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  1. Caps (and Goggles) off to Coach!

    If you are a Masters swimmer, you know there are a lot of swim meets during the winter months that you can choose (or not) to participate in. In our area, we have a series of meets that start in November and go through March. There is one meet per month. Our Coach, Sue, usually trains our group in such a way that those who wish to compete in the meets are prepared to do so. There is an extra boost to this training that starts in January. That means interval speed training, starts of the blocks, IM sets (or stroke sets-doing something other than Freestyle), and general technique work. Meanwhile, back at the U.S. Masters - national level, there is a competition called the 1 Hour Postal Swim that runs from 1-31 January. Yes, that's right. You guessed it. We are training for meets, but we (many of us, anyway) are going to participate in the Hour Postal, as well. We don't often get much in the area of long swims to prepare for the Postal because we are stroking it out and doing shorter distances to prep for meets. This year, thanks to Sue (and the wonderful management at our pool), we are being given the opportunity to train for the Postal. We are getting an extra hour of practice one day a week for the next couple of weeks to do some long swims. Yay! I am so excited! Wish us luck! And, here's hoping the weather doesn't ruin our long swim training time!
  2. Playing with speed

    I went to the early-morning lcm workout at Asphalt Green. Hereís how it went:

    700 lcm warmup

    400 FR speed play: 6 stroke cycles slow, 6 stroke cycles fast for 1st 100; 5 slow/5 fast on 2nd 100; 4/4 on 3rd, and 3/3 on 4th [I liked thisóit really made me think about where I was generating power from each time I switched from slow to fast, and how increasing tempo helped increase power, as well as the other way around]

    6 x 100 @ 2:20, done as 2 x (75 FL + 25 FR; 75 BK + 25 FR; 75 BR + 25 FR), with ST= long and relaxed, FR =sprinting [my lane only made it through 5 of these]

    2 x 50 FR Sprint @ 1:30 [37, 36]
    100 easy
    4 x 50 FR Fast @ 1:30 [held 38-39]
    200 easy
    8 x 50 FR Fast @ 1:20 [I did odds sprint, evens moderate. I went in the back of my lane and so just got my time to the flags (too many people to get to the wall): 34, 32, 32, 32]
    400 easy [300]
    4 x 50 BR fast @ 1:40
    200 easy
    Then I skipped the last 2 x 50 Fast + 100 easy because my body had had enough fast swimming for one day!

    100 warmdown

    Our coach, Craig Keller, leaves for Sweden at the end of this week to coach USMS swimmers at Worlds, then is headed to Puerto Rico for nats. I think Iíll see him again about a week before I go to Zones, so Iím trying to get all the good advice I can from him this now! I think we will have a substitute coach coming in from out of town to handle workouts during his absence. If anyone reading this is Worlds-bound, I hope you enjoy Craigís great knowledge and enthusiasm. It sounds like you will have tons of fun there!

    I have to figure out what to swim at Zones. Iíd like to do 50 FR/BK/BR, 100 BK/BR, and 200/400 IMs. The only back-to-back events among those are the 400 IM and 100 BK, but thatís a pretty tough one. I could just drop the 400 IM notion and give myself an easier schedule.

    On the swim-every-event front, between the Middlebury and Wilton meets IĒve already swum the following LC events this summer: 100/200/400/800 FR, 50/100/200 BK, 100/200 BR, 50/100/200 FL, and 200/400 IM. Iím ok with skipping the 1500 FR this season, and will definitely get in the other 2 eventsó50 FR and 50 BRóat Zones. If all goes as planned, Iíll also get in 1M and 2M open-water swims this summer. Thatís a happy-making amount of racing, and has helped keep my interest up in training.
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  3. O give me lane, lots of lane, under starry skies above . . .

    This morning I went to early LC workout at Asphalt Green. Hereís what we did:

    400 LCM warmup + bobbing and sinking

    600 reverse-order IM, 100 Swim + 50 Kick of each stroke

    8 x 50 drill: 2 fist, 4 tap drill, 2 dps

    2 Ĺ times through
    300 IM (50 FL, 100 BK, 50 BR, 100 FR)
    3 x 50 kick (1st round FL, 2nd round BR, 3rd round would have been BK if weíd gotten that far)
    3 x 50 easy FR, decreasing # of breaths by 2 on each successive 50

    100 warmdown

    Sometimes the numbers of swimmers in each lane at these workouts works out strangely. Today, there were 8 or 9 swimmers in each of the 2 fastest lanes, and just 2 or 3 in each of the other 2. By speed I would usually swim in the next-to-fastest lane, but today the range of speeds in that lane made efficient clumping unlikely (if the rest of the swimmers stay on each othersí feet, as they often do, I figure it really doesnít matter whether Iím sharing a lane with 2 or 12 others, as long as I make sure Iím not in the middle of the clumping).

    So I scooted over to one of the slower lanes and swam the workout there. That was fine for the drillsóIím a pretty slow drilleróbut on the IMs I was way too fast for the interval. So I compensated by doing double turns at each wall, and doing the vertical-axis strokes as 50 swim/50 kick. If Iíd stayed in my original lane, I would have gotten in more yardage, but this way I got in some additional turn and kick work. Itís a trade-off Iím happy to make.

    Sometimes I do wish teammates were less married to their usual lanes (not to mention their particular position within lanes), but it seems like itís been that way on every masters team Iíve ever swum with. When I coached, one of the least pleasant parts of the job was trying to even out overcrowded lanesóthere were always certain people you knew would have their feelings hurt or be in a snit for the rest of workout if you asked them to move down from ďtheirĒ lane, and who even preferred swimming 7 or 8 in a scy lane to switching. Iím usually happier moving to wherever I can find good space to swim, and luckily in a lcm setup thereís usually somewhere that fits that description. Plus, I get to chat with swimmers I know less well, which is always fun.

    This Sunday Iím headed out to the Wilton Summer Sizzler LCM meet and bbq. Iím signed up for 100 FR, 400 FR, 200 IM, 50 FL, and 50 FR. Iím swimming the 400 free just for the sake of doing all the events (minus the 1500) this summeróI predict that I will negative split it. The other event I donít even have any predictions for, but I know it will be a fun dayóit will be my first pool swim outdoors this season, and the Wilton folks always put on a fabulous event!

    Good luck to everyone doing the Charlottesville swim this weekend! Stay cool and swim fast!
  4. A fun and quick little story:

    So last weekend I swam at the Badger State Games in Appleton Wisconsin. It was my first LCM Meet where I did sprints. You all have seen the times from my previous post Where the @#*& is the @#$8#@$* Wall?!?! So we all know - they weren't really that good.

    So because there was no one else in my age group for any race except the 50 free and my relay won, I was able to achieve 3 gold medals and 1 silver medal for the meet.

    So the other day I get an email saying "results are up from the badger state games!"

    Naturally - I'm excited so I check the link: Results and even as of 9:20 AM on July 2nd, they most certainly are not!

    However I was playing around the website and I see this:
    Did you win a medal at The Badger State Winter or Summer Games?
    If so, you may qualify for the State Games Of America!

    In order to qualify for the State Games of America, participants must have won a gold, silver or bronze medal in a SGA sport in their local State Games in a qualifying year (2009 or 2010 Summer, 2010 or 2011 Winter). The State Games of America will take place in San Diego, August , 2011. For a complete listing of sports and more information visit www.stategames.org.
    So following a few links I found this:
    California State Games/State Games of America

    So August 5th-7th in 2011, I guess I'll be swimming in San Diego! Hopefully by then I'll be a much better swimmer - maybe I'll even be able to give [ame="http://forums.usms.org/member.php?u=18385"]U.S. Masters Swimming Discussion Forums[/ame] a run for her money in the breast stroke!

    Does anyone know anywhere in Illinois where I can consistently train in LCM?
  5. Creating your own day spa at meet venues

    Today was gorgeous here, so I walked over to Asphalt Green for the noon workout again. I wanted to work on some stroke and some sprinting today, and ended up totally highjacking what was meant to be a freestyle aerobic set to get what I wanted out of it. Hereís how it went:

    500 warmup plus bobbing and sinking

    9 x 100 FR (3 kick, 3 drill, 3 swim) @ :20ish rest

    Freestyle set:
    10 x 75 @ 1:15 [I did 3 as 25 FR/ 25 ST / 25 FR, 3 as 25 ST / 25 FR / 25 ST, 3 as all ST (rotating through FL, BK, and BR for the ST on each of these sets of 3), then 1 as 25 FL / 25 BK / 25 BR]
    10 x 50 @ :45 [I did these all FR: 3 desc., then the rest concentrating on various pieces of sprinting: 1 working pushoff and breakout, 1 working turn, 1 working finish, 1 working breakout, 3 working turn]
    10 x 25 @ :30 [I did 3 1/3 x (2 easy, 1 sprint)]

    200 warmdown + sinking and bobbing

    I really hadnít done any much sprinting since nationalsóit felt really good today to go fast.

    The only bad thing about workout today is that I somehow lost a contact in the pool. That hadnít happened since I stopped playing polo, and I wasnít even sure when or how it happened today. Although extra contacts are on my bring-to-meets list, theyíre not something I always keep in my pool bag, so I had to get myself home with only one good eye. (Iím terribly nearsightedómy prescription is in the double digits.) It worked out ok, except that I had absolutely no depth perception, so stepping up and down off curbs was a little exciting. From here on Iím keeping an extra lens in my bag. (Of course, I could have just taken a taxi home, but it was really too pretty a day to be stuck in a cab in traffic.)

    My last two meet experiences have convinced me that more is more when it comes to stuff. Iíve decided to re-write my meet pack list to accurately reflect all the comfort items I like to surround myself with when Iím hanging out at long meets. In addition to all the usual things like extra caps and goggles and warm clothes, this includes:

    --a stretching mat (I like Kieferís stretching mat, which is cushier than yoga mats. Inflatable camping mats also work well too. I try to scout out the venue first thing to find a pretty, out-of-the-way spot to set up my stretching mat. I generally leave my swim bag and spend most of the meet sitting nearer the pool, with teammates or friends, but like having a little retreat set up away from the action.)

    --an actual towel (The synthetic ones work fine for drying off after events, but a real beach towel laid over the stretching mat makes it way more comfortable to lie on, plus it looks festive. In a pinch, a hotel towel will do.)

    --a pillow (I travel with a small pillow anyway, so carrying it back and forth from hotel to pool is no big deal)

    --an eye mask (to block out light, or signal to teammates that youíre enjoying a me moment)


    --a cooler packed with a sandwich, snacks, and iced tea (because you never know what food youíll find at meet sites, and nutrition is too important to leave to chance. I have a soft-sided cooler I can pack, or have sometimes bought a cheap hard-sided cooler for longer multi-day meets once I arrive)

    --a stretching rope

    --a self-massage tool (I travel with this mini one and work pressure points in my back with it)


    --ipod (I actually donít use this much at meets, but if I get nervous or down itís a sure-fire way to jolly myself back up)

    --a YA book (I find these are about the right reading level for masters meetsóeasy to slip into and out of, not too disturbing, and often quite funny. At Middlebury I plowed through one of the ďDiary of a Wimpy KidĒ sequels, which had me in stitches.)

    --toe socks to keep feet from getting chilled when wearing flipflops


    --a hat and scarf to ward off chills during downtime

    --I donít yet have but want to get a compact foam roller. One of my friends brings his to meets and lets me use it, but Iíd like one of my own.


    --and of course a rolling duffle bag to carry all this stuff, because you donít want to tire yourself out by toting it around yourself

    Did I leave anything out?
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  6. Rowing + Summer meet planning

    Today I went over to the Y to try a rowing workout with Mr. Addict. Everything felt good, and hereís what we did:

    6-minute warmup
    3-minute easy/rest
    4-minute piece [2:25.8 avg. pace]
    3-minute easy/rest
    4-minute piece [2:19.5]
    3-minute easy/rest
    4-minute piece [2:16.5]
    3-minute easy/rest
    4-minute piece [2:14.2]
    3-minute easy/rest
    1-minute piece [2:04.4]
    3-minute easy/rest
    2-minute piece [2:21.1]
    3-minute easy/rest
    1-minute piece [2:01.4]
    3-minute easy/rest

    I started out pretty easy then descended, and things felt good and fairly comfortable the whole way. I was pretty happy with my times on the 4s, especially considering that it was 7 @ 2:16 pace that made me want to cry a couple of weeks ago. Today that pace felt relatively easy, although I was only holding it for 4 minutes rather than 7. I gave myself a get-out time on the first 1-minute piece of 2:05 and beat it, but ended up feeling guilty going easy on the following 2-minute piece while Mr. Addict was still working hard, so I cranked it up again for that last 1-minute row at the end.

    Iíve also been working on my summer swimming and travel plans this weekend. One thing Iím really excited about is the NE LCM champs in Middlebury, VT in a couple of weeks. Iíve really wanted to go to this meet for the last couple of summers, but other plans have gotten in the way. When I scheduled my surgery for early June, I thought it would nix that meet this year as well. Luckily, my recovery and return to swimming has been way ahead of where I thought it would be, and late registration for the meet doesnít close until this coming Friday, so Iíve decided to go. I donít think PRs will be in the works, but it will be great to spend a weekend up in Vermont swimming a long course meet. Plus, thereís a clinic by Bill Boomer leading into the meet that should be very interesting.

    At Middlebury I plan to swim longer stuff and off events (probably 200s of all four strokes, and an 800 FR and 400 IM), because I havenít been sprinting at all and donít have enough time between now and then get things sharp enough to swim shorter events well. One plus to doing this is that it gives me a shot at swimming all the LC events this summer (or at least all except for the 1500óalthough this meet allows you to swim both of the distance frees on the first day, Iím sticking with just one. And Iím not sure Iíll want to swim a 1500 later on in the season, even if I get an opportunity to. In fact Iím pretty sure I wonít.]

    So, here is my tentative meet and OWS schedule for this summer. Events in parentheses are iffy:

    Friday June 25 Ė Sunday June 27: NE LCM Championships at Middlebury College, Middlebury, VT [preceded by Bill Boomer swim clinic on Thursday and Friday]

    Sunday July 11: Wilton LCM meet, Wilton, CT [BBQ after]

    Sunday August 1: Governors Island 2M OWS [This is probably my favorite of the NYSwimís summer series. It will be followed by a 10K Pro swim, along part of the same course.]

    (Saturday August 7: NY Aquarium 1M Swim [Thereís also a 5K swim, but 1 mile will be plenty for me.])

    (Sunday August 8: Jason Nessel Memorial LCM meet, Rahway, NJ)

    Saturday August 21 Ė Sunday August 22: Colonies Zone LCM Championships at College Park, MD

    Sunday September 5: John Daly 1M Ocean Swim, Long Beach, Long Island [The traditional season-ending OW swim in these parts.]

    We also have a couple of trips planned, to Lake Placid and to Victoria BC (both very easy places to get in swim workouts), so it will be a busy summer! I was toying with the idea of doing a rowing camp weekend this summer, in order to learn on-water rowing, but that will have to wait for fall, or another season altogether. I figure I should do all the LC swimming I can while I have the opportunity!
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