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  1. An albatross around one's neck...

    by , March 17th, 2011 at 04:06 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    ...has been defined thusly:

    A burden which some unfortunate person has to carry.

    As I head out to compete at this weekend's Albatross meet in the Greater Maryland area, could this unfortunate person be me?

    The origin of the phrase apparently stems from the same magnificently melodramatic poem (Rime of the Ancient Mariner) referenced in my previous vlog entitled simply Albatross (link here for those who want to read and/or reread and or rereread and study:

    Specifically, the poet Coleridge (coiner, as well, of the phrases pipe dream, suspension of disbelief, and Achilles heal) wrote of our wearily Ancient and accursed Mariner:

    Ah. well a-day. what evil looks
    Had I from old and young
    Instead of the cross, the Albatross
    About my neck was hung.

    After Monday's miracle practice, in which I rose Lazarus-like from the sick couch to complete, albeit with drafting assistance, a grueling workout for an aging fellow, my own pipe dreams and capacity for suspension of disbelief in myself convinced me to enter the Albatross meet.

    Alas, at last night's practice, the familiar malaise and effeteness thrust themselves upon me with renewed vengeance. Weak? Check! Shaky? Check! Hypoglycemic? Check! In no condition whatsoever to swim in a swimming meet, even one that did not first involve driving for a minimum of 5 hours? Check!

    Still, a tiny voice inside me has always urged: Forward Ho, Jim!--its sound, if anything, growing louder in proportion to the hopelessness of my mission!

    And thus, sickness be damned, I will soldier on to Bethesda and do my best to set the new 200 SCM freestyle Albatross meet record in the 55-59 age group. If I can accomplish this--impossible, I know, but if...--then I shall be forever known not just as a multiple Zonesman but as an Albatrossian, too!

    And it will be the Albatross who must wear me round its pallid neck, not vice versa!


    Or pipe dream?

    Check back here frequently to find out!
  2. Thursday, 3/17/11

    by , March 17th, 2011 at 12:46 PM (A comfort swimmer's guide to easy swimming)
    SCY, Solo

    I felt great in the water this morning. Taking it easy for a few days really helped me to recover (both mentally and physically).

    Warm up
    300 swim free and fly
    4 x 75/1:15 Build
    - All free around 1:00
    6 x 50 ds 3/1:00, 3/55
    - 1-3 back, :43, 4-6 free, :38
    8 x 25/30 - IM Order

    Main Set: Fly/Back
    8 x 25 Fly/50 FAST
    - times were under 18
    1 x 200 Back/3:20
    - under 3:05
    8 x 25 Fly/45 FAST
    - same as above
    1 x 200 Back/3:20
    - under 3:02

    Back Swims
    4 x 25/45 cup drill
    2 x 50/1:20 Fast Swim
    - under 38 on both
    4 x 25/45 cup drill
    2 x 50/1:20 Fast Swim
    - under 38 on both

    Cool down
    100 easy

    Total: 2400 yards

    Spring Splash in Boise Idaho this Saturday. I've entered the 200 back, 50 free, 100 back, 100 fly. It will probably be a small meet so I hope I can get enough recovery between events. This may be the only meet I do before SCY Nationals. I would like to do another but nothing is close enough (sucks living in BFE). I'll just have to work some time trial type workouts in to simulate race conditions in order to prepare for Nationals.
  3. Wednesday, 3/16/11

    by , March 17th, 2011 at 12:35 PM (A comfort swimmer's guide to easy swimming)
    SCY, solo

    Felt much better today. Finally pushing through the funk I was in and my swimming mojo is back.

    Tonight's workout was a short one, mostly warm up and cool down with a few sprints thrown in.

    Warm up (1200)
    300 Choice
    - free and back
    3 x 100/1:45 Build
    - free,was around 1:20
    200 IM Drill
    8 x 25/40
    - IM order
    200 IM Kick
    - no board, all on back

    Main Set (300)
    6 x 50/1:10 15 Fast - 20 easy - 15 Fast
    - did fly-back-free x 2
    - fly around 40, back under 45, free around 37

    Cool down
    8 x 75/1:30: 25 smooth/25 drill/25 swim
    - alternated free and back, 1 arm and fist for drill

    Total: 2100 yards
  4. 3/17 - "Easy" day with MYM

    by , March 17th, 2011 at 12:26 PM (Dan's hobby/obsession)
    A recovery day workout with the Monroe Masters team. It turns out that 7,000yd AM workouts and PM weights make 44y.o. arms tired and reluctant to get back into the pool.

    I started off the morning leading the lane, but when I saw the workout had several "moderate/ 70%" effort sections written in, I knew I'd dog those sections and decided I'd better let a better pacer lead today. He did a good job and I got enough of a burn going in my arms to know it was the right choice.

    Warm up:
    400 swim

    8x50 @ 1:00 EZ - streamline drill

    8x50 @ 1:00 kick

    Main Set:
    4x100 @ 1:30 fr sprint 4th length on #1, 3rd #2, 2nd #3, 1st #1
    200 fr @ 3:00 moderate
    150 back @ 3:00 fast
    4x100 @ 1:45 back, sprint 4th length, 3rd, 2nd, 1st
    200 fr @ 3:00 moderate
    150 IM, no free @ 3:00
    4x100 @ 1:30 fr, sprint 4th, 3rd, 2nd, 1st length
    200 fr @ 3:00 moderate
    150 IM, no free @ 3:00

    100 EZ - cool down

    The weather is finally clearing up and I'm planning on running a comfortable 7-8 miles tonight.
    Swim Workouts
  5. Back on the Blocks!

    by , March 17th, 2011 at 12:03 PM (Year Three: The Road Back)
    Today's workout seemed like a little bit of everything - 300 pulls, 50 free ALL OUT, and tons of 25s. Just enough variety to make it really fun - and plenty of work off the blocks. Here's what we did:

    400 Warm-Up
    4 sets:
    - 1 x 100 Swim on 2:00 moderate (did 1 fly w/ fins, other 3 free no fins)
    - 4 x 25 Kick FAST on :30
    1 x 50 Free ALL OUT on 3:00 (got a :33 from push)
    1 x 50 Recovery w/i above interval
    2 x 300 Pull on 4:30
    1 x 250 Kick on 4:30 (was supposed to be a pull )
    20 x 25 Sprint from Dive on 1:00 (more below)
    450 Cool-Down
    Total Yards - 3100

    I feel completely wiped out - no speed, no strength. Hoping this will ease up as I go through next week a bit easier in preparation for the two-day state meet next weekend. I was a bit disappointed to switch the 3rd pull to a kick, but as I love to kick ... As for the 50 Free being a :33 - I'm actually okay with that, especially for noting the way I was feeling while swimming it. A bit more rested - that time will drop and be there when I need it.

    As to the 20x25 Sprints... here's what we did. Odds were off the blocks all out 25s; evens were free moderate paced from a push. To keep track of how many we did, I did 2 free, 2 fly, 2 free, 2 fly, 2 free off the blocks. While my goggles stayed in place on all of them (), I did manage a few wrong angles that left the top of my head smarting... All in all, though, I was pretty happy with how my starts are coming along - and the fly's off the blocks felt fast and low - like I was just skimming over the top of the water. They felt great! Now, we'll just see how the 25 (or 75) coming to the finish feel when I lose the momentum of a block start and only get the momentum of a push...

    More speed work on tap for tomorrow, so we'll have to see how my shoulders/legs recover. Of course, since I plan to spend much of my afternoon and evening on the couch watching basketball.... YAY! IT'S TOURNEY TIME!

    Enjoy your happy Irish swims today!
    Swim Workouts
  6. Thursday, March 17 (& Wed 16), 2011 5:00am

    by , March 17th, 2011 at 11:16 AM (Fast Food Makes for Fast Swimming!)
    I missed the morning practice yesterday...kinda turned off the alarm clock and didn't wake up. Then when I did wake up it was that startling awaking that you're late for something...except this time I hadn't missed work
    I went to the YMCA and finally signed up as a member so I can now make use of all their facilities without having to pay the non-member admission. Even if all I do is swim twice a week at their pool all year long, I will almost break even on the price, so at least I can do that, and then add weight room exercises, cycling, group stuff, etc. Or...I'll be like most people...and just pay the monthly fee and never go!

    I did get into the YMCA pool last night for about 1800 yards of swimming while my daughter was in her swim lesson on the other side of the pool.


    300 Free
    300 Pull
    200 Kick
    300 IM

    16 x 25 Fly fast w/ fins (I use the shorty zoomer-type fins) @ :30
    100 Free @ 2:00
    16 x 25 Back fast w/ fins @ :30
    100 Free @ 2:00
    16 x 25 Breast fast @ :30
    100 Free @ 2:00
    1 x 100 Free fast w/ paddles & fins (went :57)

    100 EZ
    2800 Yards
  7. MATT Thursday Workout

    by , March 17th, 2011 at 09:20 AM (Pete's swim blog)

    400 Warm up

    1 x 100 - 1:30 (1st 25 fly)
    3 x 100 - 1:20
    2 x 100 - 1:30 (1st 25/50 fly)
    3 x 100 - 1:20
    2 x 100 - 1:30 (1st 25/50/75 fly)
    3 x 100 - 1:20
    2 x 100 - 1:30 (1st 25/50/75/100 fly)
    50 Easy

    4 x 75 - 1:20 Fly/Back/Breast
    10 x 75 - 1:15 (1st 25 hard kick)
    200 Cool Down

    (3600 Total)
    Swim Workouts
  8. What possessed me... my legs are itching now

    by , March 17th, 2011 at 08:25 AM (Mixing it up this year)
    I decided to do breaststroke today and usually after alot of leg work like in breaststroke I guess I am getting the circulation going good so my legs itch now.

    500 Free broken 1,2,3,4,1,2,3,1,2,1
    5x100@1:40 Free
    500 Breast kick w/brfins
    10x50@1:00 Breast pull w/paddles & fins get the fly motion into it
    200 Breast drill 3 quick shruggs then 3 long glides alternate
    2x50@1:10 Breast
    100 Breast kick
    100 Breast
    500 Free every 3rd 25 breast skull drill

    Total 3000 yards

    I am dreading tomorrow since the cold pool is closed for a meet, the only option is the warm pool tomorrow. BATH WATER here I come, I'll have to find my rubber ducky.
  9. Wed., March 16

    by , March 16th, 2011 at 10:56 PM (The FAF AFAP Digest)

    650 various

    2 x (25 easy speed back shooters, no fins + 25 EZ)
    -- 17-18 kicks per length
    25 EZ

    1 x backstroke start and power kick (15 kicks put me past the 15 today)
    25 EZ
    1 x power dolphin kick to 15 + cruise
    25 EZ
    1 x 25 fast backstroke
    50 EZ
    1 x 25 fast doggy paddle drill
    50 EZ
    1 x 25 fast free
    50 EZ

    150 EZ

    Total: 1250



    I am insanely edgy from not exercising -- the worst part of tapering. Not a good idea to get in an argument with me at the moment. This feels worse than before NE Champs, though perhaps I'm tapering more now.

    I didn't stretch today. I had a zillion errands and then got caught up in watching the live stream of Junior Nationals. Very fun seeing so many kids from PV that I've watched swim for years. Felt bad for Kurtis Ratcliff for losing his goggles on the start and getting DQ'd in the A final of the 200 fly.

    Updated March 16th, 2011 at 11:28 PM by The Fortress

    Swim Workouts
  10. Pace change

    We worked on more pacing tonight. Started out with a nice long warm up followed by a rather long main set.

    My lane mate tonight is definitely the distance diva of the entire team. I knew I wouldn't be able to hang with her for very long so I just swam practice like I was by myself.

    4 x 100 choice w/15
    8 x 25 @ 45 choice drill
    4 x 100 pull w/20
    2 x 200 kick w/20
    4 x 25 @ 45 swim @ 90% effort

    The following was concentrating on switching between 90% effort and about 80%.

    6 x 400 w/30
    #1 last 100 90%
    #2 third 100 and last 50 90%
    #3 second 100 and last 50 90%
    #4 first 100 and last 50 90%
    #5 first and last 100 90%
    #6 alternate effort by 50

    200 EZ


    The first three felt fast, long, and smooth. Number four got sloppy quickly. Number five was awful and I was not having fun any more. The last one I was able to pull it all back together. I think I was really looking forward to the warm down followed by a nice long hot shower.

    I probably should to some serious stretching tonight but my chair feels so good.

    Looking forward to some basketball in the next couple of weeks. Lets what the Spartans can do now that it is show time.
  11. Short Workout Today --

    by , March 16th, 2011 at 10:14 PM (Workout Swimmer)
    Short workout today - thought my arms were going to fall off!! Jennifer joined me, which was a lovely surprise, but she made me work a lot harder than I usually do at 5:30 in the morning!!

    600 warmup
    9 x 100, 3 on 1:40 w/bouy, 3 on 1:35 w/bouy, 3 on 1:30 no toys!
    100 ez
    3 x 300 holding about 1:25 pace
    100 ez
    2 x 200 on 3:30 breast/free

    Total:3000 LCM

    Gonna have to make up for this on Saturday, I suppose - wasn't planning on swimming on Saturday, but I've got a 1500 to do now.
  12. 3/16 - A longer workout

    by , March 16th, 2011 at 04:22 PM (Dan's hobby/obsession)
    Yesterday's workout wasn't very memorable, so I didn't post anything. 3,650yds of low-intensity work. Later in the day I ran just short of 10 miles - the last 3 in a thunderstorm. No need for an ice bath after that run. There was plenty of hail the last quarter-mile or so.

    Last night I decided I wanted to put in some yards today to make up for yesterday's disappointing workout. I found an interesting workout on the Swimming World website and thought I'd give it a shot. Usually I stick to mostly freestyle, but this one had some IM, fly and quite a bit of backstroke for recovery and caught my eye.

    Warm up:
    600 swim (every 4th length backstroke)
    6x100 - odd free @ 1:20, even IM @ 1:4.0
    12x50 @ 1:00 Kick, Drill, Swim - IM order
    4x(6x25 @ :30) IM order

    Main Sets
    3x(3x200 @ 2:40, 3x100 50 ba/50 fly @ 1:40*, 3x50 back @ :50) *fly was wiping me out, so the 2nd & 3rd round were more 1 arm fly than full fly
    4x(100 pull @ 1:30, 4x25 back @ :30)

    500 breaststroke - 100 swim, 300 swim w/fins, 100 swim

    200 cool down
    (modified from Swimming World workout archive)

    What I learned: I have to swim more fly & IM. I was feeling the fly when the 200's came around and although I did OK on the set (sub 2:30 on most), I was dragging on the 3rd 200 on each round and had been holding 2:20's during my freestyle workouts recently.
    Swim Workouts
  13. Sarasota Y Sharks Masters 5:30 AM Workout -03/17/11

    by , March 16th, 2011 at 02:21 PM (Sarasota Y Sharks Masters GOLD Workout)
    WARM UP:
    3 X 100 1:40 1:30
    1 X 150 2:30 2:15
    1 X 200 3:20 3:00
    Three times through. Round 1 intervals left, 2&3 right.

    1 X 200 kick 4:15
    1 X 100 easy swim 2:00
    8 X 50 kick-25 moderate/25 fast- 1:10
    1 X 100 easy swim -

    1 X 50-25 fast/25 easy- 1:00
    1 X 75 fast 1:20
    1 X 25 easy 1:00
    Choice. Four times through.

    1 X 75 easy
    1 X 100 @ 100% from the blocks
    1 X 75 easy

    1 X 1000
    Swim or pull

    WARM DOWN: 4 X 50 easy 1:00

    Swim Workouts
  14. Tuesday, 3/15/11

    by , March 16th, 2011 at 02:20 PM (A comfort swimmer's guide to easy swimming)
    SCY, Solo

    Have been feeling really heavy and slow in the water this week. Hope it passes soon as I have a meet this coming weekend and would like to have some decent swims. I am going to attempt the 100 fly. The last time I swam this event was in 2007. I'm hoping it will be better this time than in previous swims.

    500 Swim
    400 Pull
    300 Kick w/Fins
    200 Swim w/Fins
    100 Drill
    200 Kick
    300 Swim
    400 Pull
    300 Choice

    Total: 2700 yards
  15. Struggling Still...kind of

    by , March 16th, 2011 at 01:18 PM (Year Three: The Road Back)
    So today's practice was just a weird for me personally. Here's what we did:

    400 Warm-Up
    2 x 200 Swim Choice on 4:00 (I swam free - kind of easy)
    4 x 50 Kick on 1:05
    4 x 50 Drill/Swim on 1:00 (did these as free)
    6 x 25 Free hard/ez; ez/hard on :30 (had no umph - all ended up being ez )
    6 x 75 Free ALL OUT on 4:30 - back to this in a minute
    6 x 75 Free Recovery (done w/i 4:30 interval)
    1 x 200 Kick Cool-Down
    1 x 300 Drill/Swim by 50 (did fist drill) Cool-Down
    4x practicing block starts
    Total Yards - 2800

    This was another practice where I just didn't have any get-up-and-go, and what I really wanted to do was get-up-and-went (away from the pool, that is). It was a struggle from minute one to feel like I had any grip in the water at all - or could even manage to swim the sets as written. While I was doing the 200s free (relatively easy free at that), my training partner was doing breaststroke and the other guy I train with did fly for the first 200. Needless to say, I was kind of disappointed with my effort - because I didn't feel like I had anything to give.

    During the kicks and drill/swim sets, I made the intervals without problem, but wasn't going extra fast or pushing at all. It was the 6x25s though that really got me! I actually did try to do these as hard/ez, ez/hard, but the speed just wouldn't come and the angrier I got at myself, the slower I felt in the water. Plus, I knew the ALL OUTs were next.

    Now, I should say here that last Wednesday we didn't have a coach show up and swam as a group on our own. Knowing the ALL OUTs were on today's agenda, I was kind of hoping for a "no coach" day. However, the coach was on deck and, when telling us the ALL OUT set, I immediately said I didn't have any ALL OUT in me. He just looked at me funny - and I recanted and told him I'd just try my best. I should also say here that I tend to be a people pleaser and the idea that I would let my coach down by not being fast started to eat at me.

    The guy swimming in the next lane was starting at the same time as my regular lane buddy - I was starting :05 behind. As I swam the first 75, I realized that I could make up those five seconds and beat the guy in the next lane. Time? :53. Not totally bad, but it still didn't feel good. The next 3 75's were all about :52-:53. That's when the coach told me I was going to swim a :50 on my last two. Not feeling it in me, I suggested an "ez" 75, then a :50. He just looked at me and told me not to quit. My next time? :51. So close... and the last 75 was not a :50 either (:51 again), but I hung in there - albeit begrudgingly!

    Of course, being me, I am now realizing that if I could have brought the next 25 home in :20, my 100 time (from a push) would have been 1:11 or so. That would have been awesome for me (best ever race pace from the blocks is 1:07.99) and I sit here now thinking I should be proud of my 75s this morning.

    For whatever reason, I just am not feeling comfortable in the water and my confidence (especially going into the state meet next weekend) is pretty low. Here's hoping to find some speed - and some belief - over the next week.

    As for you, hang in there if you need to.... and happy swimming!
    Swim Workouts
  16. MATT Wednesday Workout

    by , March 16th, 2011 at 10:01 AM (Pete's swim blog)

    400 Warm up

    25 Kick - :40 / 75 pull - 1:10
    125 Free - 1:50
    100 Fly - 2:00
    25 Kick - :40 / 75 pull - 1:10
    125 Free - 1:45
    200 Fly - 4:00
    25 Kick - :40 / 75 pull - 1:10
    125 Free - 1:40
    250 Fly - 5:00
    25 Kick - :40 / 75 pull - 1:10
    125 Free - 1:35
    350 Fly - 7:00
    25 Kick - :40 / 75 pull - 1:10
    125 Free - 1:30
    450 Fly - 9:00
    25 Easy Kick

    25 Kick - :40 / 75 pull - 1:10
    125 Free - 1:50
    100 Fly - 2:00
    25 Kick - :40 / 75 pull - 1:10
    125 Free - 1:45
    200 Fly - 4:00
    25 Kick - :40 / 75 pull - 1:10
    125 Free - 1:40
    250 Fly - 5:00
    25 Easy Kick

    100 Fly Timed (1:25)

    150 Cool Down

    (4400 Total)

    Fly isn't as bad as it looks. Just recovery time before the next 125. First 25-50 yards after the faster 125s hurt really bad though. Workout originally called for 25 back/100 free for the 125s. We dropped the back stroke so that we could make the interval. For the timed 100 Fly, I felt great through 50 yards and then the pain kicked in.
    Swim Workouts
  17. Feeling fairly fast these days

    by , March 16th, 2011 at 08:30 AM (Mixing it up this year)
    Don't know if it was the 3 days of no swimming or the compex unit helping, but I am recovering better.

    5x200@3:30 Free
    5x100@1:45 Fly kick w/fins on back
    5x100@1:30 Free kick w/fins & board
    10x50@1:00 Fly w/fins as 25 skull drill/25 fast
    5x100@1:30 Free w/paddles, bouy & tempo trainer held 1:20's
    3x100@1:40 Free easy
    200 Free long and loose distance per stroke

    Total 3500 yards
  18. Tuesday, March 15, 2011 Double 6:15pm @ YMCA

    by , March 16th, 2011 at 12:45 AM (Fast Food Makes for Fast Swimming!)
    I was bored tonight at home, so I figured I'd be productive and go to the pool for a little bonus workout! It was a nice surprise to dip my foot in the pool and feel cooler water than normal too! I turned to the head guard and asked her if it was cooler than normal. She smiled and said "Yes, 83...Sshhhh...don't tell anyone " I guess their "normal" is 84-85, so I wasn't complaining.
    Good workout tonight, I could definitely tell it was a second swim of the day, haven't done one of these in a while. The second half of the workout I even got to split my lane with a Noodler who traded in her noodle for a pair of fins, which didn't seem to do much for that matter. Like everyone says here, it's HOW you use them, not that you're using them.

    Gonna throw in an Ab Ripper X workout just for fun before bed too.

    Fort - take note of this: I went for a more kick intensive workout than I normally would do, and made some good work of it too. (All my kicks were with a board).

    200 Free
    100 Kick
    200 Free
    100 Kick
    200 IM

    10 x 75 (25 Kick w/ board, 50 Free)
    2 @ 1:15, 2 @ 1:10, 2 @ 1:05, 2 @ 1:00, &
    2 @ :55 (these were tough ones, touch and go, but I made them)
    50 EZ

    2 Times Thru:
    150 IM no free (relaxed) @ 2:30
    100 Free @ 1:30

    20 x 25
    Odds SDK on back @ :45 (my stomach was lovin' me)
    Evens Sprint Fly @ :30

    8 x 100 Free @ 1:20 (held 1:09s, 1:10s)

    100 Kick EZ
    3500 Yards + 3100 Yards from this morning = 6600 Yards for the day
  19. Tuesday

    by , March 15th, 2011 at 09:19 PM (Workout Swimmer)
    How I managed to get to the pool late today when I had plenty of time, I don't know. Traffic, perhaps. There were only three of us there today, but the sun was lovely. Water a bit warmer than I like, but I suppose they are continuing to heat the pool for the noodlers.

    300 choice
    6 x 125 with stroke mixed in on 2:00
    Twice thru:
    3 x 50 on :40
    50 kick & 50 EZ on a minute each
    5 x 200 - start at 3:00, then 2:50, 2:40, 2:50, 3:00
    500 pull no paddles (as usual)

    I am very excited about the Atlanta meet - can't wait to see how many people from the Forum are there that I might meet!!
  20. Sarasota Y Sharks Masters 5:30 AM Workout -03/16/11

    by , March 15th, 2011 at 06:24 PM (Sarasota Y Sharks Masters GOLD Workout)
    WARM UP:
    2 X 150 2:30 2:15
    2 X 250 4:10 3:45
    4 X 50 :50 :45
    Twice through. Round 1 intervals left, 2 right.

    1 X 200 kick 4:30
    1 X 50 easy swim 1:00
    1 X 50 fast swim 1:15
    Three times through.

    1 X 100 easy swim

    12 X 25 sprint :45


    1 X 200 IM 3:30
    1 X 100 IM 1:45
    4 X 50 stroke
    Three times. 50's: round 1 fly, 2 back, 3 breast.


    3 X 500 free 6:40

    WARM DOWN: 4 X 50 easy 1:00

    Swim Workouts