A friend pointed out that there is just 37 days left until Nationals and that it is time to get very event-specific. She's got that right! In looking over my training, I can see that I have not worked on speed enough lately. Time to get to it!
Today, I did a workout of 2700 yards using the fins most of the time. I'm a little pressed for time, so I'm not going to put the whole workout down. One of the sets was 4 rounds of 3 x 75 on 1:15 with fins. With each round, I mixed up the order of the 75s, doing a 75 fly, 75 free, and 75 dolphin kick on back each time. Really tried to work the walls. SCY is about the walls and LC is about the swimming. I stink with the walls, so this is my chance to work them.
I like swimming solo on this type of stuff because I can really focus and I don't have to worry about hitting somebody coming off the wall. I think swimming solo will really allow me to work on some quality stuff.
Updated April 12th, 2010 at 07:39 PM by elise526
This morning I swam the 5:45 workout with AG masters. I was sore in my shoulders and neck, and very tight in my hip flexors after yesterday’s meet, but everything loosened up eventually. Here’s what I did:
500 scy warmup
6 x 200 @ 3:00 [I alternated FR/BK by 25s, then by 50s, then by 100s, twice through]
8 x 50, 1st 25 = stroke chimera (arms/kick = FL/FR, BK/FL, BR/FL, FR/FR, twice through), 2nd 25 = FR, all flutter kicking = fast
4 x 100 Kick @ 2:00, alternating kicking on belly, side, back, side by 25
8 x 100 FR @ 1:35, gliding in streamline position off walls as far as possible [I really loved this set. I was all superglidy bliss during it—I spent about half of each length with no stroking or kicking, just enjoying feeling the water around me and listening to all the various underwater noises before surfacing. It was like that wonderful moment of underwater stillness in BR pullouts, only times ten! Plus I finally felt all stretched out by the set’s end. I need to remember to do this on my own if I’m feeling tight or stressed.]
4 x 100 FR @ 1:30 with great underwaters [The idea was to keep the great streamlines off walls, and add underwaters and breakouts. The rest of the swimming was easy, which was good because working underwaters and breakouts really tires me out.]
I entered nationals this morning—I’m swimming 400 IM, 50 BR, 200 BK on Friday, and 200 IM, 100 FR, 50 BK on Saturday. Also, I was looking over the meet information printed in the magazine, and noticed that the description of Zoo Atlanta is pretty hilarious.
Mon Apr 12th 2010
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Had a great time at the 2010 South Central SCY Zone Championships
LIFTED Weights today
Nats are 5 weeks & 4 Days away or 39 DAYS
TODAYS SWIM PRACTICE
scy diving well
6:30 to 8:00
dove in at 6:50
swam with Pat Evoe & Mary
beside Tyler, Todd, Marcio, Doug, Tenielle, Amy & Nate
wore B70 legs
I dove in & stayed in the lane next to where I normally swim.
we went on a :40 second per 50 base instead of 35. I've entered a new phase of my training
focused on Racing, Speed, & Strength
No to low aerobic or distance training
2 rounds of
4 x 50 fr on :40 right into
4 x 100 fr on 1:20 right into
4 x 150 fr on 2:00 right into
4 x 200 fr on 2:40 right into
but in round 2 drop 100, 150 & 200 by 5 sec
swam long and smooth on all of them but sprinted the last 50 of the last 200
4 x 25
odds easy swim on 1:00
evens SDK fast on :15
May 20 - 23, 2010 Atlanta, GA Georgia Tech Aquatic Center COUNTDOWN
2010 USMS Short Course National Championships
Order of Events
200 swim free
200 swim backstroke
200 kick w/board
200 pull alt. 50 free/50 no free
swim 4 x 75 on 1:30 build to about 80%
(did 2 free and 2 back, free around 58, back around 1:03)
swim 4 x 50 free on 1:20: start at about 90% effort, target time :32
100 easy choice on 2:30
swim 4 x 50 back on 1:20, same as above, target time :38
100 easy choice on 2:30
swim 8 x 25 on :45: odds kick choice (no board); evens fly FAST
(went ±16 on fly)
100 easy choice on 2:30
kick 4 x 100 on 2:30: build by 25 so the last 25 of each about 95%
(did 1-2 with board, went 1:45, 1:41; did 3-4 on back went 1:54, 1:50)
kick 2 x 25 on 1:00 all out
(went 19± on both)
200 swim down choice
Total: 2750 yards
Went to the pool after work and swam a long aerobic workout with Carrie.
One from her high school days called the Baskin-Robbins.
500 yards swim/drill/kick warmup
31 x 100 on 1:30
200 yards easy swim & kick to cool
Total for day: 6550 yards
Updated April 13th, 2010 at 02:17 PM by poolraat
Killed myself on Thursday with a tough training appointment and then an hour on the reformer. Decided to take Friday off and did not have time to workout on Saturday. Still did a recovery workout yesterday as the next few days promise to kick my butt...
1000 warm-up (2 x 200 free, 200 pull, 4 x 50 kick, 4 x 25 build, 100 ez)
4 x 100 fr @ 1:30
4 x 75 1&2 back with paddles 3&4 breast kick
4 x 50 (1-3 fly drill on 1:00, #4 fl swim)
4 x 25 fast IM order 1:00
C/D was 4 x (4 x 25) ALL EZ round 1 - bk; round 2 - breast; round 3 - fly; round 4 (straight 100 free)
Life goes on and we work out hard. Kicking it up a notch. Sunday I did some bicep and tricep work and today was a Distance was the name of the game. After my lame attempt at a 1650 this weekend in bathwater were I was off by over a minute and a half I figured I would try again this morning of sorts.
This was a workout from last week that Kris Houchens had, I just modified it a bit.
3x100@2:00 Free Drill
4x100@1:45 kick w/fins middle 50 with no board
50 Free EASY
broken 1650 w/paddles & bouy holding pace of 1:18 as
1x100@1:15 went 1:17 here
400 Free easy
200 Free Drill easy
Total 4000 yards
I have now found through repeat experience that going to dinner & drinks with friends on Saturday night is not conducive to me making it to my Sunday am team practice. I'm up too late and the desire to sleep in is too great. So I ventured out on my own after lunch. I stole and modified two Geek sets that I've done before and like (#1 & #3 below).
10 x 25 shooters on back
Speed Set #1:
5 rounds of:
4 x 25 fast @ :45
odds = flutter kick w/board
(fast was purely perceived effort not time on these so much)
evens = evil pull w/buoy
Aerobic Pull Set:
In my 5 years as a masters swimmer, I have never once done a pull set with paddles. (I've never even touched a pull buoy until I started doing power breast pulls). But my legs have been sore from drylands, so I decided to give it a whirl. Didn't seem to bother the shoulders too much, which seem stronger lately from drylands. Couldn't use a pull buoy on these though. Tried a 50 and felt like I was going backward. This interval was super easy w/paddles and I was just cruising it. Now I know why so many like them!
10 x 100 @ 1:30 w/paddles
odds = free
evens = back
Speed Set #2:
1 round of:
1 x 50 fast @ 1:00
1 x 100 EZ
2 x 50 fast @ 1:00
1 x 100 EZ
4 x 50 fast @ 1:15
1 x 100 EZ
I did the fast ones evil with a monofin. Went 30, 29, 30, 30, 30, 29, 29.
Hot Yoga, 90 minutes:
Ate a recovery bar and hopped right in the car to drive to bikram yoga. I have this perception that yoga post swimming prevents some tightening. And I had my best standing/balancing session yet. We had my fav teacher (so far), Insel. He's very good at encouraging people and helping rather than giving carping critical instructions.
Feeling pretty beat and tired tonight. Will definitely plan just a slow recovery swim for tomorrow. I feel in good shape now, but my biggest issue at the moment is being so dinged up. I've had 3 nasty falls in 2 weeks, proving I should just avoid land. First, I feel face forward landing on my kneecaps and forearms (which are still sore). Last week, which I didn't blog feeling rather idiot-like, I slipped on a flight of stairs in my compression socks (doh!) and landed on my ass and the right side of my back. Huge bruises. Tonight, while hopping into the shower after yoga, I slipped and landed with my forearm at a 90 degree angle to a stainless steel soap dish, slicing and bruising my forearm. I contemplated whether to get a stitch, but decided not too. But it scared the living sh*t out of me. Hopefully, this will all heal in a couple weeks and I can avoid other slip and falls. Sheesh!
Does this happen to anyone pre-race?
4x swim (with a lot of speed work), 12,000
4x dryland (hammered this)
bikram yoga, 2x
rest day, 1x
Under Elise's training methodology, I'm scheduled for a "de-loading" week the week before Zones. So I think I will rest 3-5 days. Or perhaps just rest the legs 5 days.
Updated April 11th, 2010 at 11:06 PM by The Fortress
2010 south central SCY zones at the Woodlands TX
It was great to see friends and had a great time at the meet, thanks to Suzanne Devore for being such a wonderful host at the dinner at her place on Sat Night
had a good meet broke zone records in each individual event I swam but the 1650, our medley relay broke the 45 + mens record, our 400 fr relay can close to the NR but it ws the last event of the meet and we were tired
got 2nd to bobby patten who went 16:54
he started out really fast
i just tried to stay steady
I'll post full results when I can copy and paste them from online results
400 IM 4:22.70
59.93 27.4 32.46
68.04 33.99 34.05 2:07.97
75.06 37.20 38.06 3:23.03
59.67 31.5 28.0
this is my best ever 200 IM as a masters swimmer, last year I played around & went 4:31. Still was too conservative on bk & the first 50 of fr
50 fl 23.88
this came up right after the IM, so pretty good
I was considering scratching it & glad I swam it
200 fr 1:50.1
wanted to break Larry's 1:51.3 zone record
this event came right after the 50 fl but the meet was large so I had plenty of heats to rest
100 bk 54.4
OK swim, broke the zone record
good for my 4th swim of the day
400 medley relay
3:38.41 broke NR
bk 55.65 nathan breazeale
br 59.97 david guthrie
fl 52.60 me 24.05 28.55 not real snappy 5th swim of the day
fr 49.26 max stinchcomb
100 IM 54.4
pretty good race, need to finish stronger
200 bk skipped to rest for 200 IM
100 fl skipped to rest for 200 IM
200 IM 2:00.57
this is the least amount of diff I've ever had between 1st & 2nd 100's in an IM, it's a fun way to swim it
went 2:02 in orlando
4 x 100 fr relay
3:19.30 jon max nate & me
split 48.6 22.8 25.8
didn't have much rest after IM, 50 bk & 3 heats of 400 relays
Results will be on the
but they aren't up yet
Updated April 12th, 2010 at 11:29 AM by ande
Today I swam a scy meet sponsored by the NYC Parks Department at the beautiful swimming pool/ice rink in Queens. This is a newish pool, built when NYC was pursuing the 2012 Olympic bid (it would have been the water polo facility had we won). It is a cheerful place to swim, with lots of glass windows looking out on the surrounding park. Today’s meet was a lot of fun, and was probably the best attended local meet of the season.
One of the cool things about the Parks Department sponsoring this meet is that there are no entry fees. Another is that it always kicks off with the “Commissioner’s Trophy Relay,” which is a 200 FR relay open to any teams of 2 men and 2 women whose combined ages equal at least 160. It’s not an official masters event, times from it are not submitted for top 10, and you are allowed to mix and match teams without regard for USMS affiliation, which often makes for some spirited last-minute scrambling. Today was the 26th annual running of the relay. I swam the event with some TNYA teammates, and we ended up winning in 1:43-high. It would have been a great race with the 2nd-place team (1:44-low), had we not been in different heats.
The second part of the whole relay deal is the trophy presentation. Every year, they stop the entire meet partway through for a grand ceremony. Last year’s featured the familiar NBC Olymipic theme song on tape and podiums that required steps to climb. This year there was no music or podiums, but all the familiar loot was there. The top six teams all get commemorative t-shirts, along with huge trophies much too big for any event not involving children. (A kind teammate who had driven to the meet ferried most of our team’s haul back to the city, so I didn’t have spend my subway ride back to the city holding the ginormous swimming award.) All the teams are also required to pose for official photographs. All that for swimming a 50 free!
Anyway, that was the relay. (I swam a 26.8 split according to the guy hand-timing our heat. I'm not sure if I'll get an official split as the timing system was being balky). Here are the results from the rest of my swims in the meet proper:
200 IM: 2:32.56 (33.27, 38.31, 45.19, 35.79)
This is definitely an improvement over my previous season best of 3:37.5. I didn’t feel it was a terribly well swum race. I wanted to approach this more aggressively, but probably went overboard. I took out my fly too hard, didn’t breathe enough, and was definitely feeling it on the BR and FR legs. All told, I’m surprised my time wasn’t worse considering how bad I felt on the last half of this race. This time is a bit off last year’s best of 2:31.16, but I’ll have another crack at swimming it at nats.
100 BK: 1:08.74 (33.56, 35.18)
I was pleased with this time. Last week I swam a 1:11.2 at the time trials, and felt like I took out that race too timidly (35.35, 35.86). My goal going into this race was to swim the first half more aggressively, and I did. I went out 1.8 seconds faster, and was able to bring it home quicker as well. I did mess up 2 of my turns. They announced after warmup that the backstroke flags were a few inches off, but I hadn’t noticed any difference in the IM. On this race, though, I was way far from the wall on the 1st turn, so then decided that I would take an extra stroke going into the 3rd turn. That was a mistake, as I really scary close to the wall. This time is about half a second off last season’s best.
100 IM: 1:09.43 (32.46, 36.97)
This was a season best time by a tenth. It was an ok race—100 IMs are always fun. (So today BK beat IM. BK is on a roll--last week it beat FL.)
50 BR: 36.01
The last time I swam this, my turnover felt sluggish; today it felt rushed. I definitely want to work on my sprint breaststroke rhythm some more before nationals, in hopes of making it just right.
That was it for my swimming. It was great seeing all the usual Masters swimming suspects all together today, and there were some sparkling swims. John Craig broke a national record in the 200 FL (2:04-high), so I was really happy for him. I felt really relaxed at this meet and spent a lot of time visiting with swim buddies past and present.
Here’s my revised list of season best times and the graph of this season’s swim ratings:
FR: 27.25 / 59.56 / 2:17.58 / 6:11.42
BK: 31.62 / 1:08.74
BR: 35.52 / 1:19.74
FL: 30.08 / 1:11.51
IM: 1:09.43 / 2:32.56 / 5:33.43
Not overly fast today but I did not expect to be with my change of training this past week.
It was cool outside with the wind blowing, even with being covered up I managed a good sunburn. The pool was soooo hot. Every time I dove in I thought bath water.
Swam 4 unimpressive races but had fun hanging out with my firends. Swam the 1650 Free, 100 Back, 50 Free, and 500 Free. Followed up with a relay at the end.
Total 3800 yards
So I decided to get in a weekly sprint day when I have time to take long rests.
600 various kick, swim, pull
100 for time off blocks jammer...I went out in a :29 but the timer screwed up the timing. Nothing worse than swimming a 100 for time to hear: "I don't know if I did it right..." when you get done. I'll get a coach to do it on Monday or Wed with me--ugh!
4 x 50 EZ
Rich Abrams Set
All Free with drag suit...
50 hard 1:00 I got low 30's on first 2 of these
25 hard :30 :15 or less
25 Hard Kick :30 :22 or thereabouts
Repeat on 10:00 I did 4 reps...I enjoyed it.
400 various swim and kick...
broomstick twists, 1 x 25
crunchy frogs, 1 x 25
seated straight arm dips, 60 x 2 x 25
internal and external rotators, 10 x 2 x 15, each arm
prone scapular scrunches, 1 x 25
push up isometric with hands on steps squeezing scapular area, 1 x 2:00
bicep/tricep isometric, 1 x 3:00 (I used 5 lb weights this time instead of 10 as the trainer suggested)
plank, feet on bosu and hands on med ball (straight arm), 1 x 2:00
same plank position + moving foot out to the right 10x and to the left 10x
box jumps, 2 x 10
altitude drops to squat, 2 x 10
twisting med ball slam plyo, 3 x 15
goblet squats, 65 x 2 x 15
overhead squat, 45 x 1 x 12 (forgot other set)
bicep curls, 40 x 2 x 15
HS low row, 90 x 3 x 10
hanging knee ins, 2 x 15
twisting pole vaulter, 45 x 2 x 15
Tabata jump rope
(20 seconds AFAP, 10 seconds off, 8x)
10 minutes stretching
2 miles walking around regatta
Felt pretty strong today despite the multiple workouts yesterday. I feel like I'm finally back to the level of conditioning I had before getting the flu in March. It's taken awhile!
Planning on my team workout and hot yoga tomorrow, if I can fit both in.
So proud of Mr. Fort. He's actually done a couple speed workouts in the last couple weeks to prep for his marathon. And he did a 20 mile trail run today averaging 8:40. So I think he's ready for his marathon in May. Funny story: He was recently biking with a real cyclist (who's giving him some technique tips) and they reached a huge hill in their ride. Mr. Fort dusted him. The cyclist said, "You're in great shape. Now if only you knew how to ride a bike." lol
Note: Allergy shots didn't work for me, and I don't think the success rate is great for adults.
Updated April 10th, 2010 at 06:53 PM by The Fortress
Fell just 200 yards short of my goal for this week, so I won't sweat it. Kind of excited I have only 3 more weeks of hard work.
Yesterday, I did a 2,000 yard swim workout of various things. On one set, I did 4 x 75, starting off with all free and adding fly through the set so that the last 75 was all fly. These were on 1:20, so plenty of rest. Still, I felt yucky all over - tight, heavy in the water, etc. Decided to punt swimming today because of how I felt. Hope I don't have something serious going on because I really have not been doing that much. Hopefully taking the weekend off will help matters.
Did the final deload workout later yesterday afternoon as follows:
Squats: bar x 20
Push-ups with bosu ball - one set of 20
Lat pull-down: 85 x 10
Military press: 35 x 10
Hammer curls: 8 x 10
Leg press: 150 x 10
Hammer curls: 40 x 10
Bicycle crunches: 1 set of 100
Good morning darlings: 1 set of 50
Hand to toe sit-ups: 1 set of 20
Since it is so difficult to get to meets because I live in the middle of nowhere, and meet scheduling sometimes conflicts with RL, I am doing time trials over the next few weekends to help prepare for nationals.
200 swim free
200 kick choice
200 I M drill
200 pull choice
Swim 6x50 choice on 1:15 build to fast; mix these up
(did 2x fly-39, back-40, free-35)
Swim 100 free fast off blocks
(went 1:05 high - splits 14-30-47-1:05+. The piano fell on me at about 70 as you can see from the final 25 split.)
Swim 6 x 25 on :40 choice, build to fast finish
(did 2x fly-back-free)
Swim 50 fly fast off blocks
(mid 32, was 15+ at 25)
Pull 4 x 75 on 1:30 free: hold moderate stroke count
(w/p&b, was holding 13 spl times around 1:03±)
Swim 200 back fast off blocks
(Went 2:47, splits were 40-1:23-2:06-2:47)
Swim down 10 x 50 easy on 1:00-1:05 alternating free and back
Total: 3000 yards
Updated April 10th, 2010 at 06:05 PM by poolraat
I swam the 6am LCM workout at Asphalt Green this morning. It’s an early start to a weekend morning, but it’s nice to be done by 8 and have the whole day ahead of you. In my case, I was done at 7:15 this morning, since Coach Craig told all of us doing the meet tomorrow to get out early.
Here’s what I did:
800 LCM warmup
10 x 50 “gutbusters” (dolphin kick on back w/ fins while holding pull buoy between thighs) @ 1:20
50/100/150/200/250/300 swim, multiples of 100 are FR, rest are IM w/ no FR (ie 50 FL, 150 FL/BK/BR, 250 FL/BK/BR/FL/BK) @ go-when-3rd-swimmer-gets-in
4 x 50 choice, fast between flags, @ 1:05 [I did these w/ fins. There were actually 10 of these, but I the last 6 as warmdown, below]
Tomorrow I’m swimming a scy meet in Queens. I’ve signed up for 200 IM, 100 BK, 100 IM (might skip), and 50 BR. I’ll probably also do a 50 FR on a relay. This will most likely be the last meet I do before nationals, and a last crack at a good 100 BK time for the season, since I’m not swimming that event in Atlanta.
So I had my workout today and afterwards, this little old Russian lady who swims came and said to me: "You sweeming so strrrong...you should be in Orleempicks!" That was enough for me to modestly thank her for her kind words...and we had a little chat.
So anyhow, here's my Olympian workout!
4 x 100 FR snorkel 1:45 desc 1-3
10 x 50 FR Sprint 2:00
5 x 50 Easy 1:15
10 x 25 Fly Fast 1:00
4 x 50 EZ 1:15
100 IM 2:00
100 FR 2:00
2 x 50 FR EZ
10 X 50 MF
I did a 300 kick then 4 x 25 front shooters two breaths then 25 back kick sprint.
4 x 50 EZ
Of note,a coach and mentor watched me while he was swimming said my underwater looked really good and later said my sprints looked great too. It is nice to get positive feedback heading into championship season.
After the swim I went into the weight room and I felt as strong as an Ox and did extra pull and chin ups...something's going on with me. Either that or I was just buoyed by the old lady's olympic comment that I felt I had to live up to it in the weight room!
8 x 100 IM @ 1:45
odds = drill
evens = swim
12 x 50 @ 1:00
odds = fast breast pull w/buoy
evens = EZ
These power breast pulls seem great for developing and generating hand speed. I like them!
3 x (3 x 25 AFAP + 25 EZ) @ 1:15
#1 = fast doggy paddle drill/underwater free recovery drill
#2 = fast UW flutter kick
#3 = fast free
1 x 50 AFAP back w/fins
went 23.5, fastest I've done in this pool
my streamlines felt tight and efficient
elevated push ups, 4 x 15
power wheel roll outs, 2 x 25
deep squat isometric, 1 x 3:00
rock star jumps, 2 x 10
push up isometric hold, 1 x :45 (didn't have the steps I needed)
lunge isometric hold, 1:30 each leg
Heading to hot yoga at 6:00 after I drop my youngest at soccer practice. Hope I make it through the standing positions.
Did a speed workout, as planned. Legs were tired from yesterday's drylands and it felt like it took a long time to get warmed up. But I felt pretty speedy by the end.
I was doing fairly well with my spring allergies despite the massive/record amount of pollen in the air. But today I started wheezing and had to whip the inhaler out during practice. I need to remember to use it before in the future.
Extreme Angle Isometrics:
Here's some literature on the isometric holds at extreme angles that I've been doing before my dynamic exercises. I'm supposed to do these every day for awhile, but I haven't summoned up the determination for that yet. Your legs are supposed to get used to them after awhile. Mine are quite tired after yesterday's hold fest.
Here's a key line: " ... an isometric contraction followed by a concentric dynamic movement will increase the force of the movement by up to twenty percent!"
And this: "get strong as an ox"
http://www.elitetrack.com/forums/viewthread/6578/#49049 (comments focusing on Jay Shader's work)
And this study:
Changes in torque and electromyographic activity of the quadriceps femoris muscles following isometric training.Bandy WD, Hanten WP.
Department of Physical Therapy, University of Central Arkansas, Conway 72035-0001.
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE. The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of isometric training of the quadriceps femoris muscles, at different joint angles, on torque production and electromyographic (EMG) activity. SUBJECTS. One hundred seven women were randomly assigned to one of four groups. Three groups trained with isometric contractions three times per week at a knee flexion angle of 30, 60, or 90 degrees. The fourth group, which served as a control, did not exercise. METHODS. Isometric torque was measured using a dynamometer, and EMG activity was measured using a multichannel EMG system. Measurements were obtained during maximal isometric contraction of the quadriceps femoris muscles at 15-degree increments from 15 to 105 degrees of knee flexion. Measurements were taken before and after 8 weeks of training. RESULTS. Following isometric exercise, increased torque and EMG activity occurred not only at the angle at which subjects exercised, but also at angles in the range of motion at which exercise did occur. Further analyses indicated that exercising in the lengthened position for the quadriceps femoris muscles (90 degrees of knee flexion) produced increased torque across all angles measured and appeared to be the more effective position for transferring strength and EMG activity to adjacent angles following isometric training as compared with the shorter positions of the muscle (30 degrees and 60 degrees of knee flexion). CONCLUSION AND DISCUSSION. These findings suggest that an efficient method for increasing isometric knee extension torque and EMG activity throughout the entire range of motion is to exercise with the quadriceps femoris muscles in the lengthened position.
PMID: 8316579 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
This suggests that isometrics done at the greatest joint angle will, in fact, increase strength throughout the entire range of motion.
Too bad QBrain is not around for some analysis!
Our dear Bobinator has recently broken her ribs and has been sidelined temporarily from the pool, which is understandably driving her crazy.
I have also been in this painful situation--three separate times, in fact, over the past 15 years. I wrote an article about rib problems during which I invited a friend-orthopedic surgeon out for dinner at a barbecue rib place so that he could show me on the slathered slab what I had done to my own fatty baby backs.
This is that article.
I hope, Bobinator, it helps you--and I hope it helps anybody else out there who currently has, or may eventually get, a cracked set of your own.
“The convex surface represents the outside of the ribs,” explains my orthopedic surgeon, Gary Smith, MD. Wielding stainless steel cutlery with the skillfulness of an 18-year veteran sports medicine cutter, Gary dissects the underlying tissues including the exterior and interior intercostal muscles and a sheathe of fascia. He smears off some red matter to enhance the view, then bends forward and eats a bite of “baby back” soft tissue.
“What’s this?” asks my wife, Debbie. She’s located an unusual anatomical feature in her own “St. Louis-style” slab--a floppy extension that dangles from the tip of one floating rib like a beige Gummi worm.
“That must be the cartilaginous extension you mentioned, eh?” I volunteer, ever the eager suck-up student.
“The lower several ribs aren’t attached to the breast plate,” he replies professorially. “The bone continues as cartilage that narrows down and eventually attaches to ligaments in the abdominal wall.”
Despite the pain I am feeling from my own two currently fractured lower ribs, I cannot keep myself from “hurts so good” engorgement. The intersection of gluttony and gee-whiz science is proving irresistible to this nerdish gourmand.
Gary’s wife, Karen, takes a swig of pilsner and says, “These ribs really put meat on your bones.”
I acknowledge her excellent layman’s point, then ask Gary if regularly eating ribs might, in some small way, help me avoid future trauma to my own ribs. I stick a micro cassette in his face to record his reply.
“Wait till I wipe this barbecue sauce off my face,” he says. Then: “Outside the protective layer of muscle is a cushioning layer of fat.”
Four weeks ago, I could have used great gobs of such cushioning not to mention a Kevlar flack jacket. My accident occurred not as a result of bronco busting, ski jumping, or drag racing gone awry, but rather during the somewhat less publicized sport of water volleyball. With my reflexes slightly addled by hops and haze, I jumped high into the air for a spike. Alas, my body followed through the overhead motion, beaching me with considerable violence upon a length of barely-visible, underwater pipe supporting the net.
If you’ve ever done something similar to yourself, you’ve probably experienced a comparably instantaneous epiphany: that sickening acknowledgment that you’ve really bollixed yourself up this time. For the next three weeks, I subjected my wounded ribs to a constant regimen of ice and ibuprofen. Breathing deeply was nearly impossible; rolling over in bed an agony. Sick of my whining, my swimming team friends all urged me to see a doctor--easy advice for the well-insured. Still, by breathing on the opposite side and modifying my free style slightly into a kind of aquatic limp, I was able to continue swimming practice.
After a couple weeks, the pain was, if anything, getting worse. Even more disturbing was the fact that I could now feel something moving around, punctuated with occasional gristle grindings and pinprick stabbing pains that made one think of bone splinters. Perhaps it’s only hypochondria talking here, but I’ve never liked novel bodily sensations involving internal organs. I made an appointment. It was now three weeks after the misadventure.
“What about jousting?” I ask.
“Jousting would be out.”
The first thing Gary did in examining me was gently squeeze my rib cage front and back, then side to side--both of which, the latter especially, provoked more than a little wincing.
“Since your ribs are all connected,” he said, explaining his diagnostic technique, “if you compress the chest like this, it usually causes a fracture to hurt. It might not cause a muscle bruise alone to hurt.”
Other telltale signs of a fracture include tenderness on the surface of the affected bone or bones; swelling at the fracture site; and a grating feeling “like something is moving around in there.” If I had come to see him within a few days of the episode, he says, he would have confirmed the diagnosis with an X-ray, but at this point three weeks after the fact, this would be a waste of money.
He tells me the odds are extremely high I broke two ribs on the lower left side.
I’m feeling like a miserly imbecile for not consulting him sooner, but he quickly relieves my self-recrimination by telling me he’d have recommended the same treatment that I did on my own.
“Broken ribs,” he says, “can hurt a lot for several weeks, but then they just heal by themselves without any special treatment. They’re usually fine within six to eight weeks. Unlike a fracture in, say, your hand, it doesn’t matter if the bone lines up perfectly straight. With ribs, they’ll still function fine even if they heal a little crookedly.”
Though a relatively common form of sports injury, Gary says he rarely sees rib patients in his practice--probably because many athletes have gotten the “there’s nothing you can do but wait it out” message. Rib cracks are, in other words, one of the few injuries where doctor avoidance is usually a safe bet.
There are, however, important exceptions. If your rib has been so badly broken that the ends are displaced, a not uncommon consequence of car wrecks and other high speed collisions, the splintered bone tips can puncture the pleura lining the chest wall and lungs, breaking the vacuum seal that keeps your lungs inflated. This condition, called pneumothorax, requires surgical insertion of a chest tube to reestablish the surrounding vacuum so the lung can become re-inflated. Best bet: if you can’t breathe, see a doctor.
An even more common threat occurs in patients who are suffering so much pain that they avoid coughing and breathing deeply--which significantly ups the risk of developing pneumonia. In yesteryear, broken ribs were often bound tightly with tape. “This made the person feel better,” Gary tells me, “but it further compromised breathing, so that’s fallen by the wayside.” For most people, over-the-counter anti-inflammatories are sufficient for pain management, but in severe cases, patients sometimes require narcotics like Percocet or Vicodin to breathe normally.
In terms of preventing future rib injuries, Gary recommends stressing the bones via exercise and making sure to eat a diet that provides plenty of calcium to keep the bone tissue well-mineralized. Studies of osteoporosis patients, for instance, have shown they are particularly prone to cracking ribs. You can also provide yourself with some trauma insulation by beefing up the abdominal and chest muscles--a fact that helps professional boxers cope with body blows.
Not that you should necessarily overdo it immediately following an injury. I ask Gary if it was a mistake for me to continue swimming 3,000 yard practices the day after I hurt myself.
“The barometer is your pain,” he says. “It’s probably okay to keep up your conditioning in some way that doesn’t cause too much pain. You may have delayed your healing a little by overdoing it, but it’s not going to affect the ultimate outcome. And at this point, it’s fine for you to keep swimming.”
Gary does, however, draw the line at any sports with a high risk of impact--football, rugby, mountain biking, and the like.
“What about jousting?” I ask.
“Jousting would be out.”
Back at the rib joint a week later, I have a sudden medical insight.
“Do you guys still use mustard plasters to treat pain or muscle spasms?” I ask Gary.
He chuckles. “People today sometimes use lineaments and sports crèmes,” he says. “You don’t hear much about mustard plasters anymore, but I suppose there may have been some pharmacologic reason why they worked.” Endorphin release and whatnot.
Glancing down at the remnants of my meal, I say, “So can you see any plausible scientific reason for slathering very spicy barbecue sauce on my own ribs? I mean, could that help?”
The good doctor furrows his brow, nods, then replies, “I guess it would depend on how much your wife likes barbecue sauce.”
300 swim free
4 x 100 kick choice w/10 sec. rest
4 x 75 w/15 sec. rest as 50 drill, 25 build: 1 of each stroke, IM order
swim 4 x 50 smooth on 1:00 at ~80-85%
(all backstroke @ 42-43 and 15-16 spl)
swim 3 x 200 free on 3:20: hold stroke count
(ave 2:50 and 16 (a few @15) spl on these)
swim 4 x 75 back on 1:35 smooth
(1:05-1:06 on these)
pull 2 x 200 free on 3:10: hold stroke count and make #2 faster than #1
(2:50, then 2:40, spl at 14-15)
swim 4 x 75 back on 1:35 descend 1-4
swim 200 free hold stroke count
(16 spl at 2:50)
swim down 100
Total: 3100 yards
Friday night speed session
200 swim, 200 kick, 200 drill
6 x 100 w paddles on 1:45
1-3 free. went 1:13-1:13-1:11
4-6 back, went 1:23-1:22-1:23
8 x 25 back from blocks w/25 easy on 2:00
(not sure of times on these, around 15-17?)
broken 100 free w/zoomers r :15 at 50 and :10 at 75 - swim time :57
broken 100 back w/zoomers swam like above, swim time 1:05
Total for today: 5400 yards
Updated April 10th, 2010 at 12:25 PM by poolraat
I finally got my t-shirt and cap from the hour swim. Woot!
I just wrote up a detailed, loving account of my workout last night, and it vanished into cyberspace when the site booted me out. SIGH.
On the plus side, my flip turns are feeling so secure these days that I'm seriously thinking of entering the Upper Valley meet in Vermont next month. I've never raced before, but I feel like I could handle the 100 and 50 backstroke events, especially now that my turn is good enough so that there's a 95% chance I could finish the races without being disqualified for doing something illegal.