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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. Happy Sunday midday swim

    Today we had a bonus LC session at the pool—probably because the visiting college team requested it. For part of the workout I got to swim with my amazing pool buddy Ray. Here’s what I did:

    700 warmup

    5 x 200 (50FR/100ST/50FR) @ 3:45 [I did the stroke BK, BR, FL, FL/BK, and BK/BR]

    12 x 50 done as 4 x (50 K, 50 Drill, 50 build) [I did BR on the first 2 rounds, BK on the second 2]

    3 x 50 desc. + 6 x 50 (25 sprint, 25 easy) on long rest + 50 easy

    400 easy warmdown

    I felt a bit tight in the water from my weights this morning.

    I’m not sure if the pool will be open tomorrow morning for our coached workout—the guard today said they would be closed if the temp dropped below 35 degrees. I think high-20s is forecast. We’ll see how things go—it I don’t swim in the morning I can swing by at lunchtime for a dip.
  2. Sunny swim in a lively pool

    Today when I got to the pool it was really hopping. The kids team was doing an open-water exercise in 3 lanelineless lanes, a visiting college team (from Centenary College in Shreveport, LA) was working out in 4 lanes, and the one remaining LC lane was left open for lap swimmers. It worked out fine—we had 2-4 folks in the open lap lane for most of our workout. As a bonus, the college team had brought extra pace clocks with them, so we could see a clock easily from both ends of the pool. Here’s what I did:

    200 warmup

    2 x (2 x 200 Swim, 2 x 100 Kick, 2 x 200 Swim) [Swims were on 3:30; I did mine a combination of FR/BK and IM]

    10 x 50: 4 @ 1:00, 3 @ 55, 2 @ 50, 1 @ 45 [I did northbound 50s FR, southbound 50s BK]

    8 x 150 FR/ST/FR @ 3:00

    10 x 100: 4@2:00, 3@1:50, 2@1:40, 1@1:30

    200 warmdown

    That put me over 5000 meters for the workout, which is the most yardage (metrage?) I’ve swum in a while. I’m going back for more tomorrow!
  3. New Year's Traditions

    I ventured into the Gulf today for a (brief) New Year’s swim. The water was in the high 50s, air temp was in the high 40s, and the day was sunny with a brisk North wind. It felt great once I eased myself all the way in, and I swam a bit of free and backstroke in the shallow water near shore. Tomorrow the pool reopens, and I’m looking forward to a nice long course workout.

    Tonight we’re having the traditional southern New Year’s dinner of black-eyed peas, collard greens, and ham. (I refuse to cook hog jowl.) My family insists you should leave one pea on your plate for good luck during the coming year. I told Mr. Addict that sweet iced tea is the traditional accompaniment, but he thinks Pinot Noir is the way to go. We’ll see how that works out.

    Happy New Year to all, and Happy Birthday! (in meters) as well.

    I hope that in 2010 we will all do amazing things, both in the pool and out of it!
  4. More appreciation for swim parkas

    I swam with the masters group at PCBAC again this morning. We had a good group of about 8 swimmers, and Coach Chuck ran the workout while shivering on deck. In the water was definitely the place to be—it was about 82 degrees, which felt fine in the cold windy weather (it was in the 40s). There was a stunning sunrise during the first set, but the rest of the workout was under cold cloudy skies. Here’s what we did:

    600 warmup

    8 x 50 (25 underwater/25 build) @ 1:15

    8 x 200 (50K/100IM/50K) @ 3:30

    4 x 100 (50FR/50BK) @ 1:30 [1:19, 1:17, 1:17, 1:16]

    4 x 200 pull descend @ 3:15ish

    4 x 100 FR @ 1:20 [1:17, 1:18, 1:15, 1:14]

    2 x 200 pull @ 3:30

    4 x 100 (50 FR/50 BK) @ 1:30

    400 warmdown

    I stayed extra long today because the pool will be closed Thursday and Friday. (On Friday I might swim in the Gulf). On Saturday, though, we have a bonus LCM day, and I’m looking forward to that!
  5. Sunny morning swim

    This morning temperatures were in the high 30s, but the pool was open, and the water was warm and the sun bright. I did the following workout with a few other masters swimmers who showed up between 6 and 7. The pool was set up SCY.

    600 warmup

    8 x 75 K/D/S, IM order twice through

    3 x (3 x 100 desc., 1 x 100 EZ, 1 x 100 fast) [Sets 1 and 3 were FR on 1:45; Set 2 was IM on 2:00. I went 1:08 and 1:04 on my fast frees, and 1:16 on my fast IM.]

    3 x 200 pull @ 3:10

    12 x 25 @ :30; every 4th is sprint FL

    5 x 100 pacman IMs @ 2:00; 1st is all Swim, 2nd is 25K/75S, 3rd is 50K/50S; 4th is 75K/25S, 5th is all Kick

    100 warmdown

    I had felt sluggish this morning and wasn’t excited about going to the pool, but I ended up having a really fun workout (with lots of chatting in between sets) and felt really glorious after. I really wish I could bring this pool back to New York with me!
  6. Back to the pool

    I had a great Christmas, but ate far too much cake. (They’re so good down here—you can’t get proper cakes in NYC. The Times food section even did an article on southeast Alabama layer cakes a few weeks ago. Those are the kind of cakes I grew up with.)

    Today the pool was set up SCY, and was very warm after 3 straight days of sleeping under its covers. The staff uncovered only 4 lanes for lap swimming, so the deep end of the pool remained dark and sort of scary. I eased myself back into swimmer mode with the following solo workout:

    1000 warmup

    8 x 75 K/D/S @ 1:30, 2 of each stroke, IM order

    4 x 250: 1st = 25 FL/50 BK/75 BR/100 FR, then rotate through strokes in IM order thereafter

    400 warmdown

    Now to stretch; tomorrow will be a real workout plus weights day.
  7. Sunrise workout Wednesday morning

    This morning was warmer, and I was rewarded for getting to the pool early by a gorgeous sunrise during my warmup first set. I swam backstroke as much as I could to watch it.

    The pool was set up SCY. We had a group of 3 masters swimmers, all visiting this area (from the Bay area, Cincinnati, and New York). We each contributed a set to the workout, and had a fun time together. Here’s what we did:

    400 warmup

    Pyramid set: 100 FR, 200 IM, 300 Pull, 400 Swim Choice, then 400-300-200-100 (same on way down)

    The Math Set (this was my contribution):
    21 x 50 @ 1:00; all free EXCEPT multiples of 3 are BR, multiples of 4 are BK, and multiples of 7 are FL. If a number is a multiple of 2 of the above (like 12), the stroke that falls earlier in the IM trumps the stroke that falls later in the IM. [I sprinted into and out of the wall and worked the turn on all of these. I first came across this set when I played polo; it seems to be designed to distract polo players from the fact that they're actually swimming laps. If we had wanted to make things more complicated this morning with this set, we could have done prime numbers as kick, but we stuck to the basics.]

    4 x 150 pull @ 2:10

    Then since I wasn’t quite ready to get out of the pool, I did

    2 x (100 FR @ 1:30, 50 K @ 1:00, 100 IM @ 1:30, 50 K @ 1:00)

    200 IM kick

    250 WD

    This pool is closed for the next 3 days; I might check out the pool at my gym during that time.

    Hoping to squeeze in weights today between wrapping and decorating and cooking!
  8. Thanks goodness for swim buddies with workout ideas

    I had a nice swim this morning with Debbie from California. The pool was set up SCY. Here’s what I swam:

    1000 warmup

    3 x 100 pull w/ paddles [I’m still getting used to using paddles.]

    3 x (3 x 200 FR/BK halfsie, desc. 1-3) @ 3:10 [3:00, 2:50, 2:43; 2:58, 2:50, 2:39, 2:56, 2:45, 2:37]

    100 easy

    8 x 50 Kick @ 1:05 [I experimented with doing these FR kick in plank position on my kickboard (board was submerged; I was propped on my elbows). This is a slow way to kick, but helps me think about using my ab muscles to keep the arch out of my spine—whether from mere association with Pilates/Yoga planks or from the demands of being in this position, I’m not sure.]

    4 x (3 x 25 @ :30, desc. 1-3) I did these all FR

    200 WD

    Then I drove up to the land of sweet tea and meat-and-two-sides to have lunch with my folks. I have convinced them to come down to the beach for Christmas, and I have been entrusted with cooking Christmas dinner, even the dressing (this is no small responsibility in my family). Then we will have a bigger dinner a few days after Christmas when my sister and her family visit the land of the boll weevil.

  9. Swim parkas are a marvelous invention

    This morning it was in the mid-30s as I was heading to the pool. I wasn’t sure whether it would be open or not—they don’t open in the morning if it’s below 35. But my faith was rewarded—as I was driving up right at 6 I saw steam rolling off the pool as the guards removed the covers (unpleasant work in dark freezing weather—I the pool staff!). Coach Chuck was there and 5 other masters, and the kids team showed up at 6:30. So we had a lively pool even in the cold.

    Here’s the workout I did (scy):

    900 warmup

    8 x 25 build @ :30, odds FR, evens ST

    8 x 100 @ 2:00, done as 75 drill/25 swim, odds FR, evens ST

    3 x 200 Pull @ 3:00

    4 x 50 Kick, desc. @ 1:00

    2 x 300 IM @ 5:00

    4 x 50 Kick desc. @ 1:00

    1 x 400 IM, build by 100s

    200 warmdown

    Right as I was warming down my swimpal Debbie from California showed up—she’s someone I get to swim with every year when we’re both visiting this area. If I had been Chaos I would have stayed and swum another workout with her, but I’m not nearly that tough! Instead we made informal plans to swim together tomorrow morning when there’s no coached workout. I'm looking forward to it!
  10. Morning swim that did NOT include 100 100s

    I swam mostly solo this morning—the pool was set up for SCY, and the local age group team was doing 100 x 100. I absolutely love this kids team—they’re just always so happy and full of energy, and their coach is so positive and good-natured and has good rapport with his swimmers. It’s a joy to swim in the same pool with them. Over Christmas break they’ll be working out LC in the mornings, so I’ll see a fair lot of them. I remember being totally charmed last year as I watched the coach play “Who’s smarter than a fifth grader” with the younger kids during the breaks between swims—imagine doing a set of 200s, and answering trivia questions after each one in the 15 seconds before your next send-off.

    This is the workout I swam (SCY):

    1000 warmup

    8 x 75 K/D/S @ 1:30, 2 of each stroke, IM order

    Fin set:
    3 x 50 kick with fins @ 1:00, desc. to sprint on last one
    3 x (2 x 25 Sprint/25 easy swim; 1 x 50 Sprint; 1 x 50 easy) [I did one round each of FR, BK, FL]

    400 moderate pull w/ paddles

    Then in honor of the kids set, my swim buddy Ray and I did the following set together:
    10 x 100 @ 1:40 [I did them as FR/BK halfsies, and focused on doing underwater fly kicks off each wall on both free and back.]

    300 warmdown

    That’s it. I’m off to the airport this afternoon to pick up Mr. Addict—fingers crossed that he doesn’t get into any storm-related travel nightmare. His plane has left New York; we’ll see how he fares in Atlanta with his connection.
  11. Just swimming in the rain

    The big news from this morning’s trip to the pool is that there are now coached masters workouts down here! For the last few years, during my stays in northwest Florida I have swum informally with a small but dedicated group of masters swimmers and triathletes whose lap swimming times happen to overlap with my own. Even though I don’t live here, I have met a pretty high fraction of the folks who frequent the pool—anyone who swims outdoors during the winter in this part of (non-tropical) Florida is usually a pretty serious swimmer, and often happy to have a partner to do a set or two with. But it has always been hit or miss who will be there, or whether anyone will bring a workout, or who wants to make one up on the spot.

    Now that has changed—we have an on-deck coach several mornings a week! Woohoo! My swim buddy Ray had told me about this yesterday. So this morning I got to the pool promptly at 6, met the coach, and swam his most excellent workout (LCM). Here’s what I did:

    800 warmup

    8 x 50 done 25 easy/25 build @ 1:00, odds FR, evens ST

    8 x 200 @ 3:30; done as 2 x (150 FR/50 FL; 150 FR/50 BK; 150 FR/50 BR; 200 IM) [I held 3:10-3:20 on these]

    4 x 100 fly K on back @ 2:30

    8 x 100 Pull @ 2:00 done at 80-85% effort [did 1:35s]

    200 warmdown

    It was raining—I love swimming backstroke in the rain—and really windy—I felt like I kept getting blown to one side of the lane. I was really happy to be swimming LC and to have a coach on deck, and to see all the lanes in the pool being used. (Sometimes I worry that they will stop having morning lap swim if enough swimmers don’t show up—and besides, pools just seem happier to me when they’re being well used, rather than empty.)

    Now it’s off to do weights and stretching.
  12. Fast workout on a chilly morning

    I enjoyed an early but brief workout this morning before driving up to Alabama to have lunch with my mom and aunt. I expected to swim LC, but the pool was set up SCY instead—sometimes it works out that way when the temperature drops and the pool staff doesn’t want to remove all the covers from the pool for morning lap swim. It was in the high 40s and very windy, but the water was a good temperature. Here’s what I did:

    1000 warmup

    Freestyle sprint progression:
    4 x 25 trying to glide as far as possible in streamline, then easy to wall
    4 x 25 exaggerated glide, then kicking smoothly to surface
    4 x 25 breakout at full speed, then easy to wall
    [On all of these I focused on keeping my back as straight as possible—no arch—and on keeping my head position neutral]
    3 x (2 x 25 all out, 1 x 50 easy), keeping same good streamline and breakout as I practiced above

    6 x 100 Backstroke sandwiches (25 FR/50 BK/25 FR) @ 1:45 [On these I focused on keeping my neck relaxed, and my streamline tight off the walls.]

    200 Warmdown
  13. The Turducken Workout

    Today my swimsuits and I decamped to Northwest Florida for the holidays. I had easy flights and arrived before noon, and was able to get in a swim at the Panama City Beach Aquatic Center this afternoon. The pool was set up SCY; here’s the workout I did.

    1000 warmup (400 swim, 200 Rev IM K, 200 Pull, 200 Rev IM Drill/swim by 25)
    Then one of the other swimmers hailed me—it was my swimming pal Paul--I met him down here several years ago, and look forward to swimming with him whenever I visit. I felt lucky to have run into him on my first trip to the pool. I joined in with him and Joe and Jeff from Germany for the last bit of their workout, which was

    100 Swim

    250 Pull

    150 Pull, desc. By 50s

    4 x 75 Pull fast @ 1:30ish

    Then they all left, and I had the entire pool to myself for the rest of my workout. It seemed like a good opportunity to do my turducken set, which I hesitate to inflict on anyone who’s not a happy IMer.

    Turducken set: A turducken is a turkey that is stuffed with a duck, which in turn has been stuffed with a chicken. I’ve never tasted one, but I feel like I’ve been reading about them as a novelty food item for at least a decade. The latest article I saw about turducken was not about food at all, but about privacy law, and ever since I read it, the word has been rolling around in my head. So I decided I would assemble stroke turduckens by stuffing a 50 of one stroke into the middle of a 100 of another stroke, then sticking the whole thing into a 200 of yet another stroke. I did four rounds of these; on the first, turkey=fly, duck=back, and chicken=breast; the strokes rotate through the IM thereafter. The set looked like this:
    4 x 350 @ :30-:40 rest interval
    1st 350=100 FL/50 BK/50 BR/50 BK/100 FL
    2nd 350=100 BK/50 BR/50 FR/50 BR/100 BK
    3rd 350=100 BR/50 FR/50 FL/50 FR/100 BR
    4th 350=100 FR/50 FL/50 BK/50 FL/100 FR
    On each round I aimed to do the middle 50 at 200 IM pace; the 50 before it as build and the 50 after it as recovery, and the turkey 100s at the front and back at basic aerobic pace.

    Kick set: 7 x 100 K @ 2:00
    To continue with today’s theme, I made a 400IM/200IM/100IM turducken kick set and sliced it into manageable 100 yard portions. So my 7 100s were:
    100 FL
    100 BK
    100 IM
    100 BR
    100 FR

    Then I did a quick 200 warmdown and hopped out.

    This evening I went to my new (temporary) gym and did arm weights. Tomorrow I hope to get a swim in before driving up to my mom’s house in Alabama.
  14. How do you get to Carnegie Hall?

    Q: How do you get to Carnegie Hall?
    A: Encourage your spouse to practice, practice, practice!

    At least that’s worked for me. The choir that my husband sings in is doing the Messiah tonight, so I get to go hear a wonderful performance.

    Singing and swimming both involve breath control. Maybe if we sang more, we’d become better swimmers. To test that, and in the spirit of the season, I propose the following Underwater Caroling Set. Here’s the rules:

    1. Gather a group of swimmers—a lane’s worth works well. Count how many you are, and multiply this number times three. The result is the number of 100s everyone will swim. Decide on an interval that allows for some chatting between swims—2:00 or so is good. So 4 swimmers doing this set would swim 12 x 100 @ 2:00.

    2. On each 100, the designated singer sings a holiday song while swimming. Swimmers take turns being the designated singer. Non-singers try to guess what song is being sung. (Note: Songs with natural breaks for breathing work best, i.e., “Jingle bells (breathe) Jingle bells (breathe) Jingle all the way (breathe).” Songs with longer phrases—think “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire”—require better breath control.)

    3. At the end of each 100, everyone makes their best guess as to what they were hearing, and the singer reveals what song they were singing. If you’re keeping score, award yourself one point for correctly guessing a song, and two points for singing a song that was correctly guessed.

    4. At the end of workout, the swimmer with the most points gets to buy the first round of eggnog.

  15. Sunday morning workout with team

    Today I signed up for the One Hour Swim—not the national event, which needs no pre-registration, but our team’s annual extravaganza. The team event is coordinated with the national event—it’s done in January, and results and split sheets are sent in—but our event is also done as a fund-raiser for local charities. This year we are hoping to raise $50,000. The swim itself will be done on 2 separate days, using the entire pool and running 9 heats of swimmers (2 per lane) per day. Many people hang out for several hours swimming then counting and socializing (refreshments are served). From now through January, most of our workouts are geared towards training for the event.

    When I first started swimming with this team, I resisted the pressure to participate in this whole OHS shindig. It’s not my favorite event to swim or to train for. But over the years the event has grown on me. It is cool to hang out with friends, and to watch teammates who have trained really hard achieve their goals. And I enjoy being a part of a team that comes together to do good in the community. Sometimes I still wish that all this was focused around something other than swimming for an hour nonstop, but it isn’t, so I will train and swim the event this year alongside my teammates. I’m signed up for the 8am heat on January 31st, and I hope to go 4500 yards or better.

    Here’s the workout I did with the team today:

    500 warmup

    3 x 200 FR @ 2:50

    4 x 25 IM order @ :40
    3 x 50 FR @ :40
    4 x 75 FR @ :60
    3 x 100 FR @ 1:25
    4 x 25 IM order @ :40

    5 x 300:
    #1= alt K/S by 25
    #2= alt K/S by 50
    #3-5=Swim @ 4:15, 4:10, 4:05

    12 x 75:
    odds FL/BK/BR @ 1:15
    evens FR @ 1:05

    50 WD

    Mr. Addict (first name: Running) just got back from some crazy 15K cross-country race in the freezing rain. BRRR! It makes me glad I'm a swimmer!
  16. It's fun to swim at the Y-M-C-A!

    Now that my SCM season is done and I’ve had a few days to mull things over, I’ve decided that my three highest priorities for the next few months are to (1) do more sprinting in workouts, (2) re-establish some kind of aerobic cross-training routine, and (3) make it a priority to do weights consistently. Injuries had prevented me from doing much weight-bearing exercise or from rowing since early summer. I actually got the ok from my ortho and PT to resume these about 2 weeks ago, but I put off restarting them until after my taper. The trick now is to be disciplined enough to ramp things up gradually, so that I don’t injure myself again.

    I did lift weights through the fall until I tweaked my arm about 5 weeks ago, so it’s just a matter of resuming that routine after the layoff. As for the more sprinting—my 50 times have slowed ever since I stopped playing water polo a few years ago. I don’t know if I’m quite ready to take up that sport again, but I can work more of the anaerobic training that polo involves into my swim workouts. Sometimes I get discouraged that team workouts do not involve more real sprinting, but I should instead focus on getting what I need by swimming on my own and by tweaking the group workouts to create opportunities for speed.

    With those thoughts in mind, today I went to gym and did arm and leg weights, rowed on the erg machine for 8 minutes, and did a thorough stretch. The rowing was a test—last time I tried it, it didn’t hurt as I was doing it, but made my heel sore the next day (my injury was to the sheeting that attaches the Achilles tendon to the bone, and it’s the range of motion involved in rowing that can irritate it). So I just did a bit today, and will evaluate how things feel tomorrow.

    Then I just had time for a mini swim workout. Here’s what I did:

    1000 warmup (400S/200K/200P/200S)

    12 x 25 @ :30, odds easy FR, evens sprint FR

    300 warmdown

    That was it! The swimming felt good after the weights.

    Good luck to everyone headed off to a meet this weekend! I hope you all amaze and delight yourselves with your performances!

  17. Lots of Freestyle Tonight

    My team is truly and deeply into One Hour Swim prep mode. Here’s the scy workout I did with them tonight:

    500 warmup

    8 x 75 @ 1:10: 2 x (FL/BK/BR, BK/BR/FR, BR/FR/FL, FR/FL/BK)

    Monster OHS Pace Set:
    6 x 25 easy @ :40
    6 x 50 @ :40
    6 x 25 easy @ :40
    6 x 75 @ 1:00
    6 x 25 easy @ :40
    5 x 100 @ 1:20
    6 x 25 easy @ :40
    4 x 150 @ 2:00
    6 x 25 easy @ :40
    3 x 200 @ 2:40
    6 x 25 warmdown @ :40

    I had good lanemates who helped me get through it all. Whew!

    Tomorrow I think I will swim on my own and do lots of IM and some sprinting!

  18. The One Hour Swim Approacheth

    Today I was looking forward to working out with my team and simply doing whatever someone told me to do, without trying to check things off some mental list of pre-meet preparations. My team has gone into one-hour-swim prep mode, so today’s workout included lots of freestyle pacing work.

    500 warmup

    8 x 100 K/D/K/S (2 of each stroke, IM order) @ 2:00

    4 x 100 FR @ 1:35 [Before we began, the coach told us we that we would be using the average of these swims to pace the rest of the workout. I manipulated my finishing glides so that mine averaged 1:20, since that’s my goal OHS pace.]

    2 x 200 FR @ 2:50 [The goal was to come in at OHS pace. I did these a bit faster at 2:31 and 2:32. I had to go fast on the first one because the guy in the next lane was racing me; on the second, he completely died, but I felt like I needed to swim the same pace so it wouldn’t look like I had been going fast just to race him.]

    2 x 400 FR @ 5:30 [5:21, 5:24]

    4 x 100 FR/BK @ 1:30 [Coach was going to have me do these FR @ 1:25 while my lanemate did 1:30s, but I suggested that I do FR/BK halfsies on 1:30 so we could stay together. As a bonus I got a break from all the freestyle. I brought these in at 15, 17, 17, 18].

    Easy 50 warmdown (I got out early because of an early doctor’s appointment today).

    At the doctor’s I got my H1N1 vaccine (because of my asthma—I’d gotten a regular flu shot earlier in the season), and with my immune system newly fortified I decided to brave the hordes of tourists and schoolchildren and walk down to Rockefeller Center to see the tree and the department store windows. I’m a sucker for Christmas decorations.
  19. Love and Comfort

    My husband’s grandmother was not much into sports, but she loved hearing about my swimming and polo playing. She always wanted to know where and when my next swim was, who the competition would be, how many times I week I practiced, who my teammates were—her attentions to anything sporty I did were really generous and genuine. She would insist that I was surely the next Gertrude Ederle (she was old enough to remember the great Channel swim), and gush at length about how wonderful it was that women today were so active and fit.

    Then she would lean back in her chair and smugly deliver her line: “Now me . . . I was made for love and comfort.”

    I knew that even Gertrude Ederle couldn’t compete with that.

    This grandmother is gone, but her stories and sayings stay with me. I find myself pondering the whole love and comfort thing, particularly when things get frustrating and difficult with my swimming. Why put myself through the early-morning wakeups, the weekends sacrificed to meets, the bodily pain of training and racing? Shouldn’t love and comfort be enough? Why go looking for more, especially when it involves so much effort and sometimes brings disappointment?

    I find these questions especially pressing when I look around at other swimmers and decide that I’m . . . well, probably lazier than most. I don’t at all love sets designed to put you at the edge of what you can swim aerobically. At every practice, I see teammates who relish doing 100s on the fastest interval they possibly can. They live for that heart-pounding, working-as-hard-as-possible endorphin high. Not me. I’ll suffer through that sort of thing once or twice a week because it helps me reach swimming goals, but I’m definitely not a workout junkie. And as far as dry-land and cross-training activities go—well, I do sometimes find rowing and running fun, and there’s a satisfaction I get from being strong and fit, but on most days those activities don’t seem intrinsically more fun to me than, say, curling up in a lounge chair and reading a good book.

    Maybe I’m not actually cut out for this whole modern gung-ho aging athlete thing. Maybe being a couch-potato and eating bonbons is really my true calling.

    But then I think about what I would miss if I weren’t a swimmer. I love the sensations of swimming—the feeling of moving through water, the sparkliness and blueness of pools, even the sound of the wrinkles in my swim cap rippling when I streamline off the walls. I enjoy the social aspects of swimming with a team. And I find the whole process of setting goals, making plans, and watching what I’m capable of doing change because of my efforts really satisfying. I’ve felt immense joy when I’ve swum faster than I’ve ever thought possible. And I still get really excited every time I step up on a starting block, whether at practices or meets—it makes me feel twelve years old and full of possibilities again.

    So I will be back—getting up in the dark for workouts, ticking off laps, racing the pace clock, kicking till my legs feel like they’ll fall off, setting new goals and coming up with new strategies to work towards them. I’ll lift weights, stretch, row until my legs ache, do crunches and jumps, and all that good stuff too. Tomorrow.

    Today is reserved for relaxing, for walking in the sunshine, for shopping, for eating dessert, for basking in a meet well swum. I’m not going to even think about hitting the gym or the pool or the running trail.

    Today, I am made for love and comfort.
  20. Day 2 Meet Report

    I woke up this morning feeling all kinds of sore from yesterday’s races. Even my eyeballs hurt. But after a long warmup and some stretching I felt pretty good. Here’s what I swam and how I swam it on Day 2 of Colonies Zones:

    100 BR: 1:28.13 (41.24, 46.89) (an 84.9 in Chris Stevenson's age-graded rating system) This was a bit of an odd swim. My first 25 was kind of dreamy, then at the turn I woke up and thought, “Oh—I’m supposed to be going fast here!” The next 60 meters or so felt great and speedy. The last 15 meters was truly awful and painful. I was happy with my time—it beats my previous best of 1:28.43 in my current age group. But who knew that 100 BR could feel so awful?!

    After this race I decided that I just didn’t have the heart to swim my 200 IM—I wasn’t up for hurting that much again so soon, and 2IMs are no fun if you’re worried about hurting. I must have still been pretty oxygen deprived from my efforts when I reasoned that, since I wasn’t swimming my IM, I could hop back up on the blocks and swim the 50 FR after all.

    50 FR: 31.29 (85.4 rating). Eeccch! Probably not a great choice to swim this, in retrospect. I could only laugh at my time.

    50 FL: 34.95 (84.2 rating). That’s a bit slow—my arms were feeling really heavy on this right from the git-go.

    50 BR split on 200 Medley Relay: 39.27. This felt way smoother than yesterday’s individual event, but a bit less energetic. I must have been struck with an end-of-the-meet giddiness attack, because as I was standing up on the block waiting for my backstroker to come in, I felt this incredible happiness because I would get to swim into the sunlit end of the pool. (The sun came out today after yesterday's wet snow, and the meet pool has a wall of south-facing windows, so by the afternoon a lot of the pool was all sparkly and sunny). During the swim I mostly focused on trying to catch my teammate ETB in the next lane, but she was having none of it, and I didn’t make much headway. I was happy with my split, and happy to end today’s events on a fast note.

    So this day wasn’t as good as Day 1—I was 50/50 for good swims, and feel a little sheepish for bagging that 200 IM. Here's how the ratings for all my swims this weekend compare to my best meters ratings for the events:

    I did have a lot of fun at this meet. I got to swim relays with 3 completely different sets of teammates, one of whom was doing his first-ever masters meets, so that was really great. (This new swimmer announced to me at meet’s end that he wanted to swim every meet I’m swimming during the coming year. Hurray! A convert!) I’m proud of my good swims, and enjoyed seeing lots of area swimmers, including some of my fellow bloggers. And I witnessed some incredible performances here. It makes me excited about getting back to training and about swimming some more meets during the upcoming yards season.

    Updated December 7th, 2009 at 05:37 AM by swimsuit addict