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  1. Two pools for the price of one

    And that price was pretty low to start with. I swam at Riverbank State Park this morning, where the lap swim admission is $3. During the summer, the outdoor 25-yard pool is open, as well as the 50-meter indoor pool. That works out to only 4 cents a yeder! (Does anyone have a better term for combined yards and meters? Martyrs, perhaps?)

    I started out indoors and did the following solo workout:

    1000 lcm warmup (400 swim, 200 kick, 200 pull, 200 drill/swim IMO)

    6 x 150, odds FL/BK/BR, evens BK/BR/FR, @ 3:00

    8 x 50 kick w/ fins, odds FL fast, evens flutter easy while practicing 45-degree balancing

    Then I moved outdoors and did the following warmdown in the sun (it takes awhile for the sun to reach this pool in the morningóduring early lap swim times the entire outdoor pool is in the shade, then gets sunny lane by lane).

    8 x 50 scy FR warmdown

    About 400 yds of drills and play [I was being mesmerized by the play of the light in the water, and didnít want to get out, so kept on inventing more things to do.]

    Altogether, that made 3100 blissy yeders.

    As I was stretching afterwards, I was amused to watch a fairly serious triathlete guy and girl practice their handstands in the water after finishing their workout. Outdoor pools bring out the child in everyone.

    Later this morning after watching the TdF, Mr. Addict and I went over the Y for a rowing workout:

    7-minute warmup
    3-minute easy row
    6 x (2-minute hard piece, 3-minute recovery row), desc. 1-3 and 4-6
    7-minute row-out
    3-minute easy row

    My goal was to go under 2:15, 2:10, and 2:05 on each of the sets of 3 descending pieces, and I managed that: 2:13.9, 2:08.7, 2:03.7, 2:14.8, 2:08.7, 2:03.4.

    I thought about taking a dip in the Y pool post-rowing just for the sake of swimming in 3 different pools in 1 day, but I decided to go home and have lunch instead. I did see one of my old swim pals I hadnít seen in a while who was lifting weights, and was glad to get to chat with him for a bit.
  2. Sitting pretty, 2 fathoms deep

    Today I went over to the Asphalt Green noon workout. I got there a little early so I could work on my bobbing and sinking during warmup (more about that below). By the time we got started, I did feel pretty relaxed and more focused on how I was interacting with the water. Hereís how the workout went:

    500 scy warmup

    400, done as 4 x (75 FR + 25 ST), decreasing SPL by 1 on each 25 of the 75s, and IM order on the ST [I started out my first 25 with 14 strokes, which made the 3rd one pretty difficult, but I kicked a managed to get down to 12. My stroke count was 14-17 on the others.]

    4 x 100 flutter kick, done as 25 on stomach w/ hands by side, focusing on balance, 25 right side, 25 left side, 25 on back

    4 x 75, odds = FR @ 2:10, evens = IM @ 2:20

    4 x 350 @ 5:20 [I did these as (25FR / 25 BK / 50 FR / 50 BK / 75 FR / 75 BK / 50 FR). I had 2 focuses on the FR: (1) putting my face back into the water sooner after each breath, and (2) relaxing my arms on the recovery part of the stroke. I just cranked the BK, and used it as a break from the concentration the FR work was requiring.

    100 warmdown, plus more bobbing and sinking play

    The bobbing and sinking stuff I was doing was a result of the clinic I did with Bill Boomer at the Middlebury meet. We got a ton of information during the clinic, which was held in 4 sessions on Thursday afternoon and evening and Friday morning and afternoon.

    One of his overarching concerns is understanding and dealing with oneís primal responses to being in an aquatic environment. He talked a bit about three layers of human brainsóthe reptilian part, which is responsible for instinctual survival behaviors, the limbic system, which handles in-the-moment emotions and hormonal responses, and the cortex, which specializes in conscious thoughtóand emphasized that you have to expose swimmers to new stimuli multiple times in low-stress situations in order to convince the reptilian brain those situations are ok. Otherwise, swimmers go into instinctual survival-mode behaviors that they cannot control or consciously change.

    For me, one of those survival-mode behaviors is holding my breath (or at least holding on to some of it) when Iím in the water. In one of the clinicís pool sessions we did bobbing drills where we assumed an upright position in the water with our mouths right above the water line, exhaled, then sank to the bottom with our arms by our sides. At first I couldnít stop myself from inhaling right before I went under the water (which then made me too buoyant to sink without some other motion propelling me downward). When I got beyond that, I couldnít exhale enough air to actually sink very far. I am finally getting the hang of letting go of all my air and sinking all the way to the bottom of the pool. Once there, I either push off the bottom to bob back up and do it again, or I sit on the bottom for a few moments and look around. The latter feels weirdly calming and euphoric at the same time, and is a totally new experience for me.

    Another breathing exercise we did at the clinic is called ďalligator breathing.Ē You open your mouth wide, immerse your mouth partway into the water while keeping your head upright, and breathe in and out while water remains in your mouth. The rationale behind this is that if you swim, you need to be comfortable breathing with water in your mouth, and doing that behavior when youíre not moving through the water and exerting yourself is a low-stress way of getting your reptile brain to accept it as ok. (I had actually read about this breathing beforeóitís described in Natalie Coughlinís book as something the Cal team did during their rest intervals.) My heart rate skyrocketed when I first did thisóI could tell I was getting panicky, and had to stop a few times to take ďrealĒ breaths. Now I only feel uncomfortable when I do it. (Also a little grossed out, since it seems terribly unsanitary to have a laneful of folks allowing pool water to slosh in and out of their mouths, but then Iím a big germophobe).

    This evening I went to rowing class. The dismaying news on the rowing front is that my Y is closing our rowing room and eliminating the rowing classes, at least for the summer. They might put some of the rowing machines in a yet-to-be-determined location, but even that is not certain. Everyone was up in arms about this, and there was a meeting after class to discuss a response (the consensus: asking for a meeting with management to discuss the situation, and presenting some ideas to either increase utilization of the present space or move the rowing classes to another locale.)

    Hopefully this will work out in the long termóthe rowing room and classes at my Y are a distinctive feature that they should be building up, not eliminatingóbut in the short term it could well disrupt my cross-training plans for the summer. Meetings like tonightís do really drain and upset me (although this was actually a pretty calm and well reasoned discussion, with much consensus and limited venting), but I am ultimately glad I went, because itís something I do care about and want to help fix.

    Finally, I entered the July 11 Wilton Y meet todayóI signed up for the 100 FR, 400 FR, 200 IM, 50 BK, and 50 FL. This is always a really fun outdoor meet, with a nice bbq after. Iím looking forward to it!
  3. Weekend workouts

    I swam the Saturday morning LCM workout with AGUA. Hereís what we did:

    400 lcm warmup

    5 x 100 FR @ 2:00ish: odds 50 DR / 50 ST, evens 100 mindful swimming

    10 x 50 @ 1:10: odds DPS, evens build [I did these IM order by 2s, with extra FL at the end. Stroke count was 13, 37, 16, 38, 14 on the odds.]

    Chalk talk on FR technique

    4 x 600:
    #1 = 100 FL/ 200 BK / 100 BR / 200 FR [I did this 300S / 250 K / 50 S]
    #2 = all FR [9:27]
    #3 = 200 FL / 100 BK / 200 BR / 100 FR [200 S / 50 K / 250 S / 100 K]
    #4 = all FR [I actually did 4 x 100 FR / 50 BK, didnít get time]

    100 easy

    4 x 50 sprint @ 2:00 [did IM order]

    200 warmdown

    Iíd been wanting to do some longcourse FL to give myself confidence that I could swim a 200 at the Middlebury meet, so today was perfect for thatóI got to practice lots of easy relaxed fly, which is what Iíll need. I was also happy with the pace on my 600 FR [a little under 1:35 pace]. If I can swim my 800 at that pace at the meet Iíll be happy.

    It was a nice relaxed workout with good, mellow lanemates, and I really enjoyed it. I like sets where the swimming itself rather than simply making the intervals is the focusótoday we either had very generous intervals, or simply regrouped after each swim and went at :30 or so rest. I also learned this morning that all the morning AGUA workouts from here on out will be LCMóhooray! Thatís worth waking up early and getting myself across town for.

    On Sunday morning I went up to Riverbank for a short swimójust 1200 warmup, focusing on my FR technique, and a bit of kickingóthen had a nice stretch out back overlooking the Hudson. It was gloriously uncrowded up thereóI shared a LCM lane with just 2 other swimmersóbut the pool was full of hair. Yuck! Itís tempting to bring a butterfly net to clean out my lane the next time I go up there.

    Sunday afternoon I did a rowing workout with Mr. Addict. I told him I wanted to work on rowing pieces that would be the equivalent of swimming 200 lcm stroke races, plus do a bit of power work at the end. Hereís what he came up with (focus pieces are in redómy goal was to descend the 3 3s and go all out on the :30s, which I did):

    7-minute warmup
    3-minute easy/rest
    2-minute piece [2:19.5 avg pace/500m]
    3-minute easy/rest
    3-minute piece [2:14.9]
    3-minute easy/rest
    2-minute piece [2.15.7]
    3-minute easy/rest
    3-minute piece [2:08.9]
    3-minute easy/rest
    2-minute piece [2:17.9]
    3-minute easy/rest
    3-minute piece [2:05.0]
    3-minute easy/rest
    2-minute piece [2:42.1]
    3-minute easy/rest
    1-miute piece [2:07.6]
    3-minute easy/rest
    :30 piece [1:49.4]
    3-minute easy/rest
    :30 piece [1:49.4]
    3-minute warmdown

    I was happy with this workout, and realized that I should really be doing more swimming workouts that were structured like this.
  4. 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!
  5. Why swimming is far superior to all other forms of exercise

    Iíve been very lazy the last few days. I didnít really set out to take time off per se after natsóI figured I would just listen to my body and do whatever seemed fun to it, and that has been precious little other than vegging out on the couch watching Yankees games. So when I agreed to go do a rowing workout with Mr. Addict at our Y today, it turned out to be a real shock to my system.

    A little background: Mr. Addict is a runner. Heíd been wanting to do a hard repeat mile running workout, but for various reasons had not been able to this weekend. So he instead decided that we could do the equivalent rowing workout. Since I didnít have an agenda and just wanted some motivation to do some sort of exercise, I agreed. Hereís how it went:

    7 minute-warmup with drills
    3 minute rest/easy row
    7-minute hard piece [2:22 avg pace]
    3 minute rest/ easy row
    7-minute hard piece [2:16 avg pace]
    3 minute rest/ easy row
    7-minute hard piece [2:21 avg pace]
    3 minute rest/ easy row
    2-minute hard piece [2:06 avg pace]
    3 minute rest/ easy row
    1-minute hard piece [2:01 avg pace]
    3 minute rest/ easy row
    1-minute hard piece [1:57 avg pace]
    3 minute rest/ easy row

    I had intended to descend the 3 7-minute pieces, but really blew up after the 2nd oneóI had tried to bring my pace down under 2:12 during the last minute of the piece, and it really took the stuffing out of me. I was so tired after it that I lay down beside my erg machine during the 3-minute break and just gasped for air. As I was doing this one of the Y staffers giving a tour of the facilities to a prospective member walked into the rowing room. They didnít linger long.

    This wasnít my best ever rowing day, but it did make me appreciate how great working out in the water is, and having it there to support you when you get exhausted. I think one of my favorite things in swimming is floating on my back and sculling gently when Iíve just finished a hard satisfying set. Lying on the rowing room floor just isnít the same.

    My other take-away from today? Be wary when giving distance-oriented athletes carte blanche to design a workout!
    Tags: rowing
  6. Weekend workouts

    Today I swam a midmorning workout with TNYA. Hereís what we did:

    800 scy warmup

    4 x 50 FR finger-tip-drag @ :15 rest
    1 x 100 BR/FL/BR/FL, working on pressing chest @ :15 rest
    3 x 50 FTD drill @ :15 rest
    2 x 100 BR / FL / BR / FL, pressing chest @ :15 rest
    2 x 50 FTD @ :15 rest

    6 x 50 BK kick @ 1:00
    150 quality BK @ 2:45
    5 x 50 BR kick @ 1:00
    100 quality BR @ 2:00

    1 x 200 FR @ 2:40
    2 x 150 FR @ 2:00
    3 x 100 FR @ 1:20
    4 x 50 FR @ :45

    4 x 50 FL kick @ 1:10
    1 x 50 FL quality

    25 FR K / 75 BR swim
    50 FR K / 50 BR swim
    75 FR K /25 BR swim
    100 FR K
    (Kicks on all the above were fast; took a about :20 rest in between each hundred)

    50 swimdown

    Yesterday I didnít swim, but in the afternoon I did a rowing workout the Y with Mr. Addict. Mr. A seems to have gotten it into his head that one day I will be interested in doing a 2000M rowing piece all out on the erg, just to see what I can do. Heís a good endurance athlete and enjoys doing things like that; Iím a wimp and tend to avoid things that involve 8+ minutes of pain. Anyway, the goal of yesterdayís workout was to keep the hard pieces at my theoretical goal 2000M pace, which he thought would be between 2:05-2:10 per 500m. I actually ended up going a little faster than that towards the end. Hereís how it went:

    6 minutes warmup w/ drills
    2 minutes rest
    6 minutes piece, build [2:16 avg]
    2 minuts rest
    2 minute hard piece [2:08]
    2 minute easy row/rest
    3 minute hard piece [2:06]
    3 minute easy row/rest
    1 minute hard piece [2:08]
    1 minute easy row/rest
    3 minute hard piece [2:03]
    3 minute easy row/rest
    1 minute hard piece [2:06]
    1 minute easy row/rest
    2 minute hard piece [2:03]
    2 minute easy row/rest
    8 minute row-out

    Iím really enjoying the rowing but will probably cut it out sometime over the next couple of weeks as I taper for nationals.
    Tags: rowing
  7. IMs for lunch

    Today I went over to Asphalt Green for the noon masters workout. When I signed up with this team, I wondered whether it would really be worth my while to travel across town for a workout that just lasts an hour (the commute takes about 45 minutes each way). But today’s workout packed a lot of quality swimming into 60 minutes—it was definitely just what I was looking for to break up my day. Here’s what we did:

    500 warmup

    4 x 175 (50 Swim / 75 Kick / 50 drill), IM order, @ :15 rest

    IM pyramid: [The goal on this set was to maintain the same pace per 100 on the IMs going up, then descend that pace on each IM on the way down.]
    100 IM @ 1:30 [1:29]
    50 easy FR @ 1:00
    200 IM @ 3:00 [2:57]
    50 easy FR @ 1:00
    300 IM @ 4:30 [4:23]
    50 easy @ 1:00
    400 IM @ 6:00 [5:45]
    50 easy @ 1:00
    300 IM @ 4:30 [4:17]
    50 easy @ 1:00+ [took an extra minute here as we decided not to skip the 200, even though that ran us slightly over on time]
    200 IM @ 3:00 [2:48]
    50 easy @ 1:00
    100 IM @ 1:30 [1:17]

    200 easy warmdown

    Tonight I’ll probably go to the Y and do rowing class + weights and stretching.

    Rowing update: I did make it to rowing class, and our main hard thing was 2 x 10-minute pieces with 2 min. rest in between. I averaged 2:17.9 on the first and 2:18.3 for the second--good numbers for me for that long a rowing piece.
    Now I'm tired and ready for Glee. I think tomorrow will be a rest day.

    Updated April 13th, 2010 at 09:03 PM by swimsuit addict

    Tags: ims, rowing
  8. Lazy Sunday in the city

    Last fall I read an article about being a tourist in your own town. It said that most folks who lived in major cities visited key attractions only when hosting visitors. Thatís largely been true of my time in New York City, and I resolved then to do more sightseeing on my own. I realized that I had not been doing a good job of that lately, so I devoted the morning to wandering around and being attentive to and delighted by the city.

    Since it was Easter, I planned to walk over to 5th Avenue and see the Easter Parade. Itís not really a proper parade, but a street closure that allows everyone to stroll around and be seen in their holiday attire, like in the Irving Berlin song. I was hoping for some excellent hat sightings. Unfortunately, I didnít see very many people dressed upómostly just other people like me wandering about looking for something to look at. I think I would have had better luck if I had gone later in the day.

    But in my walk over to 5th, I did enjoy the sights in Central Park, which is absolutely gorgeous this time of year when everything is beginning to flower. I walk through the park all the time to go places, but itís different when you are actually looking at things and not worrying about being a certain place and a certain time. It was short-sleeve and sandals weather today, but the ice rink was still open. I stopped and watched the skaters gliding in the sunlight for a while, and took a picture. I thought about going home and getting my ice skates, but decided I was enjoying wearing my sandals too much today to take them off!

    On the way home I stopped by the MAD museum (Museum of Art and Design) at Columbus Circle to see an exhibition Iíd been wanting to go to (and which closes tomorrow), and then by Lincoln Center to sit in the sun by the fountain and bask for a bit. And then home, all before lunchtime.

    In the afternoon, I did a rowing workout at the Y with my husband. Hereís what we did:

    6 min. warmup w/ drills
    2 min. rest
    6 min. piece
    2 min rest
    2 x (4 min. piece, 2 min. rest)
    2 x (2 min. piece, 2 min rest)
    2 x (1 min. piece, 2min. rest)
    6 min. warmdown

    Nothing about rowing hard today felt fun or good, so I just took it easy and kept Mr. Addict company while he put up some nice numbers. (My fastest pieces today barely broke 2:10). But it did get me loose enough to do a good round of stretching, which felt great after all the swimming I did yesterday.
  9. Wednesday swim/row double

    I went to the noontime workout at AG today. (Noon is a very civilized time to have a coached workoutóIím liking this Asphalt Green program more and more!). It was my first workout with Coach Craig, who took over this program last fall, and I liked it and him and had fun. Hereís what we did:

    400 warmup

    4 x 150 (25 kick, 50 drill, 75 swim), rev. IM order, @ :15 rest

    8 x 50 Kick (25 easy flutter on back, 25 fly kick on side underwater as far as possible)

    15 x 100 (50 easy, 50 FL kick on side underwater afarap + fast FR) @ 1:45

    50 swimdown

    (I had been wanting to experiment with using a nose clip again, and brought it today hoping I would have a chance to play with it. My wish was very much granted. Still not sold on it, but weíre getting to be better friends.)

    I also discovered some good news at the workout: Asphalt Green will be hosting scy time trials this Saturday afternoon. Iíll definitely goóeven though Iím not swimming nationals and so donít need to swim official quali times (which is what the tt was designed for, I think), it will be a good chance to practice some racing skills. I might swim a few off events, like 200 FR and 100 FL, since the event is at such short notice, and I donít want to give up any training time this week in order to rest up a bit for it. I might even do the Sat. am workout before, since itís LC and I hate to give up a LC workout! Alternately, I could practice for my events at the meet on Sunday the 11th.

    I got a second piece of good news when I got home. I found out I was one of the top 5 fundraisers in my teamís OHS, and will be getting a gift certificate to Kastaway Swim for my efforts. Woohoo! The suit shopping will begin soon!

    This evening I did a rowing workout with Mr. Addict. Since rowing class is very crowded these days, weíve been trying to go to the gym at non-class times and do workouts together. Hereís what we did tonight:

    6 min warmup w/ drills
    2 min rest
    6 min desc.
    2 min rest
    4 x (:30 sprint, 2:00 rest) [This is what I really wanted to work on tonight. My goal was to get the meter down under 1:50 on my hardest strokes. On the first 2 sprints I got to 1:50 and stayed there the rest of the piece. On the last 2 I got down to 1:49 and 1:48 respectively.]
    6:00 medium piece / recovery
    2:00 rest
    2 x (2:00 hard, 2:00 rest)
    6:00 rowdown

    Tags: rowing, teams