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  1. Still riding the struggle bus (15 months out)

    by , February 4th, 2014 at 03:42 PM (slick's shoulder surgery blog)
    About time for another update I guess, again it’s been a long while! Put on your buoys and paddles people, this is going to be a long one.

    Unfortunately, things are still not much improved since I last wrote. After what I will call “The Incident” at month 8, I have been stuck in a frustrating cycle of setbacks. These cycles typically involve a few weeks of doing well – I can swim the entire workout with no gear and actually push myself/put effort into my strokes - followed by an “incident” which makes my shoulder “die” and I’m right back at the start again – kicking and swimming with fins, can’t put any effort into my stokes, and have to severely modify the workouts.

    (Let me explain what I mean when I say that my shoulder “dies”. I am mostly talking about severe weakness and notable muscle atrophy in my shoulder/arm area, especially in my tricep. There isn’t really much pain involved, and it doesn’t seem to affect my flexibility. Sometimes I will also get a heavy/dull ache in various places around my shoulder, and more often I get a pinchy feeling or knot behind my upper shoulder blade. With minor incidents, my arm just feels a bit weak after activity - be it swimming or my PT exercises - but a few days rest will take care of it. With major incidents, I can barely hold the weight of my own arm up, and I can literally just watch my muscle shrink before my eyes. At its worst, I will attempt to flex my arm, but *nothing* happens. What is driving me nuts is that I have not been able to determine what exactly makes my shoulder die, other than activity in general. It has died after doing PT, after swimming, and it seems that it sometimes just dies without doing anything – though I suspect that things like doing the dishes or inadvertently sleeping on it can cause its death as well. Most times the death is a delayed reaction of hours or even an entire day later - which makes it hard to determine the specific activity which triggered it.)

    Around the holidays, I was doing quite well. I think I got a good 4 weeks in before I had another “incident” around Christmastime. It was a fairly minor one on the spectrum of things – but I had had enough. I was so frustrated and knew (again) that something wasn’t right. So back to the doctor I went. I didn’t go back to my surgeon this time, because I felt that what I had been experiencing was something beyond the usual setbacks in recovery. I mean, my surgery was a “success” in terms of fixing my shoulder so that it stayed in its socket – I haven’t had a subluxation or partial re-dislocation in 18 months now and that is a big deal LOL! At this point I just knew that I was experiencing wasn’t normal, and I again feared that something else had gone wrong somewhere in my shoulder.

    So I went to a physiatrist, who for over 40 minutes thoroughly poked and prodded me, tested my range and strength, and asked lots of questions. At the time of my appointment, my shoulder had been recovering from the last incident and was doing OK. I guess the good news was that she did not find anything “else” wrong with my shoulder. The bad news was that I didn’t get much of an explanation for what might be wrong. She said that she thought that my “muscles could just be really locked up” and that we were “going to try a different approach” to the situation. She then referred me back to PT, but this time around I would be going to what they call “manual” PT for a “musculoskeletal disorder”. Even though she did not straight out say it, that type of referral along with my symptoms screams nerve damage to me.

    It makes perfect sense actually that what I am experiencing is some sort of nerve damage. I mean, right there in my medical record it says “BRACHIAL PLEXUS INJURY” – something that I have had since I first dislocated my shoulder back in 2008. Before the surgery, I actually often dealt with symptoms such as shooting pains down my arm and into my hand, deep pins and needles, and I couldn't sleep on my left side at all. But after the surgery those symptoms basically went away. Occasionally now I do feel subtle pins and needles, but it is nothing compared to before and the night time discomfort is gone for the most part. However, at this point I really do feel that the nerve damage is still there, and it is now perhaps manifesting itself in a different form (ie, episodes of sudden atrophy).

    So that is basically where I am now. I do plan on going back to the physiatrist again soon to further discuss all of this, and hopefully pinpoint what could be causing the flare ups (or shut downs, rather). In the meantime, I have had two sessions of “manual” PT, and let’s just say I am not overly hopeful about it. Basically half of the session is spent on doing the same old exercises, and the other half is the PT doing “manual” work on my shoulder – basically deep massage. The physiatrist assured me that manual PT was “not massage” but I beg to differ, at least from what I’ve experienced so far. I think that any well-trained sports LMT could provide the same treatment (including the one I have been seeing bi-monthly for some time now). If in fact I do have nerve damage, then the one thing that will truly help me is TIME. Yet more time……sigh. The fact that my muscles are able to recover at any rate at all is a good sign I guess.

    Before I sign off, I just want to acknowledge how much of a mental roller coaster the last few months have been, especially the last few weeks. It is SO frustrating. It has almost gotten to the point where going to the pool has become a negative experience (right now I am only going twice a week). I am trying VERY hard to keep thinking positively and it can be extremely difficult to at times. There may or may not have been tears behind the goggles at times, because this is so damn frustrating. It’s hard to feel like you’re doing everything you can to help yourself – PT, acupuncture, massage, drugs, EVERYTHING – and you have nothing to show for it. It’s hard to jump in the pool and feel so WEAK when the pool is what has made you feel so strong before.

    But I am so lucky to have incredible teammates who have given me so much support. I swim with a group of wonderful women (and dudes) who have been through it all – multiple surgeries, failed surgeries, even CANCER for god’s sake! They overcome it and eventually get back to doing what they love – and they are damn good at it too as they whoop my arse ALL the time! I try to think about them when things seem hopeless. I hope that I am able to be in their shoes (fins) a decade or two from now and look back on this time and have it be all worth it……

    Updated February 4th, 2014 at 08:16 PM by swimslick

  2. Sarasota YMCA Sharks Masters 5:30 AM Workout-02/05/2013

    by , February 4th, 2014 at 12:46 PM (Sarasota Y Sharks Masters 5:30 a.m. Workout)
    1 X 250 4:15 4:15
    4 X 100 1:45 1:40
    Two rounds. Round 1 intervals left, 2 right.

    1 X 500 kick

    5 X 200 4:15
    Swim 2X100 IM. Negative split the 200

    17 X 100 free 2:00
    #3-6-9-12-15 @ 85/90%
    #16&17 easy swim down

    Swim Workouts
  3. Week 71 - Tuesday

    by , February 4th, 2014 at 11:22 AM (After a long rest)
    My parents flew home last night and its always sad for all of us when they leave to go back to the uk. My mum reads my blog so i will say it again, move here, we love you and miss you and Dad!!! Enough of the mushy stuff...on to the swimming

    I had a good nights sleep and woke feeling strong and rested. Today's workout was really tough and despite not having any shoulder issues related to swimming so far I was very stiff and sore today. Tom and I discussed the fact that I have managed to drop my times on all of our test sets and that he wanted to gradually drop my workout times further. We discussed that where I am speed wise we will now need to drop a second or two per hundred as opposed to 5 seconds. So today we began this process and it was tough. 1-2 seconds does not seem like a lot but it made a huge difference today(combined with a 4k pull set yesterday obviously).

    Today's workout

    Warm up
    4x125 on 1.45 swum as 100 free, 25 kick
    4x125 on 1.45 swum as 100 IM, 25 kick

    Main sets
    4x(2x50 kick AFAP on 1min, 2x100 free on 1.03, 4x25 free with turn on 35)
    12x75 free with snorkel working turns on 1min
    10x50 free on 33

    Warm down
    100 easy

    Total 4100scy

    The warm up was different to our normal warm up and it took me most of the warm up to get loose. My shoulders were very stiff and my left shoulder was a little sore(it went away).

    The main set was tough and by round 3 I was hurting pretty bad. I held 38-39 on the kick 50s and 1min-1.01 on the 100s. I used the 25s as active recovery. The 1st 100 was pretty easy but the second 50 of the 2nd 50 hurt and I had to concentrate to not shorten my stroke. The 75s I swum aerobically holding 48s throughout. The last round of 50s was rough but held 31s, so by the time I turned these were touch and turn the whole way. I hit A rhythm but I was so glad this was 10 and not 12 or else I think I would have failed. Overall a good workout but I am beat.
    Swim Workouts
  4. Monofin fun

    by , February 4th, 2014 at 07:37 AM (Mixing it up this year)
    This was a day to pull out the Monofin and have fun.

    500 free
    500 free kick w/zoomers

    8x25@:45 torque drill w/paddles & snorkle
    4x25@1:00 shooters w/monofin
    8x25@:40 fly scull drill w/monofin & snorkle

    5x200@4:00 fly as 50 rt arm/50 lt arm/50 kick/50 swim w/monofin went 3:12, 3:05, 3:00, 2:51, 2:40
    300 free w/snorkle
    200 free kick w/zoomers

    Total 3000 yards
    Swim Workouts
  5. Monday 2/3/14

    Monday 2/3

    PM only SCY

    400 swim every 4th 25 scull
    4x150 @ 2:00 pull w/ buoy + paddles breathing 2-4-6 by 50

    8x50 @ 1:00 I.M.O.
    odd: k/dr
    even: dr/sw
    8x25 @ :40 V.S. I.M.O.
    100 EZ

    3x (FR, BK, BR <-- no fins on BR)
    4x12.5 @ 1:30 w/ power tower (very heavy)
    100 @ 2:00 FAST w/ fins (48.2, 54.0, 1:06.8)
    50 @ 2:00 FAST w/ fins (22.6, 24.5, 29.3 <-- w/ dive)
    4x100 @ 1:15 lactic hold (make interval by 7+ seconds...went 1:00s and a :59 on the last 4)

    300 kick w/ board + fins EZ

    Total: 4800
    Swim Workouts
  6. Workout 02/03/14: morning

    by , February 3rd, 2014 at 10:37 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    Tired after all the "drylands" this weekend, in addition to watching the Super Bowl last night. The Seahawks were impressive, but I think that my Patirots could have slowed them down and put more points on the board. (But I am not sure if they could have beat them).

    Quick swim before work, first day back after a week's staycation:

    200 Fr/200 Bk/200 IM drill
    5 x 100 kick with board on 1:50
    4 x 50 on :50
    2 x 100 IM on traffic
    2 x 100 loosen and out
    (Solo/Rec/1700 yds/35 min)

    Water was hot, I was tired. Got out early so I could shave before going to work. I put in my entry for the One Hour Swim this evening, helping team NEM to retain the National Champs. I'm wiped out from vacation.
    Swim Workouts
  7. Wrong-way breaststroke

    I had a nice solo swim at the Panama City Beach pool today—my first since I arrived, since the pool is closed on Sundays. It was extremely foggy and warm, with a little misting at the beginning that didn’t morph into the threatened thundershowers. Here’s what I did:

    1000 scy warmup

    5x thru

    • 500 swim
    • :20 rest
    • 2 x 50 kick @ 1:00

    [The kicks were all FL/BK, and the 500s were my usual traveling-backstroke set, except the part between the BKs was IM, as follows:

    • 200 FR / 50 BK / 0 IM / 50 BK / 200 FR
    • 150 FR / 50 BK / 100 IM / 50 BK / 150 FR
    • 100 FR / 50 BK / 200 IM / 50 BK / 100 FR
    • 50 FR / 50 BK / 300 IM / 50 BK / 50 FR
    • 0 FR / 50 BK / 400 IM / 50 BK / 0 FR

    I worked the IM, did the rest moderate.]

    150 warmdown + bonus 100 lcm (see below)

    Because I was the only one in the pool (and had been for most of the workout), I decided to end with a LCM 100, even though the lanelines were set perpendicularly for scy. I started out swimming underwater, coming up every three or so lanes for a breath, but I then discovered I could easily do breaststroke, gliding under each lane line and breathing once in each short course lane, without changing my stroke much. (Fly didn’t work so well—I couldn’t keep my stroke short enough). This was fun! I think I could be happy doing a breaststroke set this way, if the opportunity presents itself again.
  8. Mon., Feb 3, 2014

    by , February 3rd, 2014 at 04:18 PM (Trying to Train Smarter, Not Just Harder)
    Lovely weather today, warmish air, coolish water. Couldn't ask for more. Feeling pretty good throughout the workout - was pooped after the 400 breast/free, but I did recover to have a very nice 600 steady state after. Feeling positive about swimming (which is nice, because I'm not feeling so positive about other things right now -- please can I have a new job?).

    600 back/free
    2 x 300 pull
    300 kick
    100 easy
    100-200-300-400-300-200-100 -- 100 & 300 free pull; 200 & 400 breast/free by 50's
    4 x 4-cycle speed play
    100 easy
    600 steady state w/fins & paddles - neg split each 200 faster than the last
    300 kick
    4 x 150 breast/free/breast
    300 various

    Total: 5000 LCM
  9. 2|3|14 SCM

    by , February 3rd, 2014 at 03:34 PM (Blog)
    SCM (55 minutes)


    20*25 on 0:22 free, F, P
    500 back, F

    20*12.5 on 2:00 free, DFS, AFAP

    Weights (60 minutes)

    • Iso Leg Press - 6 sets 45(10), 90(10), 135(10), 180(10), 225(6), 270(8) - [lbs each leg (reps)]
    • 2 sets leg extensions
    • 3 sets leg curls
    • 2 sets seated calf platformed caple presses
    • 4 sets supersetted glose-grip (overhand) lat pulldowns/tricep cable pushes
    • 5 sets (closegrip) upright rows
    • 3 sets Vasisthasana (side plank) while doing lateral dumbell raises with 5 lb
    • stretching that feels good

    Right shoulder slightly sore from an injury I recieved 4 days ago unloading groceries from car to house. The sufferings of life come with a sense of humor.

    Updated February 3rd, 2014 at 09:07 PM by __steve__

  10. Sarasota YMCA Sharks Masters 5:30 AM Workout-02/04/2013

    by , February 3rd, 2014 at 12:13 PM (Sarasota Y Sharks Masters 5:30 a.m. Workout)
    WARM UP:
    1 X 200 3:30 3:30
    2 X 150 2:45 2:30
    2 X 100 1:45 1:40
    3 X 100 kick 2:30 2:30
    Two rounds. Round 1 intervals left, 2 right.

    10 X 50 1:10
    #1 is easy--2-10: 25 fast/25 easy

    1 X 200 moderate 3:30
    1 X 100 @ 100% 3:00
    Three rounds

    5 X 200 pull or swim
    descend 1-3 on 3:20
    4&5 are best effort on 4:00

    WARM DOWN: 4 X 50 easy

    Swim Workouts
  11. Monday, February 3, 2014 5:30-6:30am

    by , February 3rd, 2014 at 10:54 AM (Fast Food Makes for Fast Swimming!)
    WAYYYYYYY TOOOOO EARLY this morning. My body (or at least my eyes) were open at 5:15, so I decided to get going to the pool. It was very uncrowded at this hour, which is rare from what the regulars tell me. Normally it has 3 to a lane for the 1st hour which is typically why I avoid the 1st hour of lap swim at the Y. This morning though it was all singles in the lanes, with only 2 having to double up. After a bit everyone doubled, but that was it before people started getting out.

    I just went for long slow and fairly easy this morning. My shoulder wasn't liking me, and I definitely wasn't really awake either. I could tell afterward as I was nearly falling asleep in the warm water of the shower.

    500 Free warmup

    500 Flutter Kick w/ board

    500 Free again

    500 SDK w/ short fins on back

    500 Free Pull

    12 x 50 Free swim w/ short fins on (to put less stress on my shoulder) @ 1:05, swimming about 1:00s per 75

    100 EZ

    3500 Yards

    Today just felt like being a lap swimmer at the pool...just took it easy with long slow stuff.
  12. Saturday 2/1/14

    Saturday 2/1

    PM only SCY

    300 swim

    50 FL - 25.33

    Again, Doug dropped in on a high school meet this afternoon and challenged me to a 50 FL swim-off. I cannot turn down a challenge! I believe Doug stopped the clock at 26.1.

    150 EZ

    Total: 500
    Swim Workouts
  13. Week 71 - Monday

    by , February 3rd, 2014 at 08:23 AM (After a long rest)
    Had a very restless night of sleep last night. My parents go home to the UK today and for what ever reason I could not stop thinking about how quick there 7 week visit went and the next time I see them it will be right before worlds. Today's workout was long and mostly aerobic swimming.

    Warm up
    400 free with snorkel
    6x50 catchup on 45

    Main set
    8x500 pull on 6 mins working turns, swum as odds pressing first 250 and evens pressing the second 250.
    300 kick

    Warm down
    100 easy

    Total 5100 scy

    I held between 5.10 and 5.15 on the 500s pull and felt strong throughout.

    Updated February 3rd, 2014 at 01:53 PM by StewartACarroll

    Swim Workouts
  14. Back to normal today

    by , February 3rd, 2014 at 07:54 AM (Mixing it up this year)
    Had to share a lane today so that means freestyle today. Tomorrow I am not sure which stroke I will work on, probably fly.

    Hit 50 miles today, that should have been last week but not getting in the pool for 2 days due to a non snow event really gets in the way of plans.

    500 free
    500 free kick w/zoomers

    2x200@3:00 free w/paddles & bouy went 2:58, 2:51
    4x100@1:30 free w/paddles & bouy went 1:22, 1:21, 1:22, 1:22
    4x50@:45 free w/paddles & bouy heald 41's
    1x200@3:00 free w/paddles & bouy went 2:47
    2x100@1:30 free w/paddles & bouy held 1:20's
    2x50@:45 free w/paddles & bouy held 40's

    10x50@1:00 free kick on back w/zoomers holding 47's
    5x100@:15RI EZ free w/snorkle

    Total 3500 yards
    Swim Workouts
  15. Sat., Feb 1st, 2014

    by , February 2nd, 2014 at 07:38 PM (Trying to Train Smarter, Not Just Harder)
    Solo around noon. One of 3 people in a 50m pool. Was hoping to wait until the sun came out, so I could work on my freckles, but the sun stayed behind the clouds until about 4:30, and I didn't have time to wait for that. Amazing how horribly unmotivated I become when I swim solo. If I even had just one other person who sorta resembled a swimmer, I could pretend to race, but noodlers and sunbathers just don't bring out the animal in me. Meant to go much farther, but gave myself the excuse of being sorta achy from weights and biking this morning.
    1000 w/up done as 100 free/25 back/25 breast (repeat)
    6 x 200 pull @ 2:45
    100 easy
    6 x 100 swim/kick @ 1:45
    100 easy
    Four times thru the following: (working on walls/turns)
    100 free
    75 back/free/back
    50 fly/free
    25 4-cycle speed play
    300 breast/free cool down
    ~4300 SCY
  16. Sunday, February 2, 2014 1:00-2:00pm Pre-Superbowl Beatdown

    by , February 2nd, 2014 at 06:41 PM (Fast Food Makes for Fast Swimming!)
    Yesterday, we tore out the chimney column on my house, from roof through the 2nd floor, 1st floor, and down to the basement. Lots of hard work...then I went to work for a 12 hour night, ending at 3:00am. Definitely tired James this morning, and I did sleep in almost till noon. But I had to get my swim on:


    500 Free, :15 rest
    5 x 100 Free @ 1:15 (started at 1:10, descent down to 1:07 on the last two)

    8 x 50 Flutter Kick w/ board @ 1:00
    6 x 50 Flutter Kick w/ board @ :55
    6 x 50 Flutter Kick w/ board @ :50

    100 EZ

    6 Rounds:
    125 Free Pull @ 1:30 (1:25s and under)
    25 Free Pull cruise @ :30

    5 Rounds:
    3 x 25 SDK on back @ :30
    1 x 25 Fly Fast @ :30

    100 EZ and out

    3600 Yards

    GO SEAHAWKS!!! (my non-1000 Fly workout depends on it!!)
  17. 2|2|14 - 25 minutes of SCM

    by , February 2nd, 2014 at 06:07 PM (Blog)
    Got to pool and had 50 minutes before I had to be at work.

    It was ultra-short in many regards (short effort, short rest and distances, wore two pairs of shorts, and had a short workout), but I didn't push anywhere close to the required "fail" point. So I kinda fell - short of accomplishing the Ultra Short Training® effect.

    31*12.5M on 0:40 sprint free, DFS, 50 RP
    • concentrate on form, even while splashing through the water
    • mostly 7's, with possible 6's, and likely a few 8's

    Recalling a recent on-the-fly experiment where I found my wall-pushed 25 free times were mildly quicker with a glide and no kicking UW. Today I found the UWDK from a dive ones were maybe half second quicker, verses the wall pushed ones done in the earlier quasi-experiment*

    *done near max effort but at a slower than 50 RP

    I think of two possible reasons for this: First, the prior experiment produced acidic blood and the swimming part suffered from the extra energy expenditure of dolphin kicking (todays set was LA free). The second reason could be related to the different variables between diving and pushing from the wall. Probably due to both, but more research is needed to conclude this (though I never seem to follow up on these continued experimental conclusions).

    The timing method was somewhat rough, but there is something to note from volume related trends. The procedure went like the following: Once I walked to the side's starting point (with about 10 seconds to spare after hopping out of the pool and stumbling there), upright with feet in position and eyes on the watch, as I noticed the 8 change to 9, I would quickly bend and reach down, grab the side, and launch - close to about a one second difference (compared to a static reaction from a loaded start position). There was a pipe marking mid-pool that cued my finish. This workout was shorter than its respective blog.

    Updated February 2nd, 2014 at 10:57 PM by __steve__

  18. Feb. 2

    by , February 2nd, 2014 at 04:48 PM (The FAF AFAP Digest)
    Swim/SCY/Solo @ Pitt

    Warm up:

    600 various
    150 scull
    4 x 25 shooters @ :45
    50 EZ

    Main Sets:

    Did a short set with two of my masters swimmers who were there:
    2 x w/fins
    4 x (25 shooter + 25 EZ) @ 1:00
    2 x 25 AFAP @ :45

    100 EZ

    Then did a few starts, SDK-ing to the 15m mark
    100 EZ

    2 x (12 x 25 @ 100 pace, 3 x IM order, + 50 EZ)
    -- these felt harder than they should have ...

    5 x starts w/parachute, 12 SDKs, cruise back
    2 x backstroke starts
    100 EZ


    Whew, glad I didn't go to Sewickley as Water Rat reported that there were already 4 in their lane. Not much yardage today, but a huge percentage was race pace.

    Note to self: please take care of yourself and see allergist. My lung capacity still feels kaput. I used to be able to do shooters forever. Not anymore. My sister-in-law mentioned a new antihistamine that is supposed to be effective. I need to make it a priority to get in after 5 months of living with a dog ...
    Swim Workouts
  19. Happy Super Bowl Sunday!

    In honor of Super Bowl XLVIII, I'm doing a set of 48x50s today. 48x100s would be a better workout, but my legs are a little torched from doing lunges yesterday, and I don't really want to wear myself out and fall asleep in the middle of the game this afternoon. Maybe next year I'll think about doing 49x100s.
  20. Workout 02/01/14: morning

    by , February 1st, 2014 at 10:24 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    Had a fun day snowboarding yesterday, first time at the mountain in a few years. I was able to get the old snowboard waxed and sharpened - not too bad for being 22 years old, huh?

    Feeling a little sore, I was up early to get the kids to a Men's Breakfast before masters.

    200 Swim/200 Kick/200 Pull

    Modified from AZTimm's set during the week:
    8 x 50 on :60 (I did 75's instead of 50's all the way through)
    200 Pull
    6 x 50 on 1:05
    200 swim/kick
    4 x 50 on 1:10
    200 swim with 3 dolphin kicks off each wall

    12 x 25's on :30
    - odds = FAST, evens = no free

    200 loosen and out (plus and extra 200 in between)
    (Masters/Rec/3250 yds/90 min)

    Nice workout - the idea is to keep the 50's at the same pace/time by round, but get faster through the set given the extra rest. I was able to maintain ~7 /~11/ ~20 seconds rest by round, going 47 on he last 75. I have been trying to encourage the team to work on SDK's, which will help everyone move more quickly through the water.

    Spent the afternoon cutting tiles at the college, and completed the ladies room and have to just put up three tiles in the guys room, then grout, and on to the top floor! I would have finished everything up, but Lena and I were called upon (a few hours before) to chaperone the dance at the kid's school - nice excuse to get dolled up and break a move!
    Swim Workouts