December 2006 Archives

Last Swim of the Year

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Ok, that may be a bit of a misnomer. There are swim sessions next week, on a reduced schedule. Still, this was my last regular session swim of the year.

Between masters swimming and triathlon, my mileage this year looks like this:

Not too shabby.

I was expecting a tough swim today, and that's what I got. Our warmup was 1000m, 500 of which was kicking. We then did 900m of drills and swims.

Our main set looked like this:

4x50 fly on 1:30
4x50 back on 1:20
4x50 breast on 1:10
4x50 freestyle on 1:00

The "on X:XX" means that you start every X:XX - the faster you swim, the more rest you get. The slower you swim, the less rest you get. Notice how the rests get shorter as you move through the set?

The idea of the set is to simulate how a 200m Individual Medly (I.M.) would feel. As you move through the four strokes, in that order, you do get more tired. I certainly felt it on Tuesday, when I did a timed 100m IM.

There were a lot of complaints about the fly. At the start of the season, I found 50m of fly to be pretty tough. I'm getting a bit stronger at it, or maybe just better at pacing myself. I found the first three to be very doable. I felt like I was falling apart in the last half of the final 50, but that's not bad.

The rest was surprisingly easy. I didn't go all out on any of the strokes (except maybe the final 50 of the free. My back and breast both came in around 55 seconds apiece (breast maybe slightly faster, maybe not). My freestyles were done in 45 seconds, except the last which was ~43 seconds. Not outstanding, but in a limited rest set, not bad at all.

I don't know if I'll swim or not next week. I might give myself a week off of it, who knows? I'll be running in any case, so it's not like I'll fall apart.

Hopefully, I'll be so busy with awesome family and friends stuff that the opportunity won't even come up. ;)

Merry Christmas, everyone.


I.M. Trial

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I expected a pretty tough week swimming this week. This is our last week before the Christmas break, and after the break we'll likely be ramping up for the club meet in February.

Today we started off with more backstroke work, then we built up to a timed swim. The buildup involved 250m kicking, and 250m of alternating fly and breaststroke. All that got the heartrate elevated.

The timed swim was either a 50 or 100 choice, with a dive start. At first, I was thinking that I might try a 50m butterfly. I raced the distance at the meet last year, and I was curious if I was any faster this year, albeit in a different sized pool. In the heat before me, though, two guys opted for 100m of I.M. (individual medley). Since I'm aiming to swim the 200 IM at the meet, trying a shorter IM today made a lot of sense.

I usually get pretty nervous up on the starting blocks. My dive starts aren't great, plus it always feels like you're on display. At "Go", I dove in, gave a couple of good dolphin kicks, and started my butterfly. I was trying to go hard, but not all out. Butterfly is so demanding, though, that going anything other than full out in it is pretty tough.

I turned onto my side at the end of the pool, and pushed off hard. Backstroke is traditionally my weakest stroke. I tried to give a kick underwater. I came up around the flags, and started pulling. I wasn't kicking too much, because my backstroke kick is pretty bad. This may work out ok, though, as I need to save my legs at this point. I focused on pulling hard on the water, and on rolling my body with each pull. When I passed under the flags, I counted 1--2--3-- and looked for the wall.

I pushed off strong and deep, and did the lungbusting breastroke breakout. It's only one pull followed by a kick, but it's a long time underwater. I came up doing breastroke, kicking very hard, and trying to glide in a streamlined position, head squeezed between my arms. I couldn't see anyone in the other lanes (my lanemates were doing 100 free, I think). I figured to be behind at this point, but I tried to go fast - never an easy propostion in breastroke.

One of the tough things about IM is that the muscle groups keep changing. Breast is very hard on the legs, and halfway down the pool I couldn't even imagine doing 25 free sprint coming home. Still, as much as my legs were burning and the big muscles were using up all my oxygen, I know I need a very fast freestyle to round out my IM. Coming off the wall, I surfaced quickly, and tried to really pick up my cadence.

I have a bad habit of keeping my head down while I swim free. I tried to look up, a little bit, while still keeping a quick turnover. I could tell right away by feel that I didn't have a full sprint in me. I breathed every 4th pull the whole way home, letting my lungs burn as I buried my head (bad habit!) and went for it.

Apparently, I finished in 1:24.4.

I can't be anything but exstatic with the swim. I.M. should be a bit slower than freestyle for me - my fly might be faster, on a good day, but back and breast are much slower. I'm not really a well-rounded swimmer who works on all four strokes yet. I'm still working much more on freestyle than anything else. The dive start helps save a second or two, but this was still one of the fastest swims, period, I've ever done.

The focus come the new year will be stretching out my effort to encompass racing at double the distance.

Running on Memories

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I was back home this weekend, for a whirlwind Christmas visit with the inlaws. I didn't get a run in on Saturday, due to a combination of sleeping in and lots of driving. C'est la vie.

Sunday I did my usualy long run route at home - out along Trout Lake and back. Maybe it's just that I'm getting used to putting in my long runs back home. Maybe it was the mild weather. Whatever it was, it was a very enjoyable, very nostalgic run for me.

I started out along Ski Club road, towards the lake. I marvelled at how each house seemed to be familiar. Small wonder, I guess, as I took the school bus up and down the road for six or seven years. It was interesting to look at the same houses through the eyes of an adult. Were they as nice as I once thought they were? Do the people who lived there when I was young still live there?

Passing though the tunner under the railroad tracks, I had a sudden flashback to this year's disastrous swim at the triathlon. I found myself running along Trout Lake Road, one eye on the lake. It looked deep, dark, and cold. It also looked big. Like all of my failures, it seemed to draw me in. I wanted a second chance - a chance to overcome. Not next year, I think. Maybe the year after.

Turning onto Anita, and I was on the run course from the triathlon. The hills were bigger than I remembered. Well, they felt bigger, anyways. I guess I shouldn't be running exclusively on flat roads around here. I remembered not really having as much left in the tank as I would have liked. I need to keep running hard, and keep putting in my miles. Strength and endurance come slowly, but they will come.

It wasn't until Silver Lady Lane that I saw another runner - a young girl with headphones on who didn't spare me a glance. She was really flying along. "Sundays aren't for speed" is almost a mantra with me, so I kept to my easy-going pace, and continued on my way.

When I finally turned around, I found that the cold breeze was now in my face. I was grateful for the forests and the switchbacks which offered some protection. Down by the lake, running the last mile of the triathlon, though, it was cold and lonely, with no shelter. I remembered, and ran on.

Back on Ski Club Road, I climbed uphill towards my destination. I looked forward to the warmth of being inside, and I looked forward to the washroom. I didn't look forward to losing my solitude. The run was fantastic, and everything I needed on a busy weekend. As much as we're always glad to finish up a good run, there's also a bit of a sense of sadness, of loss.

December?

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Yesterday's swim was better than Tuesday's.

We did some backstroke drills. Somewhere in the middle of them, something clicked. I started feeling my catch a bit more, and getting more power throughout my pull.

The main set was a long set of 100m swims, on 2:10. The first 6 practices open turns - 3 freestyle (one-handed turns), and 3 alt fly/br (two-handed turns). After a minute's rest, we did 6 freestyle swims, descending. I started around 1:40 I think. The last two were done at 1:30, and that was as fast as I could get. After an extra 2 minutes rest, we did 4 IM swims. These were hard. There's just something about IM that is even more draining than the sum of its parts. The backstroke bit helped, though. I started out at 1:45, but managed to do the last one in under 1:35, which I was mighty pleased with.

I had a bit of apprehension about this morning's run. I haven't been sleeping well this week, and didn't feel like eating when I first woke up (which was unusual). When I was finally ready, I checked the weather only to find it was 8 degrees out. This is almost stupendously warm for mid-December.

I ended up running without a hat or gloves. It felt strangely liberating to not be bundled against the cold. I almost felt like I was flying, and was almost reminded of how carefree running can be in the summer. Running in the winter can be mentally tough sometimes, but today I was reminded that the payoff come spring is always worthwhile.

I didn't push the pace, but ended up finishing 10.5km in under an hour. After shaking off a bit of rust on Tuesday, I appear to be back in business.

Sigh

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Another week, another setback. I woke up last Wednesday knowing I was sick. Didn't kick the bug until Sunday. Opted out of Sunday's run, figuring that, at this early point, two days rest and recovery was more valuable than one run.

Today's swim was far from my best effort. No, I'm not surprised. Still, I managed a sub-40 second 50 metre free, and a sub-1:30 100m free, in a set. Mostly, though, swimming was a struggle.

A month from now, this will have been less than a blip in the radar. The next few runs, though, could be a bit tough.

Snow and Ice

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The snow and freezing rain continued all day Friday, making driving a nightmare and ushering in December with visual flair. The ice, which covered pretty much everything Saturday morning, turned the tempo run into just a run. 5k without falling over was good enough for me.

Today was cold but sunny. It turns out that not all of my local 10 mile route gets plowed, so this will probably be the last time I run it for a while. It had snowed this morning, though, so the footing was less icy than it had been the day before.

I took it easy the whole way around the loop, both because of the footing, and because of my ITB pain last weekend. The sunshine and relaxed pace made for an enjoyable run, at least until I turned south and the sun was right in my face. The sun made it almost impossible to read the traffic lights, which made things interesting, but I made it home. The best part is that there was no ITB pain during the run, or during stretching.

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  • Cheryl: Right on Wendy! read more
  • Wendy: That swimming fitness will be back before you know it! read more
  • deene: you have to listen to your body, you probably needed read more
  • Cheryl: The heat, mixed with the humidity were extreme and it read more
  • Wendy: Sorry to hear you were so ill, Warren, but good read more
  • Cheryl: Sounds like a tough go! It's a shame that everyone read more
  • deene: anything timed in seconds and with repeats sound tough to read more
  • jank: Ease comes soon while riding in a group. As long read more
  • warren: Sadly, no. Nor did I delve into the Leguminosae family read more
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This page is an archive of entries from December 2006 listed from newest to oldest.

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