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swimsuit addict

About a year after beginning this blog, I got interested in open-water swimming, and it's been my passion ever since. Here's a list of some swims I've done.

  1. Sunny morning workout

    I enjoyed a good team workout + bonus solo sets at the Panama City Beach pool this morning. Here’s how it went:

    500 lcm warmup (300 swim, 200 IM kick)

    10 x 50 FR pull w/paddles @ 1:00, counting strokes and decreasing by 1 on each 50 [I went from 41 to 34 on the first 8, descending my times as well from 46 to 42, then couldn’t get my stroke count any lower—it stayed the same or increased on the last 2, plus my times got slower. 34 was my sweet spot.]
    5 x 100 FR @ 2:00, desc. [1:32, 1:31, 1:28, 1:26, 1:27]

    100 easy

    10 x 50 BK @ 1:00, counting strokes and decreasing stroke count by 1 on each 50 [results were similar to FR—did my lowest stroke count and fastest time on #8 (39/:47)]
    5 x 100 BK @ 2:10, desc. [1:51>1:37]

    100 easy

    That was it for the team workout, but I liked this set enough that I decided to do another round. Since 1000 of either BR or FL seemed daunting, I combined them for the following:

    6 x 50 BR @ 1:15, decreasing stroke count each 50 [22>18]
    4 x 50 FL @ 1:15, holding stroke count at 16 but descending
    5 x 100 IM @ 2:10, desc. [1:51, 48, 45, 42, 39—After descending by 3 seconds on each of the first 4, I was really hoping to see that 39 on the last one to make this descend pretty, and was glad to get it. I love the pool’s new digital pace clocks!]

    100 easy

    6 x 200 FR @ 3:30, odds = pull with paddles concentrating on DPS, evens = no toys focusing on increased turnover

    2 x 200 K @ 5:00, odd IM, even RIM

    200 warmdown + play

    That was it! I was feeling pretty tired and tight in my upper back and neck after this, as well as chafed on my collarbones by my swim suit straps (polyester suits occasionally do that to me, even in pools). A midday yoga class fixed the first problem and distracted me from the second.
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  2. Rainy day workout

    Yesterday’s planned swim in the gulf turned into a meet-and-greet with the hordes of small translucent jellyfish that had amassed just beyond the sandbar. The water was positively thick with them. It was so clear that I could see them in great detail, their white ribs and borders pulsating gently or simply floating along, closed up like little drink parasols. The sight brought out my inner naturalist, and I experimented to see what would make them pulsate—a gentle touch on their back (no), additional pressure on their backs (yes), water directed at their back or undersides (usually), water moving nearby (more often than not, but I couldn’t figure out if directing water from different directions made them travel in different directions), bubbles directed up at them (yes). It was a fun way to spend some time in the gulf on a warm sunny day when I wasn’t feeling much like swimming seriously among gelatinousness.

    Once the afternoon cooled off I followed up with a short solo pool session:

    1000 scy warmup

    1 x 100 FR @ 1:20
    1 x 50 ez @ 1:00
    2 x 100 FR @ 1:20
    1 x 50 ez @ 1:00
    3 x 100 FR @ 1:20
    1 x 50 ez @ 1:00
    2 x 100 FR @ 1:20
    1 x 50 ez @ 1:00
    1 x 100 FR @ 1:20
    1 x 50 ez @ 1:00

    100 warmdown + play

    Today it was colder, rainy, and windy. I went to the pool in the afternoon, and did the following solo:

    1000 scy warmup

    5 x 500 @ 8:00, as follows

    • 200 FR + 100 BK + 200 FR
    • 150 FR + 50 BK + 100 IM + 50 BK + 150 FR
    • 100 FR + 50 BK + 200 IM + 50 BK + 100 FR
    • 150 FR + 50 BK + 300 IM + 50 BK + 50 FR
    • 50 BK + 400 IM + 50 BK


    12 x 50 K @ 1:00:

    • 1-4 IMO
    • 5-8 RIMO
    • 9-12 FL/BK, BR/FR, FR/BR, BK/FL


    250 warmdown + play

    My time here is almost up—I head back to New York this weekend. The last few days are always a little bittersweet—amongst the goodbyes and the packing, and trying to put together meals that use up the remaining food, I’m also looking to enjoy the outdoors all I can before heading back to the cold up north. It’s definitely been a good month here, but I’m feeling eager to get back to my regular routine in the city soon!

    Updated February 27th, 2014 at 08:32 PM by swimsuit addict

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  3. Hurray for progress

    I had a very enjoyable swim this morning—the first part with the PCST masters, then on my own for the last bit. It was a warm and foggy morning, Kelcee was on deck, and I had a couple of good workout mates to share the first couple of sets with. Here is how it went:

    500 lcm warmup, various

    3x thru (odd rounds FR, even IM-no-free):
    3 x 50 drill @ 1:10
    150 build @ 2:45

    4x thru, with fins
    2 x 50 kick-as-far-as-you-can-underwater + rest of length FR
    1 x 50 sprint (FR on odd rounds, FL on even rounds)
    [I took my fins off after 400 of this—I think I went faster on the fly sprint without fins than with.]

    200 easy

    2x thru (broken magic 700s)
    50 FR @ :45
    50 easy back @ 1:15
    100 FR @ 1:30
    50 easy back @ 1:15
    150 FR @ 2:15
    50 easy back @ 1:15
    200 FR @ 3:00
    50 easy back @ 1:15
    [I have been struggling to get back to a fitness level where 1:30/lcm 100 pace feels taxing but doable. I’m not there yet, but I can see some progress. On the first round of this set I didn’t make all the FR times—I was -3, +1, +3, and +3 seconds on my 50/100/150/200 intervals. I didn’t think I could work harder on the second round, so I focused on finding what I could relax while still going fast, and that worked--I was able to go -2/-1/0/0.]

    200 IM kick

    12 x 100 @ 2:15:

    • 3 FL/BK
    • 3 BK/BR
    • 3 BR/FR
    • 3 IM
    • Descend each set of 3


    600 warmdown + play + figure-skating-inspired twirliness

    That was it!

    I’ve been away from my blog for the last week, but not from swimming—one of my goals while I’m down here is to get in a good bit of yardage, both in the pool and in the gulf when conditions are good. I signed up for my first swim of the season, Stage 6 of 8 Bridges in late June, so now there’s something long and fun to train for.

    One of my other goals for this month has been to start back doing yoga. I was dismayed to discover a couple of months ago that I was no longer able to get up off the floor without using my arms. I decided that I really needed to do something about feeling so rickety and decrepit, so when I got here in early February I signed up for the all-you-can-asana monthly deal at the small yoga studio that is conveniently on the way to the pool. I’ve been going to 2 or 3 classes a week, trying different styles, and am enjoying it a lot. The classes are very small—3-5 people is not unusual—and we occasionally have live sitar music provided by a local kid. (It’s sometimes mindbending how much the “Redneck Riviera” has changed over the last few decades).

    My body feels good, and seeing some progress in flexibility and strength is encouraging--plus I can once again stand up from sitting crosslegged with no help from my arms. Woohoo! Saturday, if the weather holds, I’ll get to try SUP yoga--that should be a blast.
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  4. Still ten for ten on toes

    It was cloudy, cold, and windy this morning at our 6am masters workout. With the full moon, I was hoping for a simultaneous moonset and sunrise, but the clouds revealed neither. Still, the dramatic dark clouds moving across the sky were plenty entertaining to watch as I did the following team+solo combo workout:

    400 lcm warmup

    4 x 150 (kick/swim/kick)

    50 easy

    5 x 100 FR @ 1:45, best average [1:28-1:30, avg. 1:29]

    5 x 50 non-free @ 1:10

    4 x 100 drill/swim, choice

    400 FR pull w/paddles

    12 x 100 FR/BK halfsies, 3 each @ 2:00, 1:55, 1:50, 1:45, desc. each set of 3 [1:36, 37, 37, 36 on fast ones]

    Magic 700, alternating fast FR / easy BK

    800 warmdown + play

    That was it! On the warmdown I was backstroking along, watching what I first took as a bird-shaped kite flying nearby. It turned out to be our resident bald eagle air-surfing the gusty breezes. After I turned over and did a few strokes of freestyle, I thought about my feet trailing behind me, and how they might look vaguely fish-shaped from above, and decided to kick a little harder instead of just letting them trail behind me. It must have worked!
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  5. Bambi and Thumper and more

    It was wonderfully foggy this morning in the predawn dark as I left for the pool. In the parking lot a rabbit darted in front of my car, then stopped, cocked its head, and gazed at me, rooted in place. I turned my lights on and off to see if that would scare it off, but it didn’t move, so I drove slowly around the little creature on the way out. On the way to the pool silvery outlines of deer took shape on the side of the road—a sight I’m used to, only today instead of grazing at the highway’s shoulder, they were walking along the breakdown lane on a mile-long bridge over an inlet. Go figure!

    The pool was crowded—people had to actually circle!--and I ended up sharing a lane with 3 other masters swimmers for the following workout:

    300 lcm warmup

    16 x 50 @ 1:00, alternating 2 BK, 2 FR

    3x thru, descending 200s
    200 FR
    2 x 50 ST

    4 x 400, alternating pull with paddles and FR/BK swim

    That was it. My back was feeling better this morning, but kicking and flip turns still hurt so I didn’t do much of them. I’m encouraged that things are improving though. On the wringing-lemonade-from-lemons front, this injury does help me realize when I'm arching my back and losing my core support on my stroke (almost always on my right-arm catch when breathing to my left). But it's definitely annoying that after a year of springboard diving I ended up hurting myself going off a silly starting block!

    During workout a bald eagle was hanging out near the pool, flying in circles and roosting for stretched at the small pond that’s nearby. (I saw the age group coach watching something over there, and asked him what was going on). Very cool!
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  6. Okey dokey, artichokies

    I enjoyed a really fun practice with the PCST masters on Saturday. We had 11 swimmers—apparently a near-record for a masters workout at this pool! It was a warm sunny morning, and there was a nice sense of camaraderie as we did the following workout:

    350 scy warmup [There was something longer, but I cut this short so I could start the set with two swim buddies in the next lane.]

    200 pull w/ paddles @ 3:00
    2 x 100 kick @ 2:00 [officially with fins, but I didn’t have any]
    4 x 50 with all equipment @ :55

    6 x 75 (k/s/s) @ 1:20 [fl/bk/br/br/bk/fl]

    6 x 50 d/s @ 1:00

    Then, since several swimmers are headed to Auburn next weekend, we all headed to the far end of the pool for some start/turn workout. And afterwards—a 6 x 50 free relay race! It was a fun morning.

    (And today's blog title? That was the coach's way of checking that we had understood one of the above sets. I like this team!)

    Unfortunately, I tweaked my lower back on one of my starts. The acute pain lasted just a few minutes, but I’ve been having dull achiness ever since, and am still moving around gingerly.

    This afternoon instead of heading back to the pool I opted for a swim in the gulf. It was a nice sunny day, with air temps in the low 60s, and water temp about the same (it’s warmed up quickly in the recent warm weather). I was in for about an hour, swimming back and forth along the stretch of beach where the depth is sufficient to swim on the near side of the sandbar. There was a bit of surf, enough to make the water bumpy, which at first felt uncomfortable with my back, but either it loosened up or I got blissy enough as the swim went along that I forgot about it.

    There was some current today and some wind, enough to make it noticeably more difficult going east, then easy and fast going west. Every now and again I would turn over and do a few strokes of backstroke, just to admire the sky and catch a glimpse of the happy snowbirds strolling along on the beach. (Afterwards a couple told me the sight of me swimming had prompted them to get outside for a beach walk!) When I finally decided I had had enough, I got out and warmed in the sun for awhile on my beach, then headed up to the hot tub for a nice relaxing soak. I’m definitely enjoying the cushy OW swimming life here!
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  7. Short swim in the gulf

    I had a very blissy swim in the gulf today. Yesterday’s steady rain was gone, and the day was brilliantly sunny. By noon, the overnight freezing temps had warmed up to the low 50s, and water temps were in the mid-50s. A strong north wind tamped down the waves, leaving just ripples on the surface. The tide was high, making the water deep enough to swim on the near side of the first sandbar. I ended up swimming back and forth along a 300m stretch of beach, staying in for about 30 minutes. The water was very clear, but there wasn’t much to see—I encountered one jellyfish, white with pale yellow tentacles, that was floating about 3 feet under the surface, and a small white fish that swam by underneath me.

    It was very peaceful out in the water. I did some backstroke, ducking my head entirely under the water to see the ripples on the surface, then turning back over for some freestyle, where I watched the rippled sand beneath me. Swimming along was as easy as in a pool, with no current or waves to speak of. It was a lot different from a couple of days ago, when I got in just to play in the surf, and let the waves rock me around as I floated on the surface.
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  8. Good morning north wind!

    After a few days of very warm temperatures, today’s windy, 37-degree predawn air reminded me how much I love my swim parka. I smiled at the steam coming off the pool as I drove up this morning for the PCST masters practice. The coach looked chilly on deck, so I let her keep my parka warm as I jumped into the pool for the following:

    600 lcm warmup (300s, 300k)

    2x thru:
    4 x 100 FR fast @ 2:30
    4 x 50 non-FR fast @ 1:30
    [I went 1:24/25 on most of these—I was consistent if not fast—and a 44 on my best 50 back. It was nice having a workoutmate in the next lane to swim with—I postponed 2 of my first set of 50s til the end of the set so that we could swim together on the second round, and we both ended up going a little faster.]

    That was it for the team workout. I stuck around in the now-otherwise-empty pool and did the following on my own:

    400 pull with paddles
    3 x magic 700 [free w/back, IM w/free, fr w/ kick]
    400 pull with paddles
    200 IM kick
    100 warmdown + play

    It was quite windy—I had trouble keeping my pool toys at the end of the lane—and with the wind and pool directions almost perfectly aligned, I enjoyed seeing how different strokes felt going with the wind vs going against it. When kicking freestyle with a board, the spray from my feet was blown against my head and neck—kind of a neat sensation. By the time I left a few other swimmers had come, which was a good thing—I had felt guilty watching the guards look cold, and knowing that they could have hung out inside if I hadn’t been there. They used to have little guard houses poolside that they used on cold days (just clear vinyl hung around guard chairs), but they’re not there this year.
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  9. Swimmer as wind-up toy

    I enjoyed a good swim at the PCB pool this morning. I came at 6am for the PCST masters workout, then stayed for some solo swimming. Here’s how it went:

    Warmup: 5 x 100 lcm, odds FR, evens BK

    12 x 50 various fly stuff @ 1:00:
    4 FL kick on BK
    4 1-arm fly
    4 goggle drill: 1 stroke no breath, 1 stroke just bringing goggles above water, 1 stroke breathing with as minimal head movement as possible [I liked this drill, but left out the no-breath stroke, and upped the interval.]

    4 x 150 BK/BR/FR

    4 x 100 pull with bilat breathing pattern @ 2:00

    4 x 50 sprint BK @ 1:10

    That ended practice. I skipped the 200 warmdown, and did the following solo:

    Extended IM riff
    4 x 150 stroke sandwiches (FR/ST/FR) @ 2:50
    4 x 150 IM @ 3:10

    • 25 FL / 50BK / 50BR / 25FR
    • 50 FL / 25 BK / 25 BR / 50 FR
    • 25 FL / 50 BK / 25 BR / 50 FR
    • 50 FL / 25 BK / 50 BR / 25 FR

    200 kick RIM
    6 x 200, odds IM desc. @ 4:00, evens FR pull @ 3:45 [3:33 on fastest IM]

    Magic 700, alt. IM/FR

    200 kick
    200 warmdown + play

    I was feeling fatigued and a little loopy by the time I reached the magic 700, and decided to just focus on the rhythmic elements of each stroke. I imagined my body as some sort of perpetual motion machine, all cogs and gears and levers, with each movement leading automatically to the next, and the next, and the next. I tried to imagine the forces interacting with my body—gravity, inertia, the resistance of the water—and to imagine my body working with those forces in various ways. It was a nice meditative way to end a long workout. I closed my eyes for much of this swim, and did not run into a lane line even once. (The lanes are wide here, and I had my own, so felt pretty safe swimming blind.).
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  10. Wrong-way breaststroke

    I had a nice solo swim at the Panama City Beach pool today—my first since I arrived, since the pool is closed on Sundays. It was extremely foggy and warm, with a little misting at the beginning that didn’t morph into the threatened thundershowers. Here’s what I did:

    1000 scy warmup

    5x thru

    • 500 swim
    • :20 rest
    • 2 x 50 kick @ 1:00

    [The kicks were all FL/BK, and the 500s were my usual traveling-backstroke set, except the part between the BKs was IM, as follows:

    • 200 FR / 50 BK / 0 IM / 50 BK / 200 FR
    • 150 FR / 50 BK / 100 IM / 50 BK / 150 FR
    • 100 FR / 50 BK / 200 IM / 50 BK / 100 FR
    • 50 FR / 50 BK / 300 IM / 50 BK / 50 FR
    • 0 FR / 50 BK / 400 IM / 50 BK / 0 FR

    I worked the IM, did the rest moderate.]

    150 warmdown + bonus 100 lcm (see below)

    Because I was the only one in the pool (and had been for most of the workout), I decided to end with a LCM 100, even though the lanelines were set perpendicularly for scy. I started out swimming underwater, coming up every three or so lanes for a breath, but I then discovered I could easily do breaststroke, gliding under each lane line and breathing once in each short course lane, without changing my stroke much. (Fly didn’t work so well—I couldn’t keep my stroke short enough). This was fun! I think I could be happy doing a breaststroke set this way, if the opportunity presents itself again.
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