Monday, April 14, 2014

6 of 10: Struggle Bus Edition!

Monday morning, back to the grindstone. This was a Struggle Bus kind of workout, for sure.

I started with the Wayland workout. Jen gave us an interesting set, and I have a fairly sketchy memory of what all was involved. I really struggled to keep up. I was definitely feeling the 35K I swam last week and probably Saturday's bout with moderate hypothermia (I ended up angel swimming at the ice relay-- slow swimming and 44-degree water just don't mix). I don't think I made any of the intervals Jen prescribed (except for maybe the first 200). After that, it was mostly just hanging on for dear life to not get lapped by a frisky Nancy. (Thank god she was there--I'd have started crying if I'd had to lead or actually pay much attention to the clock during this workout!)

Anyway, the workout. It was broken up into three segments, and they were all proportional and symmetrical and very pleasing for the anally retentive swimmer I am. It went something like this:

900 warm up

That next set was 1950, which I think was:
Three times through

  • 1 X 200 breath control (3-5-7-5 by 25_ @ 3:00
  • 1 X 125 fast @ 2:00
  • 1 X 200 @ 3:00
  • 1 X 125 @ 2:00

This was followed by a 1050 set, which I think was:
Three times through

  • 1 X 100 fast @ 1:30
  • 1  X 75 @ 1:00
  • 1 X 100 @ 1:30
  • 1 X 75 @ 1:20

And finally a 450 set, which was:
Three times through

  • 1 X 50 @ :45
  • 1 X 25 fast @ :30
  • 1 X 50 @ :45
  • 1 X 25 ez @ :30
So then I did a 650 pull with paddles and buoy to get myself up to an even 5000, at which point I was seriously considering calling it a day. But I resolved to stick it out, and it actually ended up not that bad. I did the following to construct the next 5,000:

  • 10 X 200 @ 3:15 cruising. I focused on keeping within about 3 or 4 seconds (plus or minus) of each one to maintain a steady pace. I was coming in right between 2:59 and 3:03 on all of them. This was a surprise, given how garbage-y I had felt earlier in the workout. 
  • 1 X 1000 kick with snorkel, fins, and alignment board. I like this piece. It shows up a lot doesn't it? I think I like it mostly because I can just put my head down and ignore the rest of the world for a solid 15 minutes and it doesn't hurt my neck, back, or shoulders to kick like this. Hooray toys!
  • 4 X 250 @ 3:50 cruising with fins. Again, I just focused on a nice steady pace at about 80% effort. Held these mostly at about the 3:45, give or take. 
  • 3 X 300 @ 5:00 cruising with fins. Started to fall apart on these, and wasn't paying as much attention to the clock, but I got them done. I'd kept the fins on for these last 2 sets to force me to use my legs a little. I usually don't kick much, and when I get this tired, I know it's good for me to keep my kick going.
  • 100 ez.
And we're dunzo on number 6. I'm now a good bit ahead of schedule, so I suppose I could take an extra couple days recovery before the next 10K if I need to. I'm aiming to do at leaf 25K in total this week, though if things go to plan, that should look more like 30K. Have to see how it goes and whether or not I get run over again by that silly struggle bus.

Friday, April 11, 2014

5 of 10: Halfway home and halfway dead!

Wow, today's 10K (#5 of 10) was a toughie, mostly because it was the third in a row. I'm exhausted, so this is going to be a necessarily short summary.

The day started out like this:

When the alarm went off, I mumbled "Time to make the donuts," to which Mark replied with a sleepy, "What? You're making donuts? I thought you were going to the pool?" Apparently this advertising campaign never made it to the UK. So with a sigh, and now desperately wanting a whole baker's dozen of donuts, I put my suit on and headed for the pool.

I was a little late getting to the pool because I was feeling so sluggish (and I missed that damn light at Routes 27 & 126 that can take forever to change) so I missed 600 of the 900 warm up. Oops. So warm up was a scant 300.

Then we launched into something. It was a 1,900-yard set of some persuasion. It may have had 150s in it. Not a whisper of a memory of what this was.

Then we did a 1,500-yard set that went something like this:

  • 3 X 100 @ 1:30 holding all at the same pace (I was coming in pretty consistently around the 1:26/1:27 on these
  • 1 X 300 @ 5:00 stay within plus or minus 5 seconds of the total time for the previous 3 X 100 added together. (I think I did this, but am not sure. I felt like I was going fast.)
  • 3 X 100 @ 1:30 same thing here
  • 1 X 300 @ 5:00 same thing here
  • 3 X 100 @ 1:40 active recovery 

That was it for the Wayland workout, so I did an extra 300 to bring me up to an even 4,000. At which point I started to panic a little because I was feeling pretty well gassed and knew I needed to get through another 6K without the help of someone telling me what to swim. Thankfully, Maura T. was there and stuck around to help me through it. I actually ended up having a great swim, and it's all because she was there helping me.

So that second half went like this:

  • 1,000 kick with fins, snorkel, and alignment board (just to loosen up everything and change gears a little
  • 5 X 300 pace @4:45 (I was holding a pretty consistent 4:25 on these, which was faster than I expected to be able to do. I felt surprisingly good during this set and opened it up a bit. Maybe that massage yesterday was a good idea after all?)
  • 4 X 250 strong @ 3:50 (Another strong-feeling set. I was cruising.)
  • 5 X 200 descend to AFAP @ 3:45. (I did these with Maura, and because we took a little bigger interval, I really pushed it on each one, focusing on quality and smooth speed. I was pleased to be able to do a strong descend, logging a 2:58, 2:54, 2:49, 2:47, and a lung-busting 2:45 on these. Totally spent after that last one.)
  • 100 ez
  • 4 X 125 IM @ 2:20 (free heavy)
  • 5 X 100 pace @ 1:40 (beginning to cool down)
  • 400 ez warm down

Done. And now I desperately need a nap. I am completely and utterly buttered toast right now. I can barely type, and I want nothing more than to crawl into bed and sleep for the next 15 hours. Early bedtime tonight for sure!

But I'm glad to be a tiny bit ahead of schedule now on the month and happy to discover that I can, in fact, do 30K in about 48 hours and survive. (With a 2:45 200 free somewhere north of the 28,000 mark to boot!)

Tomorrow is the ice relays, so a shorter pool swim is on tap before I head into Southie for those goings on. I'm hoping to log about 7K, so I can get in 37K for the week. Not bad for a week with two sleep-ins, huh?

Thursday, April 10, 2014

4 of 10

I'm awfully proud of myself for getting up at 5:15 this morning to trudge to the pool for my fourth 10K workout this month. Seems fitting to complete the fourth 10K on the 10th of April, no? (4/10?)

The downside is that I had to swim the whole thing alone. All of the previous 10Ks I've done this month, I've had company for at least part of it. It gets very quiet and a tad boring when it's just me and the voices in my head going up and back along the black line for three hours straight. I definitely prefer having the Wayland Masters help lead me into the 10K, so I only have to do 5 or 6K on my own. But that's what happens when we oversleep on Mondays, isn't it? Just desserts. (mmm, dessert...)

Anyway, I was definitely a little tired this morning, but not sore, which is a good thing, just like I've been working hard, which is true. I got in about 6:05 and swam right through the 10,000 yards. I was done almost exactly at 9:05.

This is what I did:

600 warm up (mix of free, drill, and a little kick)

Then, I decided to do a relatively uncreative pyramid set:

  • 5 X 200 @ 3:10 (bigger interval to accommodate for a sleepy swimmer) This was just straight pace work, and largely an extension of the warm up since I was feeling sluggish
  • 4 X 300 @ 4:40 #1 and #3 were pull with paddles and buoy, #2 and #4 were swim
  • 3 X 400 @ 6:10 pace
  • 2 X 500 @ 7:45 swim (tried to pick up the pace a bit, but no dice)

Potty break (no peeing in the pool!)

  • 2 X 500 No interval. Kick with snorkel, fins, and alignment board. (Hooray, toys!)
  • 3 X 400 tried to do them on the 4:40, but the interval fell apart on me, so I just tried to keep pace. These were done with fins.
  • 4 X 300 @ 5:00 (I think? I sort of stopped paying attention to the clock at this point and started thinking about breakfast.)
  • 5 X 200 @3:20. Yep, crashed and burned on the last set, but got through it. Managed to hold about 3:10 for most of these.

600 warm down

And boom, another 10K in the bank. Had a massage this afternoon, and it'll be interesting to see how 20K in 24 hours followed by a deep tissue massage work together tomorrow morning when I try for my third 10K in a row. Can it be done? I haven't the foggiest, but here goes nuttin'!

April is Adult Learn-to-Swim Month

My latest post at the Athleta Chi blog covers not only my origins in swimming (along with a photo of me as a chubby 6-month old playing at the water's edge on the Jersey shore, complete with enormous Beer Baby belly) but also how important it is to learn to swim.

U.S. Masters Swimming has recently launched a national initiative to declare April Adult Learn-to-Swim Month to address the scary statistics that 37% of American adults can't swim the length of a standard swimming pool and 10 people drown every day. Of those 10, eight are adults or young adults. Learning to swim isn't just something for kids; grown-ups need to think about it too if they never learned as kids.

We've assembled some resources to help nonswimmers find lessons locally. And we're trying to get the word out everywhere we can. At the beginning of the month, former Governor of Indiana and now president of Purdue University, Mitch Daniels, swam with some newly minted adult swimmers, and there was some great coverage of the event below.

It's a neat initiative to be involved with and it's amazing to see the message connect with people who didn't previously know how to swim. It's never too late to learn! So get going, would ya?

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

3 of 10

After two days of false starts (i.e. the alarm went off and I stubbornly got up, turned it off, and went back to bed) I finally got in 10K #3 at Wayland with Jen and company. And what great company it is! Kim was finally back from her long two-week trip to Arizona, and looking to be in good form despite the long time out of the water. It was just the two of us in our lane, but the usual suspects were next door to keep pace with, so it was a good workout. To the best of my memory, it went something like this:

900 warm up (I was again gabbing on deck with Jen about the amazing Craig Lenning and his epic Farallons swim he just completed last night (more on that in a future post), and so missed a 300 of the warm up, which I had to make up at the end.) The warm up was a mix of swim, stroke, kick, and drill. It's a little different each time, but virtually every workout at Wayland begins with a 900 warm up that's broken up a bunch of different ways.

Then came a 1900 yard set. I think it was this:

3 X 100 descend @ 1:40
2 X 200 (build? I can't remember) @ 3:10
3 X 100 descend @ 1:40
a 600 yard piece that I can't remember. Might have been 2 X 300? or 3 X 200? it was pace work in any event
3 X 100 first two fast @ 1:30; #3 recovery

That was followed by three times through the following:

4 X 125-- #1 and #3 were fast @ 2:00 and #2 and #4 were stroke sandwiches (alternating free and stroke) @ 2:20
1 X 50 ez

So then I swam 1,000 easy-ish to bring me up to the 5,000 mark. From there, I decided to break the remaining 5,000 yards up into 1,000 yard pieces.

#1: 1,000 pull (with paddles and buoy)
#2: 1,000 kick (with snorkel, alignment board, and fins)
#3: 5 X 200 strong @ 3:10
#4: 4 X 250 strong @ 3:50
#5: 3 X 300 hang on! @ 4:40
100 ez warm down.

And we're done. #3 is in the books and moving on to #4. The big question now is whether I should attempt my first back-to-back 10K workout series by trying to cram one in tomorrow. We have the ice relays scheduled for Saturday, so I probably won't be able to get a 10K in then. Have to check the pool schedule for Sunday. So tomorrow might be the only day, but I should probably also go to Southie for a cold water dip tomorrow, too. How to fit it all in?

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Latest Athleta Chi Blog Post: The Body Speaks

Homer might love donuts and beer, but I don't think he respects them. 
I almost forgot to post a link to my latest post on the Athleta Chi blog. This one was a little divergent for me, exploring the world of eating and my relationship with food, which I'm currently working on revising.

I think one of the most interesting aspects of my weekend "cleanse" that I write about in the piece was the moment when one of the other attendees introduced me to the concept of respecting the food we eat. I had never really thought of food as something to be respected before, but when she said that, it was one of those "Ah-ha!" moments. She's absolutely right-- food does deserve respect!

When you respect something, you don't just gobble it up without thinking about it, without savoring it or thanking it for what it's going to do for you or what it's going to help you achieve. No. You slow down and appreciate it. And that's what I've been working on. That and drinking less beer.

Damn you, Beer!

I think it's safe to say we're all a work in progress.

Monday, April 7, 2014

2 of 10

Saturday brought the second of my 10 x 10,000 yard workouts. I started with the Wayland Masters workout, which kicked off at 6:45 am. Jen recently posted what we did on her blog, which is good, cause I couldn't for the life of me remember it by the time I got home:

900 warm up done as
  • 300-- 75 free/25 no free
  • 300-- 75 drill/25 kick
  • 300-- 75 free/25 no free
(I was gabbing on the deck a little too long, so ended up missing 100 of the warm up.)

Then into the first set:
  • 1 X 150-- first 50, breathing every 5th stroke, second 50 overkicking, third 50 breathing every 5th stroke @ 2:30
  • 2 X 100 pace @ 1:30
  • 3 X 50 -- #1 slow-fast by 25; #2 fast-slow by 25, #3 all slow @ :55
  • 1 X 150 pick up the pace @ 2:20
  • 4 X 100-- # 1 and #3 on 1:30 and #2 and #4  @1:40 (active rest)
  • 4X 50 perfect form (eyes down, back muscles awake, abs engaged) @ 1:00
  • 1 X 150-- middle 100 fast @2:30
  • 2 X 100 FAST (w/some rest) @1:40
  • 5 X 50-- descend 1-3, #4 fast, and #5 ez @ 1:00
That was a 4,100-yard workout, minus the 100 I missed in warm-up, so I was off to the races with a 6,000-yard bill I needed to pay before I could get out. I also realized that if I swam 11,000 yards total on Saturday, that would bring me up to a nifty 30,000 yards for the week, and I can't walk away from a jackpot like that by leaving 1,000 yards in the pool, so the aim was to do an additional 7,000 yards after workout to clock in a total of 11,000 for the day. Thankfully, my friend Bob Burrow decided to stay with me until I got to about the 7,000-yard mark, so that took some of the boredom away and kept me motivated. And I knew Jen was coming back for her own workout, so I didn't want to get out until she turned up again.

I did the following to finish the day:
  • 500 pull-- long and smooth
  • 2 X 250 build @3:45
  • 500 pull
  • 4 X 125 IM (heavy on the free) @ 2:00
  • 4 X 100 ascend 1-3 and #4 ez backstroke (this was Bob's warm down) @ 1:40
This set went surprisingly fast for being 2,400 yards with some hefty pieces. I will do this one again.

Then Bob left and I stuck around doing the following:
  • 2 X 300 pace @ 4:30
  • 1,000 straight with snorkel and fins (fun to feel fast!) 
  • 1,000 kick with fins, snorkel, and alignment board (I wanted to try out my new toy and I love it. Kick sets with a board have always bothered my shoulders, but the alignment board helps keep me in a better body position and alleviates straining my neck and shoulders. With the addition of the snorkel, I can happily kick for 15 minutes straight without any issues. And it's kind of fun, believe it or not! I don't kick much, especially in open water, but I know it's good for me. With my new toy, perhaps I will be more inclined to kick more during pool workouts.)
  • 4 X 250 pace (with fins, reference previous fast comment!) @3:45
  • 5 X 200 pace (no fins!) @ 3:15. Started to get tired here, but hung in there. 
And that's it. Easy peasy. On to the third challenge hopefully tomorrow, since I overslept today and didn't get in the third I had planned. Gotta rejigger the schedule now.  D'oh. But apparently I needed the sleep.