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  1. Whetter

    by , October 4th, 2011 at 09:23 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    As in appetite whetting.

    I've been a taciturn vlogger of late, the consequence, in large part, of having to finish some articles to pay my indentured servant's burdens to the overloads who own me.

    One such article is for AARP: The Magazine, a periodical I fear I am way too old to be writing for.

    Gerontologists divide the Golden Years into four rough quadrants:

    Young Old
    Middle Old
    Old Old
    Walking Dead of Maui Taui

    The latter, of course, is more a state of mind than a chronological condition.

    Most people don't recognize it, but I can assure you, we who fall into this category recognize each other.

    Largely by smell.

    But enough shilly shallying. The topic of the article I just finished the first draft of is tendinosis, the affliction that characterizes many of the most common chronic sports injuries, from Swimmer's Shoulder and Tennis Elbow, to Runner's Knee and Achilles Heel.

    As a frequent sufferer of SS and TE, I made a trek to see an excellent doctor at UPMC's Rehabilitation Institute, a fellow with his MD in physiatry (or physical medicine) and his Ph.D. in anatomy.

    Eventually, when my article appears, I will include a link to it so that those of you who are not yet Young, Middle, or Old Old, or Walking Dead of Maui Taui, can access it without an AARP card.

    But for now, and as indicated earlier, as a way of whetting your appetite, let me just publish four ultrasound images of my right elbow, right shoulder (Supraspinatus tendon, i.e., the rotator cuff most likely to wear and tear from swimming), my left shoulder, and finally my twin brother John's notion of what really causes Swimmer's Shoulder.

    In an upcoming vlog, I shall wax at length as to why these images are, in fact, so fascinatingly paradoxical.

    And on this note, I ask you all to now begin whetting yourselves.

    Thank you.

    My right elbow, which throbs riotously on my many mis-hit one-handed backhands as well as my second (usually slice) serves. The doctor-anatomist assured me he could see no evidence of structural damage.

    My right shoulder. I am right handed, do much more with this arm than the other one, including playing tennis and--in the old days--breaking my falls when, as a frequent inebriate, I followed the drunkard's path.

    This shoulder does show signs of a small, partial tear in the supraspinitus, though the good doctor was quick to add that such a condition is more rule than exception in active fellows my age (59 as on Sept. 24; FINA 60 on Jan. 1).

    My left shoulder, with RC so perfectly in tact the doctor described it as "pristine"--the kind of supraspinitus tendon most commonly seen in Tarzan-like specimens in their teenage years.

    Finally, my twin brother John's concept of what kind of abuse would have to happen to my left shoulder to convert it into the sad shape of my right one. John is not a doctor. I'm not one either, not exactly. But I have seen plenty of oddities in my decades of fake clinical practice and know-it-all blowhardery based on five minutes of Googling Medline.

    I have never seen a tiny digging fat man shoveling away at a pristine supraspinitus.

    But I cannot rule out the possibility.

    Oh, I almost forgot.

    Here's the paradox I invite you all to ponder.

    It's my left shoulder that hurts when I swim.

    The right one feels fine.

    Updated October 4th, 2011 at 09:31 PM by jim thornton

  2. Tuesday, Oct. 4

    by , October 4th, 2011 at 08:24 PM (The FAF AFAP Digest)

    RC exercises
    HS hi row, 110 x 3 x 20
    leg extension, 80 x 5 x 10
    assisted dips (20 lb assist), 15, 13, 14, 12
    back extensions w/plate, 25 x 3 x 15
    knee tuck jumps, 2 x 10
    altitude drops, 2 x 10

    stretching & foam roller, 20 minutes

    -- Think I did something else, but can't remember ... Making good progress on the 20 rep hi rows -- up 20 pounds since I re-started drylands. And doing more dips. I'm generally so much stronger at pulling than pushing that these were hard for me at first. Shoulders are tired tonight.


    Just did a recovery swim after yesterday's brutal set. Quads still burning from that. Planning a speed workout for tomorrow.

    Warm up:

    600 various


    20 x 50 drills
    5 of each stroke:
    chest press fly
    backstroke with turtles
    russian breast
    free w/paddles

    7-8 starts from side working on clean entries

    4 x 150 w/paddles
    50 scull + 50 back kick + 50 free

    50 EZ

    Total: 2250


    So after NHS induction last night, Teen Fort was whisked away and asked to another Homecoming dance. (She went with a friend to her own school's homecoming and guy #2 has been in hot pursuit for awhile.) See pic below. What I'm wondering is (1) why kids now seem to have such elaborate rituals for asking people to dances (candles?), and (2) isn't it per se unreasonable for me to have to go homecoming dress shopping again?

    And I'm mulling over my entries for the Sprint Classic: My main goal this meet is to break the NR in the 50 back, which is 28.7. I'm inclined to swim the 50 back and 50 fly and the 4 25s (same line up as last year). This year The Battle of the True Drop Dead Sprinters is going to be scored by aggregate time. I had been planning on the 100 back a couple months ago instead of the 50 fly, but don't feel I'm ready to bust out a great one yet without more training and a real taper. But I may sign up for the 100 back in case I need a do-over in the 50 back or if I feel great and want to give it a whirl.

    Updated October 4th, 2011 at 08:37 PM by The Fortress

    Swim Workouts , Strength Training and Dryland Workouts
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  3. Tue Oct 4th, 2011 SCY

    by , October 4th, 2011 at 04:22 PM (Ande's Swimming Blog)
    Tue Oct 4th, 2011 SCY

    Subscribe to Ande's Swimming Blog

    Whitney Coached
    UT, main pool scy
    6:30 - 8:00 dove in 6:35ish
    wore Jammer
    swam with mike & James
    beside Tyler, Todd, chris & paul

    assigned 3 x 300
    did 2 x 300

    Main SET: scy

    4 rounds (one each stroke) of:
    odds 75%, evens 90 - 95%
    2 x 025 on 20 sec rest
    2 x 050 on 20 sec rest
    2 x 075 on 20 sec rest
    2 x 100 on 20 sec rest
    400 fr done 75 fr 75%, 25 stroke strong

    (can't remember)

    did a few 25's
    easy / fast

    25 fly fast, whit timed went 10.9, todd said, I've seen you kick faster.

    Upcoming Meets

    Sat Nov 12 - Sun 13, 2011
    2011 WMST November SCM Classic

    Sat Dec 3rd & Sun Dec 4th
    2011 South Central SCM Regional InvitationalSan Antonio, TX
    Swim Workouts
  4. A Distance / IM Mix

    by , October 4th, 2011 at 01:58 PM (Year Three: The Road Back)
    Today's workout was written as a distance (pace) workout mixed with IM. As my shoulder was hurting, I substituted most of the IM with kicking, so I could focus on maintaining pace in the freestyle swims. Having never competed anything longer than a 200 Free (and then only rarely), I am looking at my first 800 Free in competition the end of this month (assuming my daughter's high school cross country team does NOT make the state finals - if so, then no swim meet for me as they are on the same day). So.... that being said, here's what we did:

    400 Warm-Up
    1 x 200 on 4:00 Kick - descend by 50's
    1 x 450 Free on 7:30
    1 x 100 IM on 2:05
    1 x 400 Free on 6:40
    1 x 100 IM on 2:00
    1 x 350 Free on 5:50
    1 x 100 Kick on 1:55
    1 x 300 Free on 5:00
    1 x 100 Kick on 1:50
    1 x 250 Free on 4:10
    1 x 100 Kick on 1:45
    1 x 200 Free on 3:20
    1 x 100 Kick on 1:40
    1 x 150 Free on 2:30
    1 x 100 Kick on 1:35
    1 x 100 Free on 1:40
    1 x 100 Kick on 1:30
    300 Cool-Down
    Total Yards - 3900

    If you want to do this one, be warned. It's pretty brutal. It was actually written starting at the 100s and working up to the 450s, but we decided to swim the other way around so we needed to be swimming hard at the end of the workout to make the intervals instead of lolly-gagging through the 400 and 450 free.

    Swim Workouts
  5. Sarasota Y Sharks Masters 5:30 AM Workout -10/05/11

    by , October 4th, 2011 at 01:29 PM (Sarasota Y Sharks Masters GOLD Workout)
    WARM UP:
    2 X 200 3:10 3:00
    4 X 100 1:40 1:30
    Two rounds. Round 1 intervals left, 2 right.

    2 X {6 X 50 free 1:10
    1/2: moderate
    3/4: build
    5/6: fast

    1 X 200 kick 4:30
    3 X 100 kick 2:15
    8 X 25 sprint kick :45
    1 X 100 swim

    10 X 150 2:30
    1-3: 100 moderate/50 fast (all free)
    4-6: 50 stroke/100 free
    7-9: 100 IM/50 free
    #10 All free: fast

    WARM DOWN: 4 X 50 easy 1:00

    Swim Workouts
  6. Tuesday, 10/4/11

    by , October 4th, 2011 at 12:00 PM (A comfort swimmer's guide to easy swimming)
    Good swim this morning! Felt pretty good.

    Warm up (900)
    100 free/200 IM kick/100 free/200 IM drill/100 free
    8 x 25 Choice 4/30 - 3/25 - 2/20 - 1/15
    - did the first 7 backstroke, then free on the rest

    Main Set (1100)
    4 x 100/1:40 - 4th 100 FAST
    - free; went 1:15 on fast one, 1:19 on the others.
    - extra 50 sec rest
    4 x 75/1:20 - 4th 75 fast
    - back; 1:01 on fast one, 1:06 on the rest.
    - extra 40 sec rest
    4 x 50/50 - 4th 50 fast
    - free; 35 on fast one, 38 on rest.
    - extra 40 sec rest
    8 x 25/30 every 4th 25 FAST
    - back; 17 on fast ones, 20 on rest

    Kick (750) 20 sec rest after each
    250 - w/board and snorkel, went 5:10
    200 - on back, went 4:10
    150 - w/board and snorkel, went 3:10
    100 - on back, went 2:03
    50 - w/board and snorkel, went :55

    Warm down
    200 easy free and back

    Total: 2950 yards

    Updated October 4th, 2011 at 12:07 PM by poolraat

  7. Tuesday workout

    by , October 4th, 2011 at 10:49 AM (Pete's swim blog)
    Swam in my own lane next to Dave and Dave. Pool temp still @ 80. No drag suit.

    Boiler being broken was just a rumor. Pool was cooled for a swim meet and is expected to get back to the mid-upper 80s again. Pool manager says he will keep it at 84 but that never really happens. Pain today was rough. Can't really blame the "soccer injury" for this one. I think I'm just sore from the 700 pull yesterday. I think I held 1:10-1:12 on that which is probably a bit more than my shoulders are used to. Kind of took it easy today. Made some moderate effort on the 400 IM and some of the 50s at the end. Speed was good but I felt lots of soreness all the way through it.


    500 Warm up

    400 fr - 6:00
    300 - 5:15 (3 x 50 stroke/50 kick)
    200 IM - 3:15 (100 IM/100fr)
    100 Fly - 1:30
    100 Free - 1:30
    200 IM - 3:15 (100 IM/100fr)
    300 - 5:15 (3 x 50 stroke/50 kick)
    400 IM Timed (5:38)

    100 Easy

    4 x 50 - :45 Stroke/Free IM Order
    4 x 50 - 1:00 Kick/Free
    4 x 50 - :45 Stroke/Free IM Order
    4 x 50 - 1:00 Kick/Free
    4 x 50 - :45 Stroke/Free IM Order

    150 Cool down

    (3750 total)
  8. Short Solo is really short

    by , October 4th, 2011 at 10:49 AM (Random Nonsense)
    Now that there is a masters team practice starting at 5:30, my solo weekday practices are about 40 minutes. Screw getting up earlier than 4:18, I'd rather be slow and fat.

    Lifetime SCM solo
    Warm up
    - 400 swim
    - 4x100 IM drill
    - 200 kick
    Main Set
    - 3x100 on 1:15
    - 100 back ez
    - 2x100 on 1:15
    - 100 back ez
    - 1x100 on 1:15
    - 100 back ez
    Warm down
    - 50 ez

    And that was it. Felt like the shortest workout ever. That was about 36 minutes in the water.

    Originally the plan was just to splash around, but felt guilty about wasting pool time so I was going to attempt something hard. The attempt was supposed to be 4x100 on 1:15, 100 back, 4x100 on 1:15 and THEN splash around. Not ready for 4x100 on 1:15 the morning after weights.

    I can't really cut warm up any shorter and swim fast, so Tuesday and Thursday might become more kick focused because warm up only needs to be long enough to get comfortable in the water before starting a kick set.
  9. Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2011 4:45am

    by , October 4th, 2011 at 10:32 AM (Fast Food Makes for Fast Swimming!)
    Wow...earlier and earlier. It's okay with me though. At least I get to swim. For the next 3 weeks or so, the high school girls team is taking over the pool (it's their pool anyway) from 5:45am-whenever. So us Masters, the few that come T-Th, decided to come in early so we can at least get a good 1 hour swim in rather than nothing at all, which was the case last week.

    In addition I got my annual flu shot yesterday, so now my right shoulder is sore, and the swimming arm rotation doesn't help any. I'm not giong to back off any in my training, there's meets coming up now.

    300 Free
    300 Free Pull

    9 x 100s
    • #1 Free @ 1:20 (went 1:14)
    • #2 IM @ 1:30 (went 1:20)
    • #3-4 Free @ 1:15 (went 1:11s)
    • #5 IM @ 1:30 (went 1:20)
    • #6-8 Free @ 1:10 (survived them about :01-02 sec rest)
    • #9 IM @ 1:30 recovery
    6 x 100 @ 1:30
    #1,3,5 - Fly, Back, Breast by 100s
    Evens - Free

    2 x 100 Free Pull @ 1:15
    2 x 75 Free Pull @ 1:00
    2 x 50 Free Pull @ :40
    2 x 25 Free Pull @ :20

    6 x 50 Kick w/ board @ 1:00

    12 x 25 FAST @ :40
    Odds Free, Evens Fly
    This was way too much rest for me. I was getting bored on the wall watching the second hand moving, but I attempting to go fast, at least on the Flys.

    100 EZ
    3400 Yards
  10. A second day of pain and just plain YUCK

    by , October 4th, 2011 at 07:25 AM (Mixing it up this year)
    My mind is not in anything right now. Too much garbage with insurance companies.

    All I can say is what next? And when will this junk be over.

    500 Free
    500 Free kick w/fins every 3rd 25 moderate
    10x100@2:00 Fly w/fins 25 rt arm/25 lt arm/25 kick/25 swim the swim felt off tempo
    4x[50@1:00 Free w/fins fast held 29's
    ....[200@4:00 Free w/fins easy

    Total 3000 yards
  11. Swimming "extra credit" - 10/03/11

    by , October 3rd, 2011 at 08:33 PM (Workout Swimmer)
    Well, learned today that I'd better get out of the water at 7am when I need to dry my hair etc & get to work by 8:30. But, I misunderstood the last set - thought it was 5 x 500, then remembered while swimming #2 that the other choices were 2 x 1000 or a 2000 steady state swim, so realized that I was supposed to do 400's, but figured, what the heck. Guess I'll have to save these kind of days for non-work days.
    800 back/free
    800 pull no paddles
    10 x 100 stroke/free by 25's on 1:25 (fly & back w/zoomers) held 1:20's - kids were doing them on 1:30, but since I put on zoomers around #4, decided I needed a tougher interval to justify them.

    8 x 25's (drill, 2 x 4 cycle speed play & sprint on :25)
    100 easy
    5 x 100 kick on 2:00 (no toys!!)
    5 x 500 - first 4 pull, odds w/paddles, even's w/out & #5 w/zoomers)
    100 EZ
    Total: 6000 SCY in 100 min
  12. Workout 10/03/11

    by , October 3rd, 2011 at 08:10 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    Solo at Rec (scy)

    w/u 200 FR, 200 BK

    4 x 400 (20 SR bwt each)
    - 200 FR Pull w/ Buoy on 2:30 (2:16,:17,:14,:15)
    - 50 Kick on :55
    - 100 IM on 1:40
    - 50 Kick on :55

    4 x 50 FR on :45

    200 junk w/d

    (2400 total)

    Monday night pizza had to wait 40 minutes for me to hop in the pool - I am used to eating cold food anyways. Cool nights coming in Vermont - I have started to make grape jelly and juice with the Concord's in the back yard, and I am looking to try a batch of wine this year as well (my wife enjoys it).

    I also plan to get the pellet stove ship shape for some evening burns soon, putting off using the dreaded heating oil as long as I can. It is kind of humorous: my wife and kids are "freezing" and I am fine in shorts and a tee - a good side effect from swimming open water in the Atlantic Ocean and lakes in New England all summer! haha
    Swim Workouts
  13. LT Death Set, Monday, Oct. 3

    by , October 3rd, 2011 at 04:41 PM (The FAF AFAP Digest)

    Warm up:

    600 various
    9 x 50 fly drills (3x caterpillar, chest press, single arm)
    8 x 25 shooters
    5 x 50 torque drills
    4 x burst 25s dolphin kick
    100 EZ

    LT Death Set:

    8 x 100 fast: 4 @ 2:15, 4 @ 2:30
    -- did backstroke kick with fins
    -- went: 55 high, 57 high, 58, 58, 58, 58, 57 high, 55 high*

    * Got a couple minutes extra rest before the last one b/c of , so went much faster.

    -- I decided to bump up the interval slightly so I could simulate the length underwater of a 100 back. Generally, the SDK count per 25 was 12-10-9/10-8/10. I can't stay under as long on a 2:00 interval.
    -- The interval was largely irrelevant anyway as my legs were burning after the second one, quads being somewhat sore after yesterday's sprints in the yard. After 4 of them, I used only my hips/lower back on the underwater portion and saved the legs for the above water kicking.
    -- Definitely started off too fast. But it seems wrong to hold back too much on this kind of set.
    -- It was horribly painful.

    By comparison, this is what I did a year ago with Pete:

    8 x 100 @ 2:00, best average
    Went: 58, 57, 57, 57, 58, 58, 59, 58
    SDK count per 25 was 10-12, 7, 6, 4-5.

    -- I'm sure swimming that set with Pete helped push me more than doing it solo. Started off more sensibly on that set as well. But with a bit more rest, I was under longer today.

    300 EZ

    Total: 2800

    sit in hottub


    I really need to stretch after that effort. Or at least hit the foam roller. Not too much time tonight as I must feed hungry people and rush off to Teen Fort's NHS induction.

    Updated October 4th, 2011 at 08:29 PM by The Fortress

    Swim Workouts
  14. Mon Oct 3rd, 2011 SCY

    by , October 3rd, 2011 at 04:26 PM (Ande's Swimming Blog)
    Mon Oct 3rd, 2011 SCY

    Fast Fri Sept 30
    Trained at 6:00 am scy but didn't blog,
    best swim was 200 FR 1:54

    Sat Oct 1
    Trained at 7:30 am LCM but didn't blog
    went 100 FR 1:00
    also made 4 rounds of
    100 fr on 1;15 50 bk on 45

    Sun Oct 2, did not train, was in Dallas
    went to Cowboys Game and watched em lose
    got home late so I skipped 5:00 am work out this morning

    Subscribe to Ande's Swimming Blog

    Whitney Coached
    UT, main pool scy
    noon to 1:15 dove in at 12:10ish
    wore Jammer
    swam with Paul, beside Jim, Korey, Brandon, Stan & Bob

    did around 200

    Main SET: scy

    4 rounds of
    25 fast on 30
    50 k on 1:00
    75 BC on 1:30
    100 fast on 2:00
    400 neg split 4 SDKs off each wall
    Rest 1:00

    3 x 400
    went 4:17 on #4

    Upcoming Meets

    Sat Nov 12 - Sun 13, 2011
    2011 WMST November SCM Classic

    Sat Dec 3rd & Sun Dec 4th
    2011 South Central SCM Regional InvitationalSan Antonio, TX
    Swim Workouts
  15. Ederle swim

    Yesterday I awoke early for the 5am check-in for the 17.5-mile Ederle swim. Happily I had not received any late-night calls, and the swim was on. I ate, showered, fixed my one just-in-case hot thermos, packed the rest of the thermoses and feeds from the fridge, and was off. We were all meeting up at North Cove in lower Manhattan, where the boats would load up for the trip to Sandy Hook for the race start. As soon as I opened the taxi door at North Cove I was surrounded by wonderful people offering help—my friend Caitlin who just had shoulder surgery insisted on carrying a couple of bags with her good arm!

    It was still dark, but tons of people were already there, and there kayaks were lined up on the ground. I greeted everyone, including David and Clare, who would be crewing for me on the swim. They helped get my 5 (yes 5) bags over to the check-in area, once we determined where that was. I saw Hannah, who was crewing for my friend John, and we did a cookie/brownie swap-off with her. Rondi (also on John’s crew) came by and gave me a good-luck mascot for the swim—an adorable seal puppet:

    We named her Gertie in honor of the swim.

    It was drizzling and a little chilly, so I put on my swim parka (over my sweater and wool pants and rain jacket—I had come prepared). I checked in, and got my cap and bag tag. The plan was for the swimmers to finish the race at South Cove, while the escort boats and kayaks would continue on to North Cove (about a half mile away) to dock and unload, so we were allowed to check a small bag with towel and clothes to have at the finish until we were reunited with crew and gear. I was happy to unload one of my bags—that made just 4 to make sure got loaded onto the boat.

    My kayaker Vlad found me, and we chatted a bit—feeds overview, positioning, etc. We had exchanged emails back and forth, but I didn’t actually meet him until the morning of the race. I knew he was very experienced in the waters I would be swimming in—he had paddled for both Ederle record swims earlier this summer (Elizabeth Fry’s double, and Lance Ogren’s one-way). I felt fortunate that he had agreed to kayak for me, and lucky that everyone involved in my swim (kayaker, crew, boat captain) had been able and willing to rearrange their schedules to be available for the swim’s postponement to Sunday. (NYCSwim had to scramble to fill some holes for several swimmers, but were able to make sure everyone had all the support they needed—an impressive feat.)

    There was a lot of time as we waited for the boats to get in and loading to begin, and between swimmers, crews, and boat observers there were tons of good friends I knew congregated all in one place. I milled about getting and giving lots of hugs and good wishes—there was so much positive energy and excitement in the air. Boats arrived and started loading by race number. I was number 14 of 20, so it took a while but finally we were called down to the dock (where there was room for 2 boats to load at a time). We fit the five of us (swimmer, 2 crew, kayaker, official observer) plus the kayak onto the boat and cast off. It was crowded on deck with us plus the boat captain and mate, but with the kayak wedged through the cabin door it was impossible to move down to that part of the boat. It took a little doing, but we were able to maneuver it back far enough for me to climb down there with Clare for the boat ride out.

    Below was a bed and upholstered bench covered with pillows, and the captain urged me to take a nap on the way to Sandy Hook. I wasn’t really sleepy, but I lay down and closed my eyes, and when I opened them again the sun was up and it was a fine morning, with blue sky showing through the clouds. The ride to the start took about an hour, and was very bouncy as we motored through the waves. I kind of wanted to be up on deck so that I could see the course in reverse, but I could tell that everyone on deck was getting soaked as waves splashed over the sides and front of the boat. I decided that it was best to stay below and keep warm and dry, plus there wasn’t much choice with the kayak blocking the stairs up (and the going too rough at full speed to move it again). I had counted on having some time to go over procedures and feeds in more detail with crew and kayaker on the way over, but it seemed like that was not going to happen, and I regretted not doing it on land when we had plenty of time. I was glad I had talked to Vlad a little about these things, and had written all the important things out for my crew regarding feeds. I knew that all concerned were experienced at this, and was confident they would figure things out if I didn’t get to explain everything as thoroughly as I’d planned on before I splashed.

    I called up to the deck and got them to send down my swim bag, and changed into my suit, which was a little challenging in the rough conditions. Clare sunscreened me up, and I got my cap and goggles out and did my inhalers. I could hear on the marine radio that previous waves were starting, and knew that I would be splashing soon. We finally arrived near Sandy Hook, and the kayak and kayaker were unloaded. I went up on deck and quickly explained how I was feeding and where everything was located, and gave Dave the laminated sheets I had prepared:

    On the radio I could hear them calling my wave to the beach, so I quickly undressed and put lube on anywhere that might chafe. We were supposed to get in the water and swim to the beach, but my boat was still about a mile or two from the place on shore where swimmers were congregating. Dave asked the boat captain to get me closer in, so he did, but other swimmers were already ashore and the race organizer was getting ready to go. I could hear some back and forth on the radio about number 14—uh-oh, that was me. Dave assured them I was on the way. Finally we got to a good place near the start, and I hurriedly jumped in and swam towards the other swimmers on the beach. As I was walking out of the surf the others started running in—I guess my wave had started! My friend Tobey said something to me as she went by, I couldn’t tell what, and I turned around and joined them. The race had started!

    I was kind of giggling at this point—one of my big concerns about swimming to an on-beach start at Sandy Hook was that I would get cold onshore waiting for my wave to start. No worries there! But I hadn’t really had time to get take my bearings on the beach, and wasn’t sure which direction from shore we were supposed to head. Presumably roughly from the direction we had come on the boat, yes, but there were some tricky currents to ferry through not far off the beach, and we had been instructed to swim at 2:30 to 3:00, but in relation to what I was not at this point sure. So I just followed the other swimmers in my wave, and ended up swimming next to Tobey, and then on the other side of Tobey’s kayak, until my own boat and kayak found me. After that things seemed easy as I settled into a pace, and I felt confident and happy stroking along with Vlad by my side, catching occasional glimpses of my boat and my crew onboard.

    Heading into this swim I was feeling a bit torn. It’s a wonderful and amazing course, and part of me wanted to swim it as at sightseeing pace, taking my time and taking in all the beauty along the way and savoring the privilege of being able to swim under the Verrazano Narrows Bridge, by the Statue of Liberty, etc. But . . . it would also be my last race of the season, and I wanted to honor that by giving it my very best effort, and pushing myself to see how I could stack up against a strong field of contenders. I struggled with trying to define for myself what I wanted from this race, and decided that the challenge for me would be to keep myself open enough to take in the experience while also being focused enough to swim hard. I wasn’t at all sure if I could achieve this narrowed-but-permeable consciousness during the stress of a race, much less maintain it over 6+ hours, but I decided I would try. I spent last week trying to imagine what it would be like to push myself when my muscles were achy, or my breathing labored, while also noting the water rush pass me or appreciating the sight of the bridge or the sky or whatever else passed by.

    And that’s pretty much exactly how it went on Sunday. I felt like I was pushing myself beyond comfortable the entire time. Throughout the swim, my stroke count was about ten percent higher than it was when I swam the 8 Bridges stages, which were of comparable length. I even kicked more, or at least more emphatically, than usual. But the entire time I was also constantly taking in and loving everything around me—the blue-and-puffy-clouded sky, the undulation of the waves, the feeling of being surrounded and supported by the water. I waved to the Romer Shoal Lighthouse and the Statue of Liberty as I passed by, blew a kiss to the VZ bridge as I backstroked under it, and was excited by the ever-nearing skyline of Manhattan. The whole swim was simply joyful, and was the kind of peak athletic experience where the more energy I expended, the more I felt like I had to give. It’s hard to arrange into a coherent narrative things that I experienced so moment-by-moment, but here are some highlights of the swim:

    The water off of Sandy Hook was sparkly, and much clearer than the water at Brighton has been since the sediment flow from the Irene floods. It stayed that way until somewhere near the VZ bridge.

    The VZ bridge and Manhattan were visible from very early on in the race—from my 2nd feed on or so. I had seen pictures of Manhattan Island taken from far away, where its skyscrapers just seem to rise magically up out of the water, but seeing it in person and from in the water was amazing.

    There were places where the water was doing interesting things (probably when we passed through channels or where various rivers/oceans were meeting up). One minute I would be in a space where the water was all cool and flowing quickly in one direction, only to suddenly pass into a section of warmer water that seemed to be bouncing against itself chaotically. The water really seemed alive around me.

    My feeds were delicious, and I’m told my stroke count picked up a bit after each one. Having kind people bring you food while you’re out in the water seems like the ultimate luxury.

    Passing by big cargo ships is really cool, and I got to swim right next to a couple that were anchored. They’re so huge! I kept thinking, where else would I get to share the water with these monsters? It made me appreciate the fact that I was swimming through NYC harbor.

    My muscles were definitely achy and fatigued by mid-way through the swim, but I didn’t feel like it that was slowing me down. I had the option of taking ibuprofen during my feeds, but elected not to, because in the I-want-to-experience-it-all spirit of the day I was kind of enjoying the sensation.

    Boats can be really noisy underwater—as we neared Manhattan things got louder and louder. But the Staten Island ferry topped them all. Most boats whir or whine; it sounded like a clanky jackhammer. Still, cool to see such a recognizable icon chugging by.

    There were little translucent jellyfish friends swimming along with me at several points throughout the race. They didn’t sting but kind of tickled.

    At my first and second feeds (30m and 1h into the swim, respectively) I worried a little bit that I was swimming too fast and would get tired, but I trusted my training enough to know that if I got too fatigued I could slow down and recover, just like I do in workout. As the day went on and I kept feeling good, I felt increasingly proud and happy that I could swim so hard for so long. I kept thinking about all the good open-water experiences I had had this summer, and how each of them had in some way prepared me for this.

    Manhattan grew closer and closer. Vlad told me there was about an hour to go, and I was excited but also a little sad that I was nearing the end of the swim. I tried to pick up the pace, and focused on getting good pulls on each stroke as the water grew choppier around the Battery. I stopped for a feed, and Dave told me from the boat that it would be my last one (it was a pb&j pop—I’m glad I got that one in)! I finished the pop, took a sip a water, then headed towards the finish with all I had in me.

    There was a little confusion at the end—we had been meant to finish at South Cove, but the water was too choppy to get swimmers out there, so instead we swam past South Cove across an imaginary line to finish the race. I could see the buoys at the place I thought the finish should be, and wanted to swim in there, but Vlad and Dave were able to communicate the change to me so I swam on past them. (It helped that Vlad was on my right, between me and the buoys—I was pretty determined to get to them and might have if nothing had been blocking my way). After I swam past the cove and was declared done, I got to have a little easy warmdown swim part of the way to North Cove before the boat picked me up. There were people standing by the railing along the river, and I waved to them and did backstroke. I could hardly believe it was over.

    After I got on the boat I learned that I was the 3rd swimmer in, which surprised me—I hadn’t seen them, but I assumed that all the swimmers in the last wave had passed me. Only two had—Evan (EVMO), who won the race and set a new course record, and Emma, a delightful 16-year-old from upstate who is a familiar (and fast) sight at nycswim races, and who now holds the women’s course record. I was really happy for them both. When the times from the various waves were sorted out, I finished 5th overall—a result that I’m very pleased with. My time was 5:55:43.01, which makes it my longest swim to date. I’m just thrilled to have had such a great day on the water, and such a fine experience to finish my open-water season. A lot of credit goes to Vlad, for finding me fast water to swim in, and to Clare and Dave, who cheered me on and made the day so easy and comfortable in so many ways

    I hung around in North Cove and cheered in returning swimmers for the next few hours. It seemed like a long time had passed since I had greeted everyone that morning in the rainy dark. So many swimmers had amazing days on the water—kudos to all who participated, and to NYCSwim for doing so fine a job coordinating such a complicated and extraordinary event!

    Update: Vlad has posted his beautiful photos on the day and account of the swim.

    2011 Summer Races:
    Saturday, May 28: Great Hudson River Swim (1.6m) (1st woman, 17th overall, 28:39)
    Saturday June 18: MIMS relay, 9:30 start (1st relay team, 7:36:34)
    Friday, July 8: 8 Bridges Hudson River Swim, stage 1: Rip Van Winkle Bridge to Kingston-Rhinecliff Bridge (18.3 miles) (5:50, 4th of 5 finishers)
    Monday, July 11: 8 Bridges Hudson River Swim, stage 4: Newburgh-Beacon Bridge to Bear Mountain Bridge (15.2 miles)(5:35, 3rd of 6 finishers)
    Sunday, July 17: Grimaldo’s mile race, Coney Island (26:47, 8th overall, 2nd woman)
    Wednesday-Friday, August 3-6: USMS LCM Nationals, Auburn, AL (800 FR: 11:10.57, 4thin age group; 200 BK: 2:56.01, 4th; 50 BR: 42.19, 5th; 400 IM: 6:36.41, 10th)
    Saturday, August 6: USMS 5K National Championship, Coney Island, Brooklyn (1:24.22; T27/120 overall; T-7th woman; tied for 1st in age group)
    Saturday, August 13: USMS 2-mile Cable Championship, Lake Placid, NY, (49:17; 18/143 overall, 5th woman, 1st in age group)
    Saturday, September 3: Lake Quassapaug (Middlebury, CT) swims (3m, 1.5m, and .5m)
    v Saturday, September 10: Governor’s Island 2-mile swim (cancelled)
    Sunday, September 11: New York Harbor (CIBBOWS) 10k swim (3:19:52, 4/8 overall, 1st woman)
    Saturday, September 24: Little Red Lighthouse 10k (1:37:05, 67/240 overall, 21st woman, 1st in age group)
    Sunday, October 2: Ederle Swim (Sandy Hook, NJ to Manhattan, 17.5 miles), (5:55:43.01, 5th/16 finishers)

    Updated November 17th, 2011 at 12:43 PM by swimsuit addict

  16. Sarasota Y Sharks Masters 5:30 AM Workout -10/04/11

    by , October 3rd, 2011 at 12:44 PM (Sarasota Y Sharks Masters GOLD Workout)
    WARM UP:
    1 X 200 3:20 3:00
    2 X 150 2:30 2:15
    3 X 100 1:40 1:30
    two rounds. Round 1 intervals left, round 2 right

    1 X 200 kick + 100 swim

    4 X 50 1:10
    1 X 200 IM 3:30
    Four rounds. Round 1 50's: fly 2:back 3:breast 4:free.
    Take a short break after round 2.

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

    1 X 50 1:00
    2 X 75 1:20
    1 X 100 fast 2:00
    Three rounds, all choice.

    WARM DOWN: 4 X 50 easy 1:00

    Swim Workouts
  17. Monday, 10/3/11

    by , October 3rd, 2011 at 12:41 PM (A comfort swimmer's guide to easy swimming)
    Good swim today. Back at home in Elko Municipal Pool

    Warm up
    200 free - 150 back - 100 breast - 50 fly

    did free on the followig
    1 x 125/2:10 build
    - went 1:40
    1 x 100/1:40 Build
    - went 1:20
    1 x 75/1:15 Build
    - went :58
    1 x 50/50 build
    - went :37

    Swim Set #1 (500)
    3 x 50/50
    2 x 50/45
    1 x 50/50
    3 x 50/40
    1 x 50 easy
    37-38 on all except the 3 on 40. was touch and go on those

    Set #2
    400 IM Kick
    - with board & snorkel for fly, breast, & free. just under 9:00
    6 x 75/1:30-1:40 IM or 3 different strokes
    - 1-3 fly-back-breast/1:40, was going 1:15
    - 4-6 fly-back-free/1:30, going 1:05.
    400 IM Drill
    - 1 arm for fly & back, flutter and dolphin kick on breast, 1 arm and fist drill on free. went just under 8:00
    6 x 75/1:15 IM or 3 different strokes
    - same as above.

    Warm down
    150 easy free and back

    Total: 3200 yards

    Updated October 3rd, 2011 at 06:31 PM by poolraat

  18. Sunday, 10/2/11

    by , October 3rd, 2011 at 12:36 PM (A comfort swimmer's guide to easy swimming)
    Recovery Day
    (actually recovery weekend. Took a rest day on Saturday and did nothing except tailgating and football.)

    In Boise at downtown YMCA
    Warm up (900)
    300 swim free & back
    300 k/d/s by 50 - 1st 150 free, 2nd 150 back
    4 x 75/1:20 build
    - all free, 58-1:00

    Set #1 (1800)
    1 x 400 free pull/30sr
    - buoy only, 5:40
    1 x 200 (50 swim/50 kick/50 drill/50 easy)
    1 x 400 back pull/30sr
    - buoy only, 6:20
    1 x 200 same as above
    1 x 400 free pull/30sr
    - buoy only, 5:30
    1 x 200 same as above

    Set #2 Swim with Fins (750)
    15 x 50/1:00 every 3rd fast others smooth
    - started with fast one went fly (33)-back (34)-free (29)-fly (33)-back (33) on fast ones, easy free (40-42) on others

    Warm down
    150 easy free

    Total: 3600 yards
  19. 200s Rule the Day

    by , October 3rd, 2011 at 11:42 AM (Year Three: The Road Back)
    Today's main set was 200s. I must say - I really, REALLY don't like 200s. I'd rather do either 50s and 100s or even 400s. Just not 200s. There is something utterly difficult for me about a 200. But... that being said, today's workout went really well and I was able to keep all the intervals without a problem - and did the workout exactly as written without adding fins or pull sets when I got tired. YAY! Some days it's the little things....

    Here's what we did today:
    400 Warm-Up
    1 x 300 Kick on side on 6:00
    10 x 50 Free on 1:00, 1>5, 6>10
    4 x 25 Fist Drill on :40, lower stroke count
    4 x 25 Left Arm Drill on :40, lower stroke count
    4 x 25 Right Arm Drill on :40, lower stroke count
    4 x 25 Free on :40, lower stroke count
    1 x 200 Free on 3:15, 50 fast/150 moderate
    1 x 200 Free on 3:15, 75 fast/125 moderate
    1 x 200 Free on 3:15, 100 fast/100 moderate
    1 x 200 Free on 3:15, all fast
    1 x 200 Free on 3:30, 150 moderate, :10 rest, 50 fast
    1 x 200 Free on 3:30, 125 moderate, :10 rest, 75 fast

    1 x 200 Free on 3:30, 100 moderate, :10 rest, 100 fast
    3 x 100 Kick on 2:00, middle 50 no board
    200 Cool-Down
    Total Yards - 3500

    I plan to work really hard in the pool the next couple of days, but back off on Thursday and Friday. I'm laying off the biking until after Saturday's meet is over. And, Coach B figures that Wednesday's workout will lend itself best to block starts - so that should be fun. Before that, however, is Distance Tuesday. Have to see how that one goes tomorrow, but I actually felt pretty decent in the water today and was happy about that.

    Back to work, so until I'm back to the pool....

    Enjoy your swims!
    Swim Workouts
  20. Monday, Oct. 3, 2011 5:00am

    by , October 3rd, 2011 at 11:33 AM (Fast Food Makes for Fast Swimming!)
    200 Free
    200 Free Pull

    3 x 300 Free @ 3:55 (held 3:30-3:35)
    3 x 300 Free Pull @ 3:50 (held 3:27-3:30)

    100 EZ

    4 x 50 Free @ :45 (while waiting for another to finish her warmup)
    got a nice breathful of water on the last one and almost killed myself trying to get the water out. I've taken in a fair share of water over the years, but nothing like this one!! It was a good thing I'm swimming on an empty stomach...

    5 x 200 IM @ 3:00 started @ 2:41, descended down to 2:26 on the last one
    I was following another person who was doing freestyle on these, so it was kind of nice to chase someone.

    3500 Yards

    Felt good with today's swim, though it started off sluggish like most Mondays after two days out of the pool. I'm hoping I can get started with the age group team one of these weeks soon. We'll just have to see what kind of a payment plan can be worked out for me, if any at all. I can't afford it otherwise... I'm only planning on 1 or maybe 2 age group practices a week.