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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. Mellow Riverbank workout

    This morning I swam at Riverbank with a friend. The kids team wasn’t there, and it was remarkably uncrowded for abou the first 45 minutes of the session. (Then word must have gotten out). Here’s what I did:

    1000 warmup (400s, 200k, 200p, 200 IM d/s)

    200 pull with paddles, build

    5 x 300:
    Odds FR pull with paddles
    Evens ST/FR by 50s, with ST IM order
    [On the 4th one I tried doing 20 sprint / 30 easy on the stroke park—must have pushed a little too hard, had to get out and do my emergency inhaler.]

    200 warmdown + play

    Tomorrow I’m going to a local meet—the Commissioner’s Trophy Relay meet, which is a free annual event run by the NYC Parks department. It was the first local masters meet I attended when I moved to the city, so I have a soft spot for it and am glad I can attend this year. Back then, in 1994, it was held at Riverbank, which is only 4 ft deep—I can’t believe we were allowed to do dives off blocks into that depth, but we were, and did. Now the meet is held at the lovely Flushing Meadows Aquatic Center, which was built for NYC’s 2012 Olympics bid, and is where I go for diving practice.

    When I signed several weeks ago, I chose to all four 50s, and I’m so very glad now I did. Then I was thinking sprints because I was excited about developing more strength and power with my lifting and diving, but now after being on a reduced workout schedule for a while I’m just happy I won’t have to swim more than two lengths at a time. It’s been a while since my last meet (since Iceland last May), and I was realizing as I was packing my bag for tomorrow just how out of practice I am at the whole getting-ready-for-a-meet thing. (It’s still far easier than preparing feeds for a multi-hour swim though!)
  2. Afternoon at the Y

    I swam mid-afternoon today at the Y with a friend. I got some stronger inhalable meds from my asthma doc yesterday, and am hoping that they help improve the lung congestion over the next few days—if not, I’ll have to begin a prednisone course, which I’d really like to avoid doing. So far so good—I was able to push things a little harder in the pool today, and was very grateful for that. Here’s what I did:

    1000 scy warmup (400s, 200k, 200p, 200 IM d/s)

    6 x 300, FR with a traveling 50 BK (the first 50 BK on the first 300, second 50 on the second 300, etc.)
    [I wanted to begin really gently on these and push harder as the set went along, provided I was feeling good. So I decided to swim the freestyle before the backstroke 50 strong on each repeat, and that worked well. Those “strong” portions were only at about 1:22 pace today, but I’ll take that—it felt really great to be able to push a bit and still be able to breath. We didn’t do intervals, just enjoyed a short chat break in between.]

    7 x 50 or 75, first 3-6 strokes sprint, rest easy [I did 3 FR, 2 BK, 1 BR, 1 FL, just to remind myself there is such a thing as sprinting.]

    250 warmdown

    That was it! This was a very pleasant workout. So glad to be feeling better!
  3. Back in the water

    I was back in the pool for a short workout today after a week of being sick and not exercising much at all. The respiratory infection is under control, thanks to antibiotics, and now the race is on to get my lungs clear of congestion before something else yucky decides to set up camp there. I’m exercising at pretty low intensity—anything more than that triggers asthmatic coughing fits, which just end up adding to the congestion and prolonging the recovery. So here’s the mini-workout I did this morning:

    1000 warmup / easy swimming (400s, 200k, 200p, 200s)

    4 x 200 FR, odds pull with paddles, moderate pace, evens swim build to mod-fast

    200 warmdown

    It feels really good to be doing stuff with my body again besides coughing and sniffling!
  4. Spring cold

    I was really bummed to wake up yesterday with a cough and congestion. After somehow escaping this past winter’s flu and colds that seemed to be everywhere, I seem to have come down with something just as the first warm weather bloomed here. At first I thought I must have triggered my asthma swimming on Saturday in the relatively cold dry air—I dutifully wore my ever-so-fashionable air warming mask while running on the beach to warm up, but there’s not much I can do about the temp of the air I breathe in while swimming. But the onset of other symptoms today makes me think this is just a regular old cold/URI. That’s actually a relief—the last time I had asthma problems it took months to resolve, and I ended up injuring ribs and muscles from all the coughing. I’m trying my best not to feel paranoid about revisiting that ordeal, and in the meantime I’m being very proactive about resting and upping my asthma meds in order to head off those sorts of complications.

    I did go out today with my yoga mat this afternoon and do some lunges and a few planks on the long pier near my house that overlooks the Hudson. (3 x 5 each leg, and just 2 planks for probably not long enough). Then I plopped down on the mat with my book and basked in the sun for a while, which was nice. Here’s hoping I shake this thing soon.
  5. Beach swim

    I had been looking forward all week to heading back to the beach this weekend. Last week, I barely did more than dip in the cold water; this week, I wanted to stay in and swim long enough to get in the full range of cold-water swimming sensations—or at least the ones that fall to the safe side of hypothermic spectrum. The water had scarcely warmed up from last week—it was between 40 and 41 today—and air temps were in the high 30s when I left home. But the day was sunny, and there wasn’t too much wind, so I had hopes that it would warm up a bit by the time I got out to the beach and in the water.

    When I arrived at Brighton one of my fellow CIBBOWSers was finishing up an ice swim. (To be an official ice swimmer you must swim a mile at 5C or below). She had attempted this the previous week and fallen a little short, but today she made it the whole distance, and I was happy to be there to see her achieve her goal. Once that had been accomplished and she and her crew had gone up to her car to warm up, there were just four of us left on the beach—a smaller crowd than last week, but still good company for a beach morning.

    I got in pretty quickly, and swam to the big jetty to the east and back, about 700 meters. The tide was extremely low, and the water had an opaque orangy cast to it today. It took a while before I felt anything besides the initial pins-and-needles sensation in my face, hands, and feet that swimming in water this cold brings, but eventually that faded a bit and I felt a pleasant warmth in my shoulders, face, and torso. On the way back from the jetty the current was against me a bit, and the water turned a bit choppier, but the swimming never felt difficult, just different. I watched the landmarks on shore and was reassured that I was making good progress the whole time despite the current. When I reached my starting point I was feeling good, and was tempted to continue on westward, but I could feel my hands stiffening up. I feared that if I extended my swim I might not have the dexterity to be able to get dressed without help once I reached shore. (Not that there wouldn’t be help there if needed—we swam in shifts today, and tend to look out for each other in general—but there are some things I like to be able to do for myself.)

    So I came ashore, and was able to shed the swim swimsuit and pile on the layers quickly, before any shivering set in. Before I had gotten in I had arranged my clothes for speed dressing—hat on top, then neck gaiter, towel, wool camisole, wool shirt, fingerless gloves, second shirt, sweater, changing skirt, long underwear, wool pants, parka, scarf, mittens—and it paid off. I’ve never done triathlons, but I suppose this is a more layered version of the planning and packing triathletes must do for their transitions.

    Once dressed, I jogged around on the beach and enjoyed the sensations of rewarming. I shivered a bit, but not too hard, and enjoyed the beautiful day as I sat and chatted with friends, drinking hot ginger tea and slurping soup. After lunch, I spread out a second blanket and went through a short stretching routine—rewarming after a cold swim always seems to help my flexibility. The day never warmed up as much as we had hoped, but whenever the wind calmed down the sun felt glorious. Finally it was time to head home, so I packed up and enjoyed a quick subway ride back to the city with a couple of my swim companions. I’m glad beach season has returned!
  6. With a smile and a ribbon . . .

    This morning I swam at Riverbank with a couple of friends, plus a hundred thousand other folks. It was crowded, in part because one of the pool my team and others uses for regular workouts, John Jay, has been closed this week. The combination of crowded lanes and my general listlessness made for an uninspired workout. Worse, my two pals were diligently swimming 700s, so I couldn’t even catch them at the wall very often for chatting. Luckily there were plenty of other swimmers I knew up there who were feeling social, so I got in some frequent talking breaks during the following:

    700 lcm warmup (400s, 200k, 100p)

    500 FR, with speed-play
    600 FR with some backstroke lengths
    [Here I gave up on the everlasting would-be 700s and decided to try some sprinting instead.]

    12 x 50 (25 sprint, 25 easy): odds K, evens S, 1-4 FL, 5-8 BK, 9-12 FR

    10 x 100 very gentle swimming [These felt really good.]

    I blame the big pink ribbon in my pull buoy for inducing the following ear worm this morning, which I initially found annoying. But somewhere during the sprint set my annoyance with this cloying song grew so great that I had to laugh, and so I eventually ended up (yes) smiling to myself as the song played on in my head during the last half of my swim. Here it is, for everyone else’s enjoyment:

    Earlier this week I planned to order some more swimsuits for the spring, but I made myself clean out my swimsuit drawer to see what I had first. Big mistake—I think my next swimsuit purchase will be a couple of age groups down the road. (But maybe I can use that hypothetical money I will save to buy one of these fabulous mermaid tails!) For years I had a bad habit of buying grab-bag suits, then tucking the ones I didn’t like away for “later." Luckily, tastes change, and I was able to find a few that I like now, or that somehow just got lost in the shuffle. Another discovery—worries about lycra material deteriorating whether you wear suits or not seems to be overblown. Maybe it does—I have a friend in the fashion industry who recommends keeping unworn suits in the freezer—but the process must take a while. I found one suit with a Goodwill Games 1998 logo on it that seemed to be just fine. Of course, it’s a zip-back suit, and I don’t play polo anymore, so I’m not sure when I’ll wear it, but the material seems to have held up well.

    So today's new suit was all vivid blues and greens, with big flowers on it—I am willing spring to be here by wearing the brightest colors I can, but the weather is not listening. I feel like the anti-Grinch, whose best efforts to make the season arrive are stymied by grumpy cold winds that just won’t go away. But I’m going to win out in the end—and indeed might be already, as it’s turned into a beautiful sunny afternoon. Here’s to the power of flowery swimsuits!

    Updated April 5th, 2013 at 03:58 PM by swimsuit addict

  7. Refreshing morning swim

    Last night I went to my first (indoor) rowing class since summer. I had been wanting to resume these workouts ever since I returned to the city in early March, but I had to wait a bit while a foot injury healed sufficiently that the pushoff from the pedals wasn’t aggravating it. (It’s an old injury, to the joint connecting my big toe to my foot, and I had hurt it again at a trampoline session in late January.) My goal last night was simply to reacquaint myself with rowing form and make it through 45 minutes of class, and I did that. After some warm-up and half- and quarter-rows for form work, we did some power tens (series of 10 strokes fast—my fastest got down to 1:55), then the following set:

    5 x (2 minutes fast, 1 minute easy) [descended these from 2:27 to 2:11)

    2 minute rest / stretch
    At this point I thought the workout was about done. We had 6 minutes left, and we usually spend the last few minutes of class warming down and stretching. But, nope, the instructor decided he wanted to do the above set again. Since we had time for only 2 rounds, we did 3:

    3 x (2 minutes fast, 1 minute easy) [descended from 2:28 to 2:11)

    It was nice to be back rowing—I’m hoping to add this to my weekly schedule on a regular basis.

    This morning I swam at the Y with a friend. The pool was crowded when I got there, and we had to get the duo swimming in the fast lane to agree to circle with us. (Who takes “Would you mind circling?” as an actual question, anyway?) They left after a few laps, though, and we had the lane to ourselves for most of the workout. Here’s what I did:

    750 warmup (400s, 200k, 200 pull)

    4 x 75 FR k/d/s @ 1:30
    4 x 150 FR/BK/FR desc. @ 2:30 [2:15 > 1:58]

    5 x 500s with traveling backstroke
    1st 500 = FR except 1st and 10th 50s are back
    2nd 500 = FR except 2nd and 9th 50s are back
    3rd 500 = FR except 3rd and 8th 50s are back

    250 warmdown + play

    The pool was a good temp this morning—I even got a bit chilled when I was swimming at warmdown pace. Luckily there’s a sauna and steam room at this pool, and I made good use of them post-swim today. Weights this afternoon and ballet class tonight made for a full day of exercise. I'm definitely looking forward to a massage tomorrow!
  8. Riverbank morning

    Today I swam at Riverbank with 3 friends. I arrived a little before the doors opened, so went to the adjacent playground for a nice pre-swim stretch. I’m looking forward to warmer weather so that I can resume my longer post-swim stretches there. Today’s goal in the pool was to get in some aerobic work/yardage and focus on my breathing timing on freestyle. Here’s what I did:

    600 lcm warmup (400s, 200k) [found a pearl earring in our lane!]

    400 IM
    400 FR
    300 IM
    300 FR pull
    200 IM
    200 FR pull
    4 x 200 build-an-IM (50 FL/150 FR, 50 FL/50 BK/100 FR, 2 x 200 IM)
    5 x 100 kick
    [There is some pattern-logic to this set--the first 6 swim corresponded more or less to the 1 x 500, 2 x 400, 3 x 300 that my freestyle-focused swim buddies were doing (and from which the 4 2’s and 5 1’s naturally followed). Doing some IMs (and getting more rest) suited me better.]

    100 warmdown + play
    Swim Workouts
  9. In my Easter bonnet

    This morning I enjoyed a short solo swim at the Y. The pool seemed to have more than its share of grumpy clueless lap swimmers today—there were several mild arguments, and once I looked over to see some woman wagging her finger at the lifeguard, who was trying to restore order to the slow lane. But happily the fast lane was a model of friendly cooperation for the duration of my swim, with the two guys I shared with (one during warmup, the other during warmdown) being competent and willing circlers. Here’s what I did:

    1000 warmup (400s, 200 rev. IM kick, 200 pull, 200 IM drill/swim by 25)

    8 x 75 (25 kick, 25 build, 25 AFAP) @ :45 RI, 2 of each stroke

    400 warmdown + play

    Sprints felt good.

    Afterwards I went upstairs for weights and stretching. I’m stoked to be seeing some progress in the weight room--here’s where I am on my currently (all the sets of less than 6 were done until failure, except for bench press where I’m aiming for 10/8/6):

    Military press 1 set of 12 @ 15-lbs, 1 set of 6 @ 17.5 pounds
    Butterfly 1 set of 12 @ 12.5, 1 set of 7 @ 15
    Bicep curls, 1 set of 12 @ 15, 1 set of 5 (right) / 6 (left) @ 15
    Single arm rows: 2 sets of 12 @ 17.5
    Forward/sidewards/rear deltoid raises: 2 sets of 12 @ 7.5 lbs
    Lat pull-downs (on machine): 2 sets of 12 @ 65
    Bench press: 12 @ 45 (warmup + form check), 10 @ 55, 8 @ 60, 5 @ 65

    Bench press stabilization: 2 sets of 30 @ 30 lbs
    Lat/scapular stabilization: 2 sets of 40 @ 40 lbs
    Wrist curlicues: with 3-lb weights

    . . . because if not today, when?
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  10. Back at the beach

    Today I went out to Brighton for my first CIBBOWS swim of the season. The water has been slow to warm up this year—it was just 39-40 today. (Last year we had gotten up to 50 by this time.) My “swim” was more like a brief dip, but then I spent a couple of hours out on the beach enjoying the beautiful sunny day. I counted 16 of us out swimming today, for durations ranging from half a minute to half an hour. It was a nice way to begin the season. Looking forward to some longer swims as the water begins warming up and I begin to reacclimate to swimming in colder temps.

    Updated March 30th, 2013 at 06:08 PM by swimsuit addict

  11. Easy morning swim

    This morning I swam an easy 5k workout at the Y with a friend. We had a lane to ourselves for all but the first 100 or so of warmup. In contrast to Monday, today the long set seemed easy and gentle on my body. Here’s how it went:

    1000 scy warmup (400s, 200k, 200p, 200 IM d/s)

    IM-is-initially-outnumbered-but-perseveres-and-outlasts-the-FR set
    1000 (4 x (200 fr + 50 stroke), stroke IM order)
    800 (4 x (150 fr + 50 stroke), stroke IM order)
    600 (4 x (100 fr + 50 stroke), stroke IM order)
    400 (4 x (50 fr + 50 stroke), stroke IM order)
    200 IM (4 x (0 fr + 50 stroke), stroke IM order)
    [We took about :30 to 1:00 rest between swims.]

    1000 pull with paddles

    50 dolphin-dive warmdown

    The IM set was very calm and relaxing—I’m often annoyed by all the turns when swimming scy, but today they seemed to put me in a pleasant trance. I had to remind myself to count every now and again.

    Afterwards I went upstairs for weights and stretching. I’m still a little sore in my triceps and upper arms from the diving, but it’s much much better. The bruises are fading too.

    My legs and abs seem completely recovered, just in time for tonight’s diving practice. A few months ago some videographers came to one of our practices in order to get some footage of adults diving to include in a music video. This week we finally saw the result: I didn’t make it to the final cut, but there are a few cool shots of some of my teammates going off the boards and breaking through the water. I may not be on Splash, but I definitely dive with stars!
    Swim Workouts
  12. A struggly day

    Some days at the pool are all-fun-all-the-time, some turn out great once you drag yourself there, and some just seem a struggle from beginning to end. I had one of the last kind this morning. Besides still being painfully sore from Saturday’s 3-hour diving clinic, I had woken up way too early this morning, which gave me ample time to eat breakfast, get some work done, and get sleepy again just as it was time to head out the door. On the upside, I had an friend to share the workout with, and the pool was a decent temperature. This is what I managed:

    800 lcm warmup (400s, 200k, 200p)

    2.5 times thru:
    300 FR swim
    300 FR pull with paddles
    300 FR swim
    200 kick
    [The interval for these was 5:00 mostly, which wasn’t easy today. Somehow my triceps ended up being the sorest part of my body, and it took some willpower to find technique keys to focus on during the swims and pulls instead of simply saying “ow, ow, ow, ow” to myself on every stroke. (Plus I had done that during most of warmup, and it got old). I could just hear the voice of my ballet teacher, who likes to ask towards the end of excruciating barre excercises “You’re not feeling sorry for yourselves are you?” I decided to minimize the self-pity and find some good in this set by focusing on my head position when breathing and on using my legs during the swims.]

    400 warmdown + play

    I would have given a lot for a post-practice hot tub this morning. Alas, that’s not among Riverbank’s amenities yet.
    Swim Workouts
  13. Dive Clinic

    Yesterday I drove up to West Point for a springboard diving clinic. I wasn’t sure quite what to expect—I had learned about the clinic through an email sent out by my TNYA diving coach, but none of my teammates were going (many are attending to our upcoming week-long swim/diving camp in Fort Lauderdale, the lucky ducks). I had explained to the organizers that I was a beginning masters diver, and they had let me know that I would be very welcome. An email to participants on Friday mentioned that there would be a broad mix of abilities and ages. It turned out that I was the only masters, and I was a little self-conscious in the beginning about being both the oldest and the least experienced diver, but that quickly disappeared as we all got to work on improving and learning new skills. I’m kind of glad I didn’t know ahead of time that I would be the only adult, because that might have discouraged me from participating in what turned out to be a great experience.

    Coach Ron and his assistant Melissa first had the 10 of us sit in a circle and introduce ourselves, giving our names and few other tidbits of personal info (it had been a long time since I thought about what my favorite color was—I chose turquoise). Then after a bit of dryland we got to work on jumping technique—first on land, then off of springboards that were placed in front of big soft mats, then on the trampoline, then finally off a 1m platform and 1 and 3m boards into the pool. We then started working lineups into the pool, while Ron worked with individuals at the boards-with-mats setup, this time strapping us into harnesses and working on actual dives. The chance to work on the ropes was one of the things that attracted me to the clinic, as we don’t have that kind of set-up at our regular practice pool.

    When my turn came to work in the harness, I worked on my inward dive some (key: through arms down center of body before tucking, not to sides like I’m doing a butterfly stroke). Then we moved on to forward one-and-a-half’s. This was what I was really looking forward to working on while in the belt, as I’ve never experienced the sensation of doing more than a single flip in the air. Ron corrected some things with my flipping technique, then I did some 1½s, with him signaling me when to kick out of my tuck. After a few, I went directly to the 1m board and did the same thing, not roped in. I was able to complete the required rotations and go in headfirst, but without being in a very good diving position. I was told we’d return to those once I practiced some line-ups.

    So I did some line-ups and easy dives off the 1m, then was told to try my back dive off the 3m. I’d never done this before, but Ron’s philosophy seems to be that once you’ve done something successfully off the 1m, you should immediately go do it off the 3. So I climbed up onto the higher board, did my back-approach-arm-swinging-and oscillation routine, paused, then did the tiniest of hops off the board into a back dive. Luckily I landed it ok. I was sent back up to do it with more conviction, and after a few more tries got comfortable with the notion of doing a back dive from the greater height. Woohoo! That had just doubled the number of dives I can do off the 3m.

    But I wasn’t yet done. I came back down to the 1m to try my forward 1½ again, this time with a two-step approach (I had been just jumping from the end of the board before). With the more height that gave me I could complete the rotation and do a semblance of a dive position into the water. I did several of these until I felt comfortable with them, and was feeling proud that I would have a new dive to show off to my coach and teammates at the next practice.

    I should have seen what was coming next, but somehow I didn’t. When I exited the pool after my fifth attempt, Ron told me to go do it off the 3m. I stood there slack-jawed for a moment, until he told me again. I started climbing up the ladder, not sure if my shaking legs would carry me up. I was still in shock that I was being asked to do this, and reminded myself that I was after all a grown-up, and didn’t really have to do anything that I didn’t want to do. But with that thought came the realization that this was something I wanted to do—maybe not today, but eventually. But opportunities don’t always come about exactly when you want them, and the chance to try this skill was being offered here, now. I stepped up into position, ready to try. Ron told me to dive with conviction, just the way I had done it off the 1m. I took a deep breath, did my approach, and flung myself into the air.

    You know how at swim meets there always seems to be an octogenarian butterflyer who can barely get her arms out the water on each recovery, and who takes many painful minutes to complete a 50? And how by the middle of the second lap the whole pool is mesmerized by the struggle, and bursts into applause once that final stroke is taken? Well, on Saturday, that applause was for me, given by my young clinic-mates when I completed my first 1½ off the high board. And reader, I relished it.

    I did a few more of those dives, gaining confidence with each and getting a better sense of my bearings in the air. And I realized that, much as I hated to admit it, the dive was actually easier from the 3 than from the lower board—I had more time in the air to complete the dive, and enjoy it. It makes me look forward to learning more dives off the 3, and maybe even working up a competition dive list at that height as well.

    In the showers I was literally shaking from the adrenaline rush of the dives, but beaming from all the new skills I’d learned. I had a beautiful drive back to the city, and can’t wait to try some of this stuff again at diving practice on Thursday.

    And, since this is nominally a swimming blog, here’s the short workout I did at the Y today.

    1000 scy warmup (400s, 200k, 200p, 200 IM d/s)

    4x through
    100 FR @ 1:30
    50 K @ 1:00
    100 IM @ 1:45
    50 K @ 1:00
    [Kicks were IM order + reverse IM order. I had planned to do all the 100s on 1:30, but I just didn’t have any fast IMs in me today.]

    300 warmdown + play

    My set today used to be my go-to set years ago whenever I swam alone, and I enjoyed revisiting it today. Unsurprisingly, I was very sore today, and felt tight in the water—my triceps especially are feeling it, I think from too many times of failing to get into a full locked-out dive position before I hit the water yesterday. The swimming felt good though and loosened me up a little, as did the post-swim steam and stretch.
  14. Recovery day

    I had a good diving session last night, learning two new skills: an inward tuck dive off the 1m, and a forward tuck dive off the 3m. The latter is the first actual dive I’ve done off the higher board—til now the beginners have stuck to various line-ups (falling down headfirst from standing or sitting positions) and approaches. Doing the forward tuck was just a matter of getting up my nerve and being told I was allowed to, as it is a skill I’m very comfortable with on the lower board. It went fine from the get-go. The speed with which I can travel through the water upon entering from that height is still one of my favorite parts of diving—maybe I’m still a swimmer at heart. I wish the pool were deeper so I could enjoy that longer!

    The inward dive was a little trickier. After doing the build-up skills, I was still a little tentative on my first few, and managed to do just a quarter rotation, landing on the water on all fours. After a bit I got the hang of entering headfirst, and could reliably do a legal inward by the end of the session, though not a pretty one. I need to work on getting more height on my back approach and on getting my hips up on the tuck, so that I can have more time in the air to come fully and gracefully out of that tuck position.

    Some Friday mornings after diving I feel like a truck hit me—I think it’s a combination of the impacts with the water the night before, muscle soreness from the explosive movements, and the unaccustomed late activity and resulting sleep deprivation. But this morning I was able to sleep in, and felt fairly good when I woke up—maybe my body is finally adapting to doing this every week. I got in an easy swim at the Y today in that magic 1-2 pm hour when no one much is around. Here’s what I did:

    1000 scy warmup (400s, 200k, 200p, 200 IM d/s)

    1000 various drills (working on early breathing and balance)

    That was it. Afterwards I had a leisurely stretching session upstairs in the gym, which felt wonderful.

    Tomorrow morning I’m attending a diving clinic upstate. There we’ll be able to use belts on the boards, so I’m hoping to pick up a few more skills.
  15. Short solo workout

    This morning I did weights and a short swim at the Y. This is my third week back doing weights; I used the initial 2 weeks as an easy getting-back-into-this period where I started very easy and lifted progressively more weight, doing 2 sets of 15 reps of each exercise. Now I am aiming to do 2 x 12 reps at each new weight for two sessions in a row. Once I am able to do that, I’ll increase the weight on the second round and lift until failure or 12 reps, whichever comes first. Once I can do one round of 12, I try to do two at the next session, and so on and so forth. (There are a few exceptions, like the scapular stabilization stuff, where my goal is to do lots of reps of little weight, and bench press, where I do fewer reps of bigger weights.) My plan right now is to do this for 3 weeks, have a week where I do something lighter or different, then repeat.

    I have a routine that I’m pretty happy with for the arm weights; for legs, I’m still figuring out what I want to do. Diving and ballet already leave me sore for several days each week, and I mostly do just lunges on days when I’m at the gym and don’t have one of those activities scheduled. Today I saw no need to pre-sore my legs before tonight’s diving session, so I just stuck to arms. Here’s what I did—all exercises are with dumbbells unless indicated:

    Military press 2 sets of 12 @ 15-lbs

    Butterfly 2 sets of 12 @ 12.5 (increase weight next session)

    Bicep curls, 1 set of 12 @ 12.5, 1 set of 10 @ 15

    Single arm rows: 2 sets of 12 @ 15 (increase weight next session)

    Forward/sidewards/rear deltoid raises: 2 sets of 12 @ 6 lbs (increase next session)

    Wrist curlicues: with 3-lb weights, rotating wrists (both direction) until current song on sound system stops or I get completely bored

    Lat pull-downs (on Nautilus-era machine): 2 sets of 12 @ 60 (increase next session)

    Lat scapular stabilization (basically the first part of the lat pull-down, keeping arms straight and drawing shoulder blades together—weights move about 3 inches): 2 sets of 40 @ 40 lbs

    Bench press: 12 @ 45 (warmup + form check); 10 @ 50, 8 @ 55, 6 @ 60

    Bench press stabilization (pushing bar up as far as it will go with straight arms, bar moves just a few inches): 2 sets of 20 @ 45 lbs [probably should hunt me up a bar that weighs less for these, or just use individual dummbbells—goal is 2 sets of 40]

    Afterwards I skipped the abs—we’ll do plenty of drylands tonight—and did a quick 10-minute stretch before hopping in the pool for the following:

    1000 scy warmup (400s, 200k, 200p, 200d/s)

    Pie of IM
    8 x 25 @ :30, 2 of each stroke IM order, odds pretty, evens sprint
    7 x 50 kick IM pieces @ 1:00 (FL, FL/BK, BK, BK/BR, BR, BR/FR)
    6 x 75 IM pieces @ 1:25, done build/fast/easy by 25s (fl/fl/bk, fl/bk/bk, bk/bk/br, bk/br/br, br/br/fr, br/fr/fr)
    5 x 100 IM pieces @ 1:45, steady pace throughout

    200 warmdown + play

    That was it!

    My main key at diving tonight is to keep my eyes open longer and learn to visually spot my entrances. I have long had a fear of opening my eyes underwater—I think as a kid it was drilled into me that if I lost a contact while swimming I would bring financial ruin upon my family, not that I had ever been that keen on putting my face in the water anyway. (There was a reason I stuck to backstroke!) It took me several years of playing polo as an adult to discover that water could get into my eyes with absolutely no ill effects (ok, some blurriness and redness, but the contacts stayed in and my eyeballs didn’t explode). Last week, I realized that despite my coaches’ instructions about what visual cues to use to time particular movements during dives, I was shutting my eyes tight as soon as I went off the board and just relying on hope and my internal gyroscope to make things end up ok. That worked well enough until I tried doing a simple twist—rotating in two directions took away my sense of where I was in the air. So tonight—eyes wide open, until just before I enter the water!
  16. Welcome spring!

    We had a full house in our lane at Riverbank this morning—I had four friends to swim and celebrate spring with today. We repeated the same main set we did last Wednesday, only with more people. Here’s what I did:

    600 lcm warmup (400s, 200k)

    500 FR, negative split
    400 IM fast
    100 easy
    400 FR, negative split
    300 IM fast
    100 easy
    300 FR, negative split
    200 IM fast
    100 easy
    200 FR negative split
    100 IM fast
    100 easy
    100 FR negative split
    0 IM fast
    100 easy

    300 pull with paddles

    200 play

    At this point an odd thing happened. We were all basically done with our workouts, and were lingering at the end of the pool waiting for the guards to blow the whistle indicating that lap swim was over, as were the swimmers in the adjacent lanes . . . as if we couldn’t get out of the pool without a signal. Everyone seemed to be having these "Why haven't they blown the whitle yet" conversations when finally someone hypothesized that maybe the pool was closing at 8:30 today rather than 8:15, because of spring break. (Why RB has lap lanes for 15 minutes extra on holidays is yet another question). I confirmed this with the guard, and it was true. Woohoo—extra play time! We did a little 4-person synchro circle in our lane, then several of us moved over to one of the empty-by-now lanes to practice more synchro and backwards swimming and kicking.

    50m ballet legs with sculling, oysters, twirls, backwards freestyle, backwards FR, BR, and FL kicking, etc

    50m backwards (feet-first) IM for time [2:00, which is 7 seconds slower than my PR. Clearly this needs more practice.]

    Then it was truly time to get out.
    Swim Workouts
  17. Saturday team workout

    This morning I went to floor/barre class (a ballet-centric core and legs workout). It was my first in quite a while, so I expect I’ll be sore for the next few days.

    This afternoon TNYA had an all-women’s workout and social. Called “Ladies Who Swim and Lunch,” it brought together women from our polo, swim, and diving teams, plus any other women interested in swimming with TNYA, for an hour-long swim workout plus an outing to a nearby Greek restaurant afterwards. Ours is a big team—around 600 last I knew—and we have 18 swim workouts a week in 4 different pools spread over the city, plus polo and diving workouts in yet different facilities, so there are plenty of people I never see outside of competitions and social events. Plus women are a distinct minority on our team, so it was nice to get many of us together at this one very social workout—we had a very full pool. Here’s what my lane did:

    500 warmup (100s, 100k, 100 stroke, 200 fr)

    9 x 50 (3 FR / 3 BK / 3 FR) @ :45/:50/:45

    4 x 100 FR @ 1:30
    1 x 100 IM @ 1:40
    Masters minute
    3 x 100 FR @ 1:30
    2 x 100 IM @ 1:40
    Masters minute
    2 x 200 FR @ 3:00
    2 x 100 FR @ 1:25
    1 x 100 IM @ 1:35
    100 warmdown

    I had a good diving session Thursday night. I learned one new dive—a front layout dive with a half twist. It’s not as consistent as my others, and needs more work. This makes 4 of the 6 dives on my first competition list that I have learned: front dive, back dive, front flip, and front dive with twist. I have 2 more to learn—inward dive, and back flip. Once I get those down I will have perhaps the easiest competition list possible, but it’s a start. And I acquired no new bruises this week—always a plus!
  18. Peaches and IMs

    This morning I swam at Riverbank with a couple of friends and enjoyed a good workout with them. We must have made the following set look fun--one of the regulars in the neighboring lane dubbed us “the trio with brio.” (He’s the same guy who came up with “It goggles the mind.” It’s fun sharing the pool with nice people who like wordplay.)

    Here’s what I did:

    800 lcm warmup (400s, 200k, 200p)

    500 FR, negative split
    400 IM fast
    100 easy
    400 FR, negative split
    300 IM fast
    100 easy
    300 FR, negative split
    200 IM fast
    100 easy
    200 FR negative split
    100 IM fast
    100 easy
    100 FR negative split
    0 IM fast [I used this time to practice my synchro moves*]
    100 easy
    [This set originally had paired FR swims separated by 100s easy—I substituted an (n-100) IM for the n FR in each pair, but stayed on the same interval as my friends who were doing all free. That worked out well—I liked getting more and more rest as the set progressed, and my IMs felt powerful today.]

    400 there-and-back-again IM kick (200 IM + 200 reverse IM)

    200 warmdown + play

    *The synchro moves at today’s workout were inspired by the Brooklyn Peaches practices I’ve been attending the last couple of weeks. They are a for-fun synchro group—think synchro without any of the unpleasant stuff, like having to hold your breath for eons. It’s a smidge more serious than beach synchro, mostly because it’s taught by a couple of women who actually have some background in the sport. We’re learning a routine to David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance.” It’s a real hoot, and worth trekking out to Brooklyn for every Tuesday night.

    The Peaches practices are part of an effort to diversify what I do for exercise this spring. I finally admitted to myself over the winter that I had become pretty burnt-out with open-water stuff, and that the anxiety associated with those swims had come to rival the pleasure I got from them. I floundered about for a bit, initially thinking entering some pool competitions would restore my motivation to train, but I ultimately decided that what I really needed was a break. So I’m de-emphasizing the swimming for now, and trying out other stuff that seems fun to me. Activities that involve learning lots of complex new movements are especially appealing. Currently my night-time schedule looks like this: Monday—ballet, Tuesday—synchro, Thursday—diving. (I thought I could wedge in adult gymnastics on Wednesdays as well, but my gym has stopped offering that class). I’m also emphasizing weights (3x week) and stretching (more flexibility would be good for my diving). So far, this new regimen seems to agree with me—after a couple of months of taking it easy on the swimming in Florida, I seem to be finding some joy and ease in the water again.
  19. Back to swimming before sunrise!

    I enjoyed a very pleasant workout at Riverbank this morning with a friend. After a couple straight days of doing team practices, I was due for a nice long easy swim, and that's exactly what I got, as I did the following with no intervals or clock-watching, just a nice steady pace throughout:

    1100 LCM warmup (400s, 200k, 200p, 200 d/s, 100 IM)

    500 FR
    4 x 50 (2 kick w/fins, 2 swim)
    500 (200 FR / 100 IM kick / 200 FR)
    4 x 50, IM order
    500 (150 FR / 200 IM kick / 150 FR)
    4 x 50, IM order
    500 (100 FR / 300 IM kick / 100 FR)
    4 x 50, odds BK, evens FR
    500 (50 FR / 400 IM kick / 50 FR)

    That was it. I felt calm and relaxed and at home in the water today, and wanted to stay in longer. It was a good feeling.

    DST has us going to practice in the dark again. Here's my pre-workout view of the George Washington Bridge, last Monday and today:

    last week--view upriver

    the effects of springing forward

    I'm not complaining--they're both an inspiring way to begin the day. But I am looking forward to watching that latter view become the former again over the next few weeks. Hurray for spring, and lengthening days!
  20. Weekend Workouts

    I had two good workouts this weekend with TNYA. On Saturday I swam at John Jay College. We were six in our scy lane, but everyone was friendly and of similar speeds so it turned out to be one of those energizing crowded workouts with good esprit de lane.

    1000 warmup

    10 x 50 FR @ (1:10--1:05--1:00, 1:10--1:00--:50, 1:10--:55--:40, 1:10)

    6 x 100 kick @ 2:15, 2x thru FL/BK, BK/BR, BR/FR [1:40-1:45]

    4 x 100 pull w/paddles @ 1:25
    50 easy @ 2:00
    100 FR fast @ 1:15
    50 easy @ 1:45
    3 x 100 pull w/paddles @ 1:25
    50 easy @ 2:00
    100 FR fast @ 1:15
    50 easy @ 1:45

    [Set continued on with through two more rounds, but I had to get out early.]

    Today I enjoyed a nice workout at City College. The water was much too warm, but the pool was relatively uncrowded, which is rare with team workouts. I moved down from a lane of 5 to share with one other swimmer, and enjoyed using the slower intervals in order to push my pace on some of the swims. Here's how it went:

    500 warmup (400s, 100k)

    6 x 50 BR working pullouts @ :20 RI
    6 x 50 BK with fins (25K / 25S) @ :20 RI
    6 x 50 FR with fins @ :20 RI, desc. 1-3 and 4-6

    400 pull with paddles @ 6:15
    [practiced left-side breathing]
    4 x 100 IM fast @ 2:00
    [goal was to keep all under 1:25, and I did--fastest was 1:20]
    8 x 50 (25 kick / 25 swim), easy, @ 1:15
    [nice to have the slower interval on these to cool down--I switched to my ventilated cap here and that helped too]
    300 pull with paddles @ 4:45
    [left-side breathing]
    3 x 100 IM fast @ 2:00
    [2:23s and a 2:24]
    6 x 50 (25 kick / 25 swim) warmdown

    That was it!

    I've been back in the city a week, and was very happy to resume diving practice last Thursday night. I'm making good progress, and need to learn 3 more dives so that I can compete at an upcoming meet. I'm definitely eager, and have lost some of that initial fear of going off the boards. I did smack for the first time this past week--water is surprisingly hard when you hit it wrong--but luckily it was only from the 1m, and only on my shins (I was trying to do a back dive tuck, but kicked out too late and ended up almost doing a back flip, hitting the water awkwardly shins first). It hurt, but didn't keep me from getting back up and trying again. The resulting bruises somehow go more than 180 degrees around my lower legs--not sure how that happened from a single impact.

    I'm also back coaching some with TNYA now. I had been a regular weekly coach for them some years ago, but after 6 years or so of that decided I needed a break. The invitation to rejoin the coaching staff came last fall just as I was feeling a little guilty for not giving back to the swimming community more, and casting about for a way to do so that didn't involve attending meetings--I'm allergic to those. I put off starting until I was back from the Florida, so last Thursday was my first morning back on deck. I also subbed in for the team's weekly LPZ workout on Saturday, after swimming the regular workout. So far I'm really enjoying it, and am finding that giving technique feedback gives me added focus in my own workouts. It's also something of a confidence boost to feel like I have knowledge and experience that can help others. For now I'm just subbing for other coaches when they can't make their regular practices. That situation seems pretty ideal--since we have 18 workouts a week, that means I can do as much or as little as I'm inclined to do, without making a regular commitment yet.
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