adventures of a mere mortal in fitness and life

Posts tagged ‘swimming’

Mighty Mac Training Week of 7.27.15

It’s usually about this time in the summer when I get to some real fatigue with sticking to a training plan. I should know this about myself by now- I can be really “bus bench” (Dan John term) focused on a training plan for about 5 months, but as things start to linger beyond 6 months, I like to stray. And this week proved to me that I haven’t changed.

Fortunately for me, I have become a *teeny* bit smarter so that I don’t fall completely off the plan and start doing Zumba, but for sure, I am not one to be a complete rule follower. My older sister might say it’s the Gemini rising sign in me. She’s probably right- at least I can’t think of any other reason I have such trouble sticking with a plan for a long duration. On the upside, it keeps my life interesting, spontaneous, flexible, and FUN. Since fun is kind of one of my core values, training plans can sometimes seem a little “un”fun.

I knew I had been slacking a little in the speed and power category of training- one thing I think I have been consistent with in this training cycle is duration- getting the distance down. The distance/duration aspect has always been a challenge for me, and definitely will prevent me from trying some kind of insane long distance racing like Ironmans or marathons for the time being (probably forever). So, I have been proud of getting those long swims nailed. Looking at the calendar for this week, I realized I had a 5.5 mile swim on the books. My shoulders sagged a bit, and my fingers hit the keyboard. Jackpot. I could do a triathlon this weekend, bank some “mileage” on that event, and swim a little less.

Of course, let me explain that I know very well HOW a training plan works. I just don’t CHOOSE to do it the way it’s written. I understand that these choices may have CONSEQUENCES, but those are what I am willing to deal with, and this blog is just a way (for the time being, anyways) to record those choices and how they affected my overall goal achievement.

And YOU’RE WELCOME. My gain or blunder can only be a benefit to you– you don’t have to make these mistakes because I am already making them for you! ūüėČ

So, without further ado….

Monday 7/27- 2.4 mile swim in Trout Lake- thanks to Vicky and Joe for hanging out til the moon came out!
Tuesday 7/28- squat + deadlift
Wednesday, 7/29 – nothing (I’m not really sure what happened here)
Thursday, 7/30- bench + 30 minute run (trying to make up for Wednesday, and “prep” for the triathlon, LOL)
Friday, 7/31- squat + deadlift

Let me just stop here and say that one thing I learned is that 48 hours is not quite enough time between squatting and racing. Since the race was truly intended to be a workout, I understood that this may happen. But if you plan to race, don’t assume 48 hours is enough. My legs were TIRED on the bike.

Saturday, 8/1- pool swim (short pool 23.5 yards) – 2 miles
800 WU 
800 pull
8×100 moderate pace ~ 1:15/94 yards (short pool, remember!)
400 pull
4×100 fast pace ~ (1:10)
200 pull
2×100 sprint (1:06, 1:08)

Cooldown ¬†—¬†Idk. I know I hit two miles, but I have to add lengths here and there to get to two miles, which in the short pool is 150 lengths.

Sunday, 8.2- Wolverineman Triathlon, Halfmoon Beach, Pinckney Rec.

I just have to say that I love doing Epic Races races. Not because I just think their team is great and they helped me with my fundraising a ton (they did! THANK YOU!), but the whole package is better. The crowd is a little more manageable, the vibe is friendlier, the swag and food is always tons better, and there was beer at the finish. BEER. (I didn’t drink any because I had some swimming to do after, but…BEER.) And most of the ones I have done- the run is partly on trail, which my knees and hips appreciate, and I like it aesthetically so much better.

highlights and lowlights: I started the race and had immediate drag on my chest as I was swimming. I was like “What the heck?” and thought maybe the elastic on the top had blown out or something, which would have been a bummer. But then I got out and was like, “Oh, you forgot to zip up your top, dingbat.” <– Typical. Zipped up top, got on bike. Bike will be a big focus for me if I choose to keep racing tris next summer. i haven’t been on as much as I wanted to be, and thus, the specificity aspect of going fast on two wheels has suffered. So the bike was slower than I hoped. I was very familiar with the course, however, as I have ridden those roads a lot. Run was pretty good, considering the hills/trail. A big thanks to Bart for pushing me through the beginning of the run. He picked up my pace after I dive-rolled the bridge crossing (ow!), and kept me going until he peeled off to finish his mini-sprint distance about halfway through my run. I kept after it, with my main goal being to not walk, and not slow down. I am pretty sure I accomplished both of those things. However, i have no working Garmin data to prove it, LOL.

wolverineman triathlon

My hair was staging a rebellion against braids, clearly.

Overall, as is my theme of “always the bridesmaid, never the bride”… ended up 3rd OA, 1st in 35-39 AG. And thus I got some sweet new socks. ūüôā Gotta be happy with the race as a workout and the result. I am slower than last year, but given the volume of sport-specific training I have done, I am working above my expectations for this kind of event.

After I got home, I ate a giant egg/cheese/bacon sandwich. Then, my lovely neighbor Julie, paddled alongside me as I swam 2 more miles in my home lake. And then I was pooped. ūüôā

This weekend we head to Sleeping Bear and Lake Michigan…more swimming, YAY!


Mighty Mac Training-May 2015

So I am actually going to work on making this a habit, so I don’t have a month + go by without a post. I don’t write my workouts down (being as it’s wet and all when you’re swimming), so trying to hold them in memory for more than a week is an exercise in futility. ūüėČ

A few highlights from May:

  • First open water swims are in. 3 so far
  • April 28- 800 pool time trial was 10:41.
  • I have switched over from 3x week strength to 4-5x week swings with higher rep basic strength stuff- goblet squats, presses, pushups, planks. Mostly squats, LOL. It’s a scaled version of Dan John’s 10K swings‘ new edition that he gave us at SW MI Strength and Conditioning Clinic. I am toying with the idea of writing a new program called Swing, Squat, Swim. I think it will be really popular. With like 3 people.
First OWS.

First OWS

May 25.2015-May 31.2015

Monday: MTB ride

Tuesday: Swings/squats/press + swim- 500 WU, 100/200/300/400/500/400/300/200/100- middle 25% of the distance is sprint/ fast, 500 cooldown

Thursday: Swings, squats, etc.  + 2.4 mile OWS at Trout Lake.

Some of you know that I have had a fear of open water swimming from earlier posts. I know, right? Seems so ridiculous and yet this irrational fear still hovers over me a bit. Trout Lake is pretty clear to the bottom of the lake. Being clear is actually more scary for me than water you can’t see through. So I only screamed in surprise twice, LOL.

Friday: Swings/Squats + road ride ending in beer. ūüôā

Saturday: Pool swim- 400 warmup, 400 drills, Broken Mile, 400 cooldown. I did my first broken mile in late March with a time 22:05. Today’s time was 21:45. So some improvement, not exactly where i want it to be, but if I am honest, 2 of the last 9 weeks did not include any swim training at all. So it’s a fair improvement given the work I put in.

Sunday:¬†Currently it’s raining hard. looking like a swing day and maybe a pool swim.

Post up your comments or questions, or your coupon codes for wetsuits. I’m in the market for a new full sleeve, but feeling pretty cheap about it.

Mighty Mac Training week of 3.30.15

As usual, this week was a week of juggling expectations with reality. I was only able to lift 2 of my 3 planned days because I got behind in my week and the gym is closed today. I swam my longest workout to date since the beginning of the year on Wednesday, so while my swim on Monday was short, I had two decently long workouts on Wednesday and Saturday.

Monday 3.30.15- 1200 yards- warmup, drills, stroke set

Wednesday 4.1.15

6x .5 mile Р#1 and 2- every 12th length backstroke, #3 and 4 every 8th length backstroke, #5 and 6 every 4th length back.  The last half-mile may or may not have been counted correctly. LOL. Just putting in miles and time in the shark tank. My hair and my brain will be happy when I can get out of there for my long swims!  (Total:  5200ish)

open water swimming michigan

Long swims here I come! Better when your backyard is your training facility.

Overhead pressing fell on the day after this swim- in hindsight, not a great combination. I have to be a better planner for the whole week- I was simply taking advantage of a few cancellations in my schedule to get that long swim in on Wednesday. I didn’t feel so bad on Thursday, but my shoulders were still a little tired on Saturday.

Saturday 4.4.15

500 WarmUp
8×50- 25 drill/ 25 build
Broken Mile- modified “Davis Mile”, courtesy of USMS Swimmer:

11 lengths :15RI, 10 lengths :15RI, 9 lengths :15RI, 8 lengths :15RI, 7 lengths :10RI, 6 lengths :10RI, 5  lengths :10RI, 4 lengths :10RI, 3 lengths :10RI, 2 lengths :10RI, 1 length

Total rest time was 2 minutes, broken mile time (minus rest interval): 22:04

This set was tough. Ladders of any variety are tough, and I wasn’t feeling particularly into it. It’s a good benchmark swim though, and my time wasn’t too far off what I would expect.

150 recovery
8×50- 50 eyes closed alternated with 50 1/2 heads up swim (Total: 3200)

So I missed my day to deadlift, which particularly sucks because my friend Shawn helped re-cue (aka rescue) my deadlift this week and now I am excited to see what I can do there.

Next week, the husband travels and the kids are on spring break. I am going to have to be creative with my workouts for the next 5 days. There will be less swimming and more on the bike trainer and kettlebells at home.

WTF- Welcome to Fruita

So… we got to have our first Fruita trip of the “season” if you will.¬† Taylor¬†ran the Desert RATS 25 mile race.¬† I gotta¬†say,¬† I LOVE FRUITA.¬† I can’t really say if it’s the place or the time of year, or the invariable beautiful weather that greets us, but I love it.¬† I saw a ¬†bumper sticker¬†in town¬†that read “WTF -Welcome to Fruita” and I think I was even more in love.¬† Even when I believe a guy called me “jerk” from his road bike as I was driving my gas-hogging-anti-Earth-loving vehicle (SLOWLY!) down the road from the CO National Monument for the 2nd time that day.¬† Oh well, you try getting everything all packed up by 5:30 AM, ya jerk… WTF. Welcome to Fruita, I guess.

My baby #1 taking a hike.

Anyhow, I love that race, and I was psyched to go and see the finish (of which we made it about 5 minutes before Taylor came in), dig in the sand/dirt, etc.  Going to an ultra marathon race always puts your personal fitness in perspective, and Desert RATS was no different from any other race.  I texted Christine to tell her that going to the race packet pickup was like being the fat chick at the frat party.  I pretty much had to be the only lady above a size 4 there.  Oh well. WTF.  Welcome to Fruita.

Taylor rocked it in his goal of 5 hours or less.¬† He did it in “or less”- not sure how much less, since they count that stuff IN HOURS and I wasn’t paying attention to the clock.

Sarah and Meg running Dad into the finish line. ūüôā

After the race, Taylor was a good sport and let me stop at Highline State Park on the way back to Fruita to get “acclimatized” to the water.¬† It was a BALMY 52 degrees.¬† After reading all these open water swimming books, I was CERTAIN I would be SO AWESOME at swimming in the open water.¬†¬† I totally wasn’t.¬† It was pretty sad.¬† All those same feelings I have always had in open water re-surfaced and were twice as bad because the water was murky.¬† I thought I had open water swimming down pat, but I realize that I have not swum in anything but clear open water, so¬†I kinda¬†freaked.¬† But I did several hundred yards, even if it was fifty yards out and back several times.¬† I haven’t ever swam in a wetsuit, so it was good to know what that would feel like before my race in Las Vegas in a couple of weeks.

I am glad I went swimming there, since my goal is to complete an Olympic distance triathlon in that same water in October.¬† That’s right, I signed up for the Desert’s Edge Triathlon¬†in October at Highline State Park.¬† It will be my first Olympic length triathlon, if I make it that far.¬† I sure hope I do, since it will look weird if we just happen to be camping there for the weekend and not doing the race.

I am pretty excited to end our race season in Fruita as well, since I pretty much love the place.¬† Mostly because of its proximity to Kohl’s in Grand Junction.¬† And they remodeled the City Market in GJ, so it has a very large natural beauty products section which smells a lot like Whole Foods Market, which I imagine is the closest the Western Slope will ever get to having a Whole Foods.¬† I could have stayed in that section of the City Market for the¬†day it smelled so good. As it was, I walked in for a toothbrush and to let my kids pee (since the city parks don’t open their public restrooms until 7:30 AM) and walked out with $30-plus of natural products.¬†¬†Plus, in¬†Fruita, they have awesome food, camping, and a dinosaur museum,¬† which Sarah thinks is the best thing since macaroni and cheese.¬† Which she consumed at least 3 times in our 36 hour trip.¬† WTF, you might say?¬† I say, Welcome to Fruita.¬† And welcome to racing season.¬† Pretty psyched for what’s ahead.

Embracing your inner mermaid

I get a lot of questions about swimming from people I meet or people I swim with.¬† A little bird (think someone who regularly makes me want to vomit from exertion) who taught himself to swim is particularly persistent with his questions to me about swimming.¬† He has studied all the technical¬†aspects of swimming, and when I see him explaining stroke technique to other people, I find myself fascinated.¬† I push off the wall and try to assess whether I am “doing it right”.

Despite swimming most of my life, I can explain surprisingly little about the technical aspects of swimming.  Maybe I am being a little hard on myself (and I know I have coached some of your kids in swimming, so try not to be shocked!), but I have actually learned a lot more about the sport since I started swimming regularly again about 3 years ago.  Brook, my first adult swim team coach, had excellent explanations about stroke technique.  But Brook, like me, is a lifelong swimmer.  I learned a lot from her, but it was easy to assume that she had compiled all that knowledge from swimming for a REALLY long time.

On the other hand, Little Bird hasn’t been swimming that long, and while he can practice every drill perfectly and has studied swimming like a science, it’s driving him crazy that he hasn’t quite made a breakthrough with swimming yet.¬† So he asked me the other day, while I am dying (again) on the treadmill (again), “What does swimming feel like?”¬† He was looking for a magic bullet.¬† And I think I know what it is.¬† He’s not gonna like it, but maybe you will…

You need to embrace your inner mermaid.

That’s it.¬† Understand we are talking about hypothetical mermaids (I am a mother of preschool girls, not a weirdo)¬† Mermaids¬†have a flow that¬†makes it possible to swim with both grace and power.¬† Too many new swimmers (including many powerful athletes) try to muscle or fight their way through the water.¬† You have to work with the water.¬† Mermaids are relaxed in the water.¬† Many new swimmers are not.¬† A mermaid’s face is always serene and beautiful.¬† Think about your face when you swim–is it relaxed?¬† If not, then it’s not gonna work.¬† I always made sure my tongue was super loose and hanging out (not very mermaid-like, but…)¬† And just like in every other exercise, if your shoulders are up¬†at your ears, something’s wrong.

Keep your tongue Michael Jordan style and you’re all set.

Swimming has a rhythm, but I wouldn’t call it a cadence, like biking or running.¬† When it’s easy and you have a real feel for it, you no longer have to think about it.¬† The only¬†exercise I can compare it to is when you are in an intense, sweaty yoga flow, and you just start moving and breathing without thinking.¬† If that’s ever happened to you, perhaps you remember that moment when you let go and stopped thinking and just did it.¬† Feel for the water is the same- just stop fighting the flow and go with it.

When I have the opportunity to put on fins, I actually do swim like a mermaid, even for a half a length or so.¬† I just let go and swim like I did when I was a kid.¬† Because if¬†I’m not having fun, then why in the¬†hell would I get up at 5:30 in the morning to get wet and cold?

If you feel inclined, send along your swim questions, and if I can’t answer them, I will find someone who can!

Swimming, the way it should look.

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