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  1. Training for 400 IM LCM...

    by , May 27th, 2013 at 12:12 AM (Alex's swim journal)
    ... and is open water training even thinkable in WI right now? It's already Memorial Day weekend and none of the area lakes are even close to opening for swimmers... only two weekends ago they were postponing opening day of fishing in MN, because there was still too much ice cover on the lakes. I'm hoping that the water done here in southern WI is warming faster than the air temps; we've had highs in the 50s for a few days now, but at least it's sunny. Morning swims with air temps in the mid 40s to mid 50s won't be so bad if the water is in the 68-70 range, but I have the feeling my local lake might not get that warm for another few weeks. Would love to know where my fellow Southeast-Wisconsinites are doing their OW training right now; Lake Andrea doesn't look like it will open this week and I don't have a wet suit, so I'm not going to brave the 40-degree temps in Lake Michigan.

    So, I'm stuck at the Y in the SCY box for now... which means I'm getting a little worried about being ready for the LCM state meet on 6/23. I'm trying to compensate by adding distance and working on endurance for fly, back and breast. For two weeks now I've managed to get in (per week) at least three 4000-yard days, and three 2-3000 yard days; I'm still managing about 12 miles/week. Here are some of my favorites from the last couple of weeks from the 4000-yard range:

    OK, Tuesday 5/14 was 4000 in about 90 minutes; focus on 200s:
    6 x 200 alt fr w/ pull (buoy and paddles)
    4 x 200 fly on 5:00
    4 x 200 bk on 4:00
    4 x 200 br on 4:30
    400 EZ (4 x 100 fr/pull on 1:45)

    Two days later I did this one, 4000 SCY in 85 minutes, focus more on turnover, being quicker, but still 800 on each stroke, my endurance is getting better:
    400 EZ on 7:30
    4 x 100 IM on 2:00
    200 IM on 4:00
    1:00 rest
    10 x 50 fly on 1:05
    10 x 50 back on 1:00-1:05
    10 x 50 br on 1:05
    10 x 50 fr on 1:00
    200 IM on 4:00
    4 x 100 IM on 2:00
    400 EZ

    Two days after that one, Saturday 5/18, I did this monster endurance workout; Scotty thinks I'm crazy for doing 800 IMs... I think I'll be glad I did them when I'm doing 400 IM long course for the first time:

    400 EZ on 7:30
    4 x 800 IM on 16:00 (15:10, 15:05, 15:01, 15:20)
    400 EZ in 7:00
    --I finished this whole workout, 4000 SCY in only 78 minutes

    This week I also had three 4000+ days; Tuesday's was painful (4200)... 450 IMs? I'm trying to account for that extra 40 yards in the 400 meter version:

    6 x 200 on 3:30-3:20 (alt. fr/pull)
    6 x 450 IM on 9:00 (8:20-8:45)*
    CD: 300 EZ

    *reps 1-2 = 125 fly, 125 bk, 100 br, 100 fr; reps 3-4 = 100 fly, 125 bk, 125 br, 100 fr; reps 5-6 = 100 fly, 100 bk, 125 br, 125 fr

    Thursday was also an 85 minute, 4000-yarder with a lot of stroke work and drill... one-arm fly drills are really helping my flow on the full-stroke fly.

    Saturday, I came back for another 4400 and swam a decent 10 x 200 IM set... felt pretty strong the whole way through:

    WU (700):
    200 EZ fr
    100 bk
    100 br
    100 fr
    100 3r/3l fly
    100 fr

    MS (3200):
    10 x 200 IM on 5:00 (3:25-30)
    6 x 200 on 4:00 (alt. fr on 3:30 and bk on 4:00-4:30)

    CD (500):
    2 x 100 fr
    4 x 50 fly (1, 3 in :48-:49; 2, 4 3r/3l fly)
    100 EZ

    Today I had something of a break-through with breast... I finally found my caterpillar... after struggling with rhythm on breast and what seemed like a really slow turn-over, never seeing my times come down (busting a gut to swim 50 in under a minute), I swam a :49 50 br today after some pull drills... now I know why it's a short-axis stroke! I had been putting way too much energy and focus on my arms and shoulders, trying to get a stronger pull, when really it's all about the abdomen and back, timing with the kick and streamline. Today, for the first time, I felt like I was doing it right!
  2. 200 miles, playing tag with GTD...

    by , May 13th, 2013 at 10:40 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    Yesterday's swim got me up to 199.90 miles on the year; ahead of my GTD goal-pace by only a mile. Since I started the week about 4-5 miles ahead of pace, this is not a good thing... the dreaded "you'll need to pick up the pace" was bound to reappear after its nearly four-month break. Sure enough, as the calendar clicked over, the exclamation-point-in-triangle warning symbol made its appearance. My 2000 yards in 39 minutes today was enough to stave off the GTD demons for another few hours... and put me over 200 miles for the year.

    The swimming has been spottier over the last few weeks, back to 5-6 times/week. Last week, with busy-busy being the order of the day at work and home I only managed to do 4 workouts. My times feel slow. So maybe I needed a little break anyway.

    I'm trying to get back on track this week with training for distance open water and middle distance IM. Of the four workouts I did between last Wednesday and Sunday, I felt pretty good about 3 of them, though I do feel like I've lost a bit of fitness, I'm trying to maintain and be efficient (get the workouts done faster).

    Maintenance Workout #1:
    3000 SCY/57 minutes
    WU: 400 fr on 7:00
    4 x 100 IM on 2:15
    200 IM on 4:00
    10 x 100 fr on 1:45
    200 IM on 4:00
    4 x 100 IM on 2:15
    CD: 400 fr < 7:00

    Maintenance Workout #2:
    3600 SCY/69 minutes
    6 x 200 alt. fr and pull < 21:00
    800 IM on 16:00
    600 IM on 12:00
    400 IM on 08:00
    200 IM on 4:00
    400 EZ CD

    Maintenance WRKout #3:
    4000 SCY/75 minutes
    Basically the same as #2 above, but added 4 x 100 IM on 2:00 before the cool down; so 600 of each stroke and an additional 1600 of fr and or pull. Fly feels a lot better, less tiring... back is slow, not as crisp as earlier this spring; same can be said of free-style... breast speed could be described as glacially slow, painfully slow... the stroke's evil-overlord laughter taunting me constantly... kick is so sad that hip replacement might be an option, just ditch the whole thing and start over. If going cyborg gets me breast stroke proficiency I'm prepared to assimilate, I hate that I can't conquer breast.
  3. Five days of swim workouts...

    by , April 20th, 2013 at 06:04 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    Haven't had the time to blog this last week, so I've just been entering my workouts into the FLOG and got to thinking I should go ahead and put Monday thru Saturday workouts in a single blog entry... that way I can take a look at a whole week at once, maybe see what folks think of this workout schedule. I wish I could say I was more intentional this week, but there were several days when I got to the pool and still had no idea what I was going to do. I did try to keep the hard day-easy day alternation and do have a sense for when I "need" to do 200s or 100s or 50s.

    MONDAY (3500 SCY/75 mins):
    1200 (alt. fr/pull by 200s)
    3 x 200 fly on 5:00 (all around 4:00)
    1 x 100 fly on 3:00
    300 back
    200 (100fly/100 bk)
    400 fr EZ
    200 BK
    100 BK
    200 BR
    200 free

    TUESDAY (3800 SCY/70 mins):
    400 ez swim
    4 x 100 on 1:45
    4 x 50 on :50
    masters minute
    20 x 100 on 1:40 (1:28-1:34)
    masters minute
    4 x 50 on 1:00-1:15 (200 IMO)
    4 x 100 IM on 2:15
    200 ez fr

    WEDNESDAY (3000 SCY/60 MINS):
    400 EZ
    4 x 50 spear w/ fins on 1:00 (:45-:46)
    4 x 50 pull on 1:00 (:44-:46)
    4 x 50 pull w/ paddles on 1:00 (:44-:45)
    4 x 50 free on 1:00 (:39-:40)
    200 pull on 4:00
    200 fr on 4:00 (2:52)
    400 recovery swim
    12 x 25 kick w. fins on :40 (4IMO: fly, bk, br--no fins on br)
    8 x 50 on 1:00 (400 IMO)*
    300 recovery/cool-down
    *Fly: :49, :53; BK: :48, :48; BR: :54, :57; FR: :47, :46 [total time 8:00; swim time: 6:42 for the 400 IM]

    THURSDAY (4200 SCY/80 mins):
    400 EZ
    200 spear w/ fins
    200 pull
    200 fr
    200 spear w/ fins
    200 pull
    200 fr
    200 bk spear w/ fins
    200 bk pull
    200 bk
    4 x
    200 fr (avg 3:08s)
    50 recovery swim
    1 x 200 fr hard (2:50) on 4:00
    5 x 100 on 2:00, swum as:
    -100 fr hard (1:16)
    -100 fly (1:48)
    -100 bk (1:48)
    -100 br (1:54)
    -100 fr (1:25)
    300 EZ recovery/cool-down

    FRIDAY (2000 SCY/38 Mins):
    500 ez fr
    20 x 50 on 1:00*
    500 ez fr
    *50s were :42-:44, w/ every 4th at :39

    SATURDAY (5600 SCY/110 mins):

    WU: 600 (200 fr/200 pull/4 x 50 on :50)
    MS: 3 x thru:
    12 x 100 fr on 1:45 (1:26-1:34)*
    1:00 rest
    400 IM on 8:00 (7:05, 7:08, 7:22)
    CD: 200 fr EZ

    *only in the last set did the 100s fall consistently over 1:30-1:31; the last four were in the 1:33 range. The first set was all under 1:30; the second set was right at 1:30-1:31, with a few falling in the 1:27-1:29 range.

    The whole week was kind of a mess now that I look back on it, but I'm encouraged by today's sets of 12 x 100 on 1:45; times are coming in a lot faster the what they were a few months ago for similar workouts; and back then I was doing 100 or 200 IMs between sets, not 400 IMs.
  4. Thursday thru Saturday

    by , April 13th, 2013 at 11:50 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    Just when things were going really well and I felt like momentum was headed in the right direction... bang... caught my foot just right on the tiles during a flip turn and sliced it open pretty good; nice and deep.

    I was in the middle of a nice hard workout too... in the second set of what was supposed to be 3 x 4 x 100 on 3:00 at about 95%. I was coming in at 1:12-1:15, my fastest times ever in freestyle, the lactic acid was building up nicely, I was at about 2600 for the workout... hoping to get in about 4000, when I cut my foot. I got it out of the water and over the drain on the deck before it started bleeding too badly, but I could tell it was deep. The lifeguard helped me to stop the bleeding and bandage it; but there would be no cool-down, which really sucked. I pushed the skin backed together, hoping it would heal up on its own and not require stitches, and it stopped bleeding pretty quickly. Neosporin and clean dressing for the rest of the day and it seemed to be coming along nicely. I did some yoga yesterday morning before work and didn't have any problems, and left the bandage off... maybe the air would help it heal. But last night when I got home I noticed it had been oozing and left a stain in my sock, so I decided to take the night off from swimming.

    Today I used the skin-crack sealer and took it to the pool for a good 3500; I kept an eye on the foot and the wound never re-opened, so I think I'm in the clear. Tomorrow I'll be back on track. Today's workout was dreamed up by Scotty. My freestyle was a lot slower than Thursday's workout, but I think maybe I was still sore from that effort and from not helping my recovery along with a good cool-down. A lot of IM work today:

    400 EZ free
    4 x 100 on 2:00 (1:30-1:33)
    4 x 50 on 1:00 (:40-:41)

    5 x 200 IM on 5:00 (3:28-3:34)
    5 x 100 IM on 2:15 (1:40-1:45)
    100 recovery
    400 IM (mid 7:20s)

    500 EZ free

    About 70 minutes in total. My endurance on fly feels a lot better. And my kick on breast is coming along, but it was not a super fast day by any means.

    Afterward I got in 30 minutes with the core and weights; 5 minutes of core work (bird dog, front plank, flutter kicks), then:

    3 x 10 lunges
    3 x 10 military press
    3 x 10 squats
    3 x 10 incline press
    3 x 10 sumo squats
    3 x 10 upright rows
    3 x 10 bench press
    3 x 10 seated row*
    3 x 10 decline press
    3 x 10 lat pull downs*

    *70 lbs; everything else was with 20 lb dumbbells and alternated exercises w/ each set (lunges w/ military press for ex.), without any rest between sets or exercises. I'm surprised at how I can work up a pretty good sweat after about 15 minutes of this.
  5. Between season build-up begins...

    by , April 9th, 2013 at 06:04 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    So in addition to the open water swimming I want to do this summer, my swim buddy Scotty has been on me about committing to the LCM state meet at the end of June. I think I'll be able to manage it and joked that I could do the 400 IM, 200 back, 200 fly, 400 free, and 1500 free on the same day... insanity! Well, all I have to do is joke about something ridiculous like that for 2 seconds before it starts to become a goal to work for... and the gears start moving... hmmm... what would I have to do to train for that? So the build-up begins; hopefully I can keep up the weights and yoga on a consistent basis too and maybe that will help me improve the fly.

    Monday I was still pretty beat up from the weekend. I only did 3200 SCY in about an hour (61 minutes to be exact):

    400 ez on 7:30 (7:00)
    4 x 100 IM on 2:00 (1:48-1:51)
    :30 sec rest
    200 IM on 4:00 (3:45)
    10 x 100 on 1:45 (1:33-1:38)
    :30 rest
    400 IM on 8:00 (7:35)
    8 x 50 on :50 (:42-:48)
    400 ez (6:50)

    Today I had some more time, so I went for some harder IM stuff (4000 SCY):

    1200 (alt 200 fr/200 pull) in 21:00
    1:00 rest
    5 x 100 fly on 3:00 (1:50-1:58)
    200 IM (3:32)
    5 x 100 bk on 2:30 (1:32-1:38)
    200 IM (3:33)
    4 x 100 IM on 2:30 (1:40s)
    1 x 100 br (1:52)
    200 IM (3:28)
    600 recovery (200s= fr/pull/fr)
    100 EZ (50 back, 2 x 25 underwater br)

    Scotty joined me after my fly set and really helped to push me on the set of 100s BK. Times weren't that great, but I'm still building endurance at this point (last week I did a set of 4 x 100 on each stroke followed by 100 IM, so adding that extra rep and doing 200 IMs between sets is a slight ramping up of yardage: I managed 750 of fly today, my highest volume day for fly to date).

    Then I just about killed myself in the weight room afterward... almost the same workout I did on Sunday (used 10 lb dumbbells for chest and reverse fly sets instead of 12, because my shoulders were toast by that point at the end of the workout). I feel kind of silly doing all this work with such light weights (while the dudes--and dudettes--around me are tossing around 40-70 lb dumbbells), but I keep reminding myself that I'm not trying to be a body-builder or power-lifter... that competitiveness comes out at weird times though!
  6. Sore Sunday...

    by , April 7th, 2013 at 07:07 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    I was pretty sore this morning from yesterday's sprint/IM workout and I suspect that I'm still a little sore from the weights on T-TH last week as my body adapts. Today I decided to do some EZ swimming and then see how the weights felt afterwards. Here's what I swam:

    400 EZ fr on 7:00
    4 x 100 on 2:00 (1:28-1:29)
    4 x 50 on 1:00 (:39-:41)
    1:00 rest

    1000 fr on 18:00 (<17)
    500 bk in 10:15

    500 EZ fr

    3000 SCY/60 minutes

    Here's what I did in the weight room:
    lunges 3 x 10*
    military press 3 x 10*
    upright row 3 x 10*
    squat 3 x 10*
    incline press 3 x 10*
    sumo squat 3 x 10*
    bench press 3 x 10*
    chest fly 3 x 10**
    reverse fly 3 x 10**
    full-can 3 x 8***
    lat pull-down 3 x 10 (70 lbs)
    seated row 3 x 10 (70 lbs)

    *20 lb dumbbells
    **12 lb dumbbells
    ***8 lb dumbbells
  7. 3600-yard workouts...

    by , April 6th, 2013 at 05:37 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    A couple of 3600-yard days to record. Had a little more time on Friday and today. Yesterday I focused on freestyle and drill:

    WU: 400 EZ

    4 x thru:
    -200 spear drill w/ fins
    -200 pull
    -200 fr

    8 x 50 on :50 (:40-:45)

    CD: 400 EZ

    Took a little more than an hour to complete (67 minutes), but felt slow. Today I did 3600 as well, but focussed on sprint and IM; here's what I did:

    WU: 400 EZ

    16 x 25 BK on :45 (:21-:22?)
    100 IM
    16 x 25 FR on :45 (holding :16)
    100 IM
    16 x 25 Fly on :45 (holding :23)
    100 IM
    16 x 25 BR on :45 (:24-:25 mostly)
    100 IM
    2 x 200 IM on 5:00 (around 3:24)
    400 IM (7:21)

    CD: 400 EZ

    This one took me almost an hour-forty to complete. The 100 IMs in following the 25s sets came in between 1:32-1:38 if I remember correctly. Felt good about the fact that I did 700 pretty hard of each stroke. The last 50 fly in my 400 IM probably looked pretty sad. That's the most I've done of fly in a single workout, so we'll see how I feel tomorrow.
  8. 3000-yard workouts

    by , April 5th, 2013 at 12:08 AM (Alex's swim journal)
    Haven't had much time to swim and less to blog this week, so I thought I would record a couple of my workouts now. I missed Wednesday's swim altogether, but was pretty sore from Tuesday's swim and weights... here's what I did:

    400 EZ swim
    2x thru (1200/1600):
    -200 spear drill w/ fins
    -200 pull
    -200 fr

    Kick (600/2200)
    8 x 25 fly kick w/ fins on :30-:45
    4 x 50 back kick w/ fins (:41-:44)
    200 br kick w/ board

    3 x 200 (600/2800):
    -200 fly on 4:30 (3:55)
    -200 BK on 4:15 (3:45)
    -200 BR on 5:00 (3:50)

    200 EZ fr

    3000 SCY in 65 minutes

    I liked breaking things up in 200-yard segments. The 200 fly was tough, and slow, but didn't feel as bad as I thought it would at the end of the workout. Had even less time for my Thursday workout, but still managed to get some IM work in:

    1200 (alt. fr/pull by 200s)--20:30
    4 x 250 (200 IM + 50 recovery) on 5:00
    1:00 rest
    400 IM (7:35)
    400 EZ swim

    3000 SCY in 57 minutes

    The weights I've been doing as I start building strength for the OW season, which I've got to start training for, will hopefully stabilize the shoulder joint and help correct some strength imbalances... we'll see. Here's the routine I did this week, about 25 minutes after a little bit of core work:

    lunges 3 x 10*
    military press 3 x 10*
    upright row 3 x 10*
    squat 3 x 10*
    incline press 3 x 10*
    sumo squat 3 x 10*
    bench press 3 x 10*
    chest fly 3 x 10**
    reverse fly 3 x 10**
    full-can 3 x 8**
    lat pull-down 3 x 10 (70 lbs)
    seated row 3 x 10 (60 lbs)

    *15 lb dumbbells
    *8 lb dumbbells
  9. Sluggish Monday...

    by , April 2nd, 2013 at 10:09 AM (Alex's swim journal)
    Just taking a second to record what I did last night. Couldn't get the swim in earlier, things kept coming up. Finally managed to get in 3000 SCY in the 65 minutes before the Y closed. No weights, no yoga; I'm sort of bummed about that. I hope to be able to break away at noon today for a decent workout. Here's what I did:

    400 ez swim on 7:30 (6:45)
    4 x 100 fr on 1:50 (1:29-1:32)
    4 x 50 on 1:00
    4 x 200 (IM, fly/bk, br/fr, IM) on 5:00*
    4 x 100 IM on 2:15
    4 x 100 on 1:45 (1:30-1:33)
    400 EZ fr

    *This set of 200s was basically 200 IM, broken 400 IM, 200 IM... the 200 IMs were in 3:30-3:35... the 100 IMs were around 1:40-1:45, if I remember correctly, there might have been some mid-1:30s in there, which didn't seem very fast. I need to do some drills to help my fly get stronger/faster, that and breast are still really holding me back.

    All in all this Monday felt really sluggish, maybe because I didn't get in yesterday to loosen up after Saturday's hard swim, maybe it was just too late in the day when my energy levels seem low anyway, maybe Saturday's workout was harder than it felt at the time. Hoping these doldrums don't last long!
  10. 4K Saturday

    by , March 30th, 2013 at 03:36 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    Today's workout was a big lactic acid build-up. My lats and arms were toast by the end of the last set:

    400 EZ swim (build to threshold pace) on 7:00
    4 x 100 fr on 2:00 (1:24-1:26)
    200 IM on 4:00 (3:30)

    8 x 100 fr on 1:40 (1:30-1:31)
    200 IM on 5:00 (3:40)
    4 x 200 fr on 3:20 (3:08-3:12)
    200 IM on 5:00 (3:40)
    4 x 200 fr on 3:20 (3:11-3:15)
    200 IM in 3:34
    Masters minute

    400 EZ swim

    4400 SCY/<90 minutes
  11. Good Friday...

    by , March 29th, 2013 at 04:58 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    "I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint:
    my heart is like wax, it is melted in the midst of my bowels.
    My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws"
    --Psalm 22: 14-15.

    I am beginning to understand my humanity at its most lived, at its most deeply felt, is to be found in the midst of suffering... or, perhaps, it is at such moments that I feel like I can touch something beyond my material humanity... maybe this keeps me driving myself, even when I'm hanging onto the wall gasping for breath after every rep... I could stop at any moment, end the suffering, but I hurl myself into another rep when the pace-clock tells me it must be so. Why? What am I paying for? Why do I feel like I HAVE to endure? I want to be a better swimmer of course, but there are days when there has to be something more than just that... this pouring out, using myself up, melting myself down... I think we all sense that need to find the depths of the abyss, in order to rise again. Today I beat the human out to inhabit my inner worm; but the worm will weave its cocoon and emerge with wings. So this is my Good Friday meditation, I don't know that it would have even occurred to me had I not poured myself out in today's workout.

    I did the weights again today (same as Wednesday, but did 2 sets of each exercise), this time before my swim. The swim was tough as a result:

    1200 (alternated free and pull 200s; build from EZ to moderate)

    4 x 100 fly on 3:00 (1:48-1:56)
    100 IM (1:45) on 3:00
    4 x 100 bk on 2:15 (1:47-1:50)
    100 IM (1:45) on 2:15
    4 x 100 br on 2:30 (1:48-1:52)
    100 IM (1:46) on 2:30
    4 x 100 fr on 2:00 (1:19-1:23)
    100 IM (1:47)

    200 EZ fr (~3:30)
    200 Pull (~3:30)
    4 x 50 fr (catch-up; slide-n-glide drills) on 1:00

    3800 SCY/80 minutes

    My slower times today, despite the perceived difficulty, were a humble reminder of how far I have to go.

    Yesterday was an easy day, though the kick work has left my legs pretty sore... essentially 3 tough days in a row on the legs w/ weights and swimming. Here's what I did yesterday in the short time I had (2000 SCY/40 minutes):

    400 EZ swim, 7:00
    200 spear drill w/ fins
    4 x 50 spear drill w/ fins, harder on 1:00
    4 x 50 pull on 1:00
    5 x 100 on 2:00 (1:27-1:31)
    4 x 25 front dolphins on :45
    4 x 25 back dolphins and flutter on :45
    200 breast kick w/ board
    100 EZ swim

    The 700 or so of pull and free work in the middle was to reinforce proper hip rotation and focus on kick timing (which I'm now obsessing about, so we'll see where that leads).
    Spring is the sweeter after a long winter. Today we are reminded that triumph requires suffering; and what little suffering we endure is so small in comparison to the suffering of others who have gone before us, gracing us with their sacrifices. Blessings on this solemn day! Peace.
  12. Brought to you by the number 4...

    by , March 27th, 2013 at 10:29 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    I did 4000 yards today in 80 minutes (4 x 20:00); so the theme number today was "4" and some of its multiples. It included 400 in fly, 400 in back, and 400 in breast work.

    400 EZ swim on 7:30
    4 x 100 IM on 2:15 (1:40-1:45)
    4 x 50 fr on 1:00 (:38-:39)

    MAIN (2000):
    4 x 200 fr (+50 recovery) on 5:00 (2:54-2:59)
    4 x 200 IM (+50 recovery) on 5:00 (3:41-3:45)

    COOL-DOWN (1000):
    4 x 50 fr on 1:00 (:39-:40)
    4 x 100 IM on 2:15 (1:45-1:49)
    400 EZ swim (7:00)

    The cool-down was the warm-up in reverse, which gave me a nice sense of symmetry and closure. The 100 IMs were really only moderate pace efforts, so when you throw in the hard 50s at the end of warm-up and beginning of cool-down it amounted to about 2000 yards of pretty hard swimming. The main sets with the longer rest/recovery amount to what I hope is a good VO2max workout.

    Also did some weights and core work today right after the swim (so I didn't have to get warmed up again). Since I haven't done any of the extra drylands in about a month I decided just one set of everything, 10 reps, very light weight:

    Bird Dog
    Front Plank
    Side Plank x 2
    Flutter Kick on Back
    Superman (alternating opposite sides)

    WEIGHTS (*w/ 15-lb dumbbells; w/ 8-lb dumbbells):
    Sumo Squats*
    Shoulder Press*
    Upright Row*
    Incline Press*
    Bent-over Row*
    Bench Press*
    Lat Pull-down (set on 6)
    Chest Fly**
    Reverse Fly**
    Full Can**

    I don't take any rests between exercises, just go from one to the other, so it didn't take but about 15-20 minutes. Next time I'll do 2 sets of each ex. and then 3, before I move the weights up again, but the weights are really light (I was doing 1 x 20 of chest presses with 30-lb dumbbells last month); but I don't feel like dealing with the soreness right now.
  13. 1650 official splits

    by , March 27th, 2013 at 10:34 AM (Alex's swim journal)
    I'm going to paste here my official splits from Sunday's meet; I swam in heat 2, lane 2:

    McNair, Alex M42 WMAC [seed=25:20.00] 25:04.98


    Looks like I was holding steady at a mid-:45 to mid-:46 per 50 pace and even had enough left in the tank to bring my final 150 in sub :45/50 pace. This is a vast improvement over last fall where I would have fought hard to hold :48/50 in anything over 400-500 yards... I had plenty of endurance at :52.5/50, but anything faster than that was a real strain.

    TECHNIQUE WORK: Looking at some video I had my oldest son take of me last summer when I did my 5k postal, I noticed I had much less hip-rotation than I probably should have had (the swimming looked a little flat), so I've been working on that a little more over the last few months. But one thing I noticed in watching the freestyle portion of the 4IM that my youngest videoed on Sunday... now I've got decent rotation but my hips and shoulders seem to be slightly out of synch... like there's a wiggle in the stroke, part of this is probably trying to kick too hard... I was breathing an awful lot in that first length of free too, so I'm sure that my timing was off as I was catching my breath... the final 50 of the 4IM was :41.79 (instead of :44.91, my first 50 free) and looked a lot smoother. Nonetheless, I want to be swimming that smoothly or more smoothly all the time, so I've got to work on it.

    Yesterday, during my warm-up, I did the spear drill with fins to try to work on body position (I think some core strengthening is going to help here too), followed by 200 w/ pull-buoy to work on the hip rock, and then finally 4 x 50 w/o any equipment trying to get my kick timing and hip-shoulder rotation synched. SO MANY PIECES to this puzzle.... ARGH! I guess I'm going to have to incorporate a lot more drill work to get all these pieces to come together.
  14. Recovery week...

    by , March 26th, 2013 at 11:20 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    The meet results are in from this weekend, so I can take a look at my splits and do a little analysis. My youngest son Aaron, AKA the Lap Counter, also took video of my 400 IM and 100 Back events, so I had some things to look at... maybe too many things to look at! At some point I'll select some of the better quality segments and post short vids on the forums for the butterfly and backstroke lanes to get some feedback. The freestyle looks like it needs a lot of work too, but it's hard to say if what I was seeing (especially on that first freestyle length of the 4IM) was the result of fatigue, trying to catch my breath, or not... the second length, what I can see of it in the video, looked a little smoother. The breast stroke is just really slow and I can tell that I'm still dealing with flexibility issues in my feet, ankles and hips, which is really limiting my kick. My favorite part of the 400 IM footage that Aaron shot is hearing him in the background after the turn at about the 150 mark saying "Aw, come on... it's not over yet!"

    So, here were my splits in the 400 IM:
    Cumulative (Subtractive)
    43.16 (43.16)
    1:41.29 (58.13)
    2:32.80 (51.51)
    3:23.04 (50.24)
    4:25.58 (1:02.54)
    5:22.51 (56.93)
    6:07.42 (44.91)
    6:49.21 (41.79)

    My fly really needs help, but my back and free times were pretty consistent; given what I saw, maybe some technique changes will help me to drop more time in back and free too.

    I'll have to write about my 1650 splits at some other point. For now I just wanted to record my last couple of days of recovery swimming. Monday I did 3000 SCY/64 minutes:

    250 EZ free
    250 br
    250 bk
    5 x 50 fly on 1:20

    1000 on 19:00 (17:10)
    300 back
    300 breast

    400 EZ fr

    Today I did 3100 SCY in about 58 minutes:

    400 EZ swim
    200 Spear drill w/ fins
    200 pull
    4 x 50 free

    3 x thru:
    -500 at threshold (8:05-8:10)
    -100 recovery swim (1:50-1:55)

    6 x 50 free/pull

    Gotta go, but I'll have time to write more tomorrow.
  15. WI SCY--State Meet

    by , March 24th, 2013 at 08:41 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    Three events, three personal bests!

    First event of the day today was the 400 IM and I went 6:49.xx (I'll have to check the official times when they're posted), a PR by at least 10 seconds. We actually had enough for two heats today, but I still picked up an age-group gold! My friend Scott form the Kenosha Y said anyone who finishes the 400 IM deserves a medal... he had a good day himself, going 59.xx in the 100 fly and I think 54 in the 100 free. I felt good about my performance because I was able to relax on the fly (I'm getting smoother if not faster) and push the back and free hard. Can't wait to see the splits. I didn't feel great on the breast, pull-outs were pretty short and shallow, but I think that's a function of the fatigue more than the progress I've been making on breast in the last month.

    Next I did the 100 Back, good start, just tried to relax but still came in at 1:25.xx, a PR by 8 seconds. I also won the heat and took first place in age group. Scott said I split :41-:44 (:44 was my fastest 50 Back time only two months ago!). Scotty, (different Scott than the other Kenosha Y Scott mentioned above), my semi-regular training partner, did his 50 breast right after the 100 back and his seed time was enough to get him into the fastest heat... he's dropped about 2 secs off his 50 breast in the last 6 weeks and probably came in 4th-5th overall today in that event.

    Last event was the 1650 and Scotty and I ended up in the second heat (lots of rest before the start) and right next to each other in lane assignments); he improved a lot over his 1500 SCM time from last fall too... probably lapped me a couple of times to top our age group. I was second in age-group with a 25:05.xx. That's an improvement of more than 1:45 over my 1500 SCM time and was right where I wanted to be. I had hoped to break 25:00, but put down a seed time of 25:20 knowing I was going to be happy with anything in the 25:xx-range. So that goal pace of 1:30/100--24:45--is still hanging out there for me... I'll have to keep working on it, but I'm super happy to have made the improvements I have made over the last 3 months.

    Meet was a real blast, even if I only got to go for the second day. Other highlights: Scott had a :30 50 back yesterday and a 26.?? 50 fly; Scotty went 1:21 in his 100 breast and 31.xx in his 50 fly--that was a huge time drop for him (2 secs+). Our friend, Carl, from Madison (who swims at the Kenosha Y on the weekends when he's in town) managed to pick off another 200 state record in his 60-64 age group; the 200 IM, after swimming a state-record 200 back a couple of weeks ago at the Baraboo meet (which I couldn't make). Carl was one of only two other swimmers who swam the 400 IM with me at Whitefish Bay at the beginning of March... he smoked me by a minute! That's OK, I told him, I've got 20 years to catch up. I feel really fortunate to be swimming in such a wonderful and supportive atmosphere!

    Now... I'm just really sore, and need... some... *yawn*
  16. Taper weirdness...

    by , March 22nd, 2013 at 07:40 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    Stopped in at the YMCA in Downtown Omaha today. Only ten blocks from the hotel, it was very convenient. I'm not sure if it's because I didn't get a chance to swim yesterday because of the travel or if it just how you're supposed to feel in a taper, but the swim felt odd today.

    On the one hand I felt smooth and fast, but on the other hand I felt tight and not at all as rested and fresh as I normally would feel after a 2000-yard EZ day, followed by a day of complete rest (I hardly ever have complete rest days in the last few months). Maybe it's just decompressing after 8 hours in the car yesterday... no sť.

    Here's what I did:

    500 EZ swim warm-up
    100 back
    2 x 50 fly
    50 back
    150 br
    6 x 100 on 2:00 (all at 1:30--goal pace, 1650)
    6 x 50 on 1:00 (25 hard/25 cruise)
    200 EZ (fr and bk)

    First fly, breast and back I've done since Tuesday, so I figured I'd have a little more snap, but wasn't feeling it. I got in and was quickly swimming circles around the other lap swimmers, but my times weren't as fast as I would have thought for as "fast" as I felt like I was going.

    Hope that's how the final days of a taper are supposed to feel.

    Another day of travel tomorrow; I'm planning to leave early enough to get back to Kenosha and the Y in time for a quick decompression swim, maybe practice starts, and then Sunday afternoon I swim the 4IM, 100 back, and 1650 at state meet in Milwaukee.
  17. 2000...

    by , March 21st, 2013 at 12:46 AM (Alex's swim journal)
    Today I only had about 35 minutes to swim (things have been very rushed as I prepare for a conference in Omaha... about a 7-hour drive and I'm leaving tomorrow morning).

    I did 2000 continuous in 32 minutes. The first couple of hundred were fairly EZ warm-up, then as I started to loosen up and feel better I brought the pace down closer to my 1650 goal pace. I never really felt uncomfortable, like I was pushing it. I looked at the clock when I hit the wall at 1650: around 26 minutes; only 40 secs slower than my seed time and about a minute slower than my goal. That's pretty good for an EZ recovery day swim.

    The remaining 350 I backed off the pace and just cruised to cool down.

    I got out with a few minutes to spare and a nice warm feeling all over. Recharged!

    Hopefully I can get in a pool tomorrow evening at some point in Omaha; I'm always stiff after long drives.
  18. 800s day... what the...?

    by , March 20th, 2013 at 12:11 AM (Alex's swim journal)
    My warm-up today was an 800 in reverse IM order, just EZ swimming... except the fly which is never EZ. felt pretty good after that 200 fly, though, so I decided to go straight into BK, BR, FR 200s as if I were swimming the 800 IM in its regular order. That was a nice 1400-yard warm-up at which point I guess I decided 800s was a good theme. Here's what I did:

    200 free

    200 br
    200 bk
    200 fly
    200 bk
    200 br
    200 fr
    2:00 rest

    16 x 50 in 800 IM order:

    -4 x 50 fly on 1:30 (:49-:53)
    -4 x 50 bk on 1:15 (:46-:49)
    -4 x 50 br on 1:20 (:53-:49)
    -4 x 50 fr on 1:00 (:37-:38)


    800 EZ free (swum as 2 x 400 on 8:00)

    3000 SCY/66 minutes

    I have no idea why the number 800 (and multiples of 2, 4, 8) stood out for me today, or if this is what I should be doing for a taper, but it felt OK... nothing too terribly hard. My BR 50s really surprised me, they are coming in 3-6 seconds faster than they were a week ago, which means I might be able to shave a few seconds if I push that leg in the 400 IM on Sunday. I didn't push the BK today at all, but the 50s felt pretty good... strong and fairly smooth. The free was pretty fast, way faster than my 1650 pace, but I'd love for :37-:38 to be my 200 pace at some point. Which reminds me I need to do some pace work tomorrow for the 1650 to lock in that goal pace of 1:30... get the feel for that again with some 50s and 100s.
  19. Taper begins...

    by , March 18th, 2013 at 06:58 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    ...And it's a good thing because I only had time for a 45-minute workout today anyway. Here's what I did over the lunch hour:

    1500 fr moderate on 26:00 (< 25:30)*
    5 x 100 IM on 2:30 (desc. from 1:46 to 1:37)
    masters minute
    2 x 100 free EZ

    2200 SCY in just under 45:00.

    *This was my warm-up and a little bit of aerobic conditioning... I think I lost track, so it may actually have been 1550, but I went with 1500 on GTD. Toward the end of this swim I was really starting to warm-up and feel a little looser/stronger, but I really didn't expect to be as fast after the weekend's hard work. This pace was really comfortable too; so I'm anxious to see how I do in the 1650 when I expect to be uncomfortable.

    Tomorrow I think I'll focus on 100s and 50s at pace if I'm feeling good.
  20. Why do I do this to myself?

    by , March 17th, 2013 at 08:12 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    Today was supposed to be an easier day, a little lighter on the yardage and intensity after yesterday's stroke and sprint ladders. I told myself I'd see how I felt at 2000 after doing 1200 warm-up and then 800 in kick or drill on fly, bk, br. I felt like I could use some more kick work when I got to 2000, so I took it to 2600 and then did some more freestyle work for a cool-down to make it an even 3000. I was leaving when Scotty, who had bonked pretty hard in the middle of the backstroke ladder yesterday and didn't complete the workout, said he was going to do 400 IM off the blocks to make up for what he missed yesterday... hmmm, I thought, tempting! I couldn't resist. I ended up with 3800 on the day. Here's the whole workout:

    1200 warm-up: fr/pull alt. by 200; on 24:00*
    200 fly kick with fins
    200 bk kick w/ fins
    200 br w/ board
    200 br
    200 bk kick w/ fins
    4 x 50 dolphins w/ fins
    200 br (100 kick w/ board; 100 full-stroke)
    4 x 50 free on 1:00
    200 EZ (100 pull/100 fr)
    400 IM off the blocks (7:15)**
    200 IM off the blocks (3:19)***
    200 cool-down (not nearly enough!)

    *Normally I would finish this 1200 warm-up in a little over 20:00, today it was 22:00 and felt stiff.
    **A lot slower than yesterday, but I'm also a lot stiffer and more tired today than I was yesterday.
    ***Why?! Because I could. My fly was horrible, but I darn near caught Scotty on the backstroke leg... had nothing for the breast, though, so I couldn't get close to the PR I set 14 days ago... and why was I thinking about PRs the day after a hard workout, at the end of what was supposed to be a recovery swim practice? It's some pavlovian response to competition I guess.

    I really needed about 400-500 of recovery swimming after the IMs to cool down, but also had to get some work done this afternoon and I hadn't expected to put in the extra 20 minutes after I'd already "finished" my original workout. I have a feeling today's workout is going to hurt tomorrow... so taper will begin!

    I'm going to sign-up for the State meet... we can do it on-line, so I had a couple of extra days. I'm just going to do the 400 IM (1st event on Sunday), 100 back, and 1650 (last event Sunday); I can only do the Sunday events, so it limits my choices. I like the endurance stuff so the 400 IM and 1650 seem like natural choices and my back stroke has improved a lot this winter... I'm going to be relaxed, but would really like to see if I can PR since the Madison meet was beginning of February... where I last did a 100 back in meet context. I originally planned to sign up for the 100 fly too, but I fear that's too much hard fly on a day when I'm also trying to PR in back and distance free.
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