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  1. Team's 5th anniversary

    by , January 6th, 2012 at 10:55 AM (Random Nonsense)
    North Texas Masters celebrated their 5th anniversary today. I had a chocolate cupcake with peanut butter icing and a cup of coffee, the breakfast of champions.

    Team practice SCY
    Warm up
    - 500 free
    Main Set
    - 5x150 on 2:00 (1:40, 1:41, 1:40, 1:40, 1:40)
    - 5x125 100IM+25 free on 2:00
    - 5x100 free descend on 1:50 (16,13,6,2,0)
    - 5x75 ez/fast/ez on 1:00

    There was supposed to be a 500 cool down and there was an optional fins set, but this practice ran way over with a late start and team pictures.

    Split a lane with Marge. She was really worried about making the 150s, then made them by 15s. She then crushed me on the IMs. One day I should learn to swim those other 3 strokes so I can hold my own with the girls.

    A little disappointed that I couldn't break 60 on the descend 100s, but overall very happy with the effort level today. Coach Anna called us "pink people" since we were rather flush.

    My pink snorkel arrived yesterday to go with my Uggs.
  2. 01.06.12 - Friday workout w/ my new GTD jammer

    by , January 6th, 2012 at 09:14 AM (Pete's swim blog)
    Swam w/ Roger next to Dave and Dave. Pool temp 85. Getting way too hot for longer workouts. Wore my new GTD Nike jammer. At first, it felt slow. The jammer is fairly stretch and doesn't provide much compression. I also had trouble with it allowing a little water down my backside. However, we've been training hard for the last couple days so I'll reserve judgement on how fast it is for later. I did have one encouraging test at the end of the workout... more on that later.


    500 Warm up

    5 x 300 - 4:30 Descend (3:50, 3:45, 3:40, 3:35, 3:30 w/ drag suit)
    Dave paced me through the first 4. Really wanted to see if I could hold 1:10 w/ a drag suit. Pleased with the results given the heat. Roger did these IM and finished the last one on 3:45.
    100 Easy

    6 times through:
    * 1 x 50 - :50
    * 1 x 25 fly - :20 no breath
    * 1 x 50 - :50
    50 Easy
    Drag suit off for this set. Never made the no breathers before. Made all 6 today.

    3 times through:
    1 x 50 - 1:00 25 k fr/25 fr
    1 x 25 free - :20 no breath
    1 x 50 - 1:00 25 k fr/25 fr
    1 x 50 - 1:00 25 fr/25 k fly
    1 x 25 free - :20 no breath
    1 x 50 - 1:00 25 fr/25 k fly
    50 Easy
    Mixed in some fly with the kick fly near the end. Free no breathers are a bit easier than the fly ones for me.

    400 Timed pull - no drag suit. Put on my racing cap even though it was a bit hot. Shooting for a 4:40. Pulled ahead of Roger quickly. That usually happens. Roger allways gets me on the last 100 when I get tired. Stayed even with Dave for 100 yards and then started dropping him as well. Roger was holding my pace so I assumed that Dave was just getting tired and I was still on the 1:10. At 300yds, I picked up the pace knowing Roger was coming for me. Somehow I was holding him off but I was also slowly losing my bouy. At 350, the bouy finally dropped. That was kind of a relief since I didn't have to worry about it anymore. Touched at 400 and checked the clock... 4:25?? First thought was that I miscounted and had 50 yards to go. Dave and Roger confirmed it was real. They weren't going slower... I was just holding a pace about 4 seconds per 100 faster than I normally do. Is it the new jammer?

    200 cool down

    (4300 Total)
    Swim Workouts
  3. Day 5 and I don't know if I am sprinting or flailing

    by , January 6th, 2012 at 08:30 AM (Mixing it up this year)
    The intervals for the most part were easy but the workout effort was hard. Sometimes I feel like I am flailing through the water rather than swimming.

    I am glad it was short course at the pool today for this one.

    600 free easy
    10x50 odds fly dril@1:00 evens kick@1:15 (I can't make it kicking on 1:00 yet)
    16x25@1:00 #1-4 fast doggy paddle drill #5-8 back spin drill #9-12 fast hands breast #13x16 kick

    5x(50 ASAP & 150 easy)@6:00 #1-2 kick #3-5 swim (had to add fins for the kick or I wouldn't make the interval) held 34's on the sprint free's, wish I could have gone faster but I couldn't, the lap right after the 50 was really hard to catch my breath

    200 EZ

    Total 2700 yards
  4. Take that, GTD!

    by , January 5th, 2012 at 09:10 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    So, yesterday I got in two miles at the YMCA (3500 SCY) and today I put in another 3700 yards. Congratulations, I am now on pace to meet my GTD goal!

    Yesterday's swim was not all that impressive; similar to one I did last week (10 x 100; 10 x 200; 500 mixed stroke/drill cool-down)... just keeping it simple. The 100s I did on a 1:50 interval and the 200s on 3:45, so I was coming in with a good :15-:25 rest on most reps. Trying not to overdo it.

    For today, I tried something different:

    Warm-up (10 minutes):

    5 x 50 on 1:00 (:45, :44, :41, :46, :43)
    5 x 50 on :50 (:39, :40, :41, :42, :43--this :43 felt much more difficult than the one that ended the first set); followed by :50 rest, then straight into main set...

    Main set:

    1000 in 16:30; took :05 break (sip of water) and then straight into...
    4 x 250 (50 recovery/200 hard)*
    4 x 150 (50 recovery/100 hard)*
    4 x 100 (50 recovery/50 hard)*

    *no breaks... using active rest/recovery with easy 50s

    1-2 minutes rest after main set, followed by

    Cool-down (4 minutes):

    4 x 50 on 1:00 (:44, :43, :47, :50)

    3700 yards; total time = 69:00

    I wanted to do the closest thing to swimming a 3000 hard, without actually swimming a full 3000 all out. The main set is 3000 of continuous swimming, but broken up after the first 1000--pretty hard (for me)--and a quick goggle adjustment, sip of water. I never stopped swimming, just broke up the remaining 2000 with 50-yard easy gliding at given intervals. Active recovery. Even though the distances between recovery 50s decreased as I moved through the set, it didn't seem like it was getting any easier. The active rest, versus completely stopping for a particular interval, I think this is going to help me in the open water next summer and with the long distance postal swims. One wrinkle on this that I'm going to try (maybe sometime in the next few weeks) is to progressively increase the distances between rest 50s instead of decrease it (4 x 100, 4 x 150, 4 x 250). I'm hoping this will help me maintain pace in the later stages of a long distance swim. That's my theory, at least.

    I'm an amateur in the etymological sense first and foremost; i.e., I'm a "lover" of sport, of the challenge... the adventure. So even though I've never really swum "competitively" I still love to challenge every fiber of my physical being.

    Just started reading Mallory Mead's OW workout thread on the forum and may start incorporating some of that in my routine. I've already done the side kick series drill once this week and thought it was pretty cool (and, man, do I hate kick sets, so that's saying something!).

    One thing that I'm figuring out how to do as I get better is change gears... I'm beginning to feel like I have more gears than just slow and stall-speed
  5. Super Cold Mornings! 01/04/11

    by , January 5th, 2012 at 08:10 PM (Workout Swimmer)
    It's been super cold the last two mornings - low 20's at 5:30am & the guards can't/won't open unless the temp is 32 or higher (we swim outside) - so Terry was smart - since the kids don't start school until Jan 5th, and arranged for us to have workout from 8:30-10 Tues & Wed mornings. It was still d*** cold though - it was literally 29 when we arrived at 8:15, but had warmed up to about 38 by the time workout was done.

    600 back/free breast/free warm-up
    600 reverse IM (drill/swim/drill by 150's)
    400-300-200-100 pull Demont on 1:35 base (LED the lane!! Even ahead of Lauren T)
    5 x 100 "quality" kick on 2:15 (used zoomers, led the lane again)
    5 x 100 fly/free w/zoomers on 1:40 (they did 10, I was too tired - next time I'm getting in the breaststroke lane!)
    According to coach there was another 1000 in there, but I can't for the life of me remember what it was. Oh well.

    Total 4200 LCM

    Trying to decide about nationals. I think, once again, I will be the only person from Tallahassee. Hubbie can't come & I don't want to come home to an empty hotel room & sit alone in the bleachers between events -
  6. Power Kicks, Thursday, Jan. 5

    by , January 5th, 2012 at 05:47 PM (The FAF AFAP Digest)

    Warm up &Transition:

    600 various

    8 x 50 fly drills
    odds = caterpillar @ 1:05
    evens = single arm @ 1:00

    8 x 25 back shooters w/fins @ :40

    8 x 25 back shooters, no fins @ :45-50

    100 EZ

    Power/Speed work:

    18 x 25 back kick w/med ball, done as:

    6 x 25 holding med ball overhead with one arm while other arm is at side, 3 left arm, 3 right arm, no fins @ 1:00
    6 x 25 holding med ball overhead with two arms, fins* @ :45
    6 x 25 holding med ball in front while flutter kicking w/fins* @ :45

    * Both of these engage the core and really use the shins/calves. I could practically feel my ankles flopping.

    100 EZ

    6 x 50 double torque drill w/paddles @ 1:15
    (give legs a rest, but still work on power)

    50 EZ

    8 x (25 AFAP back shooter w/fins + 75 EZ) @ 3:00
    - went mid-9s on almost all of them

    50 EZ

    Total: 3250


    Really wanted to work on backstroke kick (which includes SDKs) today. The med ball swims were not easy. And I hadn't done any straight up sprint dolphin kick sets lately, so was happy I went as fast as I did on the 25s. Got some strange looks from other swimmers with the med ball. I really need to start using my dorkel. It would have been useful on the last 6 med ball kicks and on torque drills.

    My elbows were improving for awhile, but the improvement seems to have halted. I suspect this coincides with re-commencing drylands.

    Went directly to my eye doctor for a check up afterward and got yelled at for dry eyes. I had been slamming antihistamines during that nasty cold. Perhaps a mistake to go to an eye doc right after swimming too.

    I was chatting with a running buddy the other day. He Was saying that the workouts of elite runners are all available on line or posted on YouTube. I find this, regrettably,largely not to be true with elite swimmers. I feel like we only get a snippet here or there.

    Updated January 5th, 2012 at 08:04 PM by The Fortress

    Swim Workouts
  7. Thursday, January 5, 2012 5:00am

    by , January 5th, 2012 at 04:34 PM (Fast Food Makes for Fast Swimming!)
    Did a modified version of PWB's "Monster Weekender" main set as my workout today. I only have an hour at best, so I make it work.

    1 x 500 Free warmup
    2 x 400 Free Pull @ 5:00 (went 4:39/4:37)
    3 x 300 IM @ 5:00 (went 3:55-3:58)
    4 x 200 Flutter Kick w/ board @ 4:00 (went 3:25-3:30s)

    2 x 100s EZ Free

    3200 Yards

    Other not so good looks as though my son's seizures have returned from when he was younger. We got a call from the school today that he had a long one in class, this being the 2nd one since last weekend...and again here at home had a 3rd one. He's already headed to the doctor's office in the hour, and most likely will be placed back on the medication again. Hopefully everything will be fine. I'm sure we'll go through all the previous tests again that he did when he was 2 years old (he's almost 6 now). I just hope everything turns out well. Even a lifetime of medication would be better than not knowing when or if these can happen.
  8. Sarasota Y Sharks Masters 5:30 AM Workout -01/06/12

    by , January 5th, 2012 at 01:37 PM (Sarasota Y Sharks Masters 5:30 a.m. Workout)
    WARM UP:
    1 X 250 4:15 3:45
    4 X 100 1:45 1:30
    3 X 50 :50 :45
    Two rounds. Round 1 intervals left, 2 right.

    10 X 50 kick
    5 on 1:00
    5 on :55
    1 X 100 swim

    1 X 300 IM 5:15
    1 X 300 free 4:30
    1 X 200 IM 3:30
    1 X 200 free 3:00
    Two rounds

    2 X {10 X 25 :40
    Round 1: sprint 20 yards, no breath
    Round 2: sprint 25 yards

    WARM DOWN: 4 X 50 easy 1:00


    Updated January 9th, 2012 at 02:45 PM by RickMile

    Swim Workouts
  9. Thursday, 1/5/12

    by , January 5th, 2012 at 01:13 PM (A comfort swimmer's guide to easy swimming)
    Today was one of those days when it might have been better for me to stay in bed instead of going to the pool. I was tired, sore and sluggish in the water. And my times were way off of what they should be.

    SCY, solo

    Warm up (500)
    300 swim free & back
    100 kick on back
    100 swim free

    Scull/Drill/Swim (all strokes) (300)
    4 x 75/10sr
    Fly: 25 front scull - 25 2-2-2 Drill - 25 full stroke
    Back: 25 side scull - 25 12-3-12 Drill - 25 full stroke
    Breast:25 mid scull - 25 3K/strk drill - 25 full stroke
    Free: 25 front & back scull- 25 3/4 catchup drill - 25 full stroke

    Set #1 Backstroke (400)
    1 x 100/1:45 smooth - went 1:32
    2 x 50/:55 build - went 45 & 44
    4 x 25/30 desc - not sure of times, last one was around 20
    8 x 12 1/2 on :30 FAST - did this as spin drill

    Set #2: Main Set (1100)
    1 x 500 pull - did with catch paddles, buoy and snorkel
    6 x 100 free
    1/1:40 build went 1:25
    4/1:35 build went 1:29-1:31-1:32-1:30
    1/2:00 smooth went 1:35

    Set #3: Kick!!! Flutter or Dolphin (400)
    4 x 25/10sr -10s wall kick - turn - 25 streamline
    4 x 25/10sr streamline underwater
    4 x 25/10sr one foot out of water
    4 x 25/1-sr full stroke one strong beat kick/stroke

    Warm down (100)
    100 easy free

    Total: 2800 yards
  10. Thu Jan 5th, 2012 scy

    by , January 5th, 2012 at 12:25 PM (Ande's Swimming Blog)
    Thu Jan 5th, 2012 scy

    Recently renewed my USMS membership for 2012 with TXLA / Longhorn Masters
    Don't have a team?
    Consider registering with TXLA / Longhorn Masters. especially if you're fast or fun

    Trained SCY noon yesterday, Wed 1/4
    still feel fried from Sun but not sore

    Whitney Coached
    scy UT Swim Center: main pool
    6:30 - 8:00 dove in 6:45
    wore Speedo endurance jammer
    trained with Jim, Brandon & Amy
    beside James, Larry, & Ned

    Warm Up
    missed it

    Main Set

    4 x 50 fr on 35
    4 x 25 fl on 30 4 strokes fast

    4 x 100 fr on 1:10
    4 x 25 bk on 30 8 strokes fast

    4 x 150 fr on 1:45 (skipped a 50 on #3)
    4 x 25 br on 30 4 strokes fast, not kicking br yet

    4 x 200 on 2:20 (skipped a 100 on #2)
    4 x 25 fr on 30

    got out early, hope tomorrow's better

    2012 Meets (I'm considering)

    March 30, 2012
    South Central Zones, SCY
    South Lake, TX

    July 5-8, 2012
    2012 USMS LCM Nationals
    Qwest Center, Omaha, NE
    Order of Events

    Aug 11 & 12, 2012
    South Central LCM Zones
    Palo Alto Pool
    San Antonio, TX
    Swim Workouts
  11. Sprint/Technique/Recovery?

    by , January 5th, 2012 at 09:22 AM (Random Nonsense)
    Lifetime Solo SCM
    Warm up
    - 325 swim
    - 225 kick
    - 300 back
    - 8x25 on 60 12.5 AFAP/12.5 easy
    - 4x25 on 60 dolphin kick to free breakout then easy
    - 4x25 on 60 dolphin kick to back breakout then easy
    - 2x150 25 kick AFAP 25 kick ez 100 back ez
    -- (19+, 20)
    Cool Down
    - 300 ez

    How was this recovery (my theory)? Everything today was CP and didn't really use any glycogen, thus my energy stores should be well recovered for tomorrow. On the neural side of things, this was not recovery, but unlike sprinting and even LT work, hard aerobic (tomorrow) requires energy more than sharpness. Tomorrow I will find out how true this theory is.

    Currently I kick out with flutter kick. My dolphin kick is not powerful enough nor am I coordinated enough in the transition to use it for any kick out besides back. Even back is questionable. Thus the initial 25s were with flutter kick working on my current method and the dolphin sets were laying future ground work.

    I am not really a fan of the "just start using dolphin off of every wall" theory. A half assed couple of dolphin kicks off every wall aren't going to help me train for anything.

    LW said my feet were not floppy during but got better the longer I swam. A couple years ago I worked on ankle flexibility nightly and need to resume this. This is something to think about at swim meets, keeping the ankles warm might help my kick and it won't take long standing on a cold pool deck behind the blocks before they are stiff.

    CP: Allows you to work anaerobically for about 10 seconds without creating lactic acid, and it is quick to recover.
  12. 01.05.12 - Thursday workout... the fly keeps coming

    by , January 5th, 2012 at 08:57 AM (Pete's swim blog)
    Swam w/ Roger, Dave and Dave. More fly today but not nearly as much as yesterday. Interval was a little harder though. Pool temp up to 84-85 . That was a killer. Started with a drag suit but quickly realized it wasn't going to happen after yesterday's workout.


    400 Warm up

    1 x 100 - 1:30 1st 25 fly
    3 x 100 - 1:20
    2 x 100 - 1:30 1st 25 fly, 1st 50 fly (dropped drag suit)
    3 x 100 - 1:20
    3 x 100 - 1:30 1st 25 fly, 1st 50 fly, 1st 75 fly
    3 x 100 - 1:20
    3 x 100 - 1:30 1st 25 fly, 1st 50 fly, 1st 75 fly
    1 x 100 fly - 1:30
    50 Easy
    This was kind of opposite of yesterday. Tried to go hard on the fly and recover on the 100s on 1:20. But after yesterday, "hard fly" wasn't quite so hard. Still made the last one on 1:30. Not sure I've done that before.

    4 x 75 fly/bk/br - 1:20 (I did fly/br/br)
    10 x 75 - 1:15 25 kick hard/50 easy

    4 x 200 Pull - 2:20 I did the middle 2 as 175s. Missed the first 200 and made the last one.
    50 easy
    200 IM Kick Timed (3:13 - should be a pb for me)

    200 Cool down

    (4650 Total)
    Swim Workouts
  13. Day 4 and I actually feel ok

    by , January 5th, 2012 at 07:28 AM (Mixing it up this year)
    Even after an upper body weightlifting workout and all this sprinting I am not hurting as much as I expeceted.

    I really liked this set today. Descending sets are my strength.

    600 free
    3x(4x25@:30 free as #1easy/fast #2 fast/easy #3 fast #4 easy

    5x100@2:00 kick w/fins descend went 1:34,1:31,1:24,1:22,1:17
    8x25@:30 free w/fins burst &cruise
    100 EZ
    5x100@2:00 free w/paddles descend went 1:31,1:25,1:20,1:17,1:12
    8x25@:45 free fast w/paddles
    100 EZ
    5x100@2:00 free w/paddles and fins best average (this I have to figure out better) went 1:09,1:09,1:09,1:05,1:05
    3x100 easy w/snorkle as 50 kick/50 swim

    Total 3300 yards

    Tomorrows challenge is to adapt the workout to long course.

    9:00am my left quad is starting to ache. Oh this is going to be a fun day. Self inflicted pain. Got to love it.

    Updated January 5th, 2012 at 09:05 AM by Donna

  14. Wednesday, January, 4, 5:00am & 5:00pm

    by , January 4th, 2012 at 10:11 PM (Fast Food Makes for Fast Swimming!)
    A.M. Workout (got the idea from Tom Patterson's 1/3/12 workout)

    200 Free
    100 Kick w/ board
    200 IM Drill

    3 rounds of:
    1 x 300 Free Pull @ 3:45 (went 3:27, 3:26, 3:28 by rounds)
    1 x 100 Free @ 1:20 (:07-08s)
    1 x 100 Free @ 1:15 (:07-08s)
    1 x 100 Free @ 1:10 (:07-08s)
    4 x 50** (1 each stroke) @ :50
    4 x 25 (1 each stroke) @ :30
    :40 rest to "top"

    6 x 50 Kick w/ board EZ @ 1:00
    3500 Yards

    **the first 50 Fly in the 4 x 50s was the hardest part of the entire set, coming off the 1:10 free interval
    I almost talked myself out of doing round 3, but stuck with it. I don't usually do long "continuous" sets like this very often. My body was feeling a little rugged from the last 2 days of workouts (9000 day, & PWB ladder set day)


    Why not? P.M. Workout

    I went into this practice with a Fort sprinty type workout in mind. Might as well every now and then. In college, my mornings used to consist of 1-2 distance, 1-2 IM, 1 Fly, and 1 Choice (I would do sprint "thinking" it was easy). I was a speedster back then, but I don't think it'll come back too easily now.

    200 Free
    100 Kick w/ board
    200 Free Pull
    200 IM
    3 x 100 Free Pull @ 1:15

    8 x 50 Kick w/ board @ 1:00 (held :45-46s)

    100 Free stretch out

    8 x 50 Kick w/ long fins SDK on back @ 1:00 (held :28-:30s)
    I didn't do very much underwater, since I'm not in training for it, and that would quickly exhaust me.

    100 Free stretch out

    4 x 100 Free w/ fins and paddles @ 2:00 BEST AVG.
    (:52, :53, :53, :53)
    I hit the wall after the first one and was like WOW! I haven't seen that kind of speed in practice in a while. I was able to recover well between each one, but I was stuck in the distance guy breathing pattern - every stroke. Some things I guess will never leave.
    The set was supposed to be 5 of the 100s, but during the 4th one, my right foot was killing me. I removed my fins, and had a huge popped blister on the knuckle of my big toe from the fins. n OUCH!! I don't use fins at all, so my feet aren't used to them rubbing on me. Also, if I go a size up, they tend to slide more and sometimes fall off during pushoffs.

    100 Free stretch out

    OK, enough of that...this next set was for me!

    2 x 125 Free Pull @ 1:30 (went 1:20, 1:22)
    1 x 200 IM Fast @ 3:30 (aim for under 2:30 - went 2:32)
    2 x 125 Free Pull @ 1:30 (went 1:20, 1:21)
    1 x 200 IM Fast @ 3:30 (same goal - went 2:28)

    100 EZ and out
    3500 Yards

    Total for the day - 7000 Yards
  15. ...down through deep water.

    by , January 4th, 2012 at 09:50 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    Last summer I did a couple of swims in Lake Michigan, here on the Kenosha shoreline. The water around the Illinois-Wisconsin border always seems to be in the mid-40s to mid-50s even in July, because the winds push the warm water south and east... to Chicago, Indiana, and Michigan... as the warm surface water heads over there, the cold water from the bottom of this great lake cycles up, yep, you guessed it, almost always between Waukegan, IL and Racine, WI.

    In July I thought I would swim along the shoreline: from the Kenosha harbor lighthouse pier up past Simmons island beach, along Kennedy drive to the Pennoyer Park beach and back. A two mile round trip. On both outings I made it only half way... too cold, despite the warm air temps, the water temps hovered around fifty; my face never stopped hurting. Of course, I didn't have really good gear either. I was swimming in jammer and goggles (didn't even bother with a swim cap)--don't have a wet suit, and the thought of using one in July seemed strange anyway. I confined my open water swimming to the inland lakes for the rest of the summer. Next year I'll try to brave L. Michigan again with wet suit (if I can find one).

    The guys down in Chicago (about 55 miles south of here) find a way to get in Lake Michigan year-round; one of these days I'll head down there and join them for a weekend swim. Check out OW Chicago's website for some great visuals:

    One of the things I do love about swimming in the great lake is that the water, once you get out away from the shore, is exceeding clear at times. I recall swimming in 16-20 feet of water and seeing things on the bottom so clearly that I thought I might be able to reach out and grab them... then a fish would swim by and give you your sense of depth back. Dante: "...per acque nitide e tranquille, non sì profonde che i fondi sien persi" (PAR, III, 11-12), or "through waters clear and still, not so deep that the bottom is lost." Actually, I would use objects on the bottom to judge my progress. Especially when the waves would swell and roll and it didn't feel like I was making any progress at all, I would look down and see a rock and watch it pass by... then find another and watch it recede behind me.

    So what does this have to do with a nineteenth-century fresco inspired by Dante's Paradiso III?

    Click image for larger version. 

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    From Wikimedia Commons, Philipp Veit's (c. 1830) version of the meeting between Dante and Piccarda Donati's soul in the heaven of the moon. With the exception of the feet of Dante and Beatrice hovering slightly above the clouds, it looks like a meeting that could take place on the street... such are the limits of art tending toward realism. Dante's description in words of this ethereal, immaterial, spiritual moment is worth a thousand pictures: still not fully understanding whether or not he is in his own body, or, if he is, how that body can penetrate the seemingly solid mass of the moon (a "ray of light through a drop of water" is the closest he can come to understanding the "material" physics of this spiritual experience), a group of souls appears to him. But they are as faint as "the outlines of our faces are returned" from the surface of those clear waters mentioned above. They seem more like reflections, ghostly reflections, so much so that Dante looks behind him to find the source, but finds nothing. Where Dante describes Piccarda and the other souls here as faint reflections off the water, a bodiless appearance, the painter gives us concrete images. Dante, from the fourteenth century, allows us to visualize with his words a spiritual experience that the visual artist can only reproduce with physical bodies.

    I think it took me the full physical experience of a few Lake Michigan swims to get to the point where I could more fully experience Dante's wonderful description. Something the Veit painting, as wonderful as it is in its own way, could never do.

    As the spirits of Piccarda and her companions vanish from Dante's view, he compares this disappearance to that of a weight sinking out of sight in deep water. In the Hollanders' translation:

    "Like a heavy weight down through deep water" (PAR III, 123)
  16. Past the sandbar

    I enjoyed a wonderful swim in the gulf today. It was very cold last night—23 degrees for the low, which is about as cold as it ever gets in the winter here. But by 9:30 this morning air temp was up to 37, the sun was shining brilliantly, and some moderate north winds had made the gulf as calm as a lake—there were a few ripples, but no waves, plus the water was exceedingly clear. The nearest buoy in Panama City Beach read 57. The bluff above the beach was sheltering the sand from most of the wind--this, combined with the sun, it was a very pleasant place to be. I headed out for a swim.

    I walked along the sand first for a ways to check for jellies—just saw one big white ones, nothing scary. As I was heading back the sheriff’s office truck that patrols the beach and collects trash went by. I asked if they had seen any man-o-wars (I had seen a couple a few days ago)—they had not, just a few moon jellies like the one I saw. Good!

    Once back at the chair I undressed quickly and headed into the water. Zoooowwwwie! It was painfully cold. I waded in up to my knees, then a little further, trying to catch my breath as I got used to the biting cold. I was originally hoping to swim a mile today, but I started to reconsider—no way this water was 57! I told myself I would duck under and start swimming after 10 breaths, so I started counting, got to 11, then told myself 20 would be the magic number. It wasn’t. I started over, and this time after the tenth breath I dove in and started stroking.

    I am often skittish about swimming out past the sandbar, even though the deeper water there is the best place to swim for any sort of distance. For the last few days I have swum in the limited space between the shore and the first sandbar, even though that means changing course often to stay in sufficiently deep water. Today I resolved that I would be brave and swim out past the sandbar, so I immediately headed towards it. After a dozen strokes I had reached it, and had to stand up and wade over it to get to deeper water. Once I was to swimmable depths again, the water was significantly warmer. It felt downright balmy after the frigid water right by shore—it was 57 at least, probably warmer. In retrospect it makes sense the 2-3 feet of water inland of the sandbar had cooled way down overnight, and hadn’t had much opportunity to warm up in the sun. With no waves, it hadn’t mixed much with the warmer, deeper sea beyond.

    I swam comfortably towards the beach flags ½ mile to the east. Apart from some shrimp tunnels I didn’t see anything other than an endless sandy bottom. The sun felt good and made the water sparkle, and I enjoyed the deep green of the gulf. I was a little nervous swimming out beyond the sandbar—I always imagine that there are scary sea creatures out there, though I’ve rarely seen any—but I kept telling myself to just put my head down and swim, and that’s what I did.

    Once I reached the flags I turned around and swam back. The temperature continued to be comfortable, and there was negligible current or wind in either direction. The tide was heading in, and it sometimes pushed me further in towards the sandbar than I wanted to be—I could tell by the bottom getting closer, but also by the water getting colder. Occasionally I turned over to do backstroke and enjoy the view of the sky. At one point I startled when I spotted a couple of dark things rising up from the water about 30 meters away . . . turned out they were pelicans floating on the water. I stopped and waved to them, but they didn’t acknowledge me.

    When I got to within 100m of my starting point I headed back in over the sandbar—I had to stop and wade over it again, as the water was mid-calf at the shallowest parts. Once inland I swam the final distance to my chair, and that was enough time in the cold inland water to thoroughly chill me. I stayed in just a little longer to explore some underwater rocks just west of where I started—not too much to see there—before I exited the water and quickly put on my parka and boots. I was pleased with my mile swim, and proud of going past the sandbar. It bugs me a little that I’m so skittish about swimming out from shore here, and I’m hoping that my apprehension of what might be out there will lessen as I swim more in the gulf. It took me a while at Brighton to be confident and happy when swimming on my own, and to not imagine that every shadow or ripple was something dangerous. I wish that confidence transferred automatically to swimming in new waters, but it doesn’t seem to.

    At sunset tonight something magical happened. There are great blue herons that live down here, but I rarely see them—usually only once or twice during a season. This evening one flew in and landed on the beach right in front a few minutes after sunset. We watched as it stood by the water for a long time, then slowly took a few steps back and forth right at the water’s edge. After a while a second heron flew low by right beside the first, then they both took off and flew down the beach. They stayed there for a while before flying back down our way, settling about 20 yards away from each other. I’ve never seen more than one heron at a time down here—they’re big graceful birds, fairly shy of people, and fun to watch, especially during their unexpectedly awkward take-offs and landings. I hope they come back to visit soon.
  17. Wed., Jan. 4

    by , January 4th, 2012 at 05:54 PM (The FAF AFAP Digest)
    Bikram yoga, 90 minutes

    Due to travel, taper, injuries, I haven't been to bikram since Nov. 4 -- along two month hiatus. Of course, I have been stretching regularly since then. Flexibility -- very good. Heat tolerance -- much better than expected. Balance -- meh. I tried to be cautious of my ankle. It seemed pretty crowded for a 2:00 pm weekday class.

    Bike, 30 minutes


    I'd like to do a speed and lactate workout the next 2 days. Not sure which order I'm going to do them in.

    In other news:

    1. Fort Son swears by AMP, amplified muscle igniter pre-workout. Looks like a lot of caffeine to me.

    2. Lil Fort and her classmates petitioned her school to use yoga balls instead of chairs at their desks. So now most of the class is bouncing/sitting on yoga balls with little feet. Kids ...

    3. Mr. Fort bought me this shirt for xmas: I'm wondering if I can wear it to the gym without looking like a complete jerk.

    4. Mr. Fort is considering competing in the duathlon nationals, which are in this area, in June.

    5. I also got the Paleo Diet for Athletes for xmas, which I will be interested to read.

    6. New article on diet in WSJ says that calorie counters are right. Weight gain from excess calories is the same regardless of the composition of the diet in terms of protein, fat and carbs.

    Updated January 4th, 2012 at 07:21 PM by The Fortress

    Spinning , Yoga
  18. Mid week #5 of 6 almost there

    by , January 4th, 2012 at 05:43 PM (Chowmi's Blog)
    Yours truly is looking to move up from #122 of #194 50 free entries at the Austin Grand Prix. I knew i'd be around the midpoint with a LCM qualifying time; I expected lots of SCY and bonus entries for this event, it is the 50 free after all.

    This week is the week to determine what needs to be done - next week is too late to make any final tweaks. So, time to put on the brakes! Only REST will help me now! Plus some fine tune sprint to keep up my senses.

    I am so busy at work and have 2 major reports due - I will earn (or rather, complete the work for) about 1/3 of my 2012 projected annual income in the next 3 weeks, which is great, but you see how it is that swimming is 3rd, and revolves around my life and work! To factor in this stress, and I am reviewing my regular case load at night - it is quite ironic that to even just get to Austin, I am essentially going to get there on fumes. I've just got to have the muscle-snappiness to be ready on race day, and putting in "full workouts now" will just put me over the edge.

    So to recap:

    Sun, 01/01 50 free for time;

    Mon, 01/02 - drill and crown on back tooth - I need 2-3 days to recover from this! Easy swim, about 800 total.

    Tues, 01/03 OFF

    Wed, 01/04 (today)

    500 warm up

    6 x 50

    4 x 25 kick fast
    100 easy

    4 x 25 pull fast
    100 easy

    4 x dive 12.5 to full 25's sprint; work on breakout and set up to drive forward with speed
    misc. easy swim

    4 x 25 with Speedo Blue & Orange fins working on driving from the core and not collapsing, and not relying on flailing arms and legs (avoid sprinting & collapsing)

    easy swim

    The End

    Crystal Ball says:
    Keep taking it easy. Must get work done!
    Plus plan for 2 birthday parties. Sadly, not my own. But happily, one big gift is a Great Wolf Lodge visit! But sadly, I would have to chaperone. I think it would be fun to get several masters swimmer friends and go to GWL!

    One sprinty swim day
    One light vasa day
    One flex or off day

    Yours truly lost that mysterious anvil weight and is back to where I started - 139 today. I think a continued reasonable eating plan with no real weight loss is the best plan from here on out. Surprisingly, I feel great. Really strong, relative to recent years. If you asked me how much I weigh and I didn't know, i'd swear I was right at 135.
  19. Sarasota Y Sharks Masters 5:30 AM Workout -01/05/12

    by , January 4th, 2012 at 04:49 PM (Sarasota Y Sharks Masters 5:30 a.m. Workout)
    WARM UP:
    1 X 400 7:00
    4 X 100 1:45
    Two rounds

    1 X 300 IM 5:45
    4 X 50-1 of each- 1:15
    1 X 200 IM 3:50
    4 X 50-1 of each- 1:15
    1 X 100 IM 1:55
    4 X 50-1 of each- 1:15


    1 X 100 swim -

    5 X 100 kick 2:10
    1 X 100 swim

    9 X 100 free
    Alternate 1:30 1:20 1:15

    WARM DOWN: 4 X 50 easy 1:00

    Swim Workouts
  20. Back on it 1/4/12

    by , January 4th, 2012 at 12:23 PM (The Labours of SwimStud)
    So Sunday I did 50 x 100 on 1:40 year I'll do all 100 but I had to get out early this year.

    Today I went to the pool with my new Swim-chute that Santa gave me.

    Warm Up
    600 Free/Back by 50
    10 x 50 K 1:30 I got my kicking technique down a bit better in the back half.
    4 x 150 3:15 as 50 fulcrum, 50 stick catch-up, 50 swim. I kept this easy but naturally built the swims over the duration of the set.

    5 times through:
    4 x 25 :30
    rest 1min
    1 x 100 strong 3:00
    The first time with chute was a discovery swim and my 25's were not great. After that I found my rotation connecting really well and using my body to power the swims and I was getting some ~:20's which I was happy with. I think my best 100 was about maybe next time I'll do 4 rounds and rest more before the 100.
    3times through:
    4 x 25 K :30 with fins u/w except for breaths did them 2 x FR, 2 x FL
    1 x 100 Kick with board no chute.
    So it may have been overkill with the chute but I was also discovering how to use the chute. I found the "leash" bothersome around my feet and it took a bit of a while to overcome the distraction...anyone have any tips for chute placement to avoid foot tangles?

    300 Fin Kick FR/FL by 50's
    300 EZ FR

    I can feel it in my shoulders now...and that was without paddles.