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  1. Counting Strokes

    by , July 6th, 2017 at 05:27 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    Trying to get back into shape after hiatus. Been back in the pool for two months now, building distance, nothing too strenuous, trying not to pay attention to the clock. Today was a "boring" pair of long sets, but the focus on counting strokes per length really helped distract me. Without exaggerating the glide I was still able to keep the count to 15 strokes or less each length (SCY)... Some of the 100s even totaled 57-58 strokes at the end. Last week I was losing form at the end and bringing the hundreds i'm at 63 strokes.

    Here's what I did:
    10 x 200 on 3:30 (alt. free and pull)
    1:00 rest
    20 x 100 on 1:45 (free, nos. 5, 10, 15, 20 we're pull)
    Total: 4000 SCY/1:11.00
  2. From Machu Picchu to my local piscina

    by , January 22nd, 2017 at 02:22 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    I mentioned going to Per in the first week of January. Here is where I spent Epiphany, El Da de los Reyes (January 6):

    The altitude at Machu Picchu (around 7k feet if I remember correctly, a little more than a mile above sea level) was a piece of cake after spending several days in Cuzco (two miles above sea level). Coming back to sea level, where we take breathing for granted sometimes, has also meant coming back to the busy-busy of the office... so I haven't been in to swim except on the weekends.

    Last week I got in a 3000-yarder on Saturday, and 3200 on MLK holiday. Yesterday I did 2K. Just have to keep getting in when I can, not pay attention to the slow times, and hopefully in a month or so as the busy season (for me at least) starts to wind down, be able to get into the pool more than a couple of times a week.
  3. Wuh?

    by , January 2nd, 2017 at 04:57 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    It's been more than a year since I've posted... wuh? Guess things have been crazy busy. Tomorrow I'm headed to Per for the rest of the week and through the weekend... Maybe a swim at altitude in Cuzco.

    Swimming has been very sporadic, so I'm way out of shape. Today I got in and did:


    10 x 200 free on 4:00 (alt. fr/pull w/buoy)
  4. 6000-yarders

    by , October 11th, 2015 at 02:32 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    Each of the last two Saturdays I've managed to get in for a distance day. Last Saturday I did 30 x 200 on 3:20... which was pretty brutal at the end.

    Yesterday I swam the 6000 breaking it into three 30 or 40 minute segments, thus:

    I. 9 x 200 on 3:20 (alternated free/pull; desc. the frees)

    1:00 rest

    II. 3 x thru:
    --3 x 200 fr on 3:10 (2:50-2:59)
    --1 x 200 pull on 3:20

    :30 rest

    III. 6 x 200 on 3:20 (alt. free/pull--try to hold 3:00 for frees, DPS the pulls)
    1 x 500 bk on 10:00 (EZ)
    100 fr cool-down
  5. Friday must be IM day...

    by , September 11th, 2015 at 10:24 AM (Alex's swim journal)
    400 fr DPS
    400 IM (dr, k, dr, swim by 25s)

    16 x 25 fr on :30 (desc. 1-4, 5-8, 9-12, 13-16)
    16 x 25 1IMO on :35

    10 x 100 fr on 1:40 (desc. 1-4, etc.)
    6 x 100 IM on 2:00 (desc. 1-4)

    16 x 50 on 1:15 (1-3 kick, 4 fr DPS, repeat)

    I only got through the first two rounds of the final set (I always have to get out at 10 till to make it back to the house in time to get my son off to school), but still made 3600 SCY today and the 100s felt really good... after descending the first 4 I ended up holding about 1:22-1:23 for the rest of the set. My 25s fr were descending from about :19-:20 to :16... maybe even closing in on :15. In just a week, I think the coach has done a really good job of designing workouts that are challenging but are appropriate for the level we're all at (there are four of us swimming now). It's been fun.
  6. First Practice w/ new Masters team...

    by , September 4th, 2015 at 10:25 AM (Alex's swim journal)
    ...well, new for me. It was fun, only two other guys and the coach today. Nice to swim with someone else for a change, and we seemed all to be swimming in the same time ranges. Here's what we did:

    300 fr EZ (coach calls this DPS, I'm not really awake at this point so it's EZ)
    200 fly drill
    300 br (negative split--I was happy just to finish this!)
    200 bk hard (this felt pretty strong)

    Set 1:
    8 x 25 fly on :40
    8 x 25 bk on :40
    12 x 75 fr on 1:15 (these were consistently at 1:02)

    Set 2:
    Straight 1000, swum as:
    400 fr (negative split--probably went 2:59, 2:58)
    300 pull (negative split, I swam harder in the back half, but didn't catch the times)
    200 kick (negative split... uh...)
    100 fr

    Last set (this also served as my cool-down, since I had to get out a little early to get my youngest off to school):
    5 x 75 IM (no free) on 1:40
    25 EZ fr and out... (set was actually supposed to be 8 x 75 IM on 1:40, but coach said this last set we could leave whenever we needed to)

    3700 SCY

    Coach said my stroke looks good and he was happy with the workout we did, so yay! Seems like a good group, I liked the variety in the workout (left to my own devices I default to all free maybe a little back).
  7. 40 x 25, 30 x 50

    by , August 29th, 2015 at 06:35 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    4 x 100 on 1:40 (fr, pull, fr, pull)
    4 x 100 on 1:50 (IM, pull, IM, pull)
    4 x 50 on 1:00 (IMO)

    20 x 25 fr w/ long fins on :30 (:14-:16, mostly :15)
    20 x 25 fr on :30 (mostly :17)

    30 x 50 fr on 1:00 (mostly :38-:39)

    10 x 50 on 1:00 (alt. EZ pull w/ BK)

    4000 SCY/79 mins
  8. 18 x 100 fr set

    by , August 28th, 2015 at 10:13 AM (Alex's swim journal)
    Today I felt ready to go after a couple of EZ days. The first 12 of the 100s were all around 1:23, then a couple of 1:26s crept in, and finally the pace fell off to 1:27 and 1:29 at the end of the set. Hopefully as the training progresses I'll be able to extend the set out to 20 x 100 (or more?) and drop the interval from 1:45 to 1:40.

    5 x 200 fr on 3:20 (evens w/ pull buoy)

    20 x 25 fr on :30
    --first 10 were with long fins, on the 100 goal pace (:14-:16)
    --last 10 w/o the fins were in 1650 dream pace (:18-:19)
    1:00 rest

    Main set:
    18 x 100 fr on 1:45 (trying to hold under 1:25--1650 goal pace)

    200 EZ (bk/pull/bk/pull)

    3500 SCY/64 minutes
  9. Ladder sets...

    by , August 24th, 2015 at 09:49 AM (Alex's swim journal)
    I climbed the ladder 3x today, and was exhausted toward the end of the third one. This gives me a pretty good idea about where my fitness is starting out this year too... from here I should be able to reduce the rest intervals or perhaps even do longer distances (starting with 4 x 50 and ending with 1 x 400), all while trying to get down to that mythical pace of 1:20/100.

    WU (1000/19:00):
    400 EZ fr on 7:00
    4 x 100 fr on 1:45 (1:25-1:27)
    4 x 50 fr on 1:00 (:40-:41)
    1:00 rest

    MS (2400/48:00):
    8 x 25 fr on :30 (:18-:19)
    4 x 50 fr on :1:00 (:39s)
    2 x 100 fr on 2:00 (1:22, 1:21)
    1 x 200 fr on 4:00 (2:49)
    8 x 25 fr on :30 (:18-:19)
    4 x 50 fr on :1:00 (:39s)
    2 x 100 fr on 2:00 (1:21, 1:20)
    1 x 200 fr on 4:00 (2:48)
    8 x 25 fr on :30 (:18-:19)
    4 x 50 fr on :1:00 (:39s)
    2 x 100 fr on 2:00 (1:23, 1:23)
    1 x 200 fr on 4:00 (2:55)

    CD (300/6:00):
    4 x 50 EZ fr on 1:00
    100 EZ bk on 2:00

    TOTAL: 3700 SCY/73 mins
  10. 4000 SCY; 2 pyramids on top of a plateau

    by , August 21st, 2015 at 06:10 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    4000 SCY/ 75 mins. Began this one with a hard climb (the kick set) before ascending the plateau and (re)discovering the pyramids.

    Warm-up (1200/20:00)
    6 x 200 fr on 3:20 (evens w/ pull buoy)

    Kick set (600/10:00):
    6 x 100 kick on 1:40 (w/ long fins: front w/ board, side, bk streamline, repeat)

    Plateau (1000/19:00)
    4 x 250 on 4:30 (swum as 200 bk + 50 fr recovery)*
    1:00 rest

    Pyramid set (1000/20:00)**:
    2 x thru:
    25 fr on :30
    50 fr on 1:00
    75 fr on 1:30
    100 fr on 2:00
    75 fr on 1:30
    50 fr on 1:00
    25 fr on :30
    100 EZ bk recovery on 2:00

    Cool-Down (200/4:00):
    4 x 50 EZ fr on 1:00

    *This was tough, I was way stiffer on this set than when I did it earlier in the week, backstroke just felt labored and not at all smooth, so I had a hard time making the intervals.
    **Been a while since I've done a pyramid; tried to hold that 1:20/100 pace throughout, but the 75s were around 1:01 and the 100s came in at 1:22. Again, just feeling a bit off today. Maybe it was the altitude up there on top of figurative mountain.
  11. 4500 SCY, 25s and 50s

    by , August 18th, 2015 at 10:35 AM (Alex's swim journal)
    Today I got up early and headed to the Y at about 5:30; trying to get my schedule back on track since I'm going to have to start getting to work at a normal time toward the end of the week. But this year I'm determined not to put my swims off until after work... I have such low energy in the evenings. So early morning it is!

    I was still a little groggy when I pulled up at the Y, but my warm-up felt fairly normal. Then I went into 2500-worth of hard swimming. The 25s and 50s didn't feel nearly as smooth as last week, but until I get acclimated to the time and build my base a little I can't complain... I'm still forcing my body to swim a lot faster than when I do 100s and 200s.

    4500 SCY/90 mins

    WU (1100/22:00):
    400 EZ fr on 7:00
    4 x 100 IM on 2:00
    4 x 50 fr on 1:00
    4 x 25 fr on :30
    1:00 rest

    MS1 (1000/20:00):
    20 x 25 fr on :30 (w/ long fins, trying to maintain 100 pace)
    20 x 25 fr on :30 (:17-:19--mostly :18 with 16 strokes, 200 pace)

    MS2 (1000/20:00):
    20 x 50 fr on :20 rest (mostly :39, a couple of :38s--500 goal pace?)
    :40 rest

    MS3 (1000/20:00):
    10 x 100 on 2:00
    --alternated BK recovery 100s w/ hard fr 100s (1:22-1:24, goal 1650 pace?), I was running out of gas pretty badly on this.

    CD (400/8:00):
    100 EZ bk on 2:00
    6 x 50 EZ fr on 1:00
  12. Post-meet loosen up swim

    by , August 17th, 2015 at 02:09 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    Didn't feel as stiff as I thought I would this morning. Just tired. I did 3000 SCY/53 minutes with a lot of backstroke at the end.

    6 x 200 fr on 3:20 (alt. fr/pull w/ buoy)
    6 x 100 kick on 1:40 (used long fins and alt: front w/ board, side, back streamline)
    4 x 250 on 4:40 (250s swum as 200 BK + 50 pull recovery--200s averaged mid 3:20s)
    4 x 50 fr on 1:00 (asc. :40-:43--this was my cool down)
  13. 200 miles ytd, 1500 LCM (RAM meet)

    by , August 16th, 2015 at 08:56 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    According to my GTD FLOG, I went over 200 miles for the year today (probably at some point during my 1500 at the meet in Rockwall).

    Really enjoyed the meet... they have a beautiful facility there and it's pretty convenient to Dallas. I drove up early this morning (leaving Waco around 5:30) and was able to pick up my son north of Dallas (can't believe he's now a sophomore at UT-D), he's been my reliable lap counter and company on so many drives to meets over the last 4 years, it was a great excuse to see him again. I had to pay him back by taking him grocery shopping afterwards.

    From UT-D it was only a 30-minute drive over to Rockwall. I got in for my warm-up around 8:10 and took my time, since I knew I'd have a break before my first event anyway... did about 900 and worked on starts.

    GOGGLE SAGA... My old vanquishers, which I'd been using since the start of 2013 SCY season, vanished earlier this summer. I've been experimenting with a couple of other models over the last couple of months because every time I run across a sporting-goods store I run in to check and inevitably they don't have "my" vanquishers... today it was the Dick's Sporting good, for example, which had a bunch of different models but somehow only carried the vanquishers and vanquisher 2.0s in "women/femme/damas." Alas, Pink is not my color. Sigh. Anyway, I tried some starts with the Nike remora I've been using for practice... not too bad, but there was a lot of leaking. They just don't fit my face like a well adjusted pair of vanquishers.

    100M... So I got to the start of the 100 (after doing some 25 bursts in the warm-up pool, and another practice start off the blocks during the 10-minute break), and half expected to have an eyeful of water coming into the first turn. I was resolved just to suck it up and swim with one eye open if need be. As it turns out, the start went off and the goggles stayed firmly in place. The aura of the remora? Would I be a sucker for the suckerfish-named goggle in symbiotic relationship with my eye sockets? Final verdict to come. My 100-meter free felt pretty good until about 75 m... then, pain fest. Anthony got video of it (accidentally in slow motion mode), so I got to see it... I held form pretty well, but the thighs were screaming for mercy by the end... I'm not used to swimming that pace after a year of "fitness" swimming. I eked out first in the heat and swam 2 seconds faster than my seed time with a 1:19.xx, which converts to around 1:10 SCY (according to the converter on the Swim-Swam site). This is not bad for me at all; it's basically where I started my last (2014) SCY season.

    1500M... Long story (and event) short: 26:29. I would have been happy with anything under 27:00. It wasn't a PR, but it was by no means the worst I've done in the last 2-3 years. My son Anthony said I looked smooth throughout. When I finished Stewart said I was mr. Consistent... can't wait to see the splits. It's something to build on; and now I know where I am after a year out of competition.

    Great to finally meet Stewart and some of his teammates; they had some great swims... really fun to watch!

    FINAL VERDICT on the suckerfish goggle? Well, for me it just sucked! It probably works great for some, but I had all kinds of trouble in the first 500 of the 1500 with it (as I have in practice). Had to roll over on my back a couple of times to clear them out and adjust on the fly (using some open water skills here). So I'm going back to vanquisher. I know Nike and Speedo were lining up for my endorsement (not!)... in good conscience I'll have to turn down that big offer I know Nike was going to make for this middle- to back-of-the-packer. Ha, ha. If it's any consolation, Remora, you were the best of the rest of the goggles I tried this summer, and whose names I won't mention here. Of course, as my wife always says... "sounds like a user error to me." Hmm... saga continues.
  14. 3000 more

    by , August 13th, 2015 at 04:42 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    Felt slow and a bit more ragged today...

    3000 SCY/59 minutes

    WU (1200/23:00):
    1 x 400 fr on 7:00
    4 x 100 fr on 1:45 (1:31-1:35)
    4 x 50 fr on 1:00 (:43-:44)
    4 x 25 fr on :30 (:20-:21)
    1 x 100 EZ BK on 2:00
    1:00 rest

    MS (1500/30:00):
    10 x 100 fr on 2:00 (desc. 1:31-1:27)*
    10 x 50 fr on 1:00 (mostly :43)

    CD (300/6:00):
    6 x 50 EZ (BK, BR, FR, BK, BR, FR)

    *These actually felt pretty smooth and not difficult, which is a good thing since that was my previous pace for 1650. I felt stronger as I went along, but during the 50s afterward, I did not have that feeling I had the other day of relative ease. My body needs a break I think.

    Updated August 13th, 2015 at 11:03 PM by mcnair

  15. 40 x 25 on :40

    by , August 12th, 2015 at 02:20 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    In keeping with the theme of lots of rest and focus on pace and form I decided to go with 40 x 25 on :40 for my main set... the 25s were to be on or a little faster than 1650 dream pace which would leave me just a little over :20 rest. I felt refreshed and energetic for the entire set, in fact my form felt smoother and I even incorporated flip turns in the last half of the work out. The 1:1 work:rest ratio might not be helping my distance/aerobic fitness, but it is helping me lock in form and the feel of a particular pace.

    Here's the workout:

    Warm-up (1800/32:00):
    6 x 200 fr on 3:20 (evens pull w/ buoy)
    6 x 100 kick w/ long fins on 2:00 (alt. by 100: front w/ board, side, back streamline)

    MS1 (1000/27:00):
    40 x 25 fr on :40
    :20 rest

    MS2 (400/7:00):
    1 x 50 fr on 1:00 (:39, felt smooth, not hard)
    6 x 50 kick w/ long fins on :50 (alt. by 50s: front, side, bk)
    1 x 50 fr on 1:00 (:39*)

    Cool-Down (300/5:00)
    3 x 100 relaxed fr on 1:40 (odds pull w/ buoy)

    TOTAL: 3500 SCY/1:12:00

    *Usually toward the end of a 3000+ workout, my 50s can be ragged unless I back off to a :43-:45, especially the day after a sprint day, but this :39 felt pretty smooth and in no way desperate of frenzied.
  16. interesting soreness...

    by , August 11th, 2015 at 03:34 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    I think yesterday I was experiencing the delayed onset muscle soreness from the 4600 I did on Saturday with its 30 x 25 followed by 30 x 50. I was definitely stiff on Saturday afternoon and evening, but my shoulder loosened up and I didn't feel particularly out of sorts Sunday. Even got in a short stretch out swim with some drill on Sunday evening. The yesterday the soreness really kicked in, especially in my triceps (I usually feel it more in my lats and shoulders. I probably could have used a quick swim to limber up, but didn't have time (or motivation).

    Today I woke up feeling a little more refreshed and headed to the Y mid-morning to see what I could do. I knew immediately where the soreness was coming from... I've been working on long strokes with a good finish and that last bit as my hands pass through the hip region was where the triceps were feeling it. So I guess the sprints, to which my body is still not accustomed, are good for something!

    Today I did another 1500+ at dream 1650 pace. Here's what I did:

    Warm-up (1200/20:00):
    6 x 200 fr on 3:20 (evens pull w/ buoy)

    2:00 rest

    MS1 (1500/30:00):
    10 x 25 fr w/ long fins on :30 (mostly :16, tried to focus on hips and extension, minimize kick)
    10 x 50 fr on 1:00 (all on :39)
    10 x 75 fr on 1:30 (mostly on 1:00, the last 2-3 in the 1:02 range)

    Recovery: 300 EZ back on 6:00

    MS2 (700/14:00):
    5 x 100 fr on 2:00 (odds pull w/ buoy; evens hard--1:21, 1:19)
    200 streamline BK kick w/ fins on 4:00

    Cool-down (300/6:00):
    6 x 50 fr on 1:00 (:43-:46, ascending times, descending stroke counts)

    TOTAL: 4000 SCY/ 1:18.00
  17. (30 x 25) + (30 x 50) = PAIN

    by , August 8th, 2015 at 07:40 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    Didn't feel too sore after the workout on Wednesday, though I took it easy the last couple of days (3K easy on Thursday and just messing around in the San Marcos River yesterday with the boys... trying to beat the heat). Got back into Waco this afternoon and headed over to the YMCA where I decided to continue with the theme of swimming my dream paces at shorter reps and with a little more rest than usual. Today's work/rest ratio was back down to 2:1, though, for the 30:00 long set. This was still way more comfortable than the 4:1 work:rest ratio I usually give myself.

    Nonetheless, as I got out of the pool and into the shower I could already feel myself stiffening up. Especially the left shoulder. I probably need to do some strengthening and stretching (weights and yoga) since it's been forever since I've done any of that. I know I need to do it for injury prevention, but it's been tough over the last year just to work the swims into the schedule. Now as we're coming out of our transition I need to start reintegrating some of these things into my life... drylands, ugh!

    Today: 4600 SCY in 90 minutes. Here's how it went:

    Warm-up (1500/27:00):
    6 x 200 fr on 3:20 (evens pull w/ buoy)
    200 EZ back on 4:00
    100 fr w/ long fins
    ~1:00 rest

    30 x 25 fr on :30*

    *did these with the long fins at my 100 fr goal pace; so they were coming in at :14-:16 (nearly as I could tell) which gave me :15 rest. I wanted to try stretching out my ankles and give my legs a workout at the same time that I wanted to feel what the 100 goal-pace should feel like, without killing myself... not a sprinter! Then I went straight into...

    30 x 50 fr on :20 RI**
    150 EZ BK recovery on 4:00
    1 x 100 fr in 1:20 (1650 dream pace)

    **These I was doing somewhere between my 200 pace and my dream pace for 1650. I wanted to hold under :40. The first five I was just getting my legs back and getting used to swimming w/o fins again... they were wild but all in the :36-:39 range. for these first five, I just went on 1:00 even. After that I held the :20 rest and was very consistently coming in at :39 for the next 22 reps or so, then my pace slowed back down to :40 for the last 2-3. Still, I was very happy with this, because I managed to do 1500 at the dream pace for 1650 (or slightly faster).

    3 x 200 EZ (pull, drill w/ fins, pull)
  18. 1/1 work/rest ratio

    by , August 5th, 2015 at 09:36 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    Today I decided to experiment with just swimming my dream pace (1:20/100 for 1650); I've struggled mightily since 2010 to get my pace down to 1:30ish and just maintain that. I'm used to taking really short rests, swimming on really tight intervals... figuring this is the best way to go for distance events. But since I've been in an extended off-season the last 12-14 months, those tight intervals are really daunting and I feel like I'm in a rut... pace going nowhere (except maybe backwards).

    So Today I did 25s, 50s and 75s, but being very disciplined about the pace... holding back on the 25s, concentrating on form, bringing them in right at :19, same thing with the 50s, holding pace through the flip and bringing them in right at :39. 75s were tougher at that pace, but despite having to really push the final 25 on most reps I brought the odds in at :58-:59, the evens at 1:00-1:01. The other thing I did was make sure my rest interval was exactly the same as my work interval, so I did the 25s on :40, the 50s on 1:20, the 75s on 2:00... which gave me :20, :40, and 1:00 rests. This seemed like an eternity, but it helped me to maintain the pace and not deteriorate the form.

    Here's the workout:

    400 EZ FR on 8:00
    4 x 100 FR on 2:00 (1:30s)
    4 x 50 FR on 1:00 (:42-:43)
    4 x 25 FR on :30 (:20-:21)
    100 BK recovery

    Main set:
    18 x 25 on :40 (under :20)
    9 x 50 on 1:20 (under :40)
    6 x 75 on 2:00 (:58-1:01)
    1 x 100 on 2:00 (1:21)
    100 BK recovery

    250 EZ (various)

    3000 SCY/70 mins
  19. Contemplating LCM 1500...

    by , August 1st, 2015 at 04:46 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    Today I did a set to test my fitness in the 1650 range, and I'm feeling very out of shape... not peak form:

    4000 SCY/70 mins

    Warm-up (1400/25 mins):
    6 x 200 FR on 3:20 (evens w/ pull buoy)
    200 BK recovery
    1:00 rest

    Main Set (2000/35 mins)
    12 x 50 FR on :50 (erratic at first but settled into :43 pace)
    6 x 100 FR on 1:40 (1:28-31)
    3 x 200 FR on 3:20 (3:10-3:11, really losing it here)
    200 BK recovery
    1:00 rest

    Cool-down (600/10:00)
    3 x 200 FR on 3:20 (2nd rep w/ buoy)

    I'm thinking about going up to Rockwall, TX, for their LCM meet in a couple of weeks, maybe do the 1500... see how bad I've actually gotten with my spotty training over the last year. My pace in the set above seems to indicate I would be in the range of my last two 1500 attempts in meet settings (2013 and 2014); but I felt like I was losing a lot of steam in that last 10-minute segment, so I don't know. And I haven't done LCM in ages.
  20. 2000 SCY--EZ IM workout

    by , July 28th, 2015 at 02:48 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    Pretty EZ workout today, but b/c I haven't been doing much IM lately it was I nice little cardio blast:

    400 fr on 8:00
    4 x 100 IM on 2:00
    2 x 200 IM on 4:00
    4 x 100 IM on 2:00
    400 EZ fr

    2000 SCY/40 mins
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