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  1. 3000-yard wave ride?

    by , July 24th, 2013 at 02:45 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    I intended to do a nice and easy recovery swim at the lake today, maybe get in a little work on breast stroke since I focused more heavily on the other three strokes yesterday.

    The air temps were cool (upper 50s, lower 60s) and the water is cooling off a bit too--probably back in the 70s. The morning was bright with crisp blue sky and puffy white clouds scattered low on the horizon... and a nice cooling breeze, which unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your take), was kicking up some nice waves and driving them across the lake in regular intervals. This created a nice rolling surface constantly pushing me shoreward from the lap swim area. In one direction it would give me a little extra forward momentum, but coming back I would pay for it.

    Would I rather swim through calm and crystal clear waters? Sure. But I "rolled" with it... thankful for an unexpected opportunity to become stronger and better acclimated to the unpredictable conditions of the open water.

    Here's what I did:

    5 x thru
    200 fr
    100 breast

    4 x thru
    200 fr
    100 drill/recovery (swum as 50 3r/3l one-arm fly, 50 back recovery)

    300 cool-down (fr, br, fr by 100)
  2. 4400 SCY; 200-pace workout

    by , July 23rd, 2013 at 01:21 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    My rabbit (Scotty) couldn't make it today, so it was more difficult than last week even to hit the target paces for this middle-d workout. I added 200 to my back and free sets, subtracted one from the fly... net gain of 200 at goal paces. Here's how it went down:

    WU (1000):
    400 fr/pull on 7:00 (held 1:40/100 pace)
    4 x 100 IM on 2:00 (1:41-1:45)
    4 x 50 fr on 1:00 (:38-:39)

    MS1 (1000):
    4 x thru--
    4 x 50 bk at 200 goal-pace on :10 rest
    -- <1:00 rest after each 200 (the 200s were coming in 3:33-3:40, 3:03 to 3:10 when you subtract the rests)
    200 recovery swim (fr, bk, fr, bk)

    MS2 (1000):
    4 x thru--
    4 x 50 fr at 200 goal-pace on :10 rest
    -- <1:00 rest after each 200 (the 200s were coming in 3:07 to 3:11 I think, 2:37-2:41 when you subtract the rests... not that great, more like my current 200 pace than what my goal should be)
    200 recovery swim (fr, pull, fr, pull)

    MS3 (1000):
    4 x 50 fly on 1:00 (:45, :48, :49, :50)
    2:00 rest
    4 x 50 fly on 1:00 (:46, :49, :50, :53)--much slower than last week!
    1:00 rest
    200 recovery swim (pull, fr)
    1:00 rest
    400 IM... wanted to push this, but decided maybe the cool-down should start here! (7:35ish--yuck)

    CD (400)
    200 pull
    200 EZ fr

    4400 SCY/90 minutes

    I think I wasn't fully recovered from Sunday's sprint work... when I've done this workout over the last few weeks it is usually after at least 2 recovery days.
  3. 3000-yards in the lake

    by , July 22nd, 2013 at 01:31 PM (Alex's swim journal)
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    This was the scene Friday morning at the boy's camp, just north of Rhinelander in far north-central Wisconsin. My youngest son Aaron is on the dock in the last session of his Emergency Preparedness merit badge. The scenery was gorgeous, weather perfect. Later that afternoon I got a chance to take a dip in the lake and chase fish under the dock with the kids. Great time.

    The water in the lake back here in Pleasant Prairie, 5.5-hour south by car, was a little bit warmer than Clear Lake at Camp Tesomas, but yesterday's rain and the relatively cooler air temps of the last couple of days meant that the water temp was much more comfortable than it was at the end of last week... not at all like the bath water temps of last Thursday morning's swim at Lake Andrea.

    Here's what I did this morning:

    WU (1000):
    400 EZ
    4 x 100 fr on :10-:15r (build pace)
    200 IM

    MS (1000):
    Descending ladder, fr, :10-:15r between steps:
    400-300-200-100 (build from moderate to hard pace with each step)

    CD (1000):
    200 IM; :15r
    4 x 100 fr on :10-:15r
    400 EZ swim (br, fr, bk, fr)

    TOTAL: 3000 yards/<60 minutes

    Wish I could say I felt great today... I felt "meh." I didn't feel as beat up as I thought I would feel, however, after yesterday's sprint fest. I took 2 advil about an hour or two after the swim yesterday and I think that helped a lot. I woke up this morning with only the slightest of residual soreness, but didn't push it on this planned recovery day.
  4. Sprint Sunday...

    by , July 22nd, 2013 at 12:09 AM (Alex's swim journal)
    After a couple of rest days... actually it was far from rest--a lot of hiking at the boy's camp--but a break from serious swimming... I was chomping at the bit to get back to training though and arranged to meet Scotty at the Y for a sprint workout at noon today. I was stiff from 6 hours on the road yesterday and from sleeping on the ground Thursday and Friday nights, so it took me a while to warm up and loosen up, but I felt pretty good.

    Here's what we did:

    WU (950):
    400 EZ swim
    4 x 100 IM on 2:00
    3 x 50 free on 1:00 (felt 80-85%; all in :39)

    MS (2000):
    20 x 25 fly on :45 (:18-:23; managed to hold mostly :21-:22s)
    2:00 rest
    20 x 25 BK on :45 (:19-:22, mostly :20-:21)
    3:00 rest
    20 x 25 br on :45 (:22-:25; mostly :23-:24)
    Master's minute (i.e., 5:00 to chew the fat with our pool mates)
    20 x 25 fr on :45 (:15?-:18; these were mostly in the :16-:17 range)
    Masters minute

    CD (550):
    400 IM relaxed, 7:15
    150 pull EZ

    TOTAL: 3500 SCY

    The workout was challenging, but fun. Scotty's teenage daughter joined us for most of the workout (skipping the last set of 20 x 25 for an early cool-down), she swam the fly and br sets as freestyle, but her back is getting really good and she kept up with us on that portion. She'll be 18 in the not so distant future, so we're already working on her as a nice addition to Master's swimming. Another swimmer, one of the lifeguards off-duty, joined us for the breast set. It was fun to have four lanes all going on :45, swimming hard. We're building a decent community of swimmers. Pretty soon we might have to start scheduling regular workouts!
  5. Calm, clear, warm lake water...

    by , July 18th, 2013 at 11:23 AM (Alex's swim journal)
    Back at Lake Andrea early this morning; even as early as it was the air was pretty warm and moist. But the still, humid air has some advantages. It also meant the waters were incredibly calm and clear. Hardly as much as a ripple at points. Which is a lot of fun to swim in... like taking the snowshoes through fresh powder in the winter... breaking a new path.

    Water on the surface was probably in the mid 80s after the heat wave we've had, but I could feel the cooler water beneath as my hand and arm went through the stroke. After the tough day yesterday I was a little stiff and cooler water would have been more welcome, but it was a really enjoyable swim nonetheless.

    EZ 2000 (1500 fr and 250 ea of bk and br).

    Here's the scene:
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  6. 300 miles; 400 IM PR... again?!

    by , July 17th, 2013 at 04:54 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    Took my GTD "50 Miles" cap to the Y today as a reminder that I would be crossing the 300-mile threshold in my warm-up. Today's 4600-yard workout put me over 302 miles for the year... and had me PR from push in the 400 IM for the second week in a row... at the end of the workout no less. So this is making me feel good about my progress. The workout was almost a replica of last Wednesday's 1500 goal-pace workout with 4IM set added. I note the changes below...

    WU (1000):
    400 EZ on 8:00 (actually swam it as 2 x 200 this week focusing on stretching it out... second 200 was 3:10 and felt easy)
    4 x 100 IM on 2:15 (1:45ish; not that great but I was going for "relaxed"; last week I swam 100s fr here on 2:00)
    4 x 50 on 1:00 (right at :39-:40, not pushing it, trying to get into the "pace-work" frame of mind)

    MS1 (1800):
    3 x 200 on 3:20 (2:50, 2:53, 2:54; last week was at 2:49; 2:55, 2:55)
    6 x 100 on 1:40 (1:23-1:26; first 4 in 1:23-24, only the last one was 1:26)
    12 x 50 on :50 (:39-:42; mostly :41)
    --What I said last week: "These were a little faster and felt a little more comfortable than last week's set..." I've changed my mindset from a 1:30/100 pace for 1650 to 1:25 as my pace per 100 goal; slight improvements in the 200s, the 100s are right on goal pace, the 50s even a second or two ahead of pace. Last week most of my 100s were in the 1:25-1:26 range, so a slight improvement there.

    MS2 (1200):
    2:00 rest
    8 x 50 on 1:00 in 4IMO (:45, :47, :49, :49; :49, :53, :43, :42)
    2:00 rest
    4 x 100 on 2:00 in 4IMO (1:34, 1:41, 1:51, 1:32)
    Masters minute
    400 IM in 6:42
    --My BK was improved over last week in the set of 50s, so was the br; fly is holding steady; free was rough... I think I was starting to feel the accumulation of hard work and free lengths were a mental break. One inadvertent change in the workout was that the 100s were on 2:00 this week instead of 2:30 from last week... times were only slightly slower after the fly 100, but the rest interval was reduced by :30 per rep in that set!). Can't believe I dropped 5 seconds from my 400 IM time of last week. Fly splits were :44, 1:35. Didn't catch the Back split, but my BR definitely felt faster (stayed a lot closer to Scotty on that leg than I did last week)... I was at around 5:15 when I transitioned from breast to free... I think I remember seeing 5:13, but can't be absolutely sure what it was.

    CD (600):
    200 EZ fr
    200 EZ bk
    4 x 50 on 1:15 (br, br, fr, fr)

    Scotty really helped push me on both main sets today. There's no way I would have been able to keep hitting those targets without having him right there out of the corner of my eye in the next lane. I'm going to have to nickname him the "rabbit"!

    Tomorrow: an early morning lake swim to loosen up (hopefully), then a 5.5-hour drive after work to the north woods of WI, where I'll join my younger two boys for their last couple of days of summer camp. Heat and humidity have been positively tropical here this week... probably not going to need that sweatshirt.
  7. Double today puts me at...

    by , July 16th, 2013 at 09:53 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    299.92 miles for the year so far. Seriously?! I do a double and I come .08 miles short of the 300-mile mark? Whatever.

    I'll pass the 300 miles tomorrow with my warm-up. Today I did an early lake swim just to loosen up: 2000 yards, mostly freestyle, but mixed in about 300 in back and 300 in breast.

    This afternoon on my way home from work I stopped at the Y to do a little drill work, because I didn't have the equipment at the lake. Just 1200, as follows:

    100 EZ free
    100 pull w/ buoy
    8 x 25 SDKs w/ short fins on :40
    8 x 25 BK SDKs and kick w/ short fins on :30
    2 x 50 BR kick w/ board on 1:15
    2 x 50 BR pull w/ buoy on 1:15
    2 x 50 BR hard on 1:15 (:50, :51)
    2 x 50 fr pull w/ buoy
    4 x 50 fr swim golf on 1:00 (was swimming a real easy :45-:46 pace in avg. 25-26 strokes/50, which means I was scoring around 71... one over par? Not bad for a recovery day cool-down).

    Tomorrow: a lot more challenging. A repeat of last Wednesday's workout for 1500 and 400 IM goal-paces. It'll be interesting to see how my times compare and if I'm adapting well enough to the recent changes in my routine to feel these workouts getting easier. I'll wait for tomorrow, but am already thinking about what ramping up from here might look like if I'm adapting well enough.
  8. Middle-d pace workout: lackluster!

    by , July 15th, 2013 at 02:39 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    I really wasn't hitting my targets today and was a little frustrated... the fly sets made me feel pretty good, but pacing for 200s is still going to be really tough for me I think. This is the third Monday in a row that I've done a version of this workout so I thought it would go a little better than it did. My explanation of it is in the last half of this entry from 14 days ago:

    I had done essentially 8 x 200 (each 200 swum as 4 x 50) in 200 goal-pace for back and free (4x [4 x 50] for each). 800 yards at 200 goal-pace was a great workout. Last week's version saw me cut back my number of fr and back sets by one, in order to add 2 x (4 x 50) of fly. This week I wanted to do the equivalent of 3 x 200 fly, 3 x 200 bk, and 3 x 200 free... all broken into 50s and swum at goal-pace. I started with the back, since I remembered how exhausted I was after fly last week... but instead of starting each new set of back 50s on 4:30, I was starting on 4:00... so my 50 times deteriorated from goal-pace to current PR pace after the first 200... blah! Then the frees weren't all that great, each set starting with a goal-pace :38/50 then quickly going down to :39, :40, even :42 I think I saw at one point? Blah.

    Part of the lackluster performance, I'm sure, has to do with the fact that Scotty couldn't do the workout with me. He did his workout really early because he had to start work earlier and said he probably wouldn't have made it through my sets anyway because he did a hard 3500 yesterday and wasn't feeling very good today. When I texted him the workout last night he was down-right enthused... but these things always look better on paper, right?

    Anyway, here's what I did:

    4 x 100 on 1:40 (fr pull, fr, pull)
    :20 rest
    4 x 100 IM on 2:00 (1:40-1:46)
    Masters minute
    4 x 50 on 1:00 (:38-:39)
    1:00 rest

    MS1 (800):
    3 x 200 BK on 4:00 [i.e., 4 x 50 BK in 200 pace on :12, :10, :08 rests]
    200 fr, bk, pull recovery

    MS2 (800):
    3 x 200 FR on 4:00 [i.e., 4 x 50 FR in 200 pace on :12, :10, :08 rests]
    200 fr, pull recovery

    MS3 (800):
    3 x 200 FLY on 6:00 [i.e., 4 x 50 fly on 1:00 in 200 goal-pace]
    200 fr, bk, pull recovery

    MS4 (1000):
    200 BK ez, stretching it out on 4:00
    200 BR, focus on extension, on 4:00
    200 pull, focus on rotation, on 4:00
    1:00 rest
    400 IM from push start, hard but in control (6:58, w/ 100, 200, 300 splits: 1:41, 3:32, 5:28)

    CD (600):
    200 recovery swim (pull, fr)
    4 x 50 on 1:00 (:43-:47)
    200 pull

    TOTAL: 5000 SCY/110 minutes

    Since my goal-pace for 200 fly is :48/50 now (3:12), I just decided that going at 1:00 would be really convenient... giving me an average of :12 rests between 50s. I also extended my rest to 2 minutes between sets (so 3 x 200 on 6:00) which helped me maintain pace too. My times were: :45, :47, :49, :50... :46, :48, :49, :50... :47, :49, :50, :50. That makes my average pretty close to :48/50, though dropping to 3:20 pace for the 200 by the end of each set.

    The improvement in Fly makes me feel a lot better... and I had 800 in total fly today, all swum at a :50/50 or faster pace, in the context of a 5000-yard workout. I really should have given myself at least a minute rest between sets of back 50s (starting each new set at 4:30 instead of 4:00), that would have helped me maintain the 200 goal-pace... and maybe my freestyle would have been fresher as a result. I seemed to have been recovered enough by the fly... the recovery 200s at the end of each stroke really helped the lactic acid from building to an intolerable level.
  9. Closing in on 300 miles...

    by , July 14th, 2013 at 12:33 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    I got back into the lake this morning for another 3000 yards. Air and water temps were beautiful; a lot more wind than there normally is that early in the morning provided a nice current to swim against (coming in at an angle, so it wasn't helpful swimming in either direction... of course!).

    The Sunday morning crowd was sparse, seems like there were always a lot more swimmers on the weekends last summer. Pleasant Prairie's triathlon is coming up, so there was a triathlon class that looked like it was trying out new wetsuits, caps, etc. Their coach was very encouraging to this group of maybe 6 swimmers that seemed pretty hesitant in the deeper areas... they spent a lot of time practicing crowded starts, swimming in bunches, following each other, etc. but kept it in the shallow area for the most part, so I really didn't have to doge anyone the whole time, which was nice. Great to see other folks out swimming, but also great not to have to deal with the less positive side effects of crowded lap-swim areas.

    Here's what I did:

    800 fr build from ez to moderate by 100s
    200 bk/br (alternated stroke by 50s)
    4 x 200 fr moderate on about :20 rest
    200 IM
    400 fr
    100 bk/br
    400 fr
    100 br
  10. Lake swim, 2K

    by , July 13th, 2013 at 03:41 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    Today was a recovery day so I decided to change venues and head out to Lake Andrea and hit the 50-yard lap swim area they have set up at the beach. Not exactly open water swimming, which I need to start thinking about if I'm going to be doing OW swims in August, but it's easy to keep track of distance and it helps me to get used to swimming in lake water without a line to follow.

    Things got pretty choppy in the last 5-10 minutes or so as the wind picked up... which is also good training.

    I did 2200, mostly ez freestyle, but I did manage to do about 200 in fly work (50 of it was 1-arm), 150 back, 150 breast.

    The water was warm in spots, but probably still in the 70s over most of the lake. Air temps in the low 80s, clear skies, not too muggy... really nice day!

    In a side note: I felt less stiff and sore after yesterday's workout than I thought I would. In fact, my swimming today felt good in comparison to the 2K I did last Saturday after my first real LCM workout of the summer on 7/5.
  11. 100 free PR; Not another recovery day...

    by , July 12th, 2013 at 05:54 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    OK, so the "sprint" workout was definitely not another recovery day. Scotty had us doing hard 200s and 100s, which I don't think of as being sprint workouts... I was expecting more 25s and 50s, but he had us doing the 200s and 100s on longer than normal intervals; definitely hard swimming and my guess is that it's going to improve my 200-500 times a lot, where Scotty was thinking more along the lines of improving the 100s. One thing I did like was doing the hard 200s first, because that really encouraged me to push the limits on the shorter stuff... knowing I didn't have to hold anything back.

    He did the first 2500 with me and then had to go to work, so I had a nice long 1000 cool-down and was able to get some extra IM work in to boot. Here it is:

    WARM-UP (500):
    400 EZ swim (fr, bk, fr, br by 100s)
    2 x 50 on 1:00 at 80% focus on form (came in at :39)

    MS1 (1000):
    3 x 200 on 4:00 (2:44, 2:48, 2:46)
    3 x 100 on 2:30 (1:14, 1:14, 1:11*)
    2 x 50 on 1:30 (:32-:33 range)
    *This last one, we took a little longer rest and went off the blocks for time, with Scotty's daughter starting/timing for us; Scotty came in at 1:09, I was right behind in 1:11--a new SCY PR for me; my previous best off the blocks was back in January... 1:15.

    MS2 (1000):
    250 in fly swum as 25, 50, 75, 100*
    250 in bk " "
    250 in br " "
    250 in fr " "
    *We went off a :45/25-yard interval, so we left on :00, :45, 2:15, 4:30; I really only remember my 100 times because of the position of the pace clock and trying to remember send-off times: fly went 1:39 (split :47-:52); bk, 1:32 (split :45-:47); br, 1:46 (split :51-:55); fr, 1:19 (missed the 50 split, but I know I ran out of gas pretty dramatically in the final length). Building from 25s to 100s in each stroke was pretty brutal in fly, br and free. My backstroke seemed to get smoother as I went on, rotation and catch felt really good today, in synch, so I was able to maintain speed pretty well.

    RECOVERY (500): continuous EZ swim, fr, bk, fr, bk, fr by 100s

    COOL-DOWN (600):
    4 x 100 IM relaxed* on 2:00 (1:45-1:46 range, was even splitting my 50s)
    200 EZ
    *I really focused on DPS for the first two legs of these IMs (I think this is a good thing to do in cool-down)... the 25 fly was taking 6-7 strokes, the 25 back, 17.

    TOTAL: 3600 SCY

    Additional comments: This was probably the toughest workout of the week--but don't tell Scotty I said that . A lot of really hard swimming with a very short warm-up (for me) put me into discomfort early and often, but I did swim fast times. Scotty has been telling me I need to adjust my goal-paces and goal times down again, and the last couple of weeks' worth of workouts has convinced me that I should be shooting for faster times... on all distances for freestyle, maybe ending with 1:25 pace for the 1650; certainly my fly and back have improved a lot, and I should be getting that 200 SCY back under 3:00 before long; 3:20 for a 200 fly doesn't sound so far-fetched now.
  12. 2000 EZ recovery swim

    by , July 12th, 2013 at 12:36 AM (Alex's swim journal)
    Took it easy today and didn't have much time anyway...

    2000 SCY/42 minutes:

    200 EZ
    200 Pull
    16 x 25 SDK/kick in streamline w/ zoomers
    --switched from front to back every 50 yards
    200 fr body position drills w/ zoomers
    800 IM ez (swam 200 fly as 3r/3l one-arm drill)
    200 pull

    Tomorrow: Scotty's sprint workout. What these 40-somethings actually do in the pool probably doesn't do justice to the word "sprint"; but we'll see.
  13. 4K: 1500 goal-pace work and 400 IM PR!

    by , July 10th, 2013 at 10:22 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    Yesterday I just barely had time to sneak in 2000 SCY before they closed the Y. I did about 600 in kick, 400 pull work and the rest ez swim or drill... good recovery day routine. Today I hoped to be recovered well enough from Monday's 200 goal-pace workout, to do a little pace work for my longer events: 1500-1650 and 400 IM. The plan was to repeat the 1800-yard set from last Wednesday and add another 1200 pacing the various segments of the 4IM: 3 x 200 fr, 6 x 100 fr, 12 x 50 fr holding goal pace for 1650 on aggressive (for me!) intervals; then 8 x 50, 4 x 100, and 2 x 200 in 4IMO trying to maintain 4IM goal pace... a nice round 3000 of hard swimming: 1000 each in 200s, 100s, and 50s.

    Scotty convinced me to ditch the 2 x 200 in 4IMO at the end and just swim a flat out 400 IM. And I swam a PR by :02... even though I was starting from push! So, I guess my goal-pace is my actual pace, which means I'm going to have to adjust those goal-paces... that's good news! Well, maybe I'll just wait and see how I feel tomorrow first. The difference is mostly in the fly, where my endurance and form are much better than they were a few months ago. Here's what I ended up doing on the day:

    WU (1000):
    400 EZ on 8:00
    4 x 100 on 2:00 (1:26-1:28)--tried to negative split these
    4 x 50 on 1:00 (desc. from :39 to :37)

    MS1 (1800):
    3 x 200 on 3:20 (2:49; 2:55, 2:55)
    6 x 100 on 1:40 (1:23-1:27)
    12 x 50 on :50 (:40-:43)
    --These were a little faster and felt a little more comfortable than last week's set... I went out too fast on the 200s, but didn't feel too bad, still kept my 100s and 50s at a pace 2-3 secs faster per 50 than my goal pace [:45/50 is a 24:45 1650 if I remember correctly]

    MS2 (1200):
    8 x 50 on 1:00 in 4IMO (:44, :47, :52, :51; :55, :53, :43, :41)
    4 x 100 on 2:30 in 4IMO (1:35, 1:39, 1:51, 1:25)
    Masters minute; Scotty goading me...
    400 IM in 6:47

    CD: 400 Ez fr, BK, and 1-arm drill
    TOTAL: 4400 SCY.

    No idea why I swim IMs so much faster after a good threshold workout... except that, maybe, I'm such an endurance junkie that it takes me that long just to warm up. I'm getting to the point where I can swim a decent 100 fly with a fairly even pace... I can go out in :45 and bring it back in 1:35 now, whereas at the state SCY champs I swam splits of :43 and :58 (1:41) in fly on my way to 6:49 in the 4IM. Today I probably swam 1:34 (:45-:49 split)... my back and breast were slower than the state time though. So, I'm finishing the fly faster and with enough energy left over to swim the other strokes decently... rather than just surviving the fly and trying to make up lost ground in bk and free.

    Scotty hates these "pace" workouts... and complained a lot, but I told him to suck it up and stick to it because he has his chance to get me back with his beloved sprint workout later in the week. We'll see... I think I'll complain the whole time about having another "recovery" day every time I "only" have to do sprints
  14. Twin Cities wrap up; still figuring out how to pace 200s

    by , July 8th, 2013 at 07:00 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    Saturday evening I managed to get back to the West St. Paul YMCA and do another outdoor LCM workout. Man, was I sore from Friday morning's 3000 LCM! I felt creaky and slow the entire time Saturday... only managed 2000. Of course, we had spent most of the day walking around downtown Minneapolis: sculpture garden, Loring Park, Nicollet Mall, all the way down to the Minneapolis Institute of Art. But that's no excuse, it doesn't explain why my shoulders and arms felt like they were coming undone during an easy 2000. I felt like this guy...

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    I.e., as stiff as stone, and stuff cracking/falling off! BTW, this is the Doryphoros (Greek for "Spearholder")... one of only four Roman marble copies of an original bronze by the classical Greek sculptor Polykleitos (c. 440 BC). The original bronze has been lost since antiquity and the Roman copies (from 1st-2nd centuries BC) are all that we have left of Polykleitos' masterpiece. The Minneapolis Institute of Art is the only museum in this hemisphere with a copy dating from antiquity. The three other copies are in places like the Uffizi gallery in Florence or the Vatican collection; there is a copy in Greece as well. Those copies, of course, have their own imperfections and have weathered the centuries differently. One of the things I find fascinating about municipal museums around our country is that they each have their surprising little (or not so little) gems... those unique works of art that form part of our common human heritage, but which you really can't find anywhere else except Minneapolis, or Milwaukee, or Chicago, or St. Louis, or New Orleans... to name just a few of the cities whose museums I've visited in recent years.

    I suspect my soreness and stiffness on Saturday evening's swim had more to do with the 5 x 200 IM set I did LCM on Friday morning than with the Satuday's adventures in Minneapolis art collections.

    Friday after the swim and blog post, I practically gave myself a crick in my neck... craning to look at the ceilings and fabulous decorative elements in the Minnesota Capitol building and St. Paul's Cathedral. Minnehaha Falls and Mall of America rounded out our Twin Cities mini-vacation. Made some great memories with the family... they will, among other things, never forgive me for making them spend so much time in art museums! But, a Mall with an amusement park inside?! Talk about overstimulation... that was their revenge! Here's the gang (excluding yours truly--I took the photo) on the roof of the Capitol building looking out toward the Cathedral in St. Paul on Friday afternoon:

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    Today I was back at Kenosha Y. I wanted to do a repeat of last week's workout, focusing 200 goal pace. Last week I did the equivalent of 8 broken 200s, 4 back, 4 free. Today I wanted to work in some fly as well, so I opted for the following:

    WU (1000):
    4 x 100 on 1:40 (fr, pull, pull, fr), :20 r,
    4 x 100 IM on 2:00 (1:45, 1:40, 1:41, 1:41)
    4 x 50 fr on 1:00 (:38-:40)
    Masters minute

    MS (2000):
    -2 x 200 fly on 5:00
    --swum as 4 x 50 on 1:00 in goal pace for 200 fly (:44, :48, :49, :50, then :47, :49, :50, :53)*
    -200 recovery swim
    -3 x 200 back on 4:30
    --swum as 4 x 50 on :12r, :10r, :08r in 200 goal pace (these ended up coming in closer to my current PR pace [:48-:49] than my goal pace [:44-:45]).
    -200 recovery swim
    -3 x 200 free on 4:00
    --swum as 4 x 50 on :12r, :10r, :08r in 200 goal pace (:38)

    MS2 (1000)**
    600 recovery (200 pull, 200 free, 200 mixed back pull, free)
    400 IM relaxed but hard (6:57)

    200 EZ swim

    Total: 4200 SCY/ ?? (90 mins?)

    * I have no idea how to pace a 200... until recently my version of pacing this distance was "swim as fast as you can until you die." I was purposely holding back on the first 50 and it would still come in 4-6 secs faster than the goal pace. So If I want to swim a 3:20 200 fly, for example, I should be swimming :50/50... as it turns out I swam a lot faster than that on most of my 50s given the 1:00 interval. The challenge will be to decrease that interval to :12, then :10, then :08 rest after each 50 and maintain that pace. My lungs were exploding during this set of fly! Which left me wondering if that goal of :50/50 pace for the 200 fly is a reasonable goal... typically I swim the first 50 of a 200 in around :50 and struggle to maintain a 1:00/50 pace after that when I'm swimming it continuously. And the fly really tired me out for the back and free sets... those times were much slower than last week. Back was tough, especially, I was way off my goal pace, whereas last week I was pretty close to it. The free 50s started out fast (:36-:38), but quickly fell off the goal pace... bringing me in closer to a 2:40 pace than a 2:32.
    **The 600 "recovery" was supposed to be my cool-down, but my training partner goaded me into doing a 400 IM... Scotty got there right as I was getting ready to start the 200-free pace work and so he swam those with me as his warm-up. I really shouldn't have done the 4IM, but he didn't have to twist my arm too hard to get me to do it... love the challenge. I brought my first 50 fly in around :47 and the 100 split, as relaxed as I could manage, was 1:42. I swam a lot more relaxed on the back than I normally would, but pushed the breast and free... 6:57 from push is a practice PR for me. Don't know what got into me!

    Updated August 5th, 2013 at 11:06 PM by mcnair

  15. LCM in MN...

    by , July 5th, 2013 at 09:15 AM (Alex's swim journal)
    So I had a double treat today... visited the West St. Paul YMCA. Not only do they have an outdoor pool, but it's long course. So few opportunities for outdoor long course down in my neck of the woods!

    I got there about 5:15, this is what it looked like as I was drying off about 7:30 AM:
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Air temp was in the upper 60s, so the water temp had to be upper 70s. Felt great, all you had to do was stand up to cool off.

    I did 3000 M/65-70 mins:

    WU (1200):
    400 EZ (3 x 100 fr, 100 bk)

    4 x 100 fr on 2:00 (1:45ish)

    8 x 50 fr on :5-:10 rests

    MS (1400):

    5 x 200 IM on 5:00 (4:10-4:20)

    400 fr on 8:00 (7:40)

    CD (400):

    4 x 100 fr on 2:15

    My body is just not ready for LCM yet... the fly on the 200 IMs was awful toward the end. And I really should have done a short recovery swim yesterday... I felt very stiff and sore from Wednesday's workout and yesterdays lawn work plus travel. It was difficult finding a rhythm today.

    It was really nice to be swimming outside for the first time since getting back from TX... I feel like everyday should be an outdoor day in the summer!
  16. Pace work for 1500; new PR in 100 IM

    by , July 3rd, 2013 at 05:56 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    After doing pace work for the 200 bk and fr, and 400 IM over the last couple of days I decided I needed to be mostly in the aerobic zone today and devised a 30-minute, 1800-yard set... broken into 200s, 100s, and 50s swum at 1500 goal-pace at an interval that was roughly my 5K goal-pace. I talked Scotty into doing it with me; to exact his revenge he guilted me into doing some stroke-IM work with him at the end of the workout. Here's how it went:

    4 x 100 on 1:40 (alt. fr/pull)
    :20 rest
    4 x 100 IM on 2:00 (1:40-1:45)
    4 x 50 on 1:00 (200 IMO)
    --Master's minute

    3 x 200 fr on 3:20 (2:58, 3:01, 2:58)
    6 x 100 fr on 1:40 (all 1:24-1:26)
    12 x 50 fr on :50 (all in :42-:43 except last 2 in :38-:39)
    --Master's minute
    4 x 50 hard on 1:15 (fly, bk, br, fly: :44, :45, ??, :44)
    2:00 break
    200 IM TT--went 3:15 from push (my PR is actually 3:13)
    --Master's minute
    100 IM TT--went 1:28 from push (this is a PR! the last time I swam a 100 IM for time was off the blocks in a meet back in January just a few weeks after I learned fly... with a 1:29.77 I barely broke 1:30; my seed time was 1:33)

    50 EZ bk
    50 EZ fly
    100 pull/skate
    100 EZ fr

    Total: 3600 SCY

    OK, so despite the fact that I was hurting pretty badly in my recovery swim last night after Monday's lactic acid bath, today I felt great... faster than I've felt in weeks. The 1800-yard set was in fact aerobic, never really felt the lactic acid accumulating too much, despite swimming faster than goal-pace (:44/50) in everything after the 200s... guess I held back enough on the 200s to have plenty in the tank for those 100s and 50s with much shorter rests.

    The real shocker for me was coming back after almost 3000 yards and in the middle of a pretty tough week and swimming close to PRs in 200 IM and 100 IM. Granted, my PRs are a bit dated (January for the 100IM and March for the 200IM), but those were also meet times off the blocks, not push starts like today.

    This is encouraging; my fly and back have gotten a lot better, my breast is still holding me back, but even there I'm seeing ever so slight improvements. Patience.

    Kenosha Y is closed for the 4th, so I'll see if I can't get in a recovery swim at some point... though we're headed to the Twin Cities tomorrow for a long weekend getaway, so if I miss the swim it won't be the end of the world since I haven't missed a day since June 20.
  17. improving long distance pace by training for middle-d?

    by , July 3rd, 2013 at 01:47 AM (Alex's swim journal)
    I wanted to record a couple of workouts here and mention some problems I'm trying to solve with my training now.

    First the workouts. Today's quick 2000 SCY in 42 minutes, after dinner, was a recovery workout. Pretty basic:

    400 EZ
    4 x 100 IM on 2:00
    1:00 rest
    8 x 50 on 1:00 (400 IMO)
    1:00 rest
    4 x 100 IM on 2:00
    400 EZ

    My splits on the broken 400 IM (the 50s on 1:00) were :46, :52, :53, :51, :58, :58, :45, :44--sub 7:00, but feeling very sluggish. I was really just trying to relax and not hurt myself... also had to dodge lane mates since it was a busy night at the Y; rain had everyone inside for the evening again. And I should emphasize that this was a recovery swim because...

    Yesterday I got in 3600 SCY:

    400 EZ
    4 x 100 IM on 2:00
    4 x 50 on 1:00 (:37-:40)

    4 x 200 BK on 4:30 (i.e. 4 x thru 4 x 50 in 200 goal pace)*
    200 recovery, fr
    4 x 200 FR on 4:00*
    2:00 rest, then
    200 hard fr (2:48)

    100 pull
    4 x 100 IM on 2:00
    100 EZ

    *This set idea came from the Backstroke Lane thread and Chris Stevenson's recent suggestion for improving 200 back times; I then applied the same concept to the freestyle set as well. These 200s are swum as 4 x 50 in my goal pace for the 200, I chose :45/50, because I'd like to break 3:00 in the 200 Back at some point (I had a 3:16 SCY at a meet early in the spring), then decrease the rest after each 50 in the 200... 12 seconds, 10 seconds, 8 seconds. So with the rests after each 50 my send-offs were:

    first 50 = :00
    second 50 = :57
    third 50 = 1:52
    fourth 50 = 2:45

    Each 200 would be complete around 3:30 if I held my :45/50 pace. I ended the set having swum mostly 3:33-3:34. The goal pace was real easy to maintain for the first couple of 50s; in fact, I had a hard time pacing it and not going out too fast (first 50 was usually around :41-:42). This made the last couple of 50s in each 200 challenging; I frequently missed the goal pace by 2-3 seconds on the 3rd and 4th legs. Pacing and endurance are the issues here. More about that in a minute.

    My Freestyle 200 goal I chose as a fairly arbitrary 2:32... a :38/50 pace. For the most part I stayed on this pace, my first 50 might be in :36-:37, but my last couple of 50s never fell more than a second or two off the pace (:39-:40). I used the following send-offs:

    first 50 = :00
    second 50 = :50
    third 50 = 1:38
    fourth 50 = 2:24

    Had I stayed on pace the whole way through I would have finished the 200s on 3:02, but I often started my fourth 50 on 2:25-2:26 to get the full :08 rest, and then was coming in around 3:04-3:05.

    My friend Scotty, who swam this one with me, called the workout "legit." He thinks a lot of the stuff I do is mere insanity ("What's the point of a 300 IM or 4 x 200 fly with 50 fr recovery swims between the 200s? That's just crazy!" he'll tell me), but he liked this workout.

    Problem/solution: so, going back over the last few months of training, it looks like I've done a lot to improve my endurance and technique on the strokes, a little bit of distance freestyle work (mostly sets of 100s on 1:40-1:50), and a little bit of sprint work to improve my top speed. As a result, I've become more confident with the strokes, my freestyle distance times continue to improve--if only slightly--and my 50-100 times have improved in all strokes. So what's the problem? Why can't I maintain a faster pace for those longer events in freestyle? Well, I think I've been neglecting those intermediate distances... I've been focusing on increasing my sprint speed 25-50 and also doing a lot of 1500 to 5k pace work, but aside from the 200-400 IMs I haven't been doing a lot of work to improve my 200-400 times in freestyle... is that what is holding my pace back in the longer events too? Shouldn't I be trying to improve my anaerobic threshold (the 200 times) if I want my LT pace to get faster for the longer, aerobic events? There's a big difference between swimming 200s at an aerobic pace (the 1500 to 5K range) to help with pacing for those longer events, and actually focusing on bringing those 200 times down.

    So the hypothesis I'm going to test out in the next month or so is this: if I shift more of my training consciously toward improving my 200 times (actually training FOR the 200s, rather than using sets of 200s to train for something else), the improvement in lactate threshold that this brings about should result in corresponding drops in my times for longer distances (perhaps dropping even faster than if I just focused on pace work for the distance events). We'll see.
  18. Caesar, Shakespeare, Machiavelli and 1500 LCM splits...

    by , July 1st, 2013 at 12:18 AM (Alex's swim journal)
    I forgot to mention that our state LCM meet results and splits were posted Friday; I now "officially" own my age group in the backstroke (50, 100, and 200); plus I've won my age group in 400 IM in two straight state meets--SCY and LCM. Times are slow, I'm painfully aware of this, but I showed up and swam: "veni, natavi, vici" as Julius Caesar would have put it. Although Shakespeare's version has Caesar as a much less proficient swimmer than Cassius, well at least as Cassius tells it... check out Cassius to Brutus in Act I, scene ii:

    I was born free as Caesar; so were you:
    We both have fed as well, and we can both
    Endure the winter's cold as well as he:
    For once, upon a raw and gusty day,
    The troubled Tiber chafing with her shores,
    Caesar said to me 'Darest thou, Cassius, now
    Leap in with me into this angry flood,
    And swim to yonder point?' Upon the word,
    Accoutred as I was, I plunged in
    And bade him follow; so indeed he did.
    The torrent roar'd, and we did buffet it
    With lusty sinews, throwing it aside
    And stemming it with hearts of controversy;
    But ere we could arrive the point proposed,
    Caesar cried 'Help me, Cassius, or I sink!'
    I, as Aeneas, our great ancestor,
    Did from the flames of Troy upon his shoulder
    The old Anchises bear, so from the waves of Tiber
    Did I the tired Caesar. And this man
    Is now become a god, and Cassius is
    A wretched creature and must bend his body,
    If Caesar carelessly but nod on him.

    Read the full play here

    And watch the classic movie version with a young Marlon Brando as Marc Antony; I showed it to my HUMA 102 students last summer hard on the heels of reading Machiavelli's Prince. Ah, the unbridled ambition and attendant scheming of the renaissance politicos... so well portrayed in Shakespeare's characters. "So, Brutus, if Caesar be in thy age group, swim lustily with thy sinews, knowing thou shalt conquer him in open water... but beware the Ides of March in short course, for he swimmeth a wicked medley at middle distances."

    We all take what we can get!

    Since my bud Scotty DQ'd the 400 IM (in a mental lapse he one handed the breast turn), I am technically the champion of our age group, LCM. And, in the spirit of the technicality-minded schemers of Shakespeare's plays I accept this triumph... and will try to avoid a re-match like the plague!

    Scotty did crush me in the 1500. And he was all to happy to remind me of this, emphasizing the slick look of my SILVER, when we picked up our 1500 medals. Machiavelli emphasized that a basic knowledge of human behavior and a nice dollop of foresight are essential for any prince to succeed; but how to attain such knowledge and foresight? Machiavelli's answer was in the study of history, since human behavior hasn't changed in thousands of years and history tends to repeat itself.

    So, here's to dredging up some ancient history in hopes of learning from it and, perhaps, looking ahead to what may be expected in futures near and far. Future will have to wait; past starts with analysis of the 1500 splits...

    Leg Cumulative Subtractive
    1 44.73 44.73
    2 1:38.00 53.27
    3 2:33.90 55.90
    4 3:27.72 53.82
    5 4:06.50 38.78
    6 5:14.96 1:08.46
    7 6:08.80 53.84
    8 7:02.92 54.12
    9 7:44.64 41.72
    10 8:50.45 1:05.81
    11 9:44.59 54.14
    12 10:37.64 53.05
    13 11:31.26 53.62
    14 12:25.52 54.26
    15 13:19.64 54.12
    16 14:14.21 54.57
    17 15:08.41 54.20
    18 16:02.51 54.10
    19 16:57.72 55.21
    20 17:50.30 52.58
    21 18:44.20 53.90
    22 19:37.49 53.29
    23 20:31.84 54.35
    24 21:25.59 53.75
    25 22:19.65 54.06
    26 23:13.13 53.48
    27 24:07.13 54.00
    28 24:59.62 52.49
    29 25:52.92 53.30
    30 26:43.66 50.74

    I was a little baffled by the strange splits at legs 5-6, 9 and 10. It then dawned on me that with touch pads at both ends of the pool for long course, my lap counter (the ever energetic Aaron, my 14-year old!) might have gone a little crazy with the lap-counter and bumped the timing pad on the way in. At the last meet we instructed him to give the lap-counter a wiggle if I was slowing from the pace a little too much, so he's an old pro now, except that I don't think he realized there was a timing pad down there this time. In any event, I feel like with those anomalies explained away it was a remarkably consistent effort... mostly in the :53-:54/50 pace range... the 100s holding pretty steadily around 1:47-49, closer to 1:45-47 in the last few hundred meters.

    So I have pacing down, but need to work on making that pace faster (as usual). I'll have to go back over my workouts for the last six months or so and see what I was doing to drop my freestyle pace so much between January and March (when I had my biggest drop in time) and compare with workouts from last summer... see what I can tweak; learning from the past!
  19. 7K-weekend; June in review...

    by , June 30th, 2013 at 07:05 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    Well, I finished a 7000-yard weekend and a 47-mile month today with my 3000-yard recovery swim at the Y.

    As luck would have it, today was the first time in ages I felt like I had a good chance of getting into the lake... beautiful Sunday morning, blue skies, temps in the 60s, calm waters... such a contrast to the "scattered" thunder showers that have kept me indoors since my return from TX--I can be staring at sunny skies all day through the classroom or office windows, but some sort of weird cosmic irony has dictated that every time I grab my swim bag and get ready for the lake... clouds crowd in, thunder booms. Not today; the morning was glorious... but as I drove up the parking area was packed... age-groupers had their zone championships in OW today at my favorite venue... no, I wouldn't be able to get into the lake until early afternoon, after the last heats were done. I packed it back up and headed for the Y... foiled again. I'm beginning to think the OW gremlins are conspiring against me this year.

    Here were my weekend workouts, not the high mileage (either this weekend or this month) that I've been able to put in previous Junes, but probably more quality:

    SAT, 4000 SCY/80 minutes:

    WU: 400 EZ, 4 x 100 IM on 2:00, 4 x 50 on 1:00 (in 200 IMO)
    5 x 200 on 3:30 (3:03-3:10)
    5 x 100 on 1:45 (1:29-1:33)
    5 x 50 on :50 (:42-:46)
    250 recovery swim
    CD: 4 x 50 on 1:00 (200 IMO), 4 x 100 IM on 2:00, 400 EZ

    The main set was basically a mile of hard freestyle... with rests I finished the whole 1750 in 30:15, not that great, but my actual swim time was a lot faster--which is what I was going for. I was still feeling sore throughout this workout, from my hard stroke and drill work of earlier in the week.

    SUN, 3000 SCY/60 mins:

    WU: 400 EZ, 4 x 100 on 1:45 (1:32ish and feeling very sluggish!), 4 x 50 on 1:00 (focused on form, but was slow... :42-:43s), 2:00 break
    MS: 5 x 200 IM on 4:00 (3:29-3:34)
    CD: 4 x 50 fr on 1:00 (:40-:42), 4 x 100 IM on 2:00 (1:44-1:46), 400 EZ swim.

    The main set felt difficult, but I wasn't pushing to the limit... just really feeling the blahs right now. I did pay close attention to the splits (I was starting right in front of the pace clock so I got a great view at every 50 turn, fly was consistently in the :48-:49 range; back was a little more erratic (depending on the efficacy of the turn), in :49-:53, but was mostly around :50; the breast leg was stuck between 1:00 and 1:03 (yuck!), and so my free was usually a relaxed :45-:50.

    Looking back over the month I can be pleased at least that I had 27 swims and only missed 4 days (one of my 26 swim days I managed a double), in spite of all the travel... though I don't have the mileage I might normally have with that many days of swimming. Reduced yardage was more quality though. I did a lot of IMs in the 200-yard range, for example. And I'm ending the month ahead of my GTD goal pace (barely!)... #13 in age-group the last I checked. My FLOG is also telling me that my weight and RHR have been relatively stable despite my diet being less than normal; I think I'm sleeping a little better... summer school seems a little less hectic this year.
  20. 40-45 minute workouts

    by , June 29th, 2013 at 12:26 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    So I haven't had much time the last couple of days, which is OK because I'm still pretty sore from the 4K on Wednesday... I guess all the drills and stroke work, which I really hadn't done as much of in the last couple of weeks, was a real shock to my system. Thursday night I got in around 8 PM and was surprised at how stiff, sore I was. I did 2600 SCY:

    200 EZ fr
    200 pull w/ buoy
    200 kick w/ board and zoomers
    4 x 50 fr on :50
    200 EZ bk
    200 bk pull w/ buoy
    200 bk kick w zoomers (in streamline)
    4 x 50 bk on :60
    200 EZ br
    200 br kick w/ board
    200 1-arm fly
    8 x 25 SDKs on :40
    200 EZ fr

    Friday AM I woke up even more sore, mostly in the shoulders, so I decided on a real quick workout... just freestyle (I noticed the fly and breast work over the last few days was increasingly difficult, so those muscles need some recovery). I did 2200 SCY:

    4 x 50 on 1:00 swim golf (was at 12-14 strokes/length; :46-:47 per 50)
    400 EZ swim
    4 x 100 on 2:00
    4 x 100 on 1:50
    4 x 100 on 1:45
    2 x 100 on 1:40
    4 x 50 on 1:00 swim golf

    The 100s were all between 1:29 and 1:33, mostly in the 1:31-32 range. I felt really tight the whole time, even with the swim golf, which usually helps me to lengthen my stroke and relax... It's been a while since I've done any swimming golf, but usually I start off around 14 strokes/length and end up around 9-11 strokes/length after loosening up. Yesterday that never happened; I stayed at 12-14 SPL (25-27 per 50).
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