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  1. Friday, March 18

    by , March 18th, 2011 at 07:00 PM (The FAF AFAP Digest)
    Swim/SCY @ Oak Marr:

    Just floated around chatting with Jazz and Speedo.

    Probably did about 1000 with a few bursts and some shooters.

    Felt smooth.


    I still haven't decided exactly what events to swim tomorrow. The problem is that I am unhappy being in the final predominantly boy heat of the 50 back in the shallow end of the pool. Yes, I know I'm whiney, but we women don't like swimming with men because of all the turbulence and waves and I hate shallow. I also notice this turbulence more with the kneeskins than tech suits. So I either HTFU and swim the open 50 back in an undesirable heat or scratch it and do a split request on my 100 back (not in the final heat). That would mean giving up a 100 back time, but then I would be more rested for my 50 fly. I guess I should decide fairly soon ... I'm leaning toward just swimming it and smack talking with the boys. My buddy, Nuthin But 50s, is seeded right next to me.

    Mr. Fort says more chances are better. But, then, he is a non-swimming boy. I do think its unfortunate that the fast women often get crappy lanes at mixed gender meets.

    Jimslie is arriving soon and I'm sure has prepared a speech supporting his view.

    Watching Junior Nationals and NCAAs.

    Article on gluten sensitivity:

    Updated March 18th, 2011 at 10:25 PM by The Fortress

    Swim Workouts
  2. Thursday, March 17

    by , March 17th, 2011 at 03:35 PM (The FAF AFAP Digest)

    650 various

    Shooters, no fins:

    25 back shooter
    25 EZ
    25 belly shooter
    25 EZ
    25 back shooter
    25 EZ
    25 belly shooter
    25 EZ

    15 power dolphin kick + cruise
    50 EZ
    25 fast doggy paddle
    50 EZ
    25 fast back kick
    50 EZ

    200 EZ

    Total: 1300

    Hottub, 10 minutes

    Stretching, 20 minutes

    ART, 40 minutes

    So glad I had an ART appt scheduled for today, as my neck has still feeling horrible this am. And I needed some body work. My left shoulder has been feeling creaky too, which seems to happen when I stop lifting for taper. I'm trying out a new pillow, the Tempur-Pedic side pillow for people who sleep on their side. I think my old pillow has been messing up my neck. Well, and it doesn't help that I toss and turn a lot.


    Didn't feel quite as good in the water as yesterday. Still jittery. I had a couple ask if I was a free diver today. I've had other people ask me that in the past. I guess I have an alternative sport if masters swimming ever gets dull or I just can't take tapering any longer.

    I am not happy about my 50 back time being re-seeded without my permission, when other times were not. Now, I'm in the last place I want to be: the fast guy heat in the shallow end. That is not exactly how I envisioned swimming this particular race ... and it's hard to believe it will produce my fastest time. I should probably have chosen a non-mixed meet to taper for. Lesson learned!

    I will definitely re-swim this event once or twice at Canadian Nationals. Just sent an email to the meet managers asking them about USMS submssion and measuring the pool.

    Updated March 18th, 2011 at 12:28 AM by The Fortress

    Swim Workouts
  3. Wed., March 16

    by , March 16th, 2011 at 09:56 PM (The FAF AFAP Digest)

    650 various

    2 x (25 easy speed back shooters, no fins + 25 EZ)
    -- 17-18 kicks per length
    25 EZ

    1 x backstroke start and power kick (15 kicks put me past the 15 today)
    25 EZ
    1 x power dolphin kick to 15 + cruise
    25 EZ
    1 x 25 fast backstroke
    50 EZ
    1 x 25 fast doggy paddle drill
    50 EZ
    1 x 25 fast free
    50 EZ

    150 EZ

    Total: 1250



    I am insanely edgy from not exercising -- the worst part of tapering. Not a good idea to get in an argument with me at the moment. This feels worse than before NE Champs, though perhaps I'm tapering more now.

    I didn't stretch today. I had a zillion errands and then got caught up in watching the live stream of Junior Nationals. Very fun seeing so many kids from PV that I've watched swim for years. Felt bad for Kurtis Ratcliff for losing his goggles on the start and getting DQ'd in the A final of the 200 fly.

    Updated March 16th, 2011 at 10:28 PM by The Fortress

    Swim Workouts
  4. Tuesday, March 15

    by , March 15th, 2011 at 05:21 PM (The FAF AFAP Digest)

    650 various

    10 x 25
    odds = shooter
    evens = drill

    1 x 25 fast backstroke kick
    1 x 50 EZ
    1 x 15 burst fly + cruise
    1 x 50 EZ
    1 x 25 fast free
    1 x 50 EZ
    1 x 15 back spin drill + cruise
    1 x 50 EZ
    1 x 25 fast backstroke, no SDK
    1 x 50 EZ

    125 EZ

    Total: 1375

    Stretching, 30 minutes



    I wish the meet were tomorrow. I'm tired of resting. Full on taper bitchies here.

    Psycho sheet:

    I'm ever so happy Jimslie is coming, and that he has even decided to blog again!

    Forget carbs!

    Updated March 15th, 2011 at 09:12 PM by The Fortress

    Swim Workouts , Yoga
  5. Monday, March 14

    by , March 14th, 2011 at 06:15 PM (The FAF AFAP Digest)

    Warm up:

    600 various

    Main Sets:

    10 x 25 shooters
    odds = back
    evens = belly

    50 EZ

    6 x 50
    4 x backstroke start + power kick to 15 + cruise (was about a yard short of usual distance)
    2 x backstroke spin drill + cruise

    50 EZ

    4 x 50
    25 AFAP + 25 EZ
    2 x free
    1 x back kick
    1 x fly

    100 EZ

    Total: 1550



    Felt completely blah today. I'm chalking this up to the usual taper blahs plus not doing any speed work over the weekend. Really ready to stop tapering. The last week is always torture.
    I'm starting to feel a little twitchy-b*tchy from all the rest. I got a huge amount of sleep last night (for me), but woke up with a sore neck and shoulder. Glad I have an ART tune up
    appointment scheduled for Thursday.

    Got confirmation from Jeff that he entered me in the 200 back for the Albatross SCM meet as well. So my line up for my first meet as a 50 year old is:

    50 back
    100 back
    200 back (maybe)
    50 fly
    200 medley rela
    The "couples relay" would be fun, but it's right before the 200 back & 50 fly.

    Looks like there's 194 swimmers. And, happily, I've been able to persuade Jimslie to attend!

    I also signed up for Colonies Zones today. My Saturday only line up for my last meet as a 49 year old is:

    100 free (for 50 split)
    mixed 200 medley relay
    50 breast
    100 back
    women's 400 medley relay (fly leg)
    women's 200 free relay

    The only individual event on Saturday that I'm really interested in is the 100 back. I don't recall that I've ever swam the 100 back at Zones before. It's always back to back with the 50 fly, and I usually opt for fly. But since I just logged a 27.2 at Warrenton, I'm going to focus on the 100 back. I wasn't sure what time to enter as I will only rest a few days for this meet. But I went ahead and put in a 1:02.8, which is less than a second off my 1:01.9 Atlanta PR. Hope that's not too ambitious. I may scratch the 50 breast; I'll play it by ear.

    Updated March 14th, 2011 at 11:00 PM by The Fortress

    Swim Workouts
  6. Sunday, March 13

    by , March 13th, 2011 at 09:06 PM (The FAF AFAP Digest)
    @ Gym:

    RC work, 15-20 minutes

    Stretching, 30 minutes

    @ Gym SCM Pool:

    30 minute slow swim

    15 minutes hottub



    Didn't have time to hit the gym/pool until the very end of the day today. The gym pool was teeming with all manner of humanity of all ages -- not ideal for a workout. So I decided to just cruise. I'm going to use the workouts I did before NE Champs for the next week. I need to get some serious sleep this week. I've been burning the midnight oil and gotten very little solid sleep the last few nights. The spring time change never agrees with me.

    I entered the Albatross meet today: 50 back/100 back/50 fly. I forgot to enter the 200 back on line, so I sent an email to Jeff Roddin asking him to add that event for me. I will want to do another 50 back if anything goes awry with the first one (feet slip, forget nose clip, go past 15 -- I've done all those, though it's extremely rare). There are also 4 people from my team entered, so we may do a 200 medley relay at the end of the meet. At least I'm voting for the 200 over the 400 since I am swimming fly.

    Updated March 13th, 2011 at 09:12 PM by The Fortress

    Swim Workouts , Yoga
  7. FINA Fixer

    by , March 12th, 2011 at 09:42 PM (The FAF AFAP Digest)
    I went out to dinner tonight with friends to celebrate being World Champion even though FINA somehow left me off their defective SCM TT list. If had been final, which seems impossible, the lovely Eney Jones had promised to buy me "a crown, sceptre, patch and certificate." She is divine!

    In any event, Walt Reid -- my new hero -- promptly made the corrections to the FINA list and I got the notification upon arriving home from dinner. And he didn't just make the two changes for my 50 back and 50 fly, but made changes for the list of other women I sent him as well. Go Walt! It's unclear exactly what the source of the problem was, but apparently the software was not accepting the correct number of swimmers for the 50s.

    I like the way this FINA TT list looks much better than the list I opened yesterday:

    45-49 50m Backstroke Women Short Course
    Rank Full Name Country Time
    1 LIVINGSTON Leslie USA 31.14
    2 REYNOLDS Ellen USA 31.66
    3 HIRAISHI Shizuko JPN 32.27
    4 PHILIPSSON Anette SWE 32.63
    5 JENKINS Valerie USA 33.01
    6 ROSEN Susanna SWE 33.07
    7 HIGURASHI Masami JPN 33.45
    8 PONTI Daniela ITA 33.63
    9 FORALOSSO Laura ITA 33.65
    10 MAETOGE Kazue JPN 33.69

    Although I was FINA #1 in 2009 in the 50 LCM back for my Indy Nats race (see profile pic), this one seems more meaningful because of some of the struggles I've had this year. Plus, I am still kinda jazzed by the fact that I swam the same time as last year despite having to wear a kneeskin.

    Rankings were as follows:

    SCM 50 back, #1
    SCM 100 back, #2
    SCM 50 fly, #5
    SCM 100 fly, #10
    LCM 50 back, #3
    LCM 50 fly, #9

    I was actually pretty happy to make the LCM list at all because I took 4 weeks off last summer and was not in shape for LCM Zones. Not going to skip the 100 IM in SCM this year!

    Hopefully, this can be an end to what Kirk Nelson calls my "bad TT karma!"

    As for today, I did nuthin. Tomorrow, I am going for an easy swim. And I'm going to sleep in while Mr. Fort heads out early for round two of his adventure trail race series.

    Updated March 13th, 2011 at 11:03 AM by The Fortress

    Masters Swim Meets / Events
  8. Friday, March 11

    by , March 11th, 2011 at 06:08 PM (The FAF AFAP Digest)
    Swim @ Oak Marr:

    Warm up:

    600 various

    Main Set:

    I adapted Speedo's short rest stroke+kick set from today to make it a taper set. I didn't do these straight through though, too much chatting with Jazzy here and there. Used fins.

    4 x 50 fly drill @ 1:00
    4 x 50 kick @ 1:00 (25 belly shooter + 25 EZ)
    4 x 50 back drill @ 1:00
    4 x 50 kick @ 1:00 (25 back shooter + 25 EZ)
    4 x 50 breast drill @ 1:05
    skipped breast kick

    -- Joined Jazz at this juncture. He had been doing some sprint endurance work, and that was not on my taper agenda.

    1 x 50 (25 AFAP free + 25 EZ)
    4 x 50 kick w/Jazz (25 AFAP + 25 EZ)
    -- did 2 back shooters, went high 9s
    -- did 2 flutter kick w/boards, went 11s
    1 x 50 AFAP back shooter, went high 21-22
    -- thought I'd be slower b/c I flipped too far from the wall and didn't get a good push off
    4 x 50 free @ 1:00 as warm down

    50 EZ

    Total: 2150

    P90X Stretch DVD, 60 minutes



    I was slightly sore in the scapular area from the torque drills yesterday. Shouldn't do new stuff on taper, I know. But my upper body seems to rest up pretty fast. The Resting of the Legs continues. I am taking tomorrow off and skipping Lil Fort's 7:00 am soccer game in far out VA.

    The former Cream Puff gave me a scull drill to try. I think I vaguely recall doing this at a Mason practice. Position your body as if you were sitting in a chair in the water, try to keep feet and heels out of the water. Scull backwards with arms and hands at side.

    Warning: Rant:

    I was in such a good mood today, and not ready to come home to more disappearing times. The FINA Top Ten rankings for 2010 were released today. I hope they are merely preliminary and can be corrected. Inexplicably, my 50 back (my best event) and 50 fly in SCM were completely left off the list. They would have been #1 and #5 respectively. Oddly, all my other events in SCM and LCM that should be on the list are there. I don't understand how some USMS TT times (and some from the same meet) can be there, and others not. I know other times from NE Champs are on the FINA list, including my own and Chris'. You'd think they'd submit all the data from our own TT database together? Or maybe this is a FINA error? I just find it somewhat shocking that FINA could produce such an error riddled list. But maybe I shouldn't be ... I have sent an email to Walt Reid about the matter. If anyone knows who else I should try to contact, please let me know. I always get a sinking feeling in my gut when my times go missing. This has happened on other occasions, and I'm starting to feel somewhat jinxed. I'm really hoping it can be fixed promptly; I've just never heard of a FINA list being "preliminary." However, since the USMS list is still preliminary, the FINA list must by default be preliminary?

    I've also found some other omissions including:

    Valerie Jenkins (45-49 50 back)
    Susan Williams (40-44 50 back, 50 fly)
    Fall W. (40-44 50 back, 50 free, 50 fly, 50 breast)
    Lisa Dahl (45-49 50 free & 50 fly)
    Karen Andrus-Hughes (50-54 50 back)
    Traci Granger (50-54 50 fly)
    Lisa Bennett (50-54 50 breast)
    Laura Val (55-59 50 free, 50 back, 50 fly)

    It appears that something went haywire with the 50s.

    Congrats to all those making this list! I saw many rankings for fellow bloggers Chris and Ande.

    In general, the LCM rankings seem faster than the SCM rankings in my events. But that could be due to the World Games being held in tech suits. Will do a comparison.

    Updated March 12th, 2011 at 11:13 AM by The Fortress

    Swim Workouts , Yoga
  9. CNS Speedplay w/Speedo, Thursday, March 10

    by , March 10th, 2011 at 07:27 PM (The FAF AFAP Digest)
    Swim w/Speedo @ Oak Marr:

    Warm up:

    600 various


    15 x 50 drill/kick mix w/fins @ 1:00/1:15
    1-5 = belly shooter + backstroke hesitation
    6-10 = Lochte single arm fly
    11-15 = backstroke hesitation + belly shooter


    5 x 50 "torque" drills @ 1:45

    Speedo showed me the "torque" drill, a ballistic drill designed to fire up the fast twitch muscles.

    In this vid, @ about :54, you can see the drill done as a fast underwater pull only. We used an over the water recovery with one or both arms. It's no easy thing to go from completely prone and still to an AFAP stroke. Slightly hard on the shoulders, but worthwhile. I like the version shown in the video, where the swimmer does a fast underwater pull using both a dorkle and pull buoy.

    50 EZ

    8 x 25 @ 1:00
    12.5 drag races from mid pool
    12.5 EZ
    -- 3 free, 2 back, 2 breast, 1 shooter

    drag race = start prone mid-pool, head at one of the lines on the bottom, AFAP to the wall. It's very different from a burst where you have a push off instead of a completely dead start.

    100 EZ

    2 x through, no fins:

    25 EZ
    10 seconds AFAP vertical dolphin kick
    25 WZ
    burst dolphin kick shooter to 15 + cruise
    25 EZ

    50 EZ

    Total: 2250

    Stretching/Yoga, 30 minutes

    Got it in!

    I read through the stretches in Dara Torre's new book. There's one I really like called the QL-Core Twist. I've done a variation of this for years, but I like her version:

    QL-Core Twist:

    Sit on the floor with your right leg bend, heel toward your crotch. Take your left leg out at about 45 degrees, bending your knee slightly so it's about 4 to 5 inches off the floor.
    Drop your left arm down torward the inside of your left leg, trying to get your shoulder as close to the knee as possible. Keep your arm externally rotated (thumbs up), and grab your toes, ankle, or calf (whatever you can). Place your right hand behind your head as if you're hanging out at the beach. Contract your body forward as if doing a crunch, and try to get your right elbow to touch the ground. Push your left arm/ shoulder against your left knee and your left knee against your arm (so it stays straight up and doesn't rotate outward), and open your body up toward the ceiling.



    Whew, I'm pretty tired from so little yardage. But that was a fun little practice. Love the crazy innovative speed drills (and lack of tedium ).

    I encourage everyone to watch the Lady Vols/Floswimming link. There is some really good stuff there, including some interesting TRX exercises and a fly + med ball drill @ 6:45 that I will definitely try.

    Speedo left abruptly after the drag races with no warm down. He mumbled something quickly about not wanting to warm down/swim slowly to erase the CNS work he'd done sprinting. Is this a real phenomenon? Or did he just have to scoot back to work quickly?

    I am a total FLOG failure. I see I haven't put in anything since Monday. When I taper, my # of swims goes up and my kicking yardage goes way down. Guess that's normal.


    Garrett Weber-Gale's Nutrition for Performance Series:

    Emergence of the "Bike Cafe":

    Interesting note about whether diet can obviate the need for supplements:

    Updated March 10th, 2011 at 09:37 PM by The Fortress

    Swim Workouts , Yoga
  10. Wed., March 9

    by , March 9th, 2011 at 06:33 PM (The FAF AFAP Digest)
    @ Gym:

    RC Work, 20 minutes

    Stretching, 30 minutes

    @ Pool:

    30 minute slow continuous swim

    15 minutes hottub



    I didn't have any sprinting planned for today because I know I'm always mushy and sluggish after a deep tissue. But I did get my stretching in so no one would have to scold me.

    On other random notes of interest:

    1. I read today that an article about the strengthening properties of beer is coming out in Men's Health. I know some people who need to run right out and buy this issue!

    2. Geek added this link in a comment yesterday and I wanted to post it here too:

    3. I've decided I mistrust most people that are certified trainers. Most of them don't even look that fit.

    4. I am still adhering to my gluten free diet. Every once in awhile I try something with gluten (last time pizza) to see if I am able to tolerate it any better. This just results in me feeling tired and slightly ill. I have now discovered oat flour though, so I am prepared to go back to eating homemade cookies and bread and getting fat.

    5. Jim Thornton recently opined that your diet makes little difference in performance because your body doesn't distinguish between different kind of carbs and proteins, i.e., a twinkie is the same as a mango. I know nutrition is a complicated subject, but this cannot be right ...

    6. I am bracing for another night of teenage angst as Mini Fort just called me and told me she had "the worst day of her life" for the third time in 2 weeks. Crew is harder than she imagined.

    7. I have not entered the Albatross Open yet because I am still mulling over seed times.

    8. Does anyone know when the FINA SCM & LCM rankings come out?

    Updated March 9th, 2011 at 10:32 PM by The Fortress

    Swim Workouts , Yoga
  11. Keep on Tapering, Tuesday, March 8

    by , March 8th, 2011 at 04:29 PM (The FAF AFAP Digest)

    Warm up:

    700 various

    Finless Combo Set:

    4 x 50 heads up single arm fly @ 1:00
    8 x 25
    odds = shooter on belly
    evens = EZ
    8 x 25
    odds = dive from side, power kick to 15 (12 kicks) + breakout + cruise
    evens = EZ

    4 x 50 backstroke hesitation drill @ 1:05
    8 x 25 shooters on back
    25 EZ down to backstroke start blocks
    8 x 25
    odds = backstroke start + power kick to 15 (15 kicks) + cruise
    evens = EZ
    25 EZ

    4 x 50 russian breast drill @ 1:10
    8 x 25 long underwater breast pullouts
    8 x 25
    odds = burst doggy paddle drill
    evens = easy

    200 EZ

    Total: 2750

    hottub, 15 minutes



    This was a variant of a workout I did at this same time prior to NE Champs. Initially, I had thought perhaps the Warrenton meet was too close to my taper meet (only 2 weeks apart). But now I'm thinking it may have been beneficial to help alleviate (or at least delay) the taper hyperness/angst/boredom from which I usually suffer. And I am hopeful that the massage I'm about to dash off to will help flush the remaining lactic acid from the meet. Lats are somewhat sore from the sprint fly. Still feel pretty smooth in the water though.

    As of today, there are 119 swimmers signed up for the Albatross SCM meet. I'm assuming quite a few more will enter at the last minute, as I am always wont to do.
    Swim Workouts
  12. Vid + Post Meet Recovery, Monday, March 7

    by , March 7th, 2011 at 04:12 PM (The FAF AFAP Digest)

    Warm up:

    700 various

    Main Sets:

    20 x 50 @ 1:00 or so
    5 of each stroke
    Drill fly, back, breast, overkick free

    50 EZ

    20 x 25 shooters w/fins

    4 x back, left side, right side, belly, twirling

    50 EZ

    3 x 150 w/fins
    100 back + 15 seconds rest + 50 shooter

    50 EZ

    10 x 25 no fins

    Odds = breast alternating dolphin and whip kick
    Evens = shooter on back or belly

    150 EZ

    Total: 3200



    I was extremely grateful that Mr. Fort got up early to take Lil Fort to Girls on the Run before school so I could catch up on sleep. I was pretty tired after the meet last night, but didn't wake up feeling totally slammed like I sometimes do after even a one day meet. I felt pretty smooth in the water today as well, though I avoided anything fast. I actually feel more tired now after the workout than I did this AM. Glad I have a deep tissue massage scheduled for tomorrow afternoon.

    I'm driving Lil Fort around to indoor soccer and swim practice now, but hoping I will summon up the energy to stretch tonight. Otherwise, feel free to hurl vicious insults.

    It's a little tricky having a meet two weeks before a taper meet. I feel like I'll need a couple more days to fully recover; I'll probably stick with aerobic/hypoxic work.

    100 fly vid:

    SwimShark was kind enough to put my 100 on YouTube, so I'll add that link when I'm home later. Here it is:

    [nomedia=""]YouTube - Leslie's 100 fly[/nomedia]

    Looks like I got off the blocks pretty quickly. I can definitely see the piano at the end. But it looks like everyone else had the same piano. Well, maybe not that serious guy sandbagger over in lane 8. I'm not sure if this is a good thing, but my feet come out of the water when I kick much more than the other swimmers. Probably still picking my head up to high to breathe. And had a major glide into the first turn.

    Other links:

    On the topic of salmon which we discussed last week, I read this recently in the WSJ:

    And, never would have guessed, but PRP is now being used for "vampire facelifts":

    This looks like a very hard P90X mix:

    Updated March 7th, 2011 at 06:41 PM by The Fortress

    Swim Workouts
  13. Warrenton Meet, March 6

    by , March 6th, 2011 at 08:33 PM (The FAF AFAP Digest)
    Warrenton Meet/SCY:

    Very fun meet! Well run and low key, with lots of nice swimmer folk. I couldn't believe they actually had coffee in the hospitality room. Had some right before my 50 fly. They mayor of Warrenton, who is a masters swimmer, gave out Mayoral Proclamations for those breaking meet records, which was a nice touch.

    I didn't love the pool as much as Speedo. But that's likely because I was stuck in lanes 1 & 2 for every race. Those lanes = 7 feet deep. The rest of the lanes = 9 to almost 12 feet deep. It almost goes without saying that I prefer deep water. But thanks to being in the next to last heat in my fly races, at least I had cool clean water. And my times were faster than I expected on a few days rest. Good thing -- since these 3 races are now in the bank for SCY. No do overs. Hopefully, they'll hold up decently against the fast swimming to come at Mesa. It feels slightly odd not tapering for SCY this season, but I have other fish to fry in nice indoor meter pools.

    100 fly:

    Tech suit best: 1:01.3
    Full body Pro best: 1:04.0
    Today: 1:03.1

    My last untapered 100 fly was a 1:02.7 in a B70 in a faster pool (Mason at 2010 Zones). So I'm pretty happy with a time only .4 slower in my paltry little kneeskin at the crack o' dawn. I was out in 29.1, with the predictable piano the last 10 yards. But I had a very clean start and fast underwaters. My breakouts were good, according to Speedo, except for the third one. I can't say my turns were very snappy though; like usual, I was going for big air. Glad this race was first. I think it woke me up a bit as well -- this was my earliest race in some time. SwimShark was kind enough to video it for me.

    50 fly:

    Tech suit best: 27.0
    Full Body Pro best: 27.6
    Previous Best in kneeskin: 27.8
    Today: 27.2

    Thrilled with this time! When I swam the 50 fly at the Sprint Classic last October, I went 27.8 with a glide-y finish. This time, I decided in advance to experiment by staying under water longer off the start and turn (did 12 and 10-11 SDK or so respectively). I also hit my walls fairly well. Result: .6 faster in a slower pool. I'll take that! This time is only .2 off my PB of 27.0 swum twice in a Jaked and B70. So it's my second fastest time ever. Maybe execution is even more important than tapering for 50s. And I'm glad I experimented with more SDKs in my 50; now I know it's faster. Speedo did say I had a couple dolphin kicks on the surface on my second 25, so that's still something to work on and improve. And I grazed my hand on the lane line on the second length. Everyone seemed to agree the lanes were slightly narrow though.

    100 IM:

    Tech suit best: 1:04.1
    Ful body Pro best: 1:06.8
    Today: 1:04.3

    Hadn't swum this race in SCY since the Auburn meet in 2009 when I was fully tapered and in B70. This meet, based on my 100 fly time and in a kneeskin, I figured I'd go a 1:06 or so. So I was rather shocked to see the 1:04.3, only .2 off my PB, with splits of 29.0/35.3. This swim felt relatively better than the last few 100 IMs that I dimly remember. I wore a nose clip (which made the 12 SDKs on the back leg easier) and went out slightly slower on the first 50. My breast leg also felt better. I was in lane 1 for this race. My one big mental error was that I came off the wall on freestyle flutter kicking instead of dolphin kicking. WTH? When I realized I was flutter kicking underwater, I popped up and started swimming. Would love to see what I'd go fully tapered and in a deeper pool, but, hey, I'll take this time too.



    All in good, a great meet and a great start to 2011. I'll swim 3 more events in SCY at CZ in April (again, on only a few days rest) -- 50 free, 50 breast and 100 back. Then, I'll have had a crack at all my best events in SCY. I must admit I'm a bit sad not to be going to Mesa. But one can't do everything.

    After my last few short course meets without my beloved B70, my prevailing thought is I am really, really glad I've invested so much time in dolphin kicking. I think it's saving me in this transition period. Oddly, I think using tech suits may have helped me become a better kicker by causing me to focus more on streamlining and kicking. I became a better underwater swimmer, and taking the suits away doesn't seem to have changed that terribly much.

    Full meet results:

    Mr. Fort also won his age division of the 10 mile adventure trail race this am. He said it was the hardest 10 miles of racing he's ever done. His training parter didn't fare as well in the rainy muddy conditions, repeatedly falling. Mr. Fort is a like little billy goat.

    Updated March 6th, 2011 at 09:27 PM by The Fortress

    Masters Swim Meets / Events
  14. Friday, March 4

    by , March 4th, 2011 at 06:39 PM (The FAF AFAP Digest)
    @ Gym:

    RC work, 20 minutes

    Stretching, 30 minutes


    1000 easy

    hottub, 20 minutes



    Just taking it easy for the meet this weekend.

    Iron in Athletes:

    I started stressing about my thyroid levels earlier today. According to my recent labs, my levels of free T 3 and free T4 are worse in the last 6 weeks even though my thyroid medication was slightly increased. The only change has been adding iron to my regimen. Every doctor I've consulted seems to feel fairly strongly that my ferritin levels are simply too low. But I'm starting to wonder if the iron is preventing absorption of the thyroid hormones (a known side effect) while not helping much. Perhaps borderline anemia is my own norm? I've been that way all my life. Dr. Jimslie tends to dismiss diagnoses of anemia, saying that athletes suffer from pseudo-anemia. This is caused by a dilutional effect -- greater blood plasma volumes from training.

    I decided to do some quick googling and found this article:

    One relevant excerpt:

    "However, the most common cause of a low hematocrit (a ratio of red blood cells to whole blood) in athletes is pseudo-anemia, which is a dilution of the blood caused by plasma expansion. This is not true anemia, as the actual number of red blood cells is not decreased. (Portal 2003) Another study showed that endurance athletes were less likely than the general population to have iron deficiency. Out of 52 controls, 50% were iron deficient, and out of 126 atheletes, 26% were iron deficient. (Malczewska 2000)"

    Another article and excerpt:

    "But sports anemia is a misnomer because in most such athletes—especially men—the low hemoglobin level is a false anemia. The total volume of red cells in the body is normal, not low. Hemoglobin level is decreased because aerobic exercise expands the baseline plasma volume; this reduces the concentration of red cells, which contain the hemoglobin. In other words, the naturally lower hemoglobin level of an endurance athlete is a dilutional pseudoanemia."

    Maybe my doctors just don't think I'm an athlete?

    Updated March 4th, 2011 at 06:50 PM by The Fortress

    Swim Workouts , Yoga
  15. Swim w/Jazz, Thursday, Mar. 3

    by , March 3rd, 2011 at 09:25 PM (The FAF AFAP Digest)
    Swim/SCY/Solo + Jazzy:

    Warm up:

    600 various


    8 x 50 fly drills @ 1:00 or so

    10 x 25 easy speed shooters

    6 x 25 w/mini bursts

    50 EZ

    -- I did this while Jazz was in the adjacent lane banging out some fast 50 frees.

    Mini Speed Set:

    6 x (25 AFAP w/fins + 25 EZ) @ 2:00

    fly, 11
    back, 11
    breast, 11
    free, high 10
    fly, high 10
    back, high 10-11 (? can't really remember)

    200 EZ

    Total: 1950

    hottub, 20 minutes (thought the jets don't really seem to be working



    Just a nice little pre-meet drill + speed workout with lots of chatting with Jazz. That boy is getting in shape!

    I was stymied in my stretching efforts today by my two girls, both of whom drove me bonkers in their own special talented ways. (In my own experience, girls are so much harder than boys.) I'm sure I won't be able to stretch every day in the Month of the Stretch. But I'm aiming for 5x week.

    I was at Mini's swim & dive award banquet tonight and got a good swim tip. One of the fast chicks won an award for the "Glide Girl" because she uses glide to get her tight kneeskin on. That had never occurred to me. Doh. Great way to get the pesky things up and over the hips. I'm going to go hunt around the house to see if I can locate my glide.

    Psych sheet for Warrenton meet:

    WRT to the 100 fly, I think I'm going to breathe more than usual. In short course, I usually breathe every other stroke. But, with long underwaters, you can still create an oxygen debt. Chris once suggested I throw in some singles in LCM, and that worked like a charm. So I may do this weekend as well. I am thankfully in the predominantly girl heat instead of the boy heat.

    Updated March 3rd, 2011 at 09:46 PM by The Fortress

    Swim Workouts
  16. Fly Centric, Wed., March 2

    by , March 2nd, 2011 at 05:19 PM (The FAF AFAP Digest)
    @ GYM:

    RC work, 20 minutes

    -- get on it Speedo and That Guy!

    Stretching/Yoga, 40 minutes

    Swim/SCM/Solo @ Gym:

    Warm up:

    700 various

    Fly Centric Main Sets:

    20 x 25 dolphin kick shooters
    5x back, left side, right side, belly, twirling
    working on up kick

    50 dolphin dive

    10 x 25
    odds = fly @ 100 pace
    evens = EZ

    50 dolphin dive

    10 x 25 "bursts" @ 1:00
    - 2 free, 2 backstroke spin drill, 2 fast doggy paddle, 2 evil, 2 dolphin kick

    50 dolphin dive

    10 x 25 heads up fly drill

    -- from Lochte vid: [nomedia=""]YouTube - Ryan Lochte demonstrates stroke drills[/nomedia]

    -- I like this drill much better than regular single arm fly

    50 dolphin dive

    Total: 2150 meters

    Hottub, 20 minutes



    I felt pretty swell in the water today, most likely because I didn't do drylands on Tuesday. Just going to cruise the next 3 days before the meet and take Saturday off. I really have no idea what to expect time wise on Sunday. Assuming, that is, that I actually awaken at the correct time. (I forgot to set my alarm last night and my Lil Fort had to come looking for me before she left for school.) I haven't done a race before 10:00 since I can remember. The last time I swam 100 fly on 5 days rest was Zones last year when I went a 1:02.7. But that was with what Jimslie derogatorily calls the "body kayak." I guess I'd be pretty happy to go a 1:03. No idea on the 100 IM. One would think this would be a great event for me, but I seem to underachieve and the breast leg just kills me. I seem to recall in my last 100 IM in SCM (1:11), I had a 7 second gap between 50s. (Hope Ande is not reading this.) Could be a mental thing. And, if so, what's the best way to banish this kind of mental block?

    Push up/Pull ups:

    On the hottest blog on the internet (with perhaps the dullest title -- work on that, Speedo!), Geek posted this program which has me intrigued:

    What say people about whether push ups hurt your shoulders or not?

    For awhile, I was regularly doing an isometric push up hold using steps that didn't seem to bother my shoulders. (I did this along with my 5:00 extreme angle isometric squat.) Ran across this article discussing them: Oddly, the article promotes them as active recovery, whereas they were recommended to me as increasing strength in non-isometric motions.

    The pull up program seems beyond me, though pull ups are a great exercise. But hard, that's why I haven't done them in so long. And I seem to prefer chin ups.

    Shoulder Tendonitis

    SCY Freestyler also posted an article on shoulder issues from the NYT:

    I have used PRP on my left shoulder to fairly good effect. That also coincided with me adopting a kick centric workout style and de-emphasizing freestyle. I'm not sure it works as well on the foot. Lil Fort dropped a hard cover book on my foot by accident last night and I let an F bomb fly; it was excruciating. This leads me to believe that a foot injury heals more slowly, that the trauma from the injections takes longer to subside and that recovery is prolonged because you're always using the foot and because, unlike RC tendons, you can't exactly strengthen the surrounding muscles. A very vexing problem. I may delay what I hope is my final PRP treatment until the end of May.

    Updated March 2nd, 2011 at 06:12 PM by The Fortress

    Swim Workouts
  17. Swim & Supplement News, March 1

    by , March 1st, 2011 at 05:28 PM (The FAF AFAP Digest)

    Warm up:

    800 various
    done slower than even creaky Geekity

    Main Sets:

    8 x 100 @ 1:45
    odds = backstroke kick
    evens = backstroke

    8 x 100 done as:
    25 fast
    25 EZ
    50 drill

    -- Did a variety of things on the fast ones.

    50 EZ

    8 x 50 breast
    odds = with dolphin kick
    evens = with flutter kick

    150 EZ

    Total: 3000

    Stretching/Yoga, 30 minutes



    The worst month of the year is over!!! Bring on Spring.

    I was feeling pretty optimistic when I walked in today as I saw the noodlers filing out. But then I hopped in the water for my plain vanilla workout and it was much warmer than usual. Blech. Didn't feel so hot either, but I never seem to feel that great in the water after a rest day. This is a fairly new trend; I used to feel super after a day off. Just another fun aspect of being a geezer swimmer ...

    Got the results of more blood work today. I have reversed most of my vitamin deficiencies to acceptable levels, except I am still somewhat low in Vitamin D, iron, RBC magnesium. Got another injection of the latter. Unfortunately, my thyroid levels are still too low, which probably accounts in part for the fact that I can't drag myself out of bed in the morning. More T3 and T4 for me. All I have to say is that when this problem is fixed (and it's sure taking awhile) and my energy levels are restored, watch out!


    Speaking of supplements, a friend forwarded me this very interesting link, which shows the evidence (strong, good, promising, conflicting, slight) for numerous supplements. When you put your mouse on the bubble, it tells you the supplement's purported benefit. And when you click on the bubble, it takes you to the underlying scientific study.

    Interestingly, Q's favorite new supplement -- garlic -- is listed for it's cancer/cardio benefits, not its immunity benefits. I had to google the "promising" supplement NAC, as I hadn't heard of it and this is what I found:

    "NAC (the stable form of the amino acid cysteine) is a powerhouse of a supplement with potent antioxidant activity. In addition to combating exercise-induced damage to muscle tissue, it helps detoxify the liver, build connective tissue, fight viral infections, and combat the effects of age."

    Anyone using this? Seems potentially perfect for overtraining masters.

    Other recent articles: (nutrient thieves, and explaining the importance of magnesium) (cancer preventers) (superfoods) (B12 deficiency) (vitamin D for respiratory infections)

    Lochte Drills:

    In case you didn't see this link on Quick's blog, here is Ryan Lochte demonstrating some stroke drills.

    [nomedia=""]YouTube - Ryan Lochte demonstrates stroke drills[/nomedia]

    I'm going to try the heads up single arm fly drill. I also do the backstroke spin drill quite frequently -- either during a meet warm up or as a short "burst." Seems to get the turnover firing.

    February Totals:

    swim 17x
    bike 5x
    yoga 5x
    drylands 8x
    ART 2x

    It's interesting that my FLOG created a fictional total time for my 17 swims. I never enter a time for my workouts.

    Updated March 1st, 2011 at 07:57 PM by The Fortress

    Swim Workouts
  18. Fort Stretching Tips

    by , February 28th, 2011 at 02:53 PM (The FAF AFAP Digest)

    As I get older, stretching and staying flexible have seemed to increase in importance. Stretching can speed recovery, help remove lactic acid build up and help the muscles generate force. I believe stretching also helps keep me more injury free and prevents tightness from negatively impacting performance. When I stretch on my own, I combine yoga poses and stretches that focus principally on stretching the back, chest, hips and legs. I rarely stretch the shoulders, so as to prevent further loosening of my loosey goosey shoulder tendons. I do these after exercising and hold the stretches for 30 seconds. I'm also a fan of the P90X stretching DVD. Here are my top 20 stretches:

    Half Moon Pose:

    Standing Separate Leg Pose:

    Standing Head to Knee Forward Bend:

    Stand and bend over grabbing heels underneath. Then touch forehead to shins keeping legs straight and knees locked.

    Standing Bow:

    Wind Removing Pose:


    Fixed Firm Pose:

    Spine Twisting:

    Sit on the ground with your legs crossed. Lift your right leg and cross it over the left, which should remain bent. Hug the right leg to your chest and twist the trunk of your body to look over your right shoulder. Change legs and repeat (i.e. looking over your left shoulder).

    Cat Stretch:

    Begin on all fours, hands directly under your shoulders and knees directly under your hips.
    Inhale as you drop tummy towards the floor and look up over your head. Exhale as you bring your tummy back up, rounding your back as you tuck your chin in and tuck your tailbone in.

    [nomedia=""]Cat Stretch - YouTube[/nomedia]

    Scapular Stretch:

    Sit on floor with knees bent and feet on the floor. Place arms under knees grabbing the opposite elbow. Pull back with your back. This is a good stretch for the mid back.

    Knee Drops or Hip/trunk Twists:

    Bring the knees up and bend them to 90 degrees, shins parallel to the floor and arms out to the sides. Contract the abs and rotate the torso to lower the legs to the right, bringing them down to the floor. Bring the knees back to center and lower to the left side.

    Spinal Twist:

    While lying face up on the mat, grab the right leg (straight) with the left hand. Slowly twist the leg to the left straight to the floor while keeping both shoulders on the ground. Great stretch for the glutes and back.

    Hamstring Stretch:

    Lie on your back and place a piece of exercise tubing (or just use your hands) around the bottom of one of your feet. Pull the tubing and raise your leg at the same time until a comfortable stretch is felt. You can also pull the leg to the floor (left leg to the left side and right leg to the right side) to open up the hips.

    Piriformis Stretch:

    Lying on your back, cross your legs just as you might while sitting in a chair. Grasping the "under" leg with both hands, pull the knee toward your chest until you feel the stretch in your buttocks and hips.

    External Hip Rotation Stretch:

    Sit down with knees bent. Rest one ankle on the opposite thigh. Lean forward pushing with hands.

    Adductor Stretch:

    Sit up on the floor with legs spread. Reach forward with hands, trying to put chest on the floor. You can also bend to the right and to the left in this position to stretch the oblique muscles.

    Kenpo Quad Stretch:

    Lay on your stomach. Grab your left heel with your left hand and stretch. Do the other side. You can also do this laying on your side. To make it harder and also stretch the glutes a la P90X, tuck one knee under and then reach back for the heel. Try to place your hands on the floor in front of you.

    Gastroc (back of the calf) Stretch:

    Lean against a wall or other stationary object, both palms against the object. The leg you want to stretch is back, several feet from the wall, your heel firmly positioned on the floor. Your other leg is flexed about halfway between your back leg and the wall. Start with your back straight and gradually lunge forward until you feel the stretch in your calf. Keep your back foot straight and angled 90 degrees from the wall.

    Groin Stretch:

    Seated, put the soles of your feet together. With your elbows on the inside of your knees, gradually lean forward with a straight back and gently press your knees toward the ground.

    Forearm Stretch:

    Get on all fours. Place hands on floor with fingers pointing back to your knees. Gently pull back, stretching forearms.


    Updated January 7th, 2012 at 12:29 PM by The Fortress

  19. Sunday, Feb. 27

    by , February 27th, 2011 at 07:49 PM (The FAF AFAP Digest)
    Mini Drylands, 45 minutes:

    broomstick twists & dislocations
    med ball slams, 2 x 10
    flutter kicks on bosu, 2 x 50
    bicycles on bosu, 2 x 25
    long arm crunches, 50
    hip hinges, 20 x 1 x 10, each leg

    RC work, 15 minutes (arm extensions, external rotators, chops on yoga ball with hand weights, scapular scrunches, arm circles, cavic drill with hand weights)

    Stretching/Yoga, 30 minutes:

    One day, I'll list and provide links to my stretches. Too busy now -- must watch the Oscars.

    And one of USMS's own, nationally ranked Susan Dawson-Cook, has produced her own DVD on stretching. Check it out:


    This was another "Technique Sunday."

    Warm up:

    600 various

    Main Sets:

    3 x through:

    100 single arm (alternate left & right by 25)
    100 kick
    4 x 25 shooters
    2 x 50 drill

    #1 = fly
    #2 = back
    #3 = breast

    -- For breast, I did the "shooters" as 1 pull 3 kick. I did the 50 drills as BR pull.

    8 x 25 breast drill
    alternate dolphin kick with breast kick

    -- My timing is still off on my breaststroke kick. Though I did realize that when I'm kicking, I'm not kicking very hard but going through the motions because I'm usually focusing on a quick recovery. Doh, might go faster if I think about my kick instead.

    16 x 25
    odds = easy speed fly
    evens = easy

    8 x 25 breast drill
    alternate dolphin kick with breast kick

    8 x 25
    odds = easy speed fly
    evens - easy

    -- I wanted to do more, but there was a portly noodling type in my narrow lane. Just made it extremely difficult.

    100 EZ

    Total: 2700 meters



    Mini was at a volleyball tournament, Lil Fort at a birthday party and Mr. Fort cycling, so I headed out to the gym this afternoon. It was unusually crowded in the pool. Good thing I didn't have a serious workout planned!

    I've seen all the Oscar nominated movies except Winter's Bone. I'm torn between The Fighter and The King's Speech for best picture, though I guess the favorite may be The Social Network.

    I did finally get myself signed up for the Warrenton meet (100 fly/50 fly/100 IM) and I saw that the meet was up to 85 people. I'm hoping my foot won't hurt to go off the blocks. My right foot is in the back position, so I need to bend it and push off. This round of PRP seems to be hurting slightly longer than the previous times. Perhaps this is because the doc focused on the inside of the foot, which is always being worked. I wasn't really sure what times to enter. I rarely swim the 100 fly and 100 IM untapered. In fact, due to meet line ups and such, I haven't swum the 100 IM since December 2009. I probably ought to swim one in practice!

    Updated February 27th, 2011 at 08:49 PM by The Fortress

    Swim Workouts , Strength Training and Dryland Workouts , Yoga
  20. Lotta Time Doing Nuthin', Saturday, Feb. 26

    by , February 26th, 2011 at 10:38 PM (The FAF AFAP Digest)
    @ Gym:

    RC work, 15 minutes

    Stretching/Yoga, 45 minutes

    Hottub, 25 minutes



    Today was my off day, so I decided to work on banishing the lactic acid in the legs (which were sore after yesterday's AFAP kick fest). All this incidental cross training to keep/get the body ready is really time consuming. But I felt great after a prolonged stretch.

    Had a horrible night's sleep though, so need to try to correct that tonight. Every single person in my house was up early on a Saturday: the teens left at 6:45 for crew practice, Mr. Fort got up at 7:00 for a 22 mile run, Lil Fort was up early as usual, my house guests left early to watch the Syracuse v. Georgetown game. My house was a cacphony! I finally gave up on sleep and arose to have a major bakathon, shocking myself as I thought I had shed all vestiges of domesticity. Nothing to rival Gigi though.

    After feeling great from stretching, I've resolved to make March the Month of the Stretch. If I fail to blog that I have stretched, you are allowed to engage in vicious personal attacks, snide remarks and cast all manner of aspersions upon me. You don't even have to use the Jazzy fake smilie.

    Ahelee left me a very amusing link on Facebook from the McCaffreyCap. I am definitely in need of the "I am Tapering" shirt so that my family might let me stay off my feet. I like the idea of excusable neglect. There is also a funny bit from Eric Knight, who wrote a song about the Mid-College Thread on the college swimming messageboard being shut down. Apparently, discussion was "too passionate." I'm sure we are very tame by comparison!

    There was a very nice article in the Washington Post about Jack Conger, PV swimmer extraordinaire, who is actually one of Mini's swim buds. She's off watching him and other swim friends tonight at the Washington Metro swim and dive champs.

    Updated February 27th, 2011 at 01:26 PM by The Fortress