 7:00
    4 x 100 fr on 2:00 (desc from 1:32 to 1:25)
    4 x 50 fr on 1:00 (:39-:40)
    4 x 25 fr on :30 (:19-:21)
    100 BK on 2:00
    3:00 rest

    MS 1 (1800/30:00):
    6 x 50 fr on :50 (:40-:41)
    6 x 100 fr on 1:40 (1:28-1:31)
    6 x 50 fr on :50 (:40-:42)
    3 x 200 fr on 3:20 (3:03, 3:01, 3:00)

    Recovery: 200 BK EZ

    MS 2 (500/10:00):
    20 x 25 on :30 (:18-:22)

    Cool-down: 200 BK EZ; 100 BR

    TOTAL: 4000 SCY/<1:18.00
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  2. 4K: pace-100s workout

    by , March 21st, 2015 at 06:40 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    4400 SCY/1:20.00

    Warm-up:
    400 fr EZ on 7:00
    4 x 100 fr on 1:45
    4 x 50 fr on 1:00
    4 x 25 fr on :30

    MS
    3 x 1100 on 20:00
    --swum like so: 10 x 100 fr on 1:45, 1 x 100 bk, :30-:40 rest, repeat.

    Water at the YMCA still pretty cool, which is hard getting in, but nice for these hard workouts... don't feel the muscle fatigue as much. My times on the 100s were not that great, I wanted them to be around 1:28-1:29, but each set would start off the first few reps at goal pace and then quickly slide back to 1:31-1:32. Toward the end of each set I would be struggling to keep it around 1:33-1:34. I was pretty tired out from yesterday's 5000, but that's not a very good excuse.
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  3. 5000 SCY... Waco YMCA finally re-opens its lap pool!

    by , March 20th, 2015 at 09:11 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    The heaters have apparently been fixed and the temperature was probably in the upper 70s for my lunchtime workout. Good for a long swim.

    5000 SCY/90 mins

    Warm-up (1600/29:00)
    2 x thru
    --2 x 200 fr on 3:30
    --1 x 100 bk on 2:00
    --1 x 100 kick
    --1 x 200 pull

    MS (3200/57 mins)
    4 x thru (continuous)
    400 fr
    100 bk
    100 kick
    200 pull

    Cool-down (200/4:00)
    4 x 50 fr, very EZ
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  4. 4200-yard continuous

    by , March 13th, 2015 at 03:57 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    This one was a reprise--a bit longer--of a workout I did a couple of weeks ago; I always love getting to the end of a long one like this and realizing I've just done 500-600 yards of pure kick, or 1200 back... my legs were pretty shot on the last 100 kick.

    4200 SCY/1:20.00

    6 x thru
    --200 fr
    --200 bk
    --100 kick
    --200 pull w/ small buoy.

    BU pool didn't have the larger (or what I thought were regular size) pull-buoys, so I had to use this little tiny thing. On the pull section of the set, coming right off of the kick, I was trying to rest the legs a bit and work the hips, but having the smaller buoy meant I also had to be a lot more conscious of body position (pressing the upper torso) than I usually am on my pull sets I guess. Interesting how that sensation in the water with different equipment can make you focus on different aspects of the stroke.
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  5. 4000-yarder at BU

    by , March 12th, 2015 at 04:46 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    This felt really good. Went to the Student Life Center at BU today. The competition pool at the YMCA is closed until further notice for repairs. Turns out that "cold" swim I did there a week ago would be the last one in that pool for a while. Last friday found me at the little 3-4 lane pool in a shed outside the Northside YMCA in Waco--what a contrast! 4000 yards in 90-degree water (air temp hovering in the 50s). Two swims at Deep Eddy this weekend in Austin were shorter: 2100 meters and 1800 meters; water was normal (70) but air temp (40s) and cold drizzle made these really cold swims (this pool is never heated AND it's outside; why can't the Waco YMCA leave its indoor competition pool open for laps when the heater is broken? It's not like there are ice bergs floating by). The last couple of days were baby-bear "just right" at the SLC... go Baylor Bears!

    Since it's spring break the pool was not crowded and I had no trouble getting a lane to myself even though they only have 3 lanes for lap swimming. We'll see how it looks next week when class is back in session. The only problem is a lack of pace clock... I asked, apparently they don't have one. Today I brought my phone to keep track, but yesterday I was stuck squinting at the only little clock they have... on a wall about 20 feet away, with a barely perceptible seconds hand... I wanted binoculars. Anyway, it's tough to keep track of times, but from what I can tell I wasn't going too slowly today. Just tried to relax and stroke it out... worked on breathing a lot (following the website article that was just posted on USMS home page).

    Here's what I did (4000 SCY/1:20.00):

    4 x 200 fr on 3:45
    4 x 50 bk on 1:00
    16 x 50 fr on 1:00 (:40-:45*)
    2 x 100 bk on 2:00 (under 1:40**)
    8 x 100 fr on 2:00 (mostly under 1:30; last 4 actually went on 1:45 instead of 2)
    1 x 200 bk on 4:00 (about 3:30, felt relaxed)
    4 x 200 fr on 3:45 (EZ, just stroking it out)
    4 x 50 bk on 1:10 (very EZ, cool down)

    *couldn't really tell, the second hand was usually coming up to the :45 by the time I got my goggles off and my eyes finally focused--am guessing these were averaging :41-:42)
    **Again, as nearly as I could tell by the time I got my goggles off and could focus on the clock... same can be said for all the other swim times mentioned here.
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  6. cold water, continuous swim...

    by , March 2nd, 2015 at 11:11 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    Yesterday at the YMCA I noticed the heat was off in the pool, which didn't bother me so much because the temp was still probably around 75-78... just about perfect really. Today the temp was much colder. If air temp was around 70, the water had to be in the 60s. OK, maybe low 70s, but it was painful getting in in that dark natatorium (amazing how much warmer 70 feels when you're headed into a sunny outdoor pool!). The age-group kids finishing up their practice as I was starting were complaining about it, so I knew the first few laps were going to be on the chilly side and that I'd better keep moving if I wanted to retain my body heat. I had planned a bunch of drill anyway, so I just did everything continuously.

    3500 SCY/65 mins

    5 x thru
    --200 free
    --200 back
    --100 kick w/ board
    --200 pull w/ buoy

    My kick is feeling stronger and my back stroke is pretty relaxed. Overall I feel a lot stronger now than I did even at the beginning of last week. I'm pretty psyched about getting through 3500 in only 65 minutes even though 500 was kick (no fins) and 1000 was backstroke.
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  7. 4000 SCY

    by , March 1st, 2015 at 05:07 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    I thought I was going to be really sore the day after sprint work, but felt pretty good and (BONUS) my normal 1650 pace didn't feel like a hard slog... it felt comfortable and relaxed by comparison. Here's what I did:

    8 x 100 fr on 2:00 (desc. 1:32-1:26)
    200 BK on 4:00
    8 x 100 fr on 1:50 (1:27-1:30)
    200 BK on 4:00
    8 x 100 fr on 1:45 (1:29-1:35)
    200 BK on 4:00
    8 x 100 fr on 1:40 (1:30-1:36)
    200 BK on 4:00

    4000 SCY/1:17:00

    Toward the end of the third set of 100s I was starting to feel pretty icky, but recovered my pace after a few reps in the final set of 100s. I didn't miss any intervals in the final set, like I did earlier in the week, so I felt pretty good about that, but I'd really like to find 1:25-1:27 and be able to hold it for a whole set or two.
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  8. first sprint day in a while...

    by , February 28th, 2015 at 05:08 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    Haven't had the motivation or the company to do sprints in a long time, but figured I better start if I'm even going to try to do a meet at some point this SCY season. I am so slow and out of shape! I just did back and free today.

    WU (1000/20:00):
    200 fr
    100 kick
    200 pull
    200 fr
    100 kick
    200 pull

    1:00 rest

    MS 1 (1000 BK/27:00):
    20 x 25 bk on :40 (:21-:23)
    :40 rest
    10 x 50 bk on 1:20 (:45-:48)

    200 recovery (pull/bk)

    MS2 (1000 fr/25:00)
    20 x 25 fr on :40 (:16-:18)
    :40 rest
    10 x 50 on 1:00 (:36-:41)--occasionally took an extra :10-:20 rest if I was really winded, maybe after 3-4 reps.

    CD:
    300--mixed bk, pull, kick

    3500 SCY in about 1:20:00.

    Met some of the kids from the Baylor Swim Club, who came in to use the 2-3 lanes next to me when I was in the middle of my Back set. I thought they might be some random high school swimmers, but they looked a little older, so when I finished I asked them if they were on a team and they mentioned the BU swim club. I told them since they were all college age, they should consider doing the nationals in San Antonio (only about a 3-hour drive for us). Maybe I'll start joining them on Saturdays for their sprint day... it's really hard for an endurance guy like me to get up for sprints without teammates to help push me.
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  9. Late evening swim...

    by , February 27th, 2015 at 10:46 AM (Alex's swim journal)
    Got in last night for a bit of detox swimming at the YMCA and thought I might push it in the middle of the swim, but might have pushed too hard... had a hard time coming down afterward and felt pretty close to a bonk; remembered that I hadn't eaten very much all day, but by that point (9:30-10:00) it was too late, damage was done.

    3500 SCY/63 minutes

    WU (1100 SCY/19 mins):
    200 fr
    200 pull
    200 fr
    200 pull
    200 fr
    100 bk

    1:00 rest

    MS (1800/30:00--all free):
    6 x 50 on :50
    3 x 100 on 1:40
    3 x 200 on 3:20
    3 x 100 on 1:40
    6 x 50 on :50*

    *Knew I'd pushed it too far here, because I missed the interval on the last few and finished the set in 30:05... it was like my arms were quick-hardening cement, in fact the arms/shoulders hadn't felt so tired since the last time I spent an afternoon mixing cement by hand.

    CD (600/12-13 mins):
    600 mixing EZ pull and back
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  10. The road back...

    by , February 25th, 2015 at 09:20 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    Looking back at my posts from the beginning of the year I feel like I've squandered so much time over the last month... trying to get back into shape, but missing so many days. By the middle of February I was practically back to square one again. Last weekend was good, four days in a row with a swim (Thursday thru Sunday), though only the last one was over 2500. Today, after missing two days in a row, I managed to get in 3K.

    3300 SCY in 62 mins:

    5 x thru
    --200 fr
    --100 bk
    --200 pull
    --100 kick
    6 x 50 fr on 1:00

    The long continuous swim is still the thing I think I like the best; it satisfies my need to stay in motion for ever increasing time periods. This workout helped me keep going, but also throw in some variety. Since I only stopped to rest for the cool down (6 x 50 on 1:00), I was never tempted to pull myself out of the water in disgust over my slowness... which happened a couple of days last week when I got to around the 2000 mark. But I've been on this road before, just have to keep plugging away.
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  11. 3K Lunch

    by , January 20th, 2015 at 05:31 AM (Alex's swim journal)
    I observed MLK Day by not posting to the blog, though I did get a relaxing lunch-hour swim in: 3300 SCY in 59:00.

    5 x thru:
    200 fr
    200 pull w/ buoy
    200 bk

    300 EZ fr cool-down
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  12. Ahead of GTD...

    by , January 18th, 2015 at 04:32 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    "Congratulations!" I'm ahead of the goal for the second day in a row; a mile ahead now in fact. Today's workout included some more freestyle distance work, 3700 SCY in 69 minutes swum thus:

    WU:
    6 x 200 (fr, pull, bk)
    8 x 25 fr on :30
    [1400/26:00]
    1:00 rest

    MS1:
    3 x 200 fr on 3:30 (2:58-3:01)
    6 x 100 fr on 1:45 (1:27-1:31)
    12 x 50 fr on :50/:55 (:43-:45)
    [1800/31:30]

    MS2:
    4 x 50 bk on 1:00 (:48-:52)

    CD:
    100 pull
    100 bk pull
    100 bk
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  13. 4000; found a rhythm finally

    by , January 17th, 2015 at 04:08 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    Today was distance day, but I was a little concerned about how off I've felt lately, how slow my turnover, etc. So I got a lane where I could see the pace clocks really well in the last two or three strokes before each wall. I worked the hip rotation and hand entry into a rhythm to make sure I was going at a stroke per second. The times dropped immediately. Wow, I guess I'd let myself slow into a slide and glide mode lately that was lengthening my stroke but making my stroke rate really low. When I focused on rate instead of length today I found my SL didn't suffer that much, but it was much easier to maintain the faster speeds.

    Here's how the workout went:

    10 x 100 fr on 1:45 (1:29-1:33)
    100 bk EZ
    :30 rest
    10 x 100 fr on 1:45 (1:25-1:30)
    100 bk EZ
    :30 rest
    10 x 100 fr on 1:45 (1:27-1:33)
    100 bk EZ
    :30 rest
    5 x 100 fr on 1:45 (1:29-1:36)
    200 bk EZ

    4000 SCY/71 mins

    Found a really good rhythm and was able to hold form particularly well in the second set of 10 x 100 and in the first 6-8 reps of the third set before things (the form) started to fall apart. That's probably close to a mile at an SR around 16-18 per length and 100 pace averaging 1:27-1:28/100. I did lots of counting today, which helped distract me too as the lactic acid started building up.

    So the endurance still needs some work, but I feel very encouraged by today's performance!
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  14. 3000 with a broken 1650

    by , January 16th, 2015 at 11:05 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    Again, I felt like I was swimming in jello today... just real lethargic, low energy, couldn't speed up my turnover. I did 3000 and decided to do a broken 1650 to get a baseline. Wow, have I lost a ton of fitness since last year! I think I ended up around 27:15 after subtracting the :10 rests. I was flirting with 25:00 the last couple of years for my 1650s in the middle of spring, so this seems like a huge step back (even from last week).

    Here's the whole thing:

    WU:
    400 EZ on 8:00
    4 x 100 fr on 2:00 (1:29-1:33)
    4 x 50 fr on 1:00 (:42-:44)
    4 x 25 fr on :30
    100 bk

    MS (broken 1650)
    400 + :10
    300 + :10
    200 + :10
    150 + :10
    100 + :10
    50 + :10
    100 + :10
    150 + :10
    200
    = 28:35 (-1:20 = 27:15)

    CD: 150 bk

    This total time was slower than my LCM 1500 in June; even slower than my SCM 1500 in my first meet ever, just over two years ago... after making so much progress, it's sad to see it all vanish in a matter of months; hopefully it won't take too long to get back into the swing of things.
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  15. holding pattern...

    by , January 16th, 2015 at 09:27 AM (Alex's swim journal)
    I was only able to get in two swims this week, so I'm really looking forward to getting in today around noon. Waiting for the refrigerator delivery now! Tuesdays and Thursdays have been really busy, but especially so this week, so no swim. Monday and Wednesday I managed about 2000 each day. My Wednesday swim felt extremely slow, even though I'd had a day of rest... thought it should have felt faster. Here's what I did:

    400 EZ fr on 7:00
    4 x 100 fr on 1:45
    4 x 50 fr on 1:00
    4 x 50 bk on 1:00
    4 x 100 bk on 2:00
    200 bk on 4:00
    200 EZ fr

    Felt so lethargic, which was disappointing on a short workout... felt much better in the 3500+ workouts this weekend. Could be the late evening time (I'm pretty tired after 7:30 or 8P), but I think it's the lack of sleep this first week with the students back on campus and me scrambling to put classes together while scheduling already for next fall. Crazy time!

    After briefly inching ahead of my GTD goal, I'm now almost three miles behind again! Catch-up on the weekends; fall behind during the week.
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  16. 3600 yards

    by , January 11th, 2015 at 10:18 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    3600 yards in about 65 minutes, felt ok...

    WU:
    400 fr on 7:00
    4 x 100 fr on 1:45
    4 x 50 fr on 1:00
    4 x 25 fr on :30
    1:00 rest

    MS1:
    3 x 200 fr on 3:30 (2:56-3:04)
    6 x 100 fr on 1:45 (1:28-1:33)
    12 x 50 on :50/:55
    100 bk recovery

    MS2:
    4 x 50 bk on 1:00
    100 ez fr recovery
    4 x 50 bk on 1:00
    100 ez fr recovery

    Left shoulder was starting to tug a little on the 50s, need to pay real close attention to holding form as my body starts to fatigue. Third day in a row with 2+ miles of swimming, so the body is tiring out... not adapted to the yardage yet.
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  17. New Year, trying to get back on track...

    by , January 10th, 2015 at 07:27 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    Couldn't believe it when I opened up my BLOG yesterday and found my last entry was dated more than two months ago. I've lost a lot of fitness since then as we went through our second move in four months (this one across town to the "new" permanent home).

    Between the…
    ...craziness of this move,
    the adjustments to the rhythms of the new job,
    the holiday travels,
    and the fact that I still haven't managed to figure out how my new YMCA's pool schedule is going to mesh with my own schedule in something like a routine…
    … I have missed a lot of days.

    I swam less than 10 miles in all of December, and ended the year with my worst total mileage year since I started keeping track in 2011. Still averaging more than 400 miles/year for the last four years. My weight is still down in the mid 160s and the vegan diet is still pretty much in place (there was a lot of accidental dairy during the holidays, if you know what I mean, sometimes it's best not to ask… as long as it isn't a steaming carcass).

    So I'm trying to get back on track. Set my GTD goal at 365, mile-a-day pace, and have still managed to fall behind! I'm slowing ramping up the yardage though and hope to start training for long distance free and middle distance back and fly on a more regular basis. Yesterday I did 3500 and today 3600 and I feel pretty good. Here were the workouts, nothing too intense (and paces way off where they were even earlier this fall), just getting the body used to the yardage again:

    Friday, 1/9/15:

    3 x thru
    --8 x 100 fr on 1:45
    --1 x 200 bk on 4:00
    100 fr recovery
    6 x 50 bk on 1:00
    100 fr cool-down

    Total: 3500 SCY/64 mins

    Saturday, 1/10/15:

    400 fr + 100 bk on 9:00
    4 x 100 fr on 1:45
    100 bk recovery
    2 x 200 fr on 3:30
    100 bk recovery
    2 x 200 fr on 3:30
    100 bk recovery
    4 x 100 fr on 1:45
    100 bk recovery
    400 fr + 100 bk on 9:00
    6 x 50 bk on 1:00 (:47-:50)
    200 EZ fr
    100 bk cool-down

    Total: 3600 SCY/66 mins

    My pace on the free intervals was between 1:30 and 1:36 per, I really only pushed it a few times, not building up any lactic acid on the 200s but managed to keep them in the 3:04 to 3:06 range nonetheless… lots of rest in those sets when I was going on 3:30.
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  18. Back to back 3000-yard wkouts

    by , October 11th, 2014 at 07:14 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    It's been a while since I've been able to work in 3000 yards or more two days in a row. I've been doing more like 2000 every other day. So I feel tired, but a good tired. Here's what I did:

    Yesterday (10/10):

    6 x 500 (=400 free + 100 back) on 9:00
    Total: 3000 SCY/54 minutes

    Today (10/11):
    Wm-up:
    400 fr on 7:00
    4 x 100 fr on 1:45
    4 x 50 fr on 1:00
    100 BK recovery on 3:00

    MS:
    3 x 200 fr on 3:20
    6 x 100 fr on 1:40
    12 x 50 fr on :50
    100 BK recovery

    Cool-dn:
    6 x 50 on 1:00

    Total: 3300 SCY/60 minutes

    The pace was slow (probably averaged 1:31/100 pace over the main set), as to be expected on my first time with this workout in a while, but I was happy just to have enough energy to finish.
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  19. Erratic training, house hunting

    by , September 20th, 2014 at 06:00 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    Looking back over the last 8 weeks or so, I can't be too upset at my swimming. With the craziness of the move, the transition into new position, and the search for a new home in the area I've only been able to get in 3-4 times per week for very short swims (1500-2500 SCY range). But over the last couple of years I've gotten used to swimming almost every day going 3-4K pretty regularly, so anything less than that feels like I've completely abandoned my fitness program. Hoping I'll be able to get back into a routine of swimming every day soon!

    I'm used to putting in long hours of work, but when you add a couple of hours with the real estate agent looking at homes every day your free time starts shrinking rapidly. I think the daily "house hunt" is way more exhausting than an hour at the Y. At this point we're so tired of looking that the thing really needs to be "move-in" ready, unfortunately most of the stuff at our price point is flame-thrower ready. My personal favorite was the dated house in a great neighborhood (Hawaiian motif wall-paper!), with a chicken coop in the back yard and a swimming pool that was getting ready to slide off into a ravine. Or the beautifully updated house in a nice neighborhood with the fatal flaw of a four-lane highway and access roads 25 yards from the back porch. Sigh. I think we're getting closer.

    The other thing that is frustrating is that my 3-4 days per week in the pool have been highly erratic, so like last week I managed 4 days straight between Thursday and Sunday... awesome, right? But then I couldn't manage to get back in until this Friday, so whatever progress I made on getting back into shape in those four swims was lost in the four day hiatus that followed!

    Here's what I did yesterday and today:

    Friday, 2200 SCY, 45 mins:

    WU:
    2 x thru
    200 fr
    50 bk

    MS1:
    10 x 100 fr on 2:00

    MS2
    2 x thru
    4 x 50 Bk on 1:00
    50 fr recovery

    CD: 200 EZ swim
    ---
    Saturday, 2200 SCY, 44 mins

    5 x 200 fr on 4:00 (desc. from 3:20 to 3:05)
    4 x 50 fr on 1:00 (:39-:42)
    8 x 25 fr on :30 (:18-:19)
    200 bk on 4:00
    4 x 50 fr on 1:00 (:40ish, counting about 35-36 strokes per 50)
    200 bk on 4:00
    200 EZ recovery
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  20. Settling into a new life...

    by , August 24th, 2014 at 07:27 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    The move is complete, though we're still making our way through boxes. I'm getting used to the new YMCA. Haven't joined the masters workouts yet... I'm holding off for a semester at least; the learning curve at work right now is pretty steep on the administrative side, so I'm going to ease back into the swimming as I can. I have been getting in to swim a few times a week, but really just for stress relief... nothing intense.

    Today I did 2200 SCY:

    400 EZ swim on 8:00
    4 x 100 IM on 2:00
    4 x 50 FR on 1:00
    4 x 25 Fr on :30
    4 x 25 BK on :30
    1:00 rest
    4 x 50 BK on 1:00
    100 FR recovery
    4 x 50 BK on 1:00
    100 FR recovery
    200 IM stretching it out on 4:00
    200 EZ swim
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