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  1. June 22, 2011

    by , June 22nd, 2011 at 08:14 AM (Trying to Train Smarter, Not Just Harder)
    My arms were tired this morning from all of yesterdays butterfly - now I know - I need to work on the old triceps to get better at fly. As well as everything else.
    500 back/free
    500 pull
    500 kick
    6 x 150 - I intended to do the IM set but after the first one, I realized, oh no! I needed fins! so I moved to the freestyle lane, where I still worked hard, but I could at least finish the laps!
    Not sure what the interval was, but it was plenty easy, I was catching the girl in front of me & still got about 20+ sec rest on each.
    100 easy
    800 free speed play by 100's - this was interesting because I swam behind Lydia - and couldn't figure out how to pass her - even though I should've passed her at the 200-250 mark - had to do a lot of open turns and breast stroke to keep from swimming up her behind.
    600 pull
    100 easy
    This is where I should have stayed an extra 20 minutes, but my arms were so tired, when he called 8 x 100 kick, I just thought, well, maybe another day!

    Total: 4000 LCM
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  2. Just trying to stay in the water

    by , June 22nd, 2011 at 07:35 AM (Mixing it up this year)
    My massage is scheduled for FRIDAY!!!! Till then I will just hang on thru the workouts.

    Elbow is still hurting but my back pain has subsided some the last few days. I think the elbow issue is actually a neck and back muscle issue that is just radiating down. I wish I could afford a daily massage. A dream...


    500 Free
    500 Free alt 50 kick/50 swim w/snorkle
    10x100@:10R Free w/fins odds rotational kicking evens hip catchup drill
    5x100@:05R Free w/bouy
    500 Free light on the arms and 6 beat kick the kick felt good and strong

    Total 3000 meters

    Maybe my kick work is starting to pay off now.
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  3. Jimmy'z Jammerz Home Modeling Kit

    by , June 21st, 2011 at 10:45 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    If perchance you are not one of the 486 viewers (and counting) who have read my most recent swimming-related vlog, "My god my output has been....", please do so now IMMEDIATELY by clicking on this link:

    http://forums.usms.org/blog.php?b=16213

    Familiarize yourself with the details of my new start-up swim-suit-apparel-cum-advertising company,
    Jimmy's Jammerz.

    Then, if you are the skittish sort who has trouble making decisions on your own, talk it over with your financial adviser (if you must) as to just how whopping your initial investment should be.

    Many pick hugely whopping, though the best and the brightest minds have consistently opted for guargantuanly whopping.

    (I don't mean for this to seem like some cheap salesman's trick, but the truth is that the smart money interest to date has been overwhelming. Do not wait too long to divest your offspring of their college money! He or she who hesitates is, well, I'm sure you know all too well the opportunity costs of hesitation, fellow parents of highly indebted college students!)

    In today's installment of what is fast becoming the vlog equivalent of a prospectus, I now present to potential suit buyers and stock purchasers alike my user-friendly system for modeling the message you would like me to wear on my suit at the next competition, be this something recognized and/or sanctioned by USMS, or perhaps more likely, recognized and/or sanctioned by USMS and then, with nary an explanation, de-recognized and/or de-sanctioned after the fact. But this is a subject for a future vlog and probably does not warrant more than a passing mention at this point.

    To make best use of this complimentary Jimmy's Jammerz Home Modeling Kit, all you will need to supply is:


    • a pair of sharpened scissors,
    • some Elmer's Glue-style paste (suitable for eating if you happen to be a disgusting girl named Mary Borie who was a classmate of mine at the Sewickley Academy Kindergarten in 1957),
    • a craft table,
    • a good source of overhead lighting,
    • a pair of archival-quality latex gloves of the sort used by professional philatists,
    • some acid-free sheathes of construction paper upon which to place my body and the shifting array of suits I will be presenting in coming vlogs.


    Here is my front view:



    Here is my hindquarter view:




    As mentioned in my last vlog, Michael P. McDonnell (AKA bzaks1424 on these forums) is the ideator savant who came up with the germ of this concept. In Michael's honor, I will now post his original suit proposal below.

    With your scissors, ever so gingerly cut the front and back views out and then use the tabs to see what this suit would actually look like on me, that is, a swimmer who (according to the Event Rankings section of USMS), posted the third fastest 1000 meter freestyle in the Nation in his age group, though this time, which is no longer there, would later be de-recognized, again, for reasons that make no real sense unless the infinite vagaries of spite and misanthropy somehow figure in!

    But again I become sidetracked and unglued!

    Fortunately, unlike my tenuous hold on records in the 2010 SCY Top 10 roster, the combinations of tabs and a nice shellacking by Elmer's should guarantee this grrrreeeaaatttt! inaugural suit will remain permanently affixed to both my front and rear nether regions!



    Note 1. As always, infinite thanks to my twin brother, John "RustyScupperton" Thornton, whose wizardry with art projects left me behind with the paste eaters in Kindergarten and never looked back.

    Note 2. Please visit my vlog again soon, and feel free to refer your business associates in this direction. I do not want to give too much away yet, but let us just say that interest from a large number of Fortune 500 companies has been robust.

    Not that I am in any way stuck up about "prestige" and "solvency" and other measures of the companies I represent in the pool.

    Honestly, I would feel just as honored to wear the Acme Grease Axel & Flange Co. corporate logo as Coco Chanel--if, that is, the price is right.

    And I am sure it will be!

    More suits soon to sweeten your growing collection!

    And speaking of sweetening, rumors of Kristina Ulveling joining the modeling staff are, in fact, more than just rumors. They are remote possibilities.

    That could happen.

    Barring restraining orders.

    Boy, I never noticed before how good glue smells.


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  4. June 21, 2011 - something weird got into me today

    by , June 21st, 2011 at 07:26 PM (Trying to Train Smarter, Not Just Harder)
    I had planned on using T & Th for stroke/technique days, (I swim "solo" on T & Th) but thought I would actually do some freestyle using paddles & fins like I had last week, but then after my warmup, I saw the set Amanda had for the "masters" group & decided to modify it to a fly set! How weird is that? I avoid fly like the plague!

    600 Back/Free
    600 pull
    300 kick
    100 easy
    5 x 100 fly/free w/zoomers on 2:00

    200 pull free no paddles (mod)
    4 x 100 fly/free on 1:50
    200 pull free no paddles (mod)
    3 x 100 fly/free on 1:45
    200 pull free no paddles (mod)
    100 easy


    Total: 3500 LCM


    Commentary: The interesting thing is that the 100's, which were rather difficult, of course, were more of a mental thing than physical one. Yes, I was tired, but it was more of mind over matter. The other really interesting thing was that I seemed to actually be descending on the first 5 - I guess I got my rhythm going. The hardest two were #9 & #11. Can't say I'll jump to do this set again, but at least I'm not as afraid of fly as I was, my confidence has definitely risen a notch. It also is nice to know that Terry would have had the majority of the kids wear zoomers or fins for this set too. I was holding 1:30's most of the way - too weird to contemplate!!
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  5. Tuesday, 6/21/11

    by , June 21st, 2011 at 05:53 PM (A comfort swimmer's guide to easy swimming)
    SCM

    Warm up
    200 swim - 200 kick - 200 pull

    Set #1
    - did all free on this
    2x 50 drill/10sr
    - did fist drill
    1 x 50 steady build
    1 x 50 blast 1st and last 15 meters/1:00
    - from a push, time around 38

    Set #2
    400 w/fins/20 - 30sr smooth
    - free, 6:02
    2 x 200 w/fins and small paddles/10 - 20sr easy build
    - free, 2:50 for both
    4 x 100/2:00 ds no fins (backstroke)
    - went from 1:45 to 1:35

    Kick set:
    2 x 150 kick/3:00
    - flutter on belly with fins and board, went 2:30 on both
    2 x 100 kick/2:30
    - flutter on back, no fins, went 2:15,2:10

    Warm down
    100 easy

    Total 2600 meters

    Updated June 21st, 2011 at 06:23 PM by poolraat

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  6. Sarasota Y Sharks Masters 5:30 AM Workout -06/22/11

    by , June 21st, 2011 at 02:51 PM (Sarasota Y Sharks Masters 5:30 a.m. Workout)
    LCM
    WARM UP:
    1 X 300 5:30 5:15
    1 X 200 3:45 3:30
    1 X 100 2:00 1:45
    1 X 200 kick 5:00 -
    Two times. Round 1 intervals left, 2 right.

    8 X 50 kick 1:15
    Even kicks: 25 fast/25 easy
    1 X 100 easy swim

    1 X 100 easy 2:10
    2 X 50 build 1:10
    1 X 150 fast 3:00
    Choice. Four rounds, descend the 150's 1-4.

    8 X 50 1:30
    25 sprint/25 easy

    WARM DOWN: 4 X 50 easy 1:00

    4100M
    Categories
    Swim Workouts
  7. SCY to LCM... all in one practice

    by , June 21st, 2011 at 11:57 AM (Year Three: The Road Back)
    Yesterday just got away from me and I didn't have time to blog the workout. The pool was set-up LCM. Here's what we did:

    400 Warm-Up
    12 x 100 Pull on 1:45
    8 x 50 Kick on 1:00
    2 sets (w/ fins):
    - 1 x 100 as 50 Fly/50 Back on 2:00
    - 1 x 100 as 25 Fly/50 Back/25 Breast on 2:00
    - 1 x 100 as 50 Back/50 Free on 2:00
    - 1 x 100 as 25 Back/25 Free/50 Fly on 2:00
    - 1 x 100 as 50 Free/50 Fly on 2:00
    400 Cool-Down
    Total 3,400 Meters

    Today, I was hoping for LCM again, but when I walked in, no luck. SCY - and width-wise so no backstroke flags. Nevertheless, I got in and started warming up. Of course, being slightly late, I only had time for a 300 warm-up. Here's how today's workout started:

    300 Warm-Up
    Round One (fly w/ fins):
    - 4 x 50 Drill/Swim on 1:00
    - 1 x 200 IM on 3:40
    - 4 x 50 Kick on 1:05
    - 1 x 400 IM (done as 2x200) on 7:20
    FULL STOP!

    extra 50 yds & 50 meters moving lane lines to convert pool from scy to lcm - yep... you read that right... FULL STOP to convert the pool in the middle of our practice so the age groupers could swim their entire practice LCM.


    Then we continued:
    Rounds Two and Three (back, then fly w/ fins):
    - 4 x 50 Drill/Swim on 1:00
    - 1 x 200 IM on 3:40
    - 4 x 50 Kick on 1:05
    - 1 x 400 IM (done as 2x200) on 7:20
    200 Cool-Down
    Total - 1350 SCY + 2250 LCM


    Fortunately, our coach allowed those of us who could to stay late and finish the workout - and I did. Crazy...

    Actually, I was just happy to get through the workout and was surprised how good I felt considering that the night's sleep was very short and fitful. On Sunday, I drove my daughters to meet their father. They are with him in Minnesota for the next five weeks. Last night (yes, one day...), I got a phone call that my youngest (and most adventurous) daughter had fallen out of a tree and was on her way to the ER. Fortunately, no broken bones - just bad elbow and wrist sprains. Of course, I didn't know all of that until this morning -thus the bad night of "rest". Apparently, my daughter is a lot like I was at that age - and the tree just HAD to be climbed.

    Hopefully tonight I will rest a lot better because tomorrow is happy sprint day - and I haven't sprinted in quite a while. Until then...

    Enjoy your swims!
    Categories
    Swim Workouts
  8. Not feeling it lately

    Work has really been kicking my butt these past few weeks and my swimming has really suffered. I just don't have any energy left at the end of the day. I have also had a hard time getting out of bed which has never been a problem in the past. Maybe my body is still getting use to the 100 degree days (not including the heat index). Maybe I am just getting old.

    My first LCM meet is this weekend. The nerves have kicked in a little this morning only because I have not been swimming fast at practice. I need to keep telling myself that it will all be fine. Looking forward to it though.

    300 Choice
    2 x through the following still warming up
    100 BA
    50 FR kick
    100 BR
    50 Fly

    400 pull cruise

    2 rounds of the following
    6 x 125 @ 2:00
    Odds stroke strong effort
    Evens EZ free
    2 x 200 pull @ 2:40
    6 x 75 @ 1:20
    Odds stroke strong effort

    Evens EZ free

    200 w/d

    Went back for round one of the main set and breast for round two.

    4700 scy

    Only a couple of more days to get my act together in the pool. After this meet I probably won't swim in another meet until the fall. That will give me some time to make some changes to my strokes and train hard since so far this summer has been hit or miss for me.
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  9. Tuesday workout

    by , June 21st, 2011 at 08:52 AM (Pete's swim blog)
    No sign of the video taken of us yesterday. I guess we were bumped by more important local stories. Felt good today. Did some breast stroke sprints on the choice 50s. Not as fast as I'd like but I was under 45.

    LCM

    200 Free
    6 x 100 (Catch up/Breathe Right/Catch up/Breathe Left/Catch up/Alternate)
    2 x 200 Free

    8 x 100 w/Fins - Odds kick/evens swim
    2 x 200 IM

    4 x 100 Free Negative Split
    4 x 50 IM Order
    400 Pull
    4 x 100 Down Free back IM
    4 x 50 Free
    400 Pull

    2 x 50 Choice Easy/Hard
    200 Pull
    2 x 50 Choice Easy/Hard
    200 Kick/no fins
    2 x 50 Choice Both Hard

    200 Cool Down

    (5300m Total)
    Categories
    Swim Workouts
  10. Still dealing with the elbow

    by , June 21st, 2011 at 07:34 AM (Mixing it up this year)
    A friend of mine told me about a saying of a friend of hers "as we get old we get aches and pains, we finally think we have gotten rid of nit, we realize it has just moved somewhere else."

    1000 Free as 200 s/p/s/k/s
    10x50@1:00 Fly as 25 rt arm/25 lt arm w/fins
    500 Free kick w/fins every 3rd 25 FAST
    200 Fly (angel arms drill) w/fins but didn't use them
    200 Fly kick w/fins
    200 Free w/bouy arm sprint from 15 meter mark to the wall and back out
    200 Free w/bouy
    200 Free EASY

    Total 3000 meters
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  11. Monday, June 20, 2011 5:30pm at the Y

    by , June 20th, 2011 at 10:37 PM (Fast Food Makes for Fast Swimming!)
    Well, today was fun. 11 hours on the job, and it was quite fun (or not). It was the first day of running the day shift cherry line today, and you can imagine all the problems that happen with new people, etc. At least the day went by pretty quick. I didnt even realize it was lunch time until way too late, then next thing I looked up and it was 3:30. Still have another 2 hours to go though. All done for today though. Good news is I get to start tomorrow at 5:00am! Only good for the paycheck!

    Tonights swim was more of just a relaxer, and one of maybe two swims I might get to do all week.

    Warmup:

    200 Free
    200 Free Pull
    100 Free
    100 Back
    4 x 50 Kick on back @ 1:00

    About this time of the workout the other 2 lanes got filled by the local community college girls basketball team doing a little cross training. They were in good shape, just not for swimming. It was hilarious to watch non-"swimmers" doing lap swim, and the swimsuits that most of them had definitely weren't made for lap swimming, but it did make me stick around to watch!
    8 x 50 Fly/Free by 25 @ :50

    1 x 300 Free Pull

    8 x 75 Free @ 1:00

    2 x 300 Free Pull @ :20 rest
    ----------------
    2700 Yards
  12. Monday, 6/20/11

    by , June 20th, 2011 at 07:14 PM (A comfort swimmer's guide to easy swimming)
    SCM

    Warm up (900)
    300 swim 200 free/100 back
    - 200 kick 150 w/snorkel, 50 board-50 on r side-50 on l side, then 50 on back
    100 drill
    - 1 arm fist drill, 50 free/50 back

    6 x 50's as
    2/55 build 1/50 strong
    2/55 build 1/45 fast

    Main Set(900)
    2 x 100/1:40 free
    - went 1:30, 1:35
    3 x 100/1:45 free faster
    - went 1:35-1:37
    4 x 100/1:50 free - under 1:30
    - went 1:30-1:28-1:27-1:25

    Kick (500)
    20 x 25 - kick streamline with fins
    - did a mix of some on back, some on belly, flutter and dolphin

    Sprint (200)
    4 x 50/1:00
    #1 - 25 fast - 25 ez
    #2 - 25 ez - 25 fast
    #3 - 50 ez
    #4 - 50 fast

    Warn down
    100 easy

    Total: 2600 meters
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  13. Mon Jun 20th, 2011 LCM I'm Baaack

    by , June 20th, 2011 at 04:10 PM (Ande's Swimming Blog)
    Mon Jun 20th, 2011 LCM LCM

    Hey y'all I'm Baaack from my alaskan cruise.
    Had a wonderful time.
    Did ya miss me?

    here's a day by day quick work out life log

    Sat Jun 11
    skipped Saturday Longhorn practice to do chores & pack
    we traveled to seattle, arrived late
    did not swim (DNS)

    Sun Jun 12
    swam in Seattle in the short sheraton pool, lifted weights
    boarded ship

    Mon Jun 13
    swam in the ship's short pool, lifted weights, walked, & played ping pong
    we were at Sea headed towards Glacier Bay, out in the choppy waavvy open ocean, felt queasy but didn't hurl, my son felt pretty back as did my dau

    Tue Jun 14
    DNS, but lifted weights, walked, & played ping pong
    Glacier Bay, much smoother waters inland, didn't get off, just looked in amazement at the Glaciers & scenery, shot a lot of pics, put some on FB

    Wed Jun 15
    DNS, but lifted weights, walked, & played ping pong
    Juneau, walked around, did an awesome zip line excursion with Dane & Tess

    Thu Jun 16
    DNS, but lifted weights, walked, & played ping pong
    Sitka, Did a cool wildlife watching tour with Gallant Adventures, which was me the boat captain and another couple, saw sea otters, bald eagles, Auks, seals & gray whales, smelled whale breath which it janky skanky & totally disgusting (here's some of his client pics) & then I walked around town

    Fri Jun 17th
    DNS, but lifted weights, walked, & played ping pong
    Ketchikan
    That evening we celebrated my parents 50th wedding anniversary

    Sat Jun 18th
    DNS, but lifted weights, walked, & played ping pong
    Victoria Canada toured Buchart Gardens

    Sun Jun 19th,
    gym wasn't open
    did a lot of walking some ping pong
    got off ship & travelled home

    I really enjoyed the cruise, didn't swim much but did a lot of walking, weight lifting, ping pong playing and picture taking, in fact I played so much ping pong I actually got sore from it. My table tennis ability I developed as a teen seemed to blossom back over 30 years later. Wish I would have packed my [ame="http://www.usms.org/forums/showpost.php?p=171194&postcount=1084"]SPRI Bands [/ame] so I could have done stretch cords.

    The alaskan scenery was amazing breathtaking, astounding, & just plain vast
    I put a few Iphone pics on my FB, hope to put up more soon along with youtubing some vids I shot, my phones storage is almost full, I need to archive, transfer and delete
    lastly the food was plentiful delicious and amazing, of course I ate more than I should have and gained some weight, but managed to weigh 223 at the end of practice


    Subscribe to Ande's Swimming Blog

    Whitney Coached
    UT, main pool LCM
    6:00 - 7:30 dove at 6:02
    wore B70 training jammer
    swam with Nate, Tyler Todd, Chris, Brandon & James
    beside Jim & Larry

    WARM UP
    3 round of 100 fr, 100 choice 100 k
    missed the first 100


    Main SET: LCM

    assigned 4 rounds of
    400 on 5;20 right into
    300 on 4:00 right into
    200 on 2:40 right into
    100 on 1:20 right into
    100 easy on 3:00

    Did: most of it but skipped parts of the 400's & 300's, think I did all of the 200's & 100's

    thought things went fairly well considering I had a 9 day gap in my training. I should have gotten in the ship pool each day just to keep my feel.

    on my plane ride home, I made a little calendar in my journal to count days and do a little planning

    I'm going to train hard this week & next through Friday July 1st then shift
    I'll spend the next couple weeks on speed and strength training then spend the next week
    resting for zones

    Meets

    2011 South Central Zone LCM Championships INFO
    Jul 22 - 24, 2011 in
    Shenandoah (Houston), TX
    will probably enter:
    Fri 400 IM
    Sat 50 FL, 100 FR, 50 bk or 200 IM, & 1 or 2 relays
    Sun 100 FL, 50 BR, 100 BK & 50 FR & 1 or 2 relays
    Categories
    Swim Workouts
  14. Sarasota Y Sharks Masters 5:30 AM Workout -06/21/11

    by , June 20th, 2011 at 03:14 PM (Sarasota Y Sharks Masters 5:30 a.m. Workout)
    LCM
    WARM UP:
    2 X 200 3:45 3:30
    2 X 100 2:00 1:45
    2 X 100 kick 2:30 2:30
    Twice through. Round 1 intervals left, 2 right.

    8 X 50 kick 1:15
    Evens: build to fast
    1 X 100 easy swim

    6 X 300 free 4:45

    OR

    6 X 300
    odd: IM 5:30
    even: free 5:00

    WARM DOWN: 4 X 50 easy 1:00

    4100M
    Categories
    Swim Workouts
  15. June 20, 2011

    by , June 20th, 2011 at 10:14 AM (Trying to Train Smarter, Not Just Harder)
    Swam amazingly well today, considering my insides were churning and still sick after a slight bout of (presuming) food poisoning on Friday night.

    600 back/free
    3 x 200 pull w/30 sec rest between each, breathing every 3rd
    3 x 200 reverse IM w/30 sec rest between each (I so totally hate reverse IM's!!)
    100 easy
    6 x 100 kick on the 2:15 - which was amazing!! I kept the interval better than I EVER have before!! I got 20 sec rest on two of them - and mind you, this is without fins or zoomers - something I was practically addicted to before joining ATAC
    100 easy
    2 x 800 free, theoretically descending 1-2, on the 12:00. Kept the interval, did NOT go faster on #2!!
    100 easy
    And had to get out here. I sooooo wish I could stay longer - like at least until 7:30!! Maybe I will try this on Wednesday? I know I can make it to work on time - but exactly how "pretty" I will look, I'm not sure. . . I could just go with a bag on my head?

    Total: 4300LCM
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  16. Father's day, soccer and Monday aches and pains

    by , June 20th, 2011 at 09:15 AM (Pete's swim blog)
    Had a great Father's day. The kids got me an acoustic guitar which is good because I'm too lazy to plug in my electric guitar. Plans worked out so that I got to play soccer last night. I'm not terribly good at soccer but I love playing the game. The problem with soccer is injuries. At some point, my heel got injured and I played on it for too long. Didn't affect my swimming much but I got a painful reminder of last night every time I took a breast stroke kick or pushed off a wall.

    A man from a local television station showed up this morning with a camera. I have no idea what it was for but he took a lot of footage of our lane. I suppose I might end up on the local news tonight.

    LCM

    200 Free
    200 Kick
    400 Free

    4 x 100 Free
    4 x 100 Kick (No fins)
    4 x 100 Pull

    4 Times through:
    * 100 Free down/Stroke drill back (IM Order)
    * 50 Stroke (IM Order)

    2 Times through:
    * 200 IM
    * 200 Free
    * 4 x 50 IM Order
    * 200 Free
    * 200 IM
    * 4 x 50 Free

    200 cool down

    (5200m total)
    Categories
    Swim Workouts
  17. Miserable Meet but the kids did well

    by , June 20th, 2011 at 07:44 AM (Mixing it up this year)
    I just hurt for this meet. It was not good. My best swim was being off on my 100 Free by 2 seconds. My 50 was off by 4 seconds???? I just got worse this time. My 200 back stunk and my 100 back did not even beat my split time for the 200 back????

    I enjoyed watching my kids drop LOTS of time!!!! That was the shining light of the meet.

    10x100@2:00 Free
    200 Back kick
    6x50@1:15 Back held 50's
    200 Free kick w/snorkle
    6x50@1:00 Free held 45's
    500 Free kick with fins moderate to fast
    500 Free pull w/bouy only last 200 easy

    Total 3000 meters
    Categories
    Uncategorized
  18. MIMS relay report, conclusion

    Before I got in for my second leg I reviewed where we were on the course with Rondi—she pulled up a map on her phone and showed me the little bend at the top of the Harlem River I would be going through before the turn into the Hudson, and gave me some landmarks to look for. We pulled up beside John and I jumped in and made the exchange. I think I went under 3 bridges quickly—they’re spaced pretty close together in the Harlem—then made the turn into the Hudson. There was more current there than we were expecting, and my kayaker guided me out towards the middle of the river to catch as much of it as we could. I could see the George Washington Bridge up ahead in the distance.

    I could see a swimmer coming up on my right seeking the same fast-moving water we were, and I suspected it was Evan. He pulled even with me, and I tried to keep up with him for as long as I could, which wasn’t long. It was nice to see another swimmer I knew near me, and I was glad to see he looked strong. The water had just gentle rolls here, and I had a nice stretch of just stroking along and enjoying the river. I was feeding every 30 minutes on this leg, and was glad to have those breaks to mark the passing of time. My arms were definitely feeling fatigued by this point, but it was mesmerizing just to keep turning them over and watch the river go by.

    The rest of this leg went by pretty uneventfully. I could see several swimmers in closer to shore, but they seemed pretty far away from us (the river is very wide at this point.) As we approached Riverbank State Park the water started getting choppier, and the going a bit tougher, but by then I was almost done. I was glad to see John up on deck getting ready to make his second splash, and happy to hand over the rest of the swim to him.

    Once again, John immediately began making up ground on swimmers ahead of us in a big way. I enjoyed sitting in the boat, eating my sandwich, talking with Rondi, and just relaxing as I watched the rest of the race unfold. We could still see Evan in the distance, but we weren’t gaining on him. He looked like he was swimming really strong down the Hudson, and maybe even catching up to the race leaders. We passed another swimmer from our wave, Sarah Thomas, whom we had traded places with several times during the day, and then went by another (I think Spanish swimmer Miguel Suner.) As we approached the cruise ship terminals we could see a vessel powering up to pull out of port. We were hoping swimmers would not need to be pulled to accommodate their schedule. It was a bit before 4pm, and the two ships I had seen arrive that morning were scheduled to leave that afternoon at 4 and 5. (If there are swimmers in the ships’ path, the boat captains take GPS readings, get the swimmers out of the water, then return them to the same position once it’s safe to do so. Rondi explained to me that even swimmers who were not anywhere near the ships would have to get out then get back in if orders to do this came through.)

    We saw the first ship pull out while we were north of the terminal, and then we were able to make it past the terminal before the second was slated to depart. From what we could make out of the race ahead of us, it looked like Erica was in the lead, John van Wisse a bit further back in second, and Evan and Ollie close together in a battle for third. Meanwhile, Sarah Thomas was swimming very strongly—she had never fallen far back once we passed her—and was coming up beside us. She looked great, and it was really inspiring to see her swimming so strong after 7+ hours in the water. I cheered as she went by. She seemed to be making up ground on the swimmers ahead of us as well, but it looked like she would run out of river before catching them.

    As we neared the end of the race all swimmers were given instructions to move in closer to shore. The second cruise ship was able to pull out and go to the outside of swimmers without disrupting the race. We cheered on John as he made his way to South Cove, where the race begins and ends. We got as close as boats were allowed, watched as the three swimmers nearest us finished, then saw John reach the ladder that marks the official end. Our boat captain blew his air horn in salute, then we had to head back upriver towards North Cove to unload the boat while John got out, retrieved his checked bag, and got a massage and snack while waiting for us to walk down to the finish.

    Docking and unloading took a while, so I was really glad once we got we found John and I could give him a big hug and high-five. We hung around in the finish area for awhile, and I was able to congratulate swimmers who were done and cheer for others as they came in. I also got to finally meet Amanda (Chicken of the Sea)—she had been the race observer on Erica’s boat. We had cupcakes left from the day, so I iced and sprinkled the remaining ones and gave them out to anyone who looked hungry (yes, they were a hit!). Finally I headed over to the post-race dinner with John, Rondi, and Dave, who had been zooming around the course all day as a safety-boat race observer. My husband came and joined us, and it was nice to just sit with friends and relax as we waited around for awards.

    We were the top relay, with a finish time of 7:36:34. That put us about 7 minutes behind race-winner Erica Rose, who had a comfortable 4-minute lead over John van Wisse. Evan used his strong swim down the Hudson to finish in 3rd, just 10 seconds ahead of Ollie. Sarah was fifth overall and second woman—she finished 14 seconds ahead of us. Full results are here. It was a great day on the water, with everyone who started the race finishing. There were a lot of triumphant and exhausted people at the dinner! NYCSwim did a great job with the swim, and the more I learn about what all is involved in putting it on, the more I’m impressed and amazed by how smoothly everything went.

    Many people asked me right afterwards if I have plans to do this race solo next year. That’s something I don’t yet know. On the one hand, the idea of being able to swim for 8+ hours seems more imaginable than it did before. On the other, I now have a healthy appreciation of how tired I am after just swimming 4! It’s also hard to imagine how swimming it solo would be an even better experience than I had swimming it with John—it was really fun to switch out being in the water and on the boat with Rondi throughout the day. If nothing else, this experience has given me some more insight into the kind of longer swims that might appeal to me in the future.

    I followed up the race with a very mellow day on the beach Sunday with the CIBBOWS gang plus out-of-town visitors. I got to chat a bit with Evan and hear his perspective on the day, then talked about some other ow races and swims that he’s done or is intrigued by. (All weekend I asked the many experienced OW swimmers I met about what really beautiful swims they had done, and got a nice array of answers—there’s a lot of wonderful places to swim in this world!). I swam with Amanda, did some ocean IMs, then a bit of beach synchro with her and a couple of CIBBOWS buddies. My arms and upper back were a little sore, but nothing hurt, and it felt really good to swim and wiggle around in the clear cool water and loosen up. On the train ride home I felt blissy and peaceful, and really really happy with my weekend of swimming.
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  19. MIMS relay report, part 2

    The very first part of the around-Manhattan swim is always against a current, as swimmers round the southern tip of the island before finding north-flowing water in the East River. I wasn’t sure how hard this part would be, or how long it would take—some MIMS veterans told me they hardly noticed a current here, while others thought it had been pretty rough swimming, and these perceptions were not always correlated with swimmer speed. When the horn for my heat sounded, many of the faster swimmers quickly got a ways ahead of me, but I thought I recognized Victoria and Michael swimming right with me in the first few hundred yards. With only 10 swimmers in our heat who were rapidly spreading out, our kayakers were able to pick us up quickly—Sergio was beside me after about 100 meters, and I could see him from the very start working his way over to me.

    I could see that I was making progress, but it seemed slow going. I quickly lost sight of most of the other swimmers. As I got to the Battery, I could see the big orange Staten Island ferry docked to my left. I tried to pick up the pace—I definitely didn’t want to get stuck waiting for it to pull out after the other swimmers in my wave had passed it. (The ferry doesn’t stop for the race, and its schedule is one reason the race starts and ends where it does, so that swimmers are still fairly clumped together as we go past it. If it’s pulling out or docking, you have to tread water and wait for it to get out of the way before continuing on.) Once past it, I saw the ferry terminal for Governors Island, and then Governors Island itself to my right. After some more stroking, I felt the water swirling around as we entered the East River. I looked up and saw the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges in front of me, and the river stretching out beyond them. It was a lovely sight

    We passed a busy heliport, and I turned over for a few strokes to see how close the helicopter I could hear was. Soon after, my boat came into view, and I saw John and Rondi onboard waving enthusiastically and giving me thumbs up. (Rondi was our crew for MIMS, and had been invaluable in the months leading up to the swim as a source of training advice and encouragement, and as regular workout buddy, and friend.) I waved back mid-stroke, the same way I do if I’m already in the pool at Riverbank when Rondi arrives on deck. It was good to see them, and now that I had my kayaker and my boat beside me, and had gotten into the current in the East River, all that was left to do was swim along for the rest of my 2-hour leg.

    I passed under the Brooklyn Bridge and the Manhattan Bridge in quick succession, and did 8 strokes of backstroke beneath each to enjoy the view. After a while my kayaker held up my feed bottle, which he had gotten from Rondi on the boat, and I turned over on my back and drank some juice-and-water mixture. I remember feeling a little disappointed that 40 minutes had already gone by (that’s how often I was feeding), because I was having so much fun and didn’t want the 2 hours to end! The water became choppy after the two bridges, and there was some big boat traffic that went by. The chop soon became really fun rolling waves that verged on body-surfable, and I had fun playing in them as I stroked along. There wasn’t much wind—I think the waves were mostly created by the wakes of other boat traffic, and their reflection off the seawall to my left.

    Sometimes my boat would drop behind me, or even disappear then reappear on the other side. I had learned during the Hudson River test swims I was part of not to worry too much about where the boat was—the first time I swam with one, I tried to keep it in sight the whole time, and wondered why it was moving to different areas in relation to me, and whether I should react in some way. But after swimming with a boat, and more importantly being on the boat when others were swimming, I learned that, like many things in life, the boat’s movements were often not about me, or at least were not some code that I should worry about deciphering. Boats go where they need to to protect swimmers from other river traffic, to pass things off to kayakers, to avoid smaller vessels or other swimmers, or even just because someone on board wants a better angle for a picture. My kayaker stayed mostly to my right, which is my preferred breathing side, and I relied on him to guide me to the best available currents during the swim.

    Somewhere in there I did a second feed, did backstroke under the 59th Street Bridge (feeling groovy!), and just mainly kept on stroking along. I didn’t see any other swimmers for quite a long stretch. I breathed to my left every now and again to keep track of the Manhattan landmarks that passing by. It seemed that I was going pretty fast (I later learned from Rondi, who was wearing her Garmin and tracking our pace, that the current helped me along to an 11+minute mile somewhere along this stretch!) I saw Roosevelt Island, where I had picnicked a few weeks earlier, pass by on my right, and I remembered the fisherman throwing fish heads back into the river there. Luckily I didn’t run into any! At one point the kayaker said something to me—I stopped and rolled over so I could make it out: 10 minutes left.

    Shortly before it was time to do a changeover I passed a kayaker I recognized—it was my friend Cristian from CIBBOWS. I knew that my friend Julie must be somewhere nearby, since he was kayaking for her. He waved and gave me a thumbs up. I could see John getting ready to jump off our boat. A few strokes later I looked behind me and he was approaching. He tagged my leg, we said “beginning” and “ending” per MIMS rules, then gave each other a high-five. I swam over and climbed up the boat ladder, and that ended my first leg.

    Once I got on the boat I gave Julie and Cristian a wave and thumbs up. I then looked ahead of us, and I was amazed to see a flotilla of boats, swimmers, and kayakers. It seems the three waves had all converged around the entrance to the Harlem River. The current there is pretty sluggish compared to the swift water of the East River, and it had compressed the field together right as swimmers from waves two and three were catching the wave one swimmers. The course also narrows at that point, so things got pretty congested—it almost looked like we were entering a marina with all the boats ahead of us. John was simply flying through this field, He passed wave one and two swimmers, then started passing folks from our wave who had gotten ahead of me. It was truly impressive to watch.

    Meanwhile, I put on a few clothes over my suit—no need to change completely since it was a warm day—and got some snacks and drinks. I had 2 hours before my next leg, and I spent it eating, relaxing, cheering, and waving to all the swimmers, kayakers, crew, and observers I knew as we went by. Many swimmers don’t like the Harlem River—the current is slightly against them at the start, the water is a bit more oily and tannic, the architecture and bridges are not as iconic and towering as those you see earlier and later in the race. But John really likes this section—it’s generally flatter and warmer than the rest of the course, and you can get into a good stroke rhythm and just power along. It definitely worked for him!

    On the boat we could see the race leaders in the distance. Rondi had written down the numbers of many swimmers, so we knew whom we were passing and who was still up ahead. In addition to being interested in where we were in the field, we wanted to know how the race to win the whole thing was shaping up. There were a lot of impressive swimmers doing MIMS this year, and much speculation going into the swim about who would come out on top. It seemed like Erica Rose was out in front at this point, with Aussies John van Wisse (a 3-time MIMS winner) and Ollie Wilkinson battling it out behind her. I had met them all, and wondered how it would turn out.

    As I watched John pass the wave 3 swimmers, I realized that many of them would probably pass me back again on my next leg—that’s how it goes when one relay swimmer is substantially faster than the other. I decided that I would try to stay ahead of as many of them as possible for as long as I could once I got in the water again.

    (to be continued . . .)
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  20. My first attempt at OW swimming

    by , June 19th, 2011 at 09:33 PM (Life in the (not so) fast lane)
    A while back I decided I was going to try open water swimming for the first time, so I signed up to do the USMS 15K Relay National Championships in Noblesville, IN. Might as well make my first ever OW swim a 5K right?

    It actually went pretty well. It took me a while to get used to spotting and breathing in the choppy water at the start. I was struggling for a bit at first because every time I looked for the buoy, everything was a blur, so I just focused on following the swimmers in front of me. Once we spread out a bit and I settled down, things went fine and I had no problems.

    Except for the fact that I was unfamiliar with the course and unaccustomed to swimming that distance, so it seemed to go on forever.

    In all it was a good time and a nice change of pace from the pool. Not sure if I'll do another OW event anytime soon though.
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