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Today I swam at Riverbank with Hannah and Rondi. We shared our lane with a guy who talked on his zip-locked iphone between swims. I was grateful not to have anything that pressing to deal with this morning.
The goal today was to do a long easy swim to help the meet soreness go away--here’s what I did:
1000 lcm warmup (400s, 200k, 200p, 200 d/s)
3 x 100 FR/BK halfsies, desc., @ 2:00
2 x 200 FR/BK halfsies @ 3:30
400 (300 FR build + 50 easy BK)
8 x 150 sandwiches @ :10 rest
1-4 = 50 fr swim + 50 st (IM order) kick + 50 fr swim
5-8 = 50 fr swim + 50 st (IM order) swim + 50 fr swim
300 kick with fins
100 swim + play
Today I had a really great time at Aquafit’s SCM Fall Classic. Not that my times were great—they were not, across the board—but I was reminded of what I find really fun and engaging about pool swimming. The meet was well attended by local swimmers—there were about 160 of us there, and I got to see folks whom I have been competing with and against in the Metro are for going on two decades now. Our AGUA team had about 20 swimmers plus a coach in attendance, and we were able to win a close race for 1st place in the medium-sized team division. Wooohoo!
I rode out to the meet with 3 teammates, two of whom were attending their first-ever meets as masters swimmers. We got to the pool early, warm-ups were well organized, and I found plenty of room in various lanes to do the following 1900:
200 fr, alt 6-beat-kick and ez by 25
200 d/s by 25, rim order
3 x (3 x 50 @ :55, desc. 1-3)
3 x (20 sprint kick + 30 easy)
2 x dive start + sprint 25
250 easy + play
This was my first meet since nationals at Auburn, which had not gone well, so I was feeling a little nervous about my first event, the 200 FR. Luckily it was also the meet’s first event, so I didn’t have much time to worry over it before I was up on the blocks ready to go.
200 FR: 2:33.02 (35:97, 38.32, 38.94, 39.79)
This race actually felt great—the first 100 was very long and easy, the turns were springy, and I felt joyful and energetic right up until the last 25, when I started to really hurt and it was hard to keep up my turnover. It was reassuring to feel that my body and I were on the same team for a mid-distance, and that it was responding in predictable ways to everything I was trying to get it to do.
It does look from my splits like I went out a little too fast and didn’t have much left on the last 100. It’s noteworthy that my pace slowed right when I started kicking—I think unless I’m sprinting, 6-beat-kicking might slow me down rather than adding speed. Maybe I get less rotation and engage my core less when I’m not doing an emphatic 2-beat kick? I think my turnover might slow as well. I either need to work on my kick further to make it more effective, or ditch it and go back to my usual mode of swimming mid-distance races, where I don’t throw in a kick until the final 25.
After the 200 I had about a 30-minute break, then the following events came fast and furious, spaced about 10 to 15 minutes apart:
50 FR: 31.58
50 BK: 36.65
100 IM: 1:22.76 (38.08, 44.68)
200 FR relay (they didn’t have splits)
Whew! That was fun!!
Then I had a bit of a breather before my final two events:
200 Med. Relay (swam BR, splits were messed up)
100 BK: 1:24.19 (41.14, 43.05)
(That seems like a big drop-off from my 50 BK time to my 100 split.)
All these results are well off my best times, but today I didn’t really care. It was just loads of fun being at a meet again. I feel like such a swim nerd, but I just love the whole experience of meet swimming—waiting behind the blocks, chatting with the timers, hearing those silly whistles, diving off the blocks, cheering for friends, watching the officials pace the sides of the pool, doing relay exchanges, watching the back and forth of close races, it all makes me happy. I’ve missed the sensation of being speedy in the water, and of pushing my body to swim as fast as it can for short distances. I’m not so worried about the results today—I’m confident those will get better if I decide to do more meet-oriented training. (I do worry sometimes that being so content with mediocrity might be a major character flaw, but that’s a whole nother post). Today’s meet was more about reminding myself of what I find compelling and exciting about pool swimming, and in that I succeeded.
I also had the pleasure of seeing watching some good swimming in the few moments I wasn’t in the competition or warm-down pools. Quicksilver’s 200 BK was a beauteous thing to behold—I think his stroke is longer and smoother than most any other master swimmer I’ve seen. Carolyn was in and out of the pool even more than me today, and proved that she can swim any event whatsoever! RTodd also seemed to be swimming well. Cool to have so many bloggers/forumites at the festivities! Also, I’m very happy to report that my first-time-meet teammates swam great, loved the experience, and vowed they’d be back for more. Kudos to Lisa Bauman of Aquafit and all the volunteers for putting on such a fabulous event!
I had a wonderful swim at the beach today. It was a cold morning—air temp in the low-40s. I was feeling a little nervous about the water temp, because the weather has taken a cold turn the past few days. There aren’t any ocean buoys that report water temps out at Brighton—the closest ones are at the Battery and at Sandy Hook, NJ. The latter was reading under 50 when I left this morning, and Brighton is sometimes a few degrees colder than SH. This time of year I ask myself every time I go out to Brighton whether this will be the day that the water stops being fun to swim in—I figure I won’t know unless I head out and see!
So head out I did, encouraged by the sunny blue sky. The harbor looked a little choppy when the subway train crossed the bridge, but the water looked blue and wonderful and inviting, and I felt impatient to be out in it. But the subway travels at its own pace. . . . Soon enough though I was approaching the Brighton Beach stop, excited and grateful to be out for another day of beach swimming.
At the beach it was quite windy, and there were just a half dozen diehard CIBBOWSers out, plus one guest swimmer from San Francisco, Zena. We stayed bundled up on the beach and chatted for a bit. Teddy had come out earlier to swim, and had just gotten dressed as the rest of us were arriving—he estimated the water to be about 51. That was better than any of us were expecting. After standing around in the cold wind for a little longer, we reassured each other that in the water was the best place to be on a day like this, gathered up our courage, and stripped down to our suits.
Getting in was actually fun—there were waves to help the process along. Once a wave broke over you, it was too cold to stand around wet, so not too much dillydallying today. Hannah and I started out swimming west, against the wind. The waves were delightful—nice roly-poly ones, only just occasionally breaking over us. The cold water felt energizing, and I swam happily along. I stopped and did breaststroke occasionally to sight, as I got spun around several times. I wanted to make sure I was swimming well out from the jetties, since it was hard to see them in the waves. I did some backstroke for a while and admired the sunny sky, and enjoyed watching the sparkly water break over me. The water itself seemed joyful today, and I felt like a kid on the best playdate ever as I stroked along in it.
I swam with Hannah down to the aquarium, where we stopped a bit to take stock of things. We decided to swim a little further, to the end of the mural on the boardwalk. It seemed to be taking a long time to go in that direction, but I didn’t mind because it was so much fun. Once we got to the cyclone we turned around and headed back. The return trip was maybe even better—the current was with us, plus the waves were pushing us along. On my right as I breathed I could watch the sun in the sky, along with striated clouds and a few glimmering contrails from small planes. We got back to our starting place too soon for me, and I waved my friends warming up on the beach before continuing on.
It seemed to take just a few minutes to reach the big jetty to the east, and I considered whether I should turn around or keep on swimming to the white building. I was still feeling great, but my feet and face were getting cold. I decided to turn around, and that was probably wise, because the trip back took a while—the current had gotten stronger since we started. As I swam back I moved in closer to shore hoping for some bigger waves to swim in, and I was happy to be able to see the bottom below me. The water clarity must be getting better. I dove down a few times to look for crabs before I got out, but didn’t see any. All told I swam around 3k, in about an hour, in water that was 50 or 51 degrees, depending on whom you asked. It did feel colder to me than last week, but that could have been the air temp or wind rather than the water temp that made it feel that way.
By the time I got out I felt chilled through, but in a completely pleasant way. I experienced some shivers on the beach, but not violent ones—it was a little tougher to warm up in the cold wind today than in milder weather. But I did eventually get cozy and warm, and enjoyed delicious post-swim snacks while basking in the sun—squash bread, gingerbread, homemade granola bars, and hot tea. Beach feasts are the best!
Tomorrow I totally switch gears—I’m swimming in a scm meet on Long Island. It will be a little bittersweet, as it will be Coach Craig Keller’s last meet as Asphalt Green’s head coach—he is moving to the UK in December. I’m glad to get one last opportunity to compete with him on deck—he’s been a great asset to the team and a great help to me during his time here. My events tomorrow: 50 FR/BK, 100 BK/IM, 200 FR, plus a 50 FR and a 50 BR on relays. I have few expectations—just hoping to have fun!
Today I swam at Riverbank. It was a calm and mellow morning there. I shared a lane with Rondi and John, but did my own workout. Here’s how it went:
1000 lcm warmup (400s, 200k, 200p, 200d/s)
8 x 50 FR @ 1:15, odds 25 build / 25 easy, evens 25 sprint / 25 easy
100 dolphin kick w/ fins, build
4 x 50 FR w/fins @ 1:15, odds 30 build / 20 easy, evens 30 sprint / 20 easy
3 x 100 FR/BK halsies (no fins) @ 2:00, build free then fast backstroke
1400 pull, alternating 200 w/ paddes / 200 no paddles, adjusting pull buoy lower on legs so core has to be engaged, and playing with amount of rotation
500 warmdown + play
The clocks at the ends of the pool weren’t synched, so I was glad I had my tempo trainer with me. I set it for 15-seconds beeps, then knew on the 50s that the second beep after I got to the wall was the signal to go. A bonus was that it helped motivate me on the sprints--I tried to get as close as possible to the midpoint by the first beep.
My goal with the sprinting today was to establish power then increase turnover, rather than just flail frantically. I'd like to go to an AGUA workout soon to get some technique feedback. But if I don't make it over there tomorrow or Saturday, I know I can get some pointers at the meet on Sunday. I don't feel meet-ready at all--mainly because I'm not--but am nonetheless looking forward to just getting up on the blocks and racing, and to swimming some fun relays with teammates!
This morning we ended up with a fun informal workout group of beach swimmers at Riverbank—John, Rondi, Hannah, Suzanne, and I all shared a lane. Cool, a CIBBOWS-north--all we needed were some post-swim cookies!
I was still tired from yesterday’s workout + last night’s rowing class, and my goal was just to do some long easy recovery swimming, with maybe some stroke and kick thrown in. By the time I finished warming up this was the workout my lanemates had decided on, and it fit the bill perfectly. Here’s how it went:
900 lcm warmup
3 x 1000, as follows:
1000 FR: prime-numbered lengths = kick, non-primes = swim
1000 swim: multiples of 3 = BR, multiples of 4 = BK, multiples of 7 = FL, anything else = FR, strokes that are earlier in the IM trump those that are later in the IM
3rd 1000: grand finale with three variables governing each length: (1) kick or swim?—as above in first 1000; (2) stroke?—as above in 2nd 1000, and (3) speed?—all triangular-numbered lengths (1,3,6,10,15) = sprint, all others = moderate
[This was the first time we did this set long course. The triangle-number part didn’t work out so well, as 3 of the 5 sprints ended up being breaststroke or breaststroke-kick—not a popular option with this crowd! Maybe squares as sprints would work better, since that would make 1 sprint each of FR and BR and 2 of BK, all swimming. To further complicate this set, on each 1000 those of us who were getting lapped had some leeway to choose which 2-4 lengths to drop. I do think this set should be 1050s rather than 1000s, since 21 would be a more interesting number to finish on than 20, but that suggestion didn’t garner majority support this morning. )
400 warmdown + play
During warmdown I tried out one of my lanemate’s forearm fulcrum paddles. I didn’t like them at all, but then my tolerance for wearing extra stuff when I swim isn’t very high. They seemed to force my arms down deeper into the water at the front of my stroke, and made it hard to extend and get a good catch. I might experiment with them more now that I know what to expect. Has anyone used these and found them helpful?
This morning’s workout with TNYA was fun and challenging. New coach Sean was on deck, and I started out in the next-to-fastest lane (5 swimmers) and ended up in the fastest (3 of us). Here’s how it went:
1100 scy warmup (400 fr/bk, 400 k/s, 400 pull)
16 x 50, done as 4 x (1 x kick @ 1:00, 2 x drill @ :55, 1 x swim @ :50), one round each stroke IM order
26 x 100:
6 x 50k/50s @ 1:45 [held 1:30s]
50 easy @ 1:15
10 x 100 swim @ 1:30 [did odds fr (1:15-1:17s) and evens fr/bk halfsies (1:18-1:21s)]
50 easy @ 1:30
10 x 100 FR @ 1:25 [made 7 of them at 1:15 or under, skipped a 50 on 9th one]
[The goal of this set was to do the swims 10 seconds under the interval. I knew it would be hard to hold 1:15s on the last ten, and told myself that I could stop and take a break to get back on track if I missed two in a row. I went 1:16 on #5, and was assuming I’d get that break after #6, but surprised myself by making that one. Drat! I made 7 as well, then missed on #8, then felt like I was going to cry if I had to swim another 100 hard so wimped out and swam #9 as a 50 easy. Oh well—now I have a number to focus on bettering next time I do this set!]
I enjoyed this workout, and was glad I moved over to swim the more challenging intervals.
Today I took the day off from swimming, and decided that my blog could too. If you want to read about swim workouts, tune back in tomorrow.
Saturday as I was riding the subway home from the beach, I must have been being particularly dreamy, because I managed to miss my subway stop. But that turned out to be a good thing, as I ended up exiting at 5th Avenue and Central Park South, and having a lovely walk through the park. It was so lovely that I went back today, iphone camara at the ready, to record some of the beauty.
Folliage is a little past its peak, but there are still some bursts of brilliant color around:
The weather has been warm for mid-November. Today in 60-degree weather there were both ice skaters at the rink
and rowboats out on the lake (usually just a warm-weather sight).
Remote controlled toy sailboats are a year-round activity:
The afternoon sun is low in the sky this time of year,
but there were still turtles out sunning themselves on the rocks.
People often ask me if I see celebrities in the city—today I spotted one!
(although his height, or lack thereof, made me suspect him of being just an impersonator. Inavianator?)
A monk’s saffron robes echoed the fall colors
Among the falling leaves there were still troves of delicate flowers to be found:
Central Park is often called New Yorkers’ backyard. I’m glad I’m not responsible for raking my backyard!
Today I had another wonderful swim at Brighton Beach. It was a warm day—air temp was in the 50s when I got to the beach, and was probably flirting with 60 by the time I left—and the sun was peeking through some clouds. CIBBOWS numbers are dwindling but are still impressive considering the water temp is down to 50--there were about a dozen of us out swimming today.
I was happy when the subway train passed over the bridge to see that things looked a little calmer in the harbor this morning—no whitecaps. At the beach it was a little breezy, but not enough to stir up the sand. I laid my stuff out on the shore and chatted a bit with the rest of the swimmers while getting ready. Prep work increases as the water temps drop—hair braided, latex cap on, earplugs in, silicone cap and goggles on, clothes laid out in skin-to-outerwear order so they can be quickly donned, inhalers, lube, finish undressing, ready to go!
I was looking forward to attempting a loop today with David—we talked on the beach about how it might well be the last 5k swim of the season. The water was calmer today than yesterday, and holding steady at 50 degrees. I waded in slowly while he did his kamikaze-run-into-the-water-and-dive-into-the-waves thing, and we were off. We swam to the pier at a pretty lively pace—at this point I wasn’t worried about getting too cold to swim the whole distance, but rather getting too tired! We passed the jetties, the aquarium, the Wonder Wheel, and the rest of Coney Island in a rush, until finally we were nearing the pier. A quick stop to take it all in, then we headed back the way we came.
Today there were nicely rolling waves, and swimming along was very pleasant. On the way back, the sun came out from the clouds, and pleasant turned to downright glorious. I could see the sunlight sparkling through the water droplets as we swam along, and it seemed like one of the most beautiful things ever. After a while we ran into Louise and Laura, and stopped and chatted briefly with them. We all swam together for a bit before Dave and I pulled away. Destination: the White Building that marks the other end of the 5K course.
Shortly afterwards we ran into a patch of extremely cold water—it must have been about 3 degrees or more colder than what we were swimming in. Often when ow swimming I’ll go through warm or cold patches, and it always amazes me that there can be such a difference in temperature in parts of the sea that are so close together. Usually cold patches last about 10-50 yard or so, but this one persisted for most of the rest of our swim, until we got past the jetties and were able to swim in some shallower water closer to shore. Was it maybe the tide coming in and bringing colder water with it? I have no idea. In any case, shortly after we hit the colder water our progress also started to slow. It seemed to take a long time to get back to our starting place, and then a really reeeaaaally long time to swim the ½ mile from there to the White Building.
The strange thing about the colder water was that while it felt quite cold on my skin, it never seemed like it was making me cold. It’s an oddly pleasant sensation to feel surrounded by a very cold liquid, but to feel all warm on the inside. My main reaction to cold generally seems to be getting a little trippy, and on the way to the White Building this was definitely kicking in. I just wanted to slow down and enjoy all the beauty around me, and every moment seemed amazing in some new way—the sunlight, the green water, the waves rolling over me, all seemed like the most amazing sensations I had ever experienced.
But at the same time I really wanted to get to the White Building. Problem was, it seemed like it wasn’t getting any closer. I didn’t know if this perception was part of the trippiness—maybe time seemed to slow down when I got cold?—or whether we were just stuck in a difficult current. I knew that some CIBBOWS swimmers don’t like swimming in this direction precisely because the currents can be tricky and make progress difficult, but I also knew that I’d never found a current out at the beach that I couldn’t make headway against. I ended up just putting my head down and trying to keep up with Dave, and trusting that the White Building would eventually appear even with us, instead of tantalizingly far away.
That worked. We eventually got to the end of the 5k course, and David confirmed that it had indeed taken us a very long time to get there—we had been in the water for 1h30, and we still had a half mile to swim to complete the 5k. But once we turned around everything seemed easy. The current was with us, but more importantly, I knew that we would definitely finish the 5k. We synchro swam most of the way in, and finished the loop in 1h40.
The sun came out again just after we made it ashore. I dressed quickly and warmed up easily—a little bit of jogging on the beach in my winter apparel helped keep the shivering at bay. Afterwards I enjoyed a nice hour or so on the beach with friends, chatting and snacking and basking in the sun. Part of me hopes that this will not be my last loop of the season, but part of me hopes it will be, because it was such a magical and satisfying swim. I was glad to have a swim partner today—I definitely wouldn’t have swum so far, or so happily, on my own.
Next weekend I switch gears—I have signed up for Sunday's scm meet at Eisenhower Park on Long Island. I really haven’t done the prep to swim pool events well, so I’m mostly looking forward to this as a social event—there are area pool swimming buddies whom I haven’t seen since last spring! I signed up for events I thought would be fun to swim: 50 FR and BK, 100 BK and IM, and 200 FR (the last one isn’t really fun, per se, but it’s the first event of the meet, and I’m always impatient to swim something right after warm-ups!) So my project for the coming week is to get myself into sprinter mode as much as possible before next weekend.
I got a good start on that this afternoon with the rowing workout I did with Mr. Addict. The workout was:
9 minute warmup
3 x 3-minute row, desc. [2:31—2:25—2:14]
3 x 2-minute row, desc. [2:43—2:14—2:08]
3 x 1-minute row, desc. [2:40—2:14—1:58]
We took 1:30 rest between everything—easier to program into the machine that way, but it also meant that the work/rest ratio went from 3/2 to 1/1 to 2/3 as the workout progressed. Sweet. I won no work ethic awards in today’s workout, but I did have a lot of fun coasting on the first piece of each trio in order to hammer the last one. Big descends are fun, and these verged on the absurd.
It was a good day’s work, between the swimming and rowing. Now I’m tired and ready for a massage!
The amusement parks at Coney Island might be closed for the season, but the best ride out there is still available, and free! I enjoyed a swim in the ocean today with half-dozen other CIBBOWS regulars. The Cyclone doesn’t compare to being tossed around in the waves, and there were definitely fun waves this morning!
It was a cool and windy—air temp in the 40s, but sunny. When the Q train passed over the Manhattan Bridge I could see some whitecaps in the harbor, so I was prepared for some rough water out at Brighton. Still, the intensity of the wind surprised me once I arrived. There were three of us on the same subway train, and as we arrived we saw a couple of early swimmers in the parking lot who confirmed that the water was indeed bouncy. (They also told us the water temp was 50, which Cara confirmed—50.5 officially).
Bouncy can cover a lot. It can mean chop that relentlessly slaps you in the face and arms as you try to swim through it, or waves that break unpredictably over you. Add in cold water, and it can make for some tough swimming. I think we were all trepidatious when we got down to the beach, where it was even windier. Standing there getting sandblasted while looking at the whitecaps, I wondered about the sanity of this whole undertaking, and whether it might not just be better to skip the swimming and go right to the hot chocolate part of the day.
But of course we got in. And of course everything became delightful once I was in the water. As it turned out, today was the best kind of bounciness—big rolling chop that is exhilarating, without ever being truly rough. We started out to the west, against the wind, thinking that that direction might be the more difficult, but it turned out that both directions were pretty easy going as well as a ton of fun. Hannah and I swam to the end of the aquarium and back—a little over 2k—and I enjoyed every minute of it.
Once we got back to our starting place, my feet felt pretty chilled, so I got out instead of continuing on in the other direction. With the wind it wasn’t a day for dallying on the beach, so I dressed quickly, then headed up to the boardwalk (where a little post-swim walking staved off any shivering) to hang out in the sun and enjoy a post-swim snack. Hannah and I had both brought pumpkin bread, and Hsi-Ling brought her wonderful homemade oatmeal crackers. It was a little less windy up there, and I stayed for about half an hour before heading back to the city, grateful for another beautiful swimming day at the beach. Back tomorrow for more!
Today I swam at the Y with Rondi. The water felt deliciously cool after the too-hot pool at Riverbank yesterday. My goal today was to do some faster mid-distance freestyle. Here’s how it went:
1050 scy warmup (400s, 200k, 200p, 200rim d/s, 50 easy)
For the main set we decided to do something that descended in sets of 3, and settled on 200s. But then instead of us each doing different intervals, I decided to do increasing distances rather than all 200s—that worked out well for me, as I benefited from the generous rest on the easy and mediums and could really crank the fast ones. Here’s how it went:
[We did a 2:45 interval for the first round and 2:40 for the last two. My swims: 2:05--2:15--2:25; 2:11—2:15—2:24, 2:20—2:20—2:25. Those 200s were my fastest in a while, so I was pleased. It would have been cool to have converged those last 3 swims all to 2:20s, though!]
500 easy (math combo): prime-numbered lengths = kick; non-primes = swim, AND all free except multiples of 3 = BR, multiples of 4 = BK, multiples of 7 = FL (earlier strokes in the IM trump later ones)
[We did the second 500 with fins. This was just an easy way to loosen up after the fast 200s—liked it so much we ended up doing it twice! During the second one, I was thinking that if we wanted to further complicate things, we could do the triangle numbers (1,3,6,10,15 , , ,) sprint! And maybe make it a 525, so the last length would be sprint fly swim . . .]
500 warmdown + play
Afterwards I went upstairs for weights + stretching. The gym was very uncrowded today, and felt nice and peaceful.
Looking forward to some more outdoor swimming this weekend!
Today I swam at Riverbank with Rondi. I had intended to get in some basic aerobic work today, but after the first round of our set I decided the water was just too hot for that (it was 84 today). So I switched gears and did some sprint and technique work, which was fun and engaging. Here’s how it went:
900 lcm warmup (400s, 200k, 200p, 100im)
500 FR swim
300 FR pull
4 x 50 build FR
100 kick w/ fins
12 x 12-second sprints (+ rest of 50 easy):
1-4 w/ fins, odds UDK on stomach, evens dolphin on back
4-8 barefoot, odds UDK on stomach, evens dolphin on back
9 FR breakout + short sprint w/ fins
10 BK breakout + short sprint w/ fins
11 FR breakout + short sprint barefoot
12 BK breakout + short sprint barefoot
[used my tempo trainer to time these]
16 x 50 w/ snorkel, playing with tempo trainer and stroke cadences [increased SR from 1.25 sec. to .90 sec., feeling changes in rotation and kicking rhythm as I went along]
100 warmdown + play
This morning I swam with Rondi at the Y. We had our own lane for almost the entire workout. Here’s what I did:
800 scy warmup
6 x 500, done as 2x thru
500, prime-numbered lengths = kick, non-prime lengths = FR [focus: maintaining strong kick when swimming]
500, all FR except multiples of 3 = BR, multiples of 4 = BK, multiples of 7 = FL [focus: 1st time through, reviewing keys for non-FR strokes; 2nd time through, IM turns]
500, all FR except first, last, and middles 50s = BK [focus: alt breathing on FR and rotation on both strokes]
While we were doing this set I invented a grand finale 500 for it, which combined all three schemes (with the BK of the last 500 becoming sprint), but time was running short and we decided to save it for another day.
500 pull, alternating w/paddles and without
500 various FR drills
400 warmdown + play
Afterwards I went upstairs to the gym for light weights and a long stretching session.
Then around lunchtime I began to get a hankering for going to the beach. It was a beautiful sunny day here, with temps in the 60s, and I really wanted to swim in the cool water at Brighton. So I did!
When I first arrived there was a US Navy blimp flying very low over the sand. Not sure what the purpose of this was, but it was flying close enough to tell that the top part really was just a big inflated thing instead of a solid surface—it was billowing a bit in the wind.
There was also a kite-surfing-type kite flying, and I looked in the water to see who was using it, but instead discovered it was attached to a little cart that someone was riding down the beach in. It was definitely windy, but there were still a few folks on the sand, and several playing in the water. And the boardwalk was hopping!
I bought a day pass at the Shorefront Y (which turned out to be just $12, not the $20 I’d been told), and changed and stashed most of my stuff there. A few weeks ago I had bought this swim safety device (an inflatable dry bag with waist strap), and I was able to put the clothes and shoes I wore down to the beach in it so that I didn’t have to worry about leaving anything unattended while in the water. Today was my first time testing it out. It was a little annoying to swim with—there was a lot of chop, and it got tossed around and pulled on the waist strap a bit. But it was really nice to not have to worry about my stuff, and it kept my clothes dry. And it does help with visibility—there were no jet skis out today, but I don’t count on that being the case.
I swam a little less than a mile then headed in for a shower. I was glad I went out and tried out the Y-and-buoy system—that’s a good option to have when I don’t have swim buddies to head out to the beach with. And it was great to spend a little time in the ocean on such a fine sunny day.
Today Hannah and I tried a new pool, at the Chelsea Recreation Center on West 25th Street. The city built this cheerful 6-lane, 25-yard pool in 2003, and I had been there before for swim meets and polo practices, but never for lap swim. It costs $150 to join this rec center for a year—a good deal if I lived in the neighborhood—but on the first Monday of every month you can visit NYC rec centers for free, so we took that opportunity to extend the pool tourism season.
The lap swim hours are relatively crowded, but most everyone we swam with was a competent circle swimmer. We had from 3 to 6 people in our lane during our hour-plus session. The lanes are fairly narrow, and the lane lines had the largest diameter floats I think I have ever seen, so that didn’t leave much space to swim in. I left the pool a little banged up—one sharp breaststroke kick to my upper arm, and a couple of solid hand-hits. Luckily I noticed that there were backstroke flags on only one end of the pool before I added a concussion to that list!
The walls to the pool are decorated with tile murals of dolphins and other sea life, and there were skylights in the ceiling.
(Today the lane ropes were red, and this set of flags was not there.)
There was also a spirited table tennis game going on in a glass alcove above the pool—I watched some of it during breaks between swims. This rec center seems to have a serious table-tennis crowd—games were already going on when I arrived at 7 am, and they had that very competent-sounding rhythm to them.
We were able to get in a decent workout. I had planned to suggest Carolyn’s IM set from yesterday, but with only one set of flags and crowded conditions it seemed like that one should wait for another day. Instead Hannah modified Brad’s workout from last Thursday’s TNYA practice that I had missed. Here’s what we did:
1050 scy warmup
2 x 150 FR / BK by 25s
300 FR pull
3 x 100 kick
4 x 75, odds FL / BK / BR, evens BK / BR / FR
6 x 50 FR with sprint kick @ biggish rest
[everything was on go-when-there’s-space intervals]
Once we were done it was an easy and beautiful walk through a few blocks of Chelsea back to the subway station. What a gorgeous sunny morning—I’m glad the time has changed and there’s sunlight earlier in the morning now!
Today I swam the 5K loop at Brighton Beach. Cara measured the water temp at 51—if that’s accurate, it’s a new PR low temp for that distance. I set out today wanting to swim a loop, and was pleased to meet my goal, but was even happier with what a great experience it was. I had Hannah for company on the trip out to the pier and back, then swam by myself for the last mile. The water was green and gorgeous and felt comfortable the whole way. A west wind created some rolling chop that made swimming in that direction a little difficult, but the easy trip back eastwards more than made up for it. I felt relaxed and blissy in the water the whole time, and enjoyed being gently lulled by the waves as I stroked along.
When we swam by Coney Island it had a deserted feel—the amusement parks are closed for the season, so we no longer get to enjoy the sight of the rides going up and down and around as we swim by. Even the lettering has been taken down from the Wonder Wheel—and without its giant letters, it just looks like an ordinary ferris wheel. It’s definitely the off-season now (although we did see a plane trailing a banner going by when we were chatting at the pier—seemed kind of strange to be advertising to an empty beach).
I don’t generally have songs persisting in my head when I ow swim, but this weekend I did. Yesterday it was “Yellow Submarine” and “Gypsies Tramps and Thieves,” which got a quickly monotonous. Today it was “Don’t Fence Me In” and “Both Sides Now,” which was definitely an improvement. I think the latter was inspired by seeing the ferris wheel, since that’s in the lyrics, not by my bilateral breathing. (Although I’m happy to report I’m still breathing to both sides, even though the injury that prompted that has healed.)
But now to the most important news of the day: The soup du jour was minestrone. And it was delicious. It was so great sitting out on the sunny beach with friends enjoying John’s delicious soup. We had a nice CIBBOWS+friends crowd out today—there were about a dozen of us on the beach. The minestrone was followed by Hannah’s wonderful cookies, and some pumpkin bread that I brought out. Nothing better than a post-swim feast on the sand with friends!
The weather this week looks like it might warm up a little. Hoping for a few more beach days before it gets too cold to swim!
And now, just because I'm still not tired of it even after 5K: [nomedia="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z8jGFu7ys64"]Judy Collins - Both Sides Now - YouTube[/nomedia]
I had a really great swim at Brighton Beach today with a few hardy CIBBOWS swimmers. Air temp was in the high 40s, water temp was estimated in the low-to-mid-50s, and there was a bit of a breeze. It was a gorgeous morning, with the November sun was shining as brightly as it knew how, and the sky clear and blue, with extraordinary visibility. On the subway ride out I admired the changing trees—we’re finally getting some fall color here.
I had planned to meet up today at 11, an hour later than usual, to give the sun a chance to warm things up a bit before we got in. But the air was still chilly as we were prepared to get in, and the sand cold. The water felt nippy as I waded in, but I watched my friend Hsi-Ling go crashing into the waves and flop on her back with no hesitation, and giggling at her antics made everything seem warmer, and the water more welcoming. I counted to ten then dove into the sea myself, and stroked out towards the white building.
The water was green and sparkly, and I loved the contrast between the bright sky and the darker water every time I turned my head to breathe—it was a little hypnotic. The water felt cold on my face and upper arms at first, but I soon got warm and settled into a rhythm. I went out to the white building, turned around and headed back, then decided that I was having such a blissy time in the water that I would do it all again. On the way back my second time my soles and palms started feeling cold, but not painfully so. Once I got back to my starting place I floated a bit on my back, watching the sky and enjoying the sun’s warmth on my face, then stroked in.
I quickly got changed back into winter clothes, then jogged around on the beach and drank some hot tea to warm up. I had minimal shivering. My goal today had been to swim 2 miles, and that’s what I did. If conditions are as good tomorrow—and the day is supposed to be a little warmer—I can try for a 5k loop.
Afterwards I hung out on the beach a bit and shared food with friends before subwaying back to Manhattan. On the way home I walked through the corner of Central Park where the marathon finishes tomorrow—it’s all very festive, with flags lining the last bit of the course, and lots of excited visiting runners milling about the park and scoping things out. We got to watch some pre-marathon fireworks from our windows last night--we don't have a park view, but have an excellent view of the sky over the park! Central Park's trees are beautiful now—with sunny weather forecast for tomorrow it should be a very pretty race, as well as an exciting one. It’s tempting to watch some of it, but the beach will probably be calling me too loud to resist.
I had a nice swim at the Y this morning with Rondi. This seems to be the week for creative procrastination—our end-of-the-lane construction project this morning was a pagoda made out of kickboards, pull buoys, and water bottles. Our lap swim pal Stan got us started before he left for spin class, then we added on another story and a lean-to garage for our paddles before we started the main set. The guy who shared our lane for most of that set looked a little wary getting in, almost as if he thought the two ladies playing with their kickboards might not be serious enough swimmers for the fast lane. I hope we surprised him once we finally got started!
Here’s what I did:
1000 scy warmup (400s, 200k, 200p, 200 d/s RIM)
12 x 50 @ 1:00, done as 4 sets of 3 descends, odd sets FR, evens BK
6 x 250 (100fr / 50st / 100 fr), st= IM order no free
3 x 250 (100im / 50fr / 100im)
400 pull + play
That was it. I felt good in the water today, and was getting a lot of distance out of my glides. It probably helped to be swimming in cooler water today—Riverbank has been pretty warm lately. Also, I started back with rowing class last night, and I think it might help loosen up the muscles in my upper back (although it certainly made my hips and legs tighter today). I had been feeling all scrunchy in my traps and around my shoulder blades earlier in the week.
After my swim I went upstairs to the gym for a long stretching session, and some light weights.
Yesterday I got in a bonus swim at the beach. The water was chilly and wonderful, and even though it was a windless day there was some rolling surf. John and I took turns swimming so that there would always be someone on the beach to watch stuff. I swam a mile, then enjoyed some beach time while warming back up in the sun. It was a lovely way to spend the morning, and I’m hoping for more beach time this weekend.
But today it was back to the pool. I swam at Riverbank, and Rondi and I had our own lane for most of the workout. When I was gathering my equipment this morning I spotted a red whale cut out of squishy kickboard material, so I brought him over to our lane and propped him up—our new mascot! (Not sure what his regular duties are at the pool, but I assume they have something to do with kids swim classes—although he’s too big to serve as a kickboard, and not big enough to support even a small child). After we’d provided our new friend Lev with every possible comfort and accessory (snorkel, pull-buoy, barnacle) it was time to get to work. I did my own thing for a bit, then adapted the last of Rondi’s set for myself. Here’s how it went:
1000 lcm warmup (400s, 200k, 200p, 200 RIM)
12 x 50 @ 1:00, done as 3 x (3 FR desc., 1 easy backstroke) [I discovered on this set that I cannot manage both bilateral breathing and counting strokes accurately. Sad.]
400 FR @ 6:00 [5:59]
3 x 100 FR/BK @ 2:00
400 FR @ 6:00 [6:04]
2 x 100 DR/K @ 2:15
300 FR @ 4:30 [4:29]
2 x 100 DR/K @ 2:15
400 pull, alternating 100 w/ snorkel, 100 without
Then with just a few minutes left I decided to do a quick fly set inspired by the whale. For all of the following I emphasized the upkick of my dolphin kick, making sure I was generating forward movement in both directions:
100 FL kick on back w/ fins
2 x 50 (25 fly swim fast, 25 easy swim) w/ fins
2 x 50 (25 fly swim fast, 25 easy swim) w/o fins
1 x 50 fly
[I actually found it easier to maintain a strong upkick when I was not wearing fins.]
150 easy warmdown
Now that I’m back swimming regularly I’m feeling like I’ve lost some of my aerobic conditioning. That doesn’t surprise me, and I know how to fix it. It's always way more fun being in shape than getting in shape, though.
Today I had a wonderful beach swim at Brighton. It was a chilly morning, in the 30s, and there was still a dusting of snow on the tops of cars and trees, and some ice on the sidewalks. As I passed by Central Park on the way to the subway, I saw lots of tree branches that had fallen down—heavy snow plus fully-leaved trees are a dangerous combo. But it was a bright sunny day, and I hoped the temperature would rise by the time I got out to the beach.
At Brighton the boardwalk was covered with ice. I saw one lady slip down, so I took careful tiny baby steps as I walked over it to the sand. I was hoping for snow on the beach, and I got my wish--much of the sand was covered with a light layer of snowy ice that glittered in the bright sunlight.
I was very happy to see a group of CIBBOWS swimmers already there and standing around on the strip of wet sand between the water and snow. Tom had already swum and was getting out and drying off when I arrived, and the rest were getting ready to go in. I greeted everyone and went about getting ready to go in. Double cap—check, earplugs—check, inhaler—check, lube—check, quickly strip down to my suit, ready to go! The sand was cold on my feet, so I ran into the water as quickly as I could
I was expecting a few degrees colder than last week, but when Cara waded in with her thermometer she announced that it was between 50 and 51--quite a bit colder! I’m usually wimpy about the getting-in-cold-water part, but today something brushed my foot as I was wading in, so I picked my feet up off the bottom and started swimming right away. I’m more scared of getting pinched by crabs than cold water, I guess! I don’t usually have a gasping reflex but I did a bit today, not enough to swim with my head up, but enough to make the breaths feel really welcome as I swam along. I soon settled into a good pace and headed out towards the white building to the east.
I had forgotten how exhilarating being immersed in cold water feels—I don’t think I’ve felt quite this good in the water since it warmed up last spring. It felt like being home again. I stroked along happily, and the current must have been with me because I was past the big jetty before I even realized it. Soon I was at the turnaround point, and I stopped for a moment to locate the other swimmers. I didn’t wait for them though, I just turned around and headed back to the starting point—I was enjoying just being out by myself in the wonderfully cold water.
It was a little choppier on the way back, but the water still felt great, so when I got back to the starting place I went a little further, out to the first jetty, then turned around and headed back to the towels on the beach. The sky was brilliant blue, and the sun was shining strong down into the water and making suspended sand particles all sparkly. My fingers and feet were beginning to feel a little cold, but the rest of me felt warm. I still didn’t want to get out, so I again went back past my starting point to the shark rocks, turned around again, then finally decided it was time to come on in.
When I got out the first thing I noticed was that the snow on the beach had almost all melted. I’m glad I got there early enough to see it! I dressed quickly—the air was still in the low 40s, and the wind had picked up a bit. But after I got out of my suit and into ski pants and swim parka and boots, I was actually pretty comfortable. Jogging up and down the beach a couple of times helped the warming-up process along. I was pleasantly surprised not to have any post-swim shivering today, although it did take a bit for my fingers and toes to stop feeling cold.
We all warmed up on the beach, played a little footfall, shared hot drinks, and chatted. Then came the highlight of the day—John had brought homemade clam chowder, enough to share with everyone! We all sat bundled up on the beach enjoying the soup in our post-swim blissiness, and life seemed very very good. Hurray for an early start to winter swimming!
Since I started cold-water swimming last fall, my gear bag has evolved a bit, and I’ve found a post-swim warming routing that works for me. Here’s what my beach bag currently contains:
Changing skirt: A wool camisole and a short pull-on skirt make for quick and easy deck changes. I use these in the summer as well, but I especially appreciate their advantages over a wrapped towel when it’s windy, or when my fingers are numb.
Warm wool clothes: Wool seems to slip on over damp skin easier than other materials. I have a long-sleeved wool shirt and long underwear as my base layers, over which I layer a sweater and pants—ski pants if it’s especially cold or windy.
Swim parka: One of the top 10 inventions ever! You can stand on it if need be while putting on other layers.
Boots or clogs: Anything I can put on quickly with numb fingers is good—shoelaces can be challenging. Shearling lined is good for cold wet feet. I keep a pair of clogs that I only wear at the beach, so I don’t worry about getting sand in them.
Hat with earflaps: I just put this on over my swimcap until the rest of me is dressed.
Pop-top mittens: Easy to uncover just your fingers when you need them for getting dressed, holding warm drinks, or playing football. The type with a thumb slot are the best.
Fabric shower curtain: I use this as a beach blanket, and also lay my clothes out on it when undressing before I get in, so that they’re easy to access once I’m back on shore. Also useful to stand on while getting dressed—it’s definitely warmer than the wet sand. It folds down small for easy transit to and from beach.
Hot snapz: These reusable liquid-filled packs provide instant heat through the magic of chemistry—you break the metal disk inside, and the liquid turns cloudy, semi-solid, and warm. I put them inside my pop-top mittens or boots, tuck them under my armpits, or put them under my hat once I’m dressed if I’m having trouble warming up.
Thermoses: I’ve amassed an impressive collection of thermoses since I started open-water swimming. I usually bring a couple—one filled with hot tea or cocoa, the other with soup. Getting something hot in you helps you warm up quickly! I like the Thermos Nissan beverage bottles and food jars--they work well and are a good weight and shape for packing.
Miniature football: Doing something active helps the body warm up, and playing catch on the beach is just plain fun. I also like tossing the football around before getting in to warmup body and arms.
That’s all my warming-up secrets! If anyone has any others please share!
This morning I swam with the Asphalt Green masters team. As I was leaving the doorman told me I was the first person up and out of the building this morning, then my chatty cab driver told me I was the first sober person he’d had in his cab on his shift, so I felt like I’d accomplished a great deal even before I got to the pool.
Coach Craig was on deck. i wore my jack-o-lantern swim cap. Here’s how it went:
650 lcm warmup (400s, 200k, 50 pull)
1000 straight swim, done as 500 alternating 50 right-side breathing / 50 left-side breathing + 500 alternating 50 fist drill + 50 regular swim [I alternated FR/BK by 100s on the last 500, and pondered by backstroke fist drill is so much easier than freestyle fist drill. My answer--I don't count on hand leverage to rotate me in backstroke.]
15 x 100 FR
1-7: tap drill (pull using kick buoy as a pull buoy, and tapping board at end of each stroke)
8-12: pull w/ pull buoy between ankles [to work core strength]
13-14: kick on back
15: easy swim
[I missed 150 of the tap drill when I got out to watch what other swimmers looked like doing it. (I was having trouble losing my balance at the end of my stroke as I tapped the board, ie I had to really work to rotate back towards my front instead of continuing rolling over towards my back). Across the lanes, those that looked good doing the drill tapped the board on the recovery rather than at the fullest extension of the stroke, kept their bodies firm and in one piece when rotating, and tended to wedge the board up as high as possible. I tried all three of these things, and it seemed to go a little easier. It’s still not my favorite drill, but I was trying to be patient and see what I could learn from it.]
100 easy pull
200 easy swim
300 easy pull
100 easy pull
200 easy pull
100 easy pull
[We did these on 1:50/100 basis. I alternated FR/BK by 100s on most of them, and really milked the easies so that I could work the fasts. I had to switch to fast kicking or turn early on all the fast swims except for the 100 in order to not run over lanemates, so most of the times weren’t meaningful, which was ok—I was mostly happy to work these for feel rather than for time. I did go 1:32 on the 100 fast (BK), and split 1:22 on the 200 fast (FR), so my swimming is getting back to where I think it should be.]
I enjoyed this workout and was glad to be back swimming with the team.
This morning’s rain is supposed to turn to sleet, then snow—crazy for October! I hope it sticks at least overnight—it would be cool to go swim at the beach tomorrow if snow is on the ground! I do fear that the snowstorm might put a damper on the attempt to have a record number of people dancing to “Thriller” tonight on the Coney Island boardwalk.
Happy Halloween to everyone!
This morning I had a fun workout with Team New York. I noticed towards the end of warmup that no one was in the slowest lane. I hate to see a lane looking lonely and neglected, especially when the others are getting tons of action, so I snuck over there. My friend Hannah joined me before the first set, so we ended up with our own lane instead of swimming with four others in our usual spot. Sweet!
My goal today was to maintain some improved freestyle technique while working out with others. I liked Coach Brad’s workout--here’s how it went:
600 scy warmup (400s, 200k)
3 x 200 FR @ 2:50
1 x 100 IM @ 1:35
4 x 50 FR @ 1:00, done as 2 fast, 2 recovery
2 x 200 FR @ 2:50
2 x 100 IM @ 1:40
4 x 50 FR @ 1:00, done as 2 fast, 2 recovery
1 x 200 FR @ 2:50
3 x 100 IM @ 1:45
4 x 50 FR @ 1:00, done as 2 fast, 2 recovery
[We were supposed to decrease the 200 free times on each round by :05, but I was barely making the 2:50s so we kept the interval there. On the 200s I six-beat kicked on the odd lengths and 2-beat kicked on the evens—I still don’t have the endurance to keep up a 6-beat kick for 200s. On the fast 50s I did 25 fast / 25 easy, and the wrist felt fine. I think it’s about time to declare it healthy and stop being so cautious.]
6 x 150 @ 2:30:
odds = 25 kick + 100 swim + 25 kick
evens = 50 swim + 50 kick + 50 swim
[We decided to do these side-by-side in the lane, and to do the middle two 150s backstroke (on 2:40). Hannah’s about the same speed as me and is a backstroker too, so we were able to stay even with each other and synch these up nicely, which was really fun.]
2 x 50 fly/back @ 2:00 [38, 38—I did these at about 75-80 percent.]
This workout just flew by--I saw people getting out as we were finishing up the 150s, and was surprised and sad to realize practice was almost over!
It’s rainy and dreary today in the city, but the forecast is better tomorrow—I might be able to sneak in a beach outing if the sunny prediction holds!