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.
I enjoyed a good workout with TNYA at John Jay College this morning. I was part of a friendly and cooperative lane of 5, with Coach Brad on deck. Here’s what I did:
700 scy warmup, various stuff
20 x 100, done as 4x thru (no rest between rounds)
100 IM @ 1:45100 FR @ 1:35100 FR @ 1:30100 FR @ 1:25100 IM @ 1:45
[I kept all of the FRs 1:15-1:20, and the IMs 1:22-1:30. This set went deceptively quickly, and was good practice for maintaining some kick in FR on tired legs.]
5 x 200 FR pull with paddles on 3:10, option for IMing middle 200 [of course I did!]
2 x (100 kick, 75 kick, 50 kick, 25 kick)
200 warmdown, including 100 synchro BK and FR with Hannah [sweet finish to a good practice]
That was it!
I’m looking forward to diving practice tonight. Tomorrow I might do a stretch-out swim at Y, but I think this was my last real workout before Saturday’s 5k 2 Bridges Swim. My current anxieties for that event revolve around whether it will coincide with the emergence of the 17-year cicadas. If so, I really hope they don’t decide to go for a swim while I’m in the river!
This morning was almost like old times at Riverbank, with a guest appearance from fellow blogger and former RB regular Andrew. I got to swim with him and Hannah, and enjoyed their company while I did the following:
1000 lcm warmup
500 swim (FR/BK/FR/BK/FR by 100s)
400 swim (mixture of FR and BK)
300 FR pull with paddles
300 FR pull with paddles
3 x 200, various strokes with some sprinting mixed in
3 x 100 K
During the first 500 of the main set I whacked my head pretty hard on the wall—I saw the backstroke flags but was just sort of oblivious to their significance and kept going hard until swim cap hit metal. It made a nice thwack sound, but I was fine. It’s been a long time since I’ve done that. Letting your mind wander too much on backstroke can be dangerous.
Today I swam 2 miles out at Brighton Beach with some CIBBOWS friends. The water continues to get colder instead of warmer—today Cara measured it at 52, down 2-3 degrees from last week. Strange, but I'm not complaining--I think this extended cold water season is pretty nice.
It was a beautiful day to be at the beach, sunny, calm, and with air temps nearing 80. The water was clear and green and refreshing, and I enjoyed the familiar swim down past the Coney Island attractions and back. The water temperature seemed very mottled, with distinct patches of warm and cold.
We had a big group out today, nearly 30 people. Otherwise, the beach wasn’t too crowded, and very few other people were out in the water. I didn’t see any sea life today, but a few patches smelled distinctly fishy. There were some nice swells and even some whitecaps pushing me along for the last half-mile or so, which was odd because it didn’t seem too windy out today.
I enjoyed warming up on the beach and chatting with friends old and new before heading back into the city. I really love the sensation of getting chilled through, then feeling the sun and sand warm me up from the outside in. Summer finally feels like it’s here, with our big group back for weekend swims, and various races approaching. My first OW swim of the season (a 5k) is next weekend in the Hudson, and many of the people out at the beach today are either swimming MIMS in a couple of weeks or involved in supporting it (I’ll be a boat observer for that). The season is here!
I got a cool cookbook last week that looks like it might be useful for open-water feeds. Called “Feed Zone Portables: A Cookbook of On-the-Go Food for Athletes,” it’s full of little snacks that look tasty and suitable for eating while exercising (as the title suggests). It’s written with an eye towards cycling nutrition, but with the right containers many of the recipes could be adapted for in-water feeds. I almost want to sign up for a swim long enough to involve feeds again so that I can try things like the blueberry and chocolate coconut rice cakes, or tiny potato and leek frittatas (made in muffin cups). For this summer those will have to just be meet treats or boat snacks, but I’ll be keeping them in mind if I ever plan another long swim.
I had a good swim at Riverbank today with Hannah and John. It was a lightly attended morning at the pool, and I enjoyed doing the following:
1000 lcm warmup (400s, 200k, 200p, 200 IM d/s)
1 x 500 FR neg split
1 x 400 IM
1 x 500 FR neg split
5 x 300, most done as fr-bk-fr sandwiches, working the bk
15 x 100, odds = st + fr (im order thru strokes), evens = all free
This was my first 5k+ workout in a while, and gives me some confidence going into next weekend’s 2 Bridges swim in the Hudson. Although I wasn't rationally concerned about completing that distance, it's nice to have done at least swim of that length going into it. The Riverbank pool was very hot this morning, but it didn’t bother me as much as usual. I think less ocean swimming this season has reduced my cold-water hardiness, but maybe also increased my warm-water tolerance. That’s a trade-off I’m happy to make this season—it’s nice being able to swim at RB even on warm days and not feel like I’m sweltering.
When I arrived at the pool several of the lifeguards were arguing fairly vehemently over the merits of Xbox 6 vs another model. Best line of dialogue: "You're just talking with your emotions and not the facts!" I kept on thinking of that during my long swims and giggling.
Tomorrow: pool swim in the morning + diving session in the afternoon.
Happy Holiday weekend everyone!
Updated May 25th, 2013 at 04:52 PM by swimsuit addict
I had a good swim this morning at Riverbank. It was a crowded pool today—it seems like the Columbia U. pool is closed, and RB is getting some spillover this week of young swimmers. But Hannah, John, and I found space in one of the fast lanes, and I got in the following workout:
900 lcm warmup (400s, 200k, 200p, 100 d/s)
2 x 200 IM
10 x 100 @ 1:45: odds FR/BK fast, evens easy FR
600 kick (br/bk/fl, 4x through)
Sprint interlude: 4 x (20m sprint + 30m easy), 1-3 FR, 4 FL
4 x 200 FR > IM pacman
It was too cold and drizzly to stretch on the playground this morning, but I got in some good stretching after weights this afternoon at the Y. My body feels just the right amount of exercised today!
I enjoyed a good swim at Riverbank this morning. I didn’t have any workout buddies per se, but the pool was full of familiar faces, some of them former teammates whom I hadn’t seen in a while, so I felt like I was swimming with friends even though I did a solo workout. Today’s sets were of the spur of the moment as-my-mood-dictates sort which sometimes leaves me unmotivated and aimless, but today I stayed focused and felt like I got in some good work on some technique areas that needed addressing. Here’s what I did:
1000 lcm warmup (400s, 200k, 200p, 4 x 50 drill/swim RIMO)
8 x 50, 2 of each stroke IM order, odds = kick 25 fast / 25 easy, evens = swim build
100 FR pull with paddles, 3-stroke breathing, working on good catch on non-breathing side
50 fast FR swim with paddles (strong kick), focusing on early hip rotation
50 FR kickboard-as-buoy pull with paddles, focusing on hip rotation
8 x 50 kick, 25 fast + 25 easy, 1-4 rev IM order, 5-8 IM order
100 FR pull with paddles, 3-stroke breathing, working on good catch on non-breathing side
2 x 50 FR fast swim with paddles and strong kick, focusing on early hip rotation
8 x 50, #s 1,4,6,8 fast kick, reverse IM order, #s 2,3,5,7 easy swim (order manipulated for kickboard-at-the-right-end-of-pool purposes)
100 FR pull with paddles, 3-stroke breathing, working on good catch on non-breathing side
2 x 50 FR fast swim with paddles and strong kick, focusing on early hip rotation
2 x 50 FR kickboard-as-buoy pull with paddles, focusing on hip rotation
2 x 50 FR with strong kick, working on all of the above
I was really enjoying kicking long course today. My fastest 50 kicks were right at :50 (FR and FL), but my BR kick was slow and seemed like a stranger to me today. I’ll have to start spending more time with it so that we will become friends again.
After my early swim I stretched, had a little nap, enjoyed a diner brunch, then headed out to Brooklyn for diving practice. This wasn’t our regular TNYA workout, but one with a small group of masters divers at St. Francis College. Two of their divers had visited my team’s workout this past Thursday, and had invited me to come to their Sunday afternoon practice. I took them up on it, and was glad I did—I enjoyed a good hour of going off the boards, working on my front approach. With just 4 divers and 2 boards, I got plenty of reps in, and plenty of good feedback. When I started diving my coach said that the approach and takeoff were the hardest part of diving, and the one that takes the longest to master—and that all that flipping and twisting in the air afterwards is simple by comparison. I’m beginning to see his point. I did hit a few good approaches today and could clearly feel the difference—now I need to work on doing that consistently instead of by chance
The Saint Francis pool is super easy to get to—it’s about a half-hour door-to-door from my apartment. And now I have dived, swum a workout, and played in a polo tournament there! The coach was not sure yet what the summer schedule for diving would be out there, but I hope it’s at a time when I can go, and which doesn’t conflict with TNYA’s workouts—it would be great to get in 3 diving practices a week!
I enjoyed a calm but chilly nearly-2-mile swim today at Brighton Beach. Contrary to the forecasts, it was an overcast day. The crowd of CIBBOWS swimmers that turned up this morning were looking for the sun to come out as the day, and our swims, progressed, but it stayed stubbornly hidden behind the low-lying clouds. But the beach has its own beauty that shines in any weather, and I enjoyed being in and near the water on this silvery palette-ed day.
Cara measured the water temp as we were getting in, and it was a little colder than anyone expected—between 54 and 55. This was a bit of a drop from last week. Although swimming a loop today would have boosted my confidence for the 5k swim I am doing in a couple of weeks, I was focused more on being cautious about getting too cold, and the temp reading just strengthened that resolve. I haven’t swum outdoors much this season, so I am not as confident as I might otherwise be in my cold-water acclimation. I have also been getting uncharacteristically cold in the pool this week—on Thursday at Riverbank, when Rondi and Hannah were sighing over the too-warm water, I was quite comfortable, and even grew a little chilled when we stopped to chat. So I decided today was a day to pay special attention to my body and how it was feeling, and to be sensible about turning back if I was getting chilled.
Cara, Richard, Melissa, and I set out towards the pier. There was a lot of activity down that way, with two barges stationed towards the pier’s end, repairing the damage to it that hurricane Sandy did last fall. There was also a lot of other activity on the water today, with police boats paralleling our swim route and helicopters flying low overhead. Thankfully no jet skis out today though—one benefit of the cloudy cool day! Melissa and I separated from the others after a bit, and ended up swimming together past the aquarium and to Coney Island. It seemed like a very long time since I had been out this way, and I was glad to see the familiar sight of the Cyclone and the rest of the amusement park as we passed by. By the time we reached the WonderWheel, just a couple of jetties short of the pier, I was beginning to get chilled and was ready to turn around. Melissa decided to come with me, so we reversed course and headed back to our starting point.
I was a little worried about the cold I was feeling, but also enjoying the sensation, and glad I had a swim buddy with me today. We made good progress, even against the current—I was ready to be back at this point and was swimming harder, rather than being the sight-seer I’d been on the way out. We were swimming a bit further out now, but as we passed by the jetties I could still detect a fishy smell at each one. A couple of times I turned over and backstroked in order to watch the helicopters swooping low over us, and wondered what they were doing, and if they were watching us swim below. After the last long jetty I pointed myself towards the pavilion on shore. I could see the group of CIBBOWs swimmers congregated on the sand, and I was glad I was close to the end.
When I got out I got dressed quickly on the beach. Melissa and I had been in about an hour. I had packed plenty of warm clothes and a down jacket, even though I hadn’t been sure I would need them today. I shivered as I drank my thermos of hot tea and welcomed the others as they trickled back in from their swims. I had gotten chilled through, but not unpleasantly so. Several of us compared our mottled skin as blood flow returned the surface unevenly and made interesting patterns on our legs.
I didn’t have time to hang out much afterwards, but enjoyed the subway ride back with my pal John. The trains were packed with finishers from the Brooklyn half-marathon, which finished at Coney Island and attracted over 20,000 runners. A couple of today’s swimmers today ran that race, then swam with us afterwards!
It’s unusual that the water is warming up so late this year. The first race in the area takes place next weekend—the Great Hudson River swim, put on by NYCSwim. It’s short, and allows wetsuits, but even so I hope the water is out of the 50s by then, because temps like today’s can be a shock to swimmers unused to them, no matter what they are wearing.
On Fridays I usually sleep in and enjoy an easy mid-day swim after Thursday night’s late-night diving practice, and that’s what I did today. (For this mostly-early-morning swimmer, anything that ends at 10pm qualifies as “late night,” especially if it’s in the far reaches of Queens.) I swam at the Y in the early afternoon, and did the following:
1000 scy warmup (400s, 200k, 200p, 200 RIM d/s by 25)
1000 straight, done as (4 x 50 build / 25 fast / 25 easy) + 600 moderate free
100 warmdown + dolphin dives
I had intended to do 6 x 100 (50 build / 25 fast / 25 easy) as my main set, but after enjoying my own lane for most of the warmup I ended up with 3 lanemates in the Y’s narrow fast lane for the rest of my swim. They were all ultra polite, though, and tended to stop at the wall to let me pass anytime I was anywhere near them. On my first few 100s, someone had just stopped to let me go by as I was ending each one, so I kept on going. (The alternative, stopping for 10 seconds rest or so only to catch them on the next lap if they went, or causing them wait even longer time if they wanted to go behind me, seemed like it would discourage their politeness. I’m all for having lanemates who are aware of where others are in the lane and willing to stop and let faster swimmers ease by at the walls, especially at this pool where there’s little room to pass to the straightaway.)
By the time this happened a fourth time, I was beginning to wonder if there were a conspiracy afoot to keep me from ever getting any rest at the wall! But I decided if my lanemates were somehow in cahoots to keep me swimming, I would just roll with it. So instead of trying to continue with my original set, I turned it into a lovely long easy swim, and enjoyed never having to worry about catching or passing anyone. It was very relaxing, and just what my sore muscles needed.
After swimming, I went upstairs for stretching and arm weights—making some inroads in both areas.
I had a good diving practice last night. I finally learned how to do a full forward approach—until now I had been using an abbreviated two-step takeoff (lunge + hurdle). By the end of last night I was getting the hang of adding three steps and a backwards arm swing before that motion, and finding a bit more height off the board as a result. I did my best one-and-a-half yet off the 1m board, and want to add that to my dive list at the next practice meet, now that I can do it without crashing into the water forehead first. Progress is sweet!
Today was a birthday swim morning at Riverbank for one of my lanemates. Two friends and I put on our festive flowery swim caps and did the following set to celebrate:
800 lcm warmup (400s, 200k, 200p, photo op)
43 x 50 @ whenever-lane-space-permitted intervals (usually 5-10 sec. rest, with a few chat/calculation breaks), with all FR except prime numbers = non-free
[I did BK for the non-free lengths, and sprinted the triangular numbers and kicked the cubes just for good measure.
This set really brought out my high-school-math-team-geek tendencies. Since all my sprints but one ended up being free, I wondered if 3 were the only prime triangular number. It seemed like that had to be so, but it took me a few 50s to work out a proof. After the set was over we noticed that our ages were all now prime—I wondered if this had happened before (the answer is yes, it was in fact the fourth time during our lifetimes). It would be nice to think we’ll be around to celebrate the next occurrence, but that's a ways off—I would be competing in the 105-109 age group by then!
I had a very pleasant swim with a friend at Riverbank this morning. I had done some easy swimming on my own the last couple of days, but this was my first real workout, and my first chance to swim with a swim buddy, in nearly two weeks. Here’s how it went:
1000 LCM warmup (found an earring on the bottom of the pool)
300 FR / BK / FR sandwich, BK fast
300 BK / FR / BK sandwich, BK fast
300 FR easy pull with paddles
I followed this up with a nice long stretch on the playground outside the pool, enjoying the sunny morning and the view of the river.
I have been exhausted and very sore the last few days, and have had trouble sleeping because of some neck pain. But with this swim I finally began feeling like myself again in the water. A massage this afternoon helped too. Looking forward to getting back into a happy routine with the swimming, diving, and weights.
I got back to NYC yesterday evening after a difficult five days with hospitalized relative in Alabama. Fortunately, that situation reachd a happy conclusion, and back in NYC I was able to totally switch gears and go out this morning to do a mock dive meet at the Flushing Meadows Pool in Queens. This event was an opportunity for local divers to get experience diving in a meet format and getting scores for each dive, but results were not official, and totals weren’t tallied. It was run by one of the local kids’ diving clubs (I had to join AAU to participate), and my dive coach was to be one of the judges. I almost didn’t go—I’m still exhausted and body-sore from several nights spent on hospital couches—but I figured that we don’t always get perfect circumstances to compete in, so I should take whatever opportunities that come up to practice competing. There were supposed to be 3 of us masters divers attending, but I was the only one that ended up going. I was a little nervous, but not too much—mostly I was just grateful to be there, amused by the kids, and thrilled to have an opportunity to practice going off the boards again. I consulted Coach Croft about my dive list—the meet offered the chance to do 7 dives, off either or both boards—and learned how to fill out a dive sheet. Then I warmed up, got some feedback, and got myself ready to go.
We were given an order—I was the first diver of 13 in each round—and things started. My first couple of dives were good, the next two were shaky, but I finished up strongly with three solid dives. Here are my scores—the first six dives are from 1m, the last from 3m:
· Forward dive tuck (101C) 5.5, 5.5, 5.5
· Forward flip tuck (102C) 6 6 6
· Forward flip with half twist (5121D) 4 3.5 4
· Back dive straight (201A) 4 3 3.5
· Inward dive tuck (401C) 5 6 5
· Back flip tuck (202C) 5.5 6 5.5
· Forward dive tuck from 3m (101C) 5.5 5.5 5.5
Afterwards, we had a little extra time, so we practiced synchro diving off the 1m just for fun. I had never tried diving with a partner before. I was paired up with a young diver who was a very good sport. She had to modify her approaches to match mine—our back approaches are different, and I’m not doing a full forward approach yet—but she was a quick and willing learner, and was able to match my movements. We did an inward tuck dive and a forward tuck dive together, and it was so much fun that now I want to do synchro diving at IGLA as well.
At the end of the mock meet mock awards were given. I ended up with an orange and a balloon. The whole morning was a blast, and the best thing is that these will be a monthly happening. I definitely want to go out and do this again!
Updated May 26th, 2013 at 09:18 AM by swimsuit addict
I was able to get out for a little lunchtime swim at Westgate Rec Center in Dothan, Al again today. I'm still at the hospital with my aunt, but things are looking better. It seems she has pneumonia, but she is responding well to treatment and will probably be able to go home (with some home health care help) in the next couple of days. In the meanwhile, I was glad to get the opportunity to take a break while my mom was here during the day. Here's what I did:
200 stroke/free by 25
200 reverse IM drill/swim by 25
4 x 50 free, desc
4 x 100 FR @ 1:45, desc.
2 x 200 FR @ 3:30, build each one
400 FR, alt 25 fast, 25 easy
100 IM kick
200 IM swim
I had more company at the pool today. Lap swim hours are from 11-1; but if you come before 12 it only costs $1 instead of $2, so the earlier time ends up more crowded. I was next to a woman swimming heads-up breaststroke, and felt self-conscious about doing butterfly and making waves in the laneline-less pool. Once she left I switched to IM. Another woman replaced her soon after, but I figured she could see what she was getting into swimming beside me. I try to be be on my best behavior here, since I'm a visitor and there aren't many serious adult swimmers at the pool. If they ever contemplate adding a masters team, I'd like for the lap swimmers to be enthusiastic about it.
I'll be staying a few more days than planned down here. I hope to be here when my aunt gets released, and help get her get settled back in at home. I feel so lucky that I packed a swimsuit on this trip. I did so only because I was originally planning to go directly from the airport to diving practice on my return flight. Swimsuits--never leave home without them!
Good luck to everyone going to Indy! I'll be looking at the results online and virtually cheering on all my fellow bloggers.
Today's workout was short on yardage but long on gratitude. I flew down to Atlanta early Monday morning for a visit with my mom and aunt in southeast Alabama. Upon landing I had a voicemail from my sister. It turned out that my 93-year-old aunt had been admitted to the hospital late Sunday night for chest pains. So I drove directly to the hospital in Dothan, about 3.5 hours away, and have been here staying with her ever since. My aunt is doing better, and I'm hopeful she'll be kicked loose in the next few days. Meanwhile, I'm glad that I'm able to be here to help out, which lets my mom at least go back home to sleep at night. It can be hard being a plane flight instead of a drive away when emergencies happen with my family, so at least this time I was already on my way south when things started going south.
I'm very lucky that the hospital is within a couple miles of the only pool available for lap swimming in these parts. I was able to get in a lunchtime workout at the Westgate Recreation Center, an 8-lane 25y indoor pool. There were no lane lines, no clock, and only one set of backstroke flags, but the side panels of the building were partly open on this warm sunny day, and I chose an empty end lane to swim in because it was the most light-filled patch of water. After a day spent traveling and sitting in a hospital room, plus night spent on a hospital room couch, it felt so very good to stretch out and move around in the water. Here's what I did:
1000 warmup (400s, 200k, 200p, 200 RIM d/s by 25)
10 x 100 FR: 2@ 1:40, 2@ 1:35, . . . 2@ 1:20
100 IM kick
5 x 100 IM desc. @ 1:45
Before I left the city I had a good diving practice Sunday night. Our team added a second weekly practice a few weeks ago, on Sundays from 6-7:45pm, and this was the first opportunity I'd had to take advantage of it. I love being at the beautiful Flushing Meadows facility, with its wall of glass that faces the park, when it's still light out (our other weekly workout is from 8-10 on a weeknight). I love even more getting home at a reasonable hour. My commute to and from the pool takes about an hour to an hour and a half each way, depending on whether there's express trains running. Nights when there are Mets games are great, because Citifield is at the same subway stop at the pool, and the MTA runs special express trains back into the city after games.
My goal Sunday was to learn a front flip with a half twist off the 1m. We had a group viewing of an instructional diving video last Wednesday, and I was intrigued by the twisting dives. I'd learned a simple straight forward dive with a half twist last January, but I don't have a lot of confidence in that dive, and I wanted to learn another twister for what will be my eventual dive list for IGLA. Plus, I just wanted to feel what rotating in two different planes at the same time felt like. When watching the video, I could imagine doing the various somersaulting dives, but it was tough to get my brain around how the twisting dives actually worked. I wanted to feel it for myself so that I could understand the motion better.
I started off by doing front flips in an open pike position, then added a half twist in the middle. The movement feels very much like a round-off, only without putting your hands down on anything. I was able to hit the dive in the first try, but need to work on getting more height. My instinct when I try new stuff is to start small, and be timid in my approach and jump off the board. I know this instinct is absolutely wrongheaded--it would be both easier and safer if I approached the dive with conviction and get a bigger bounce off the board--but it's tough to change that natural inclination to start small then build up when trying new skills.
I had a day of total fun out at Brighton Beach today. It was a gorgeous sunny morning here, with air temps in the high 50s when we started out and in the high 60s by the time we called it a day. The wind was a little gusty, but that just made the unorganized swirly swells more fun to play in. It was a day for trying out new things—new suit (a two-piece, which I loved), new goggles (some Zoggs I got for free, which worked fine but didn’t top my regular goggles, so they’re Patty’s now), new post-swim tricks on the beach (more about that later).
Cara measured the water temp at 53. That felt waaay warmer than last week—funny how a few degrees can make a big difference--and getting in was not too difficult. The water was a deep green, with unpredictable swells and some odd foamy patches here and there. I didn’t want to push things today, so just swam gently towards the big jetty to the west. Right before I reached it, I saw a fellow CIBBOWS swimmer heading back, so swam with him for a bit before he headed in. I turned over and did some easy backstroke, swam a little ways east, practiced some synchro moves, and just generally enjoyed feeling the sun beaming down upon me while the water tossed me around. It was heavenly.
Eventually I got cold just floating, so swam a bit more, floated a bit more, then got out. I probably went only about three-quarters of a mile today, but that was enough to make me feel blissy and happy to be in the ocean again. A bonus to the short distance and warmer water temp was no shivering. I got dressed in all my layers, then lay down and let the sun work its warming magic on me.
We had a dozen or more people out today, so I chatted for a bit, then started playing around on the sand, doing cartwheels and handstands, and balancing on the rocks of the nearby jetty. A few others followed my lead, and we spent a good hour playing around and trying different tumbling, leaping, and balancing feats. We had a huge swath of beach mostly to ourselves, and it was like being kids on a playground again. His-Ling and John wowed us with their tandem balancing act, and I learned that Caitlin can juggle! I worked up to doing a round-off, which I hope will help me with learning a twisting dive tomorrow. Unfortunately, I tweaked my left hamstring a bit on my last cartwheel (which was why it was my last). It seems more flexibility would help in my quest to do “good” cartwheels on my off side.
No one saw the humpback whale that had been spotted a few miles away off the Rockaways a couple of days ago, although we all looked for it, during our swims and after. But that might have been the only magic missing from the glorious day in the sun. The weekends that we have the sand to ourselves are numbered—the official beach season will start in a few more short weeks—so it was nice to enjoy this lovely day with my swim buddies on the sand and in the water.
Updated May 5th, 2013 at 10:54 AM by swimsuit addict
I really enjoyed last night’s diving practice. It was a good night for our whole group—everyone seemed to be feeling brave and willing to go after difficult and scary things. I got to cheer on two of our more experienced divers as they did 2.5s from the 3m (forward and reverse). Meanwhile, I worked on dives that require a backwards takeoff—back dive, inward dive, and (briefly, just to make sure I could) back flip. I was really pleased to land my inwards last night head-first. It was only the second time I’ve worked on this skill, and the first was nearly two months ago, and involved hitting the water face-first far too often. I was worried I would regress back to that, but my body seemed to remember the skill. I did these off the 3m as well as the 1m, which was a first. Back flips off the 1m were a new skill as well, and were pretty easy to land. Now that I’m gaining some confidence that I can actually do these things, I’ll be able to focus more on making my form better. Right now my biggest problem is still with the take-off—I tend to be falling backwards as I jump off the board, which has me landing far far away—not a good thing.
I have been feeling so much better the last couple of days. Tuesday’s visit to my doc resulted in a second round of antibiotics to treat what seems to be a sinus infection (which explains why the diving felt so bad last week). The coughing and asthma is now not a problem except when I exercise hard aerobically, so I’m still holding off that for the time being. I’m eager to get back to my regular activity—I’m well into week 4 of this asthma/illness deal—but I’m also ready to be cautious about pushing too hard, and finally put this whole episode behind me.
My next event is the 2 Bridges 5K swim in the Hudson on June 1. I visited the wonderful Hudson River Museum today with a couple of friends, and seeing the exhibits there and being near the river for much of the day made me more excited about being part of that event. I’m not stressed—yet—about feeling underprepared for it. I figure I’ll bring whatever level of fitness I have by then to the swim, and whatever that turns out to be, I’ll end up having fun, seeing friends, and spending a beautiful day on the water. Right now I feel very glad not to have any longer events on the horizon.
It seems I overdid last week in my “hurray-my-asthma-is-finally-better” flurry of exercise. The swimming in cold water on Friday did me in for the weekend, and now I’m back on an exercise-lite regimen, basically doing nothing that involves hard steady breathing until my lungs calm back down, It’s frustrating, but I’m trying to focus on doing what I can—weights, stretching, very light swimming or walking—while working on being patient and staying hopeful that things will improve. I’m seeing my doc tomorrow to get more advice on how to proceed.
I did get in an easy swim at the Y this morning. It seemed like a good chance to try out my new Agility paddles—I had ordered some after reading everyone else’s raves about them here. After trying them on, I was pretty skeptical about being able to keep them on my hands during a relaxed recovery—I can slide the paddles on without touching the sides of my thumbs, and I didn’t see what would keep them from sliding off the same way once a hand was upside down in the air. Pondering a fix, I tried wrapping layers of athletic tape around the thumb-hole of the right paddle, using enough to make some friction between my thumb joint and the paddle, but not enough to make it a tight fit. I left the left one unadorned, so that I could try them both ways, and brought my similarly sized (0.5) Strokemaker paddles too so that I could play around with different combinations. Here’s what I did:
1000 easy warmup (400s, 200k, 200p, 200 IM d/s)
16 x 25 swim with paddles, using different combinations
4 x 25 streamline as far as possible + swim
200 IM kick no board, working streamlines and posture
2 x 25 streamline as far as possible + swim
4 x 75 (25 plank kick with board + 50 kick + armstroke, focusing on tight core)
2 x 25 streamline
The verdict on the paddles: I didn’t have any trouble keeping them on during the underwater portion of the stroke, but that’s probably because I was just doing 25s and focusing on technique. I think they’d probably be useful doing longer sets—I know I tend to splay my left hand out to the side too far on my catch once I get fatigued, and I think they would give me some feedback on that. They seemed to provide about the same or even a little less resistance than the very small strokemaker paddles I’m used to using—when I used the strokemaker on my left hand and the agility on my right it seemed fairly balanced. The tape narrowing the thumbhole did indeed help with keeping the paddle on during the recovery—the left-hand paddle came off on many lengths, or rotated 180 degrees from my palm (like a book opening) so that there was no easy way to get it back into place at the beginning of my stroke. I could keep this from happening by gripping the paddle in various ways on the recovery, but that felt awkward, and I liked the tape solution on the right-hand paddle better. (Does anyone have any other suggestions?) I’ll keep working with these and see how it goes. And once I master them I might want to try the mediums—I was right between sizes on the hand-chart, so went with the smalls for my first pair.
I had a disappointing diving session last night—I felt dizzy and headachy, and stayed for just half of practice. I hadn’t been feeling well during the day, but I was eager to get back to practice after having missed a couple of weeks, and hoped that things would feel better once I was out at the pool. They didn’t—I think the lack of sleep over the last week (medication side-effect) finally caught up with me. I felt totally out of my element on the boards. I got some good work done before I bailed, but it was discouraging to travel two hours roundtrip for just 45 minutes of dive time. Ugh—bodies—sometimes it’s can’t live with them, can’t live without them! The only upside to last night was the amazing view of the rising full moon reflecting off the Unisphere as I walked back to the subway.
Today was a much better day. I awoke this morning feeling much improved, and was able to take some time off to go out to the beach, where I met up with a couple of CIBBOWS buddies for a mid-day swim. The water was around 50, I’m guessing, and I swam to the white building and back, about a mile, my longest swim of the season so far. The water was murky, but fairly flat and very refreshing. The first half of the swim was long, against the current (“Maybe I forgot how far it was?” I kept thinking to myself), but stroking back the landmarks on the beach just seemed to fly by. Warming up on the beach afterwards in the strong sun was delightful. Hoping for more beach time this weekend!
This morning I enjoyed a good workout with TNYA at John Jay College. Brad was on deck, and I enjoyed being part of a friendly and hard-working lane of 4. Here’s what we did:
800 scy warmup (200s, 100k, 200p, 100k, 200 IM)
8 x 100 IM: 4 @ 1:50, 4 @ 1:45, desc. each set of four [technique goal: keep head looking down on breath in FL and BR; time goal:1:20 on the fastest ones, went 1:21 and 1:19]
16 x 25 kick, 8 @ :30, 8 @ :35
8 x 125 FR @ 2:00 [goals: 1:40s + bilat. breathing on odds, 1:35s + 2 dolphin kicks off walls (gotta start somewhere!) on evens, mostly met]
16 x 25 swim choice @ :30 [did 4 sets of 4, odd sets BK, even sets FR alternating easy / sprint]
6 x FR pull with paddles @ 2:25 [did 4 moderate pace holding 2:00, then last two warmdown]
150 extra warmdown
My asthma has improved a lot since last week—I still sometimes have a purring sensation in my chest when I inhale, and there’s some coughing between sets, but I no longer feel like it’s hampering my workouts. Looking forward to getting off the oral meds soon.
Diving tonight—been looking forward to it all week!
I enjoyed swimming at Riverbank this morning with a couple of friends. It was a lovely sunny morning, and I enjoyed the bright rays shining in the windows at the far end of the pool during the first part of the session. Here’s what I did:
1000 lcm warmup (400s, 200k RIM, 200p, 200 IM d/s by 25)
I knew I wanted to do some faster IM swims today, but I waited to see what my pals were doing before coming up with a workout. They chose a longish 500-2x400-3x300-etc FR set, so I did the following on the same intervals, focusing on working the IMs and recovering on the FRs:
500 FR, neg. split
400 IM strong [7:05]
400 FR, neg. split
300 IM strong [5:15]
300 FR, neg. split
200 IM fast [goal was 3:20, thought that was a reach but went 3:16, happy]
300 FR pull with paddles easy
Building an IM: 4 x 200, done as
50 FL strong + 150 moderate free50 FL + 50 BK strong, 100 mod. free50 FL + 50 BK + 50 BR strong, 50 easy free200 IM strong
4 x 100 kick, odds FR/BR by 25s, evens BK/FL by 25
200 warmdown + play
I was working on a faster turnover on my fly this morning, trying to pause just long enough to get a good catch at the front of my stroke instead of resting and overgliding there. A few times I got it just right, and it felt like I was surging forward while I was breathing, rather than having a dead spot in my stroke there. Hey, I think this might be what fly is supposed to feel like! Unfortunately I couldn’t make it happen at will, but at least I could recognize the magic when it struck. Hope I can find that feeling again, note what I’m doing differently when it occurs, and come up with some keys to do it consistently.
After my swim I treated myself to a 30-minute stretching session at the playground north of the pool. It’s a great place to stretch—there are lots of bars and rings to hang from and grab onto to stretch my arms and torso, plus raised wooden platforms where I can sit and do leg stretches while watching ship traffic go by. And it’s a delightfully sunny spot too. Having a sun-warmed, stretched-out, and well exercised body is a pretty blissy way to start the day!
I had a really great time at the Commissioner’s Cup meet on Sunday. It was a well attended event, with around 175 swimmers, but with 10 lanes things went pretty quickly and the meet took maybe 3.5 hours total. The 500 at the end and the 200s grouped all at the beginning accounted for a big chunk of that, so after the opening relay my 4 individual events (all 50s) came and went quickly. The 25y competition course was set up starting in the shallower end of the pool, which, with the adjustable floor lowered all the way, was about 2m deep. One odd thing—the adjustable part of the pool bottom ended about 15y out, and at the end of it there was a white plastic scalloped border—I assume this serves to cushion the adjustable floor when it meets up with the permanent tiling. But besides being functional the scallops were cute too—it looked like the pool was wearing a frilly lace garter across its middle, and swimming across it made me smile every time.
The meet was deck seeded, but psych sheets were distributed so that we could check that our entries were correct. I dutifully flipped through it to make sure I was in the events I’d entered—yep, there was my name in the 50 fly list—but wait! There was a 28.39 by my name. That wasn’t right at all—I’ve broken 30 once or twice, but not recently, and I had padded my seed times pretty well for this meet. I flipped to the 50 free--25.37? That was faster than I’d ever gone too--I knew I hadn’t put that down. My other seed times were equally off. As I went up to the computer table to straighten things out I was trying to puzzle out what had happened—things weren’t off just by a digit, or even two.
As it turned out, everyone’s seed times had been treated as though they were meters times, then converted to yards by mistake. So swimmers would end up seeded where they should be, just the times would be off. There’s always something quirky with the heat sheets or seeding at this meet; this year’s glitch turned out to be pretty innocuous.
That mystery solved, I warmed up, went off the block s a few times, and gathered with my team to get relay assignments for the meet’s big event—the Commisionner’s Trophy Relay. The parks department goes all out for this, bringing in huge trophies for the top 6 teams (1 for each swimmer), plus t-shirts and a big photo session for each relay team. It’s not an official masters events, so any 4 swimmers who meet the criteria (2 men, 2 women, total ages equaling 160 or more) can enter, regardless of official team affiliation. And since it’s deck entries, there’s always last-minute finagling during warm-ups to try to pull together teams, with women over 40 being in high demand. This year I was very glad to be affiliated with TNYA, and have a coach on-deck taking care of all the relay decisions and entries so that I wasn’t part of that zooiness.
I had heard that one of my open-water buddies was putting a team together to go after the event record, a 1:40-mid. I knew we didn’t have a shot at them, so I was rooting for them to get the record. They didn’t disappoint, swimming a 1:40-low, the class of the field by far. My team came in third (1:49) with a strong finish from our anchor swimmer, who passed one team in the final 5 yards and came very close to catching another. They didn’t post individual splits, so I have no idea what I went, but I enjoyed swimming with my teammates and cheering them on in a close race—gotta love relays!
The rest of the meet was individual events, and I spent most of my time behind the blocks waiting to swim, or in the warmup pool. I had about 10 minutes between my first two 50s, then a 40-minute gap, then about 5 minutes between my last 2. My times were relatively slow (in IM order: 33.03, 33.48, 38.00, and 29.01), and if I had been really focusing on doing everything I could to swim fast at this meet I would have been disappointed by these results. But since I’ve kind of been taking an extended break from working very hard in the water, these seemed about right. And I was reminded how very much I enjoy just getting up on the blocks and racing, no matter the result—the experience was just plain fun.
So while I swam times in yards that would once have been good metric times for me (and no, they didn’t give the results the same treatment they gave the seeds times), I actually ended up feeling better about swimming after this meet than I have in a while. It confirmed to me that pool racing is something that I find worth doing, and that I would like to be better at. It also made me feel more connected to the pool swimming community again—it was gratifying to see so many familiar faces and chat with so many meet buddies from over the years. The one thing I regretted about the meet going so fast is that I didn’t get to watch more of other people’s races.
As for my events, what kept me from going faster on Sunday? A little bit of everything. I expected to tie up at the end of my 50s, as the little sprinting I’d done in practices had been just 25s or less. But that only happened in fly, where my arms had a hard time getting out of the water those last 15 yards. On the other strokes I felt almost good at the finish. I think that means I need to work on those lactate-production type sprinty sets more so that I can generate enough energy in the first place to put myself into some distress by the end. I could feel that my turnover in breast and back wasn’t as fast as it should be for 50s. And my execution on starts/turns/breakouts will be sharper the more race-pace stuff I do. So basically—there’s a lot of room for improvement here.
One of the things I had forgotten that I like so much about meet swimming—or maybe I never realized it before I became so immersed in open water stuff—is the sense of order and predictability. I just feel a certain competence when I’m at meets, because I know exactly what I’m supposed to be doing at any given moment. From the basics of being behind the blocks when I’m supposed to be and following starting commands to more complicated things like swimming races the way I’ve planned or getting in a good warmup in a crowded pool, the script has pretty much already been written. The challenge comes from executing mostly-predictable and replicable things well, rather than trying to figure out what I should be doing at any given moment. That I’m drawn to (rather than bored by) that sort of challenge is the kind of personality quirk that has made being a newbie diver a much more comfortable experience than being a newbie polo-player ever was. And it’s one of my perennial challenges in open-water. As many of those events as I did over the past couple of years, I never got to the point where I was confident that I was doing things "right,” or always knew what that might mean—which says both something about the nature of ow swimming and about my own insecurities and need for predictability. At Sunday’s meet I felt I had found my way home again, and was reassured to find it familiar and comforting after what seemed like a long absence.
(That said, I’m not giving up on open-water, just trying to understand some of my reactions to it a little better. In fact, I just signed up for my first open-water event of the season, the 2 Bridges 5K swim on June 1. I’m willing to give up some predictability, sometimes, for the joys of swimming without walls in beautiful locales.)
I thought I would take a rest day after the meet, but I woke up this morning early, and felt excited about going to the pool, so I headed up to Riverbank. I was lucky to find one of my swim buddies there to share a set with. Here’s what I did:
1000 lcm warmup (400s, 200k, 200p, 200 IM d/s by 25)
6 x 150: 3 @ 3:00, 3 @ 2:50, 3 @ 2:40, 3 @ 2:30, descending each set of 3 [I did fr/bk/fr sandwiches for the first 3, then FR for the rest. My fastest 150 was 2:10 (on the 3rd set), the last set of 3 were 2:20-2:20-2:18.]
400 IM, kick/swim by 50, easy and stretched out
400 warmdown + play
Afterwards I had a nice stretching session on the playground overlooking the GWB. I’m looking forward to doing that more often now that the weather is warming up.