Monday, November 26, 2007

Monday night swimming

On the subway downtown I was (I'm not kidding) pondering the relevant pages in my appointment book with a view to working out when I could schedule the necessary minor nervous breakdown a.k.a. weekend off...

I can have it from the evening of Friday the 21st through Monday the 24th, but only if I get in all my grades on Friday. Otherwise I will just have a major nervous breakdown on Christmas, which will be worrying for my family members; so this is a good incentive to get the grading done in good time...

Tonight's workout was bad for my self-image as a swimmer but good for my actual swimming. We had a substitute coach, and he set us very determinedly to work on something that has been on my mind recently as the necessary next project as far as freestyle goes: bilateral breathing.

I'm a very strongly right-handed person, I only breathe on the right (every fourth stroke unless I am swimming very hard in which case I switch to every two), I've got to change this, but of course breathing on the left side or bilaterally reintroduces all the problems into my stroke that I was making at the beginning (in particular the thing of breathing a bit too late in the stroke and then having all the rest of my arms and legs go out of whack). Ah well, it is all in a good cause, even as I was not really enjoying it I was thinking of how good it was for me...

I can offer a very accurate description of the exact workout because it was given to us one little bit at a time in a way that made it hard for me to remember, also it was a different swimmer's brain than usual so the patterns weren't clear to me, so I asked the coach to tell me again at the end so I could write it down.

(I am thinking it would be a good one for me to take and do by myself at Riverbank one day over the holidays.)

Warmup: 300 (I snuck in a few length of butterfly)

300 pull: 100 breathing left, 100 breathing right, 100 bilateral

2 x 25: first breathing every 4, second every 2

Next part of the set with fins:

200 kick by 25s (front; left side; right side; 5 kicks on one side, then switch, aka "alternate catchup")

4 x 50 "broken swim" down (three strokes, then kick on side), swim back breathing every third stroke

4 x 50 breathing every 5, 3 strokes by 25

[I am guessing this is where the fins came off, but really I can't remember.]

2 x (4 x 50) descending 1-4

2 x (25 + 50 + 75 with 20 seconds rest and bilateral breathing)

6 x 100 in threes, with first two comfortable and third hard (I did the first three on 2:00 with the faster group, but this really just is too fast for me still, had to switch to 2:10 for the second three; time on the final one was 1:40, that's not bad)

150 with negative splits (i.e. second 75 rather faster than 1st 75)

100 cooldown choice (I did 50 streamline kick on back, 25 butterfly, 25 breast)

Some useful tips: working on streamline position off wall (and why did I never think before about how the first hand I stroke with should be on the bottom?!?).

As I say, it was not the most enjoyable workout, but looking at it again now I have more of a sense of accomplishment--the kind we get from doing things that we do not entirely like but that are good for us!

A nice thing: he told us that there will be a fun run in Doug Stern's memory, to raise some money for Sloan-Kettering, round the reservoir in the park on Thursday the 20th. That will be a nice thing to look forward to (pre-nervous breakdown, just about!). Details from the New York Flyers website:
1st Annual Jingle-Bell Fun Run for Doug
Thursday, December 20, 6 p.m. - 7 p.m. on the reservoir at Central Park in memory of swim coach Doug Stern, and for the benefit of Kidney Cancer Research at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. To enter, participants only need to buy a jingle bell from Mike Keohane for $10 (100% of the contributions going to MSKCC!!) and then show up, in costume or not, between 6pm and 7pm on the reservoir and run in memory of Doug. This fun-run will be an untimed, uninsured, unmanaged, un-porta-sanned, un-everything event. The way it's supposed to be.

Here are further details.

Training partner L. has also persuaded me to join her and some others in the 10K NYRR race on December 9. It would be nice if I could run a great race--some thoughts will follow closer to the time on pacing. If I am sensible, I should be able to beat my PR from May. It would be even nicer if I could use it as a commitment device to get some sleep next week...

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