Sunday, June 20, 2010

Wendy Buckner, 1959-2010

Many of you reading here have benefited, as I have, from Wendy's words of encouragement and support, from her advice about swimming - and about life! Here is what I can say now; this is a loss I will be chewing over for a long time to come.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Skills & drills #3

Turns/coming fast off the wall; more breaststroke.

Friday brick

2.0hr. trainer, 1.0hr. treadmill (zone 2)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Skills & drills #2

Breaststroke! (My worst stroke by far, but we will try and remedy that...)

Thursday strength/spin

1.0hr. strength, 1.0hr. spin

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Wednesday 'skills and drills'

Which is Wendy's team's name for A VERY GOOD LESSON from Wendy!

Broke down the bits of the flip turn, went through them and determined that really I do understand the parts in theory and in practice, and must just keep on doing them in order to become comfortable. NB chin position crucial!

Then some work on breathing (the jerking-up of the head will be counteracted by steady breathing out, so that the head turns - only uncovering one side of the goggles! - and the old breath doesn't need to puff out, but new breath can be smoothly drawn in) and on body position. Cue of abs slightly tightening (not unlike streamline position) so as to keep hips high in the water; keep kicking in order to aid rotation and forward momentum. Mental cue on abs/hip position off the wall, plus use catch-up drill (and the delayed version of the drill, with a kickboard) to focus on rotation.

.5hr. (with many thanks to Wendy!)

Wednesday swim

They're actually opening up some additional swim hours at the pool, which is good, but I fear the reality is that the early-morning swims make so much sense that I must continue in this vein!

(Riding my bike over to the pool and back is good - it desensitizes me to bicycle-related anxiety during a summer when I may not be able to do nearly as much riding outside as would probably be wise. It is a fine ride first thing in the morning, though traffic later in the day becomes sort of prohibitively crazy...)

500 free with every 5th length fly drill

100 IM kick, 100 free, 100 IM drill, 100 free, 100 IM

5 x 100 on 2:30 as 25 fly, 75 free

5 x 100 IM on 2:40

2000m total

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Long run

90 mins. treadmill (zone 2) - the run I should have done on Saturday but didn't!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Indoor ride

Thunderstorms overnight tipped me towards riding indoors this morning. Three hours on the trainer (avg HR 128, max HR 144). I flaked out on the long run yesterday (should have done 90 mins.), but I think I will go to the gym in a bit and try and do at least an hour on the treadmill - timing may be a bit tight for longer than that, and I am not sure about energy levels/fueling either. I would like to do a 90-minute treadmill run first thing Tuesday morning to make up for the one I should have done yesterday, but I will have to wait and see how things go...

[Postscript: I think a gym visit is not practical, I should just shower and eat some more food and read a book instead! Wendy is arriving at the airport mid-afternoon, and we all have a long day tomorrow with the Try-this-Tri - I think we will need to be there at 5:15am...]

Friday, June 11, 2010

Friday brick

1.0hr. spin (5 x 4 min. zone 3 + 1 min. easy)
.5hr. run (zones 1 and 2)

1.5hr. total

Friday swim

No swim on Monday, as the complex will be entirely taken over for the Try-this-Tri (I am volunteering, not racing - Brent is the director of the children's race!), so I thought I'd better get in a decent swim this morning. Didn't really feel like it when the time came: slept OK, but woke up from a very vivid nightmare involving having sublet my apartment and not having a place to live - I am laughing as I write it, it really is the way that I talk in life too, it leads to frequent looks of puzzlement on the face of the person I am talking to, but as the alarm went off I was just saying to someone sitting in the seat in front of me on a tour bus in Cambridge, Massachusetts "Do you know any non-intrusive distressed gentlewoman who would rent me a room?"

In any case:

200 free, 100 IM drill, 200 free, 100 IM swim

6 x 100 drill-swim by 25 (catch-up, thumbs-and-salute, 6-3-6, fists, front scull, finger-drag)

6 x 100 on 2:30, odds IM and evens free

1800 meters total

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Thursday strength

A good strength session at the gym this morning: 45-min. core/lower body class, then another 35 minutes or so on my own. I am rediscovering - I will not say my love for strength-training, it has no hold over my imagination, but my liking for it at any rate...

1:20 strength

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Wednesday run/spin

55 mins. treadmill (zone 1 - avg HR 132, max 139)
35 mins. spin class (zone 2 - avg HR 131, max 147)

90 mins. total

A clean slate...

Yesterday I bought something that I have been rather coveting ever since I first learned of its existence - a dive slate! Really I have a lifelong obsession with writing implements (and in fact my new book project is at the stage where I need an extravagant visit to a stationer's to buy the exact right pens and writing tablets and charting materials that this particular project calls out for - it is on the agenda for my New York trip in July), and though I can remember the swim workout, I cannot keep track of the times I'm swimming on each interval - a waterproof slate is exactly the ticket...

I set out to do a modified version of a workout Wendy suggested to me last week - basically a long set of freestyle hundreds. The water feels very warm indeed once one is doing harder-effort swims, and I clearly went out too hard at the beginning of my second ten - I deliberately chose the instruction "strong" rather than "hard" because I didn't think I could maintain "hard" for the whole set, but even with that mental cue, I didn't do well with pacing. Live and learn...

20 x 100 on 2:30 (:30 extra rest after the first five and the second five)

1-5 relaxed: 2:18, 2:18, 2:16, 2:16, 2:18

:30 rest

6-10 descending: 2:14, 2:12, 2:05, 2:04, 2:04

:30 rest

11-20 strong: 2:03, 2:05, 2:07, 2:09, 2:10, 2:10, 2:10, 2:10, 2:10, 2:12

1:30 rest

Then 100 all out: 1:58

100 easy breast

2200 meters total

I did manage to take the turn at the traffic light on the way to the pool, but I couldn't quite nerve myself up for the negotiations required to get into the middle lane and turn into the parking lot on the way home - I will see if I can do it next time...

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Tuesday spin

A highly satisfactory session on the condo spin bike. I just did an hour - I didn't start early enough in the afternoon to fit in a longer one, and I also wanted to experiment with heart rate and intensity. The DVD player was rather serendipitously not working, and so I just put on some music and strapped the Garmin around the bike handlebars and did a typical Spinevals-type interval workout. The verdict is that really I must just have been holding back too much when I do the longer ones (also if one is really concentrating on effort level and intensity, with numbers right in front of the face, it is easier to get into the right zone). My bike ride on Sunday was helpful for this too - I was reminded that bike-riding takes effort, it is not just an idle spin!

The Gale Bernhardt plan basically calls for two hour-long bike workouts during the week and a long ride or brick on the weekend; I think of this as an absolute minimum, I'd rather make at least one of the mid-week ones rather longer than that (and add in a fourth ride), but an interval workout like this should work pretty well for me this summer.

10 mins. warmup (5 mins. easy, 5 mins. as 30 seconds high-cadence, 30 seconds easy)

3 x 13 mins. on, 2 mins easy: (1) and (3) as hard-effort, alternating 1 min. seated and 1 min. standing, (2) as alternating 1 min. hard, 1 min. easy

5 mins. cooldown

1hr., avg HR 135, max HR 152

Tuesday strength

Should have been yesterday's session, but it never happened then! A good one this morning, anyway, though I was thwarted in my desire to get a spot in the 9:30 spin class following the abs class - I thought I had claimed a bike earlier, but in fact it had already been claimed by someone else for a friend. It would be better from my POV if one could sign up at the front desk and had to be there in person - as it is, all the bikes are claimed by 8am, by a few people on behalf of their friends!

1.25hr. strength

Monday, June 7, 2010

Monday swim

Cut it a bit short this morning - it was ten to seven, and I looked around and saw that all the other swimmers had left already; then realized that (a) I had a lot more dollars in my bag than usual (hoping to pay the swim organizer for June access, only he is out with a shoulder injury) and (b) I was no longer confident that I had locked up my bike in a manner that was at all secure!*

A very nice swim in any case, even if it was short: Monday is the day to swim easy/continuously, but as I said last week, I do prefer to swim it with some kind of a pattern - it is more comfortable, it is like being held very snugly in a basket the shape of the workout!

4 x (100 free, 50 stroke): evens breast, odds back
4 x (2 x 75 as 25 drill, 50 swim): thumbs-and-salute, catch-up, 6-3-6, finger-drag
2 x (3 x 100 with every fourth length kick): flutter, whip, dolphin

1800 meters

* Yes, I rode my bike over! I chickened out and walked it through the intersection where I would have to make a turn across traffic, and also got off to walk it across the road back into the parking lot at Brent's place, but I think that on Wednesday I will nerve myself up and try and stay on the bike. It is certainly very convenient - it is about half an hour's walk on foot (a warm walk!), and I will much prefer not to disrupt Brent's morning routine by asking him to drop me off at the pool! That said, the gym is only about 15 minutes walk away, and I think I will continue to walk over there rather than riding - there is no shoulder to speak of to ride in, and the traffic becomes hairier as the day progresses.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Sunday ride

Taking JB's heat acclimation advice into account, we didn't go crazy today - just rode out to the start of the loop and back (probably about 38 miles - it's close to 20 each way - I had a small gap where I didn't turn my Garmin back on right away after a stop, but numbers are close enough).

Very negative thoughts in the first half of the ride - I ignorantly declined Brent's offer to lead the way, which meant I was scrambling to try and keep/catch up and feeling horribly and negatively slow. We stopped shortly after the halfway point for water and nutrition, and I had the sense to suggest that really I had better lead the way back - once I was in front and setting the (slower!) pace, it was infinitely better. The ride home felt like it took about a quarter as long as the ride out - some of that is wind, much of it is purely mental plus blood sugar!

Now I think I know the turn-offs (really it is a virtually idiot-proof route, only of course there always are one or two places where someone like me can potentially go astray), and can do it by myself next week. That is good! The point of doing it at 6am on Sunday morning is that there is truly very little traffic - it is not a stressful ride, though I can see that the ride home later on a Sunday morning will be more trafficky and potentially problematic once my rides get significantly longer. But sufficient unto the day...

Anyway, 36.78 miles, 2:21:55, 15.5mph avg pace, avg HR 133, max HR 154

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Saturday treadmill

It is part of a deal with JB, but as part of heat acclimation and taking pressure off expectations on paces, I am going wholly on time and HR zones for the immediate future and trying to avoid self-reproach if I do not cover the hoped-for distances - have switched my training log to show hours rather than miles, and am hoping this has triggered a mental switch too.

Certainly my treadmill run just now, though warm, was far easier than last week's! No negative thoughts - my iPod was working, and America's Next Top Model (a program I have never seen) was on television with captions...

1hr. zone 2

Friday, June 4, 2010

Grind it out...

c. 2 hours, Spinervals 9.0 - Have Mercy

Friday sea swim

It is hard for me to tell the difference between natural disinclination to rise early and the times when it truly is a bad idea to get up for a workout, but this morning it did seem to me that I had slept scantily and poorly enough that it did not make sense to get up at 5:30 to go to the pool. I am in any case viewing the Friday 6am swim as optional - Monday and Wednesday are mandatory, barring absolute sleep disaster!

So I rested for another couple hours (dozing rather than actually sleeping), and went out for a sea swim instead in the later morning.

I had a notion about taking pictures of marine creatures as part of my sea swims (using Brent's ingenious underwater camera with ankle tether), but the experiment is a failure in the sense that I made myself quite queasy with sea-sickness - there's a fair bit of swell this morning, so I might have felt a bit sick anyway, and of course I am underslept, but I think the interludes where I stopped my watch and bobbed up and down trying to photograph things on the sea floor contributed to it.

(There's a 10K swim I'd like to do this fall, but my queasiness out there today was such that I suddenly wondered whether it is such a good idea after all!)

Anyway, 45 minutes swim plus creature-chasing interludes. I share with you two pictures of appealing creatures - the ray with attendant fish, and one of a pair of sea turtles (the other had gone by the time I sorted out the camera). I took pictures of some fishes, but they were too small and too far away to come out much good - I am not one of life's natural photographers.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Treadmill intervals

30 mins., warmup plus 4 x 4 mins. zone 3 + 1 min. rest

Thursday strength

A good session at the gym - 15-20 minutes strength training on my own (upper body), then the 45-minute lower body/abs class at 8:30. That teacher is very good - I think I will make this a regular part of the routine, especially as it is singularly more likely that I will really keep up the 2x week strength training if I build one session around a class.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Heat acclimation run #2

3 miles, 31:33, 10:28/mi., avg HR 152, max HR 161

I was going to have a long post about how my genetic heritage makes me overheat so that my face turns the color of a boiled beetroot, but instead I will go against my lifelong preference for the verbal over the visual and admit that sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words:

Easy swim

It was pretty tough to get out the door this morning (I think I was on about 4.5 hours of quite restless though not absolutely terrible sleep), but I am determined to make this schedule work. I like swimming enough that the thought of not using my limited pool access is enough to prod me up and out of bed, and also I couldn't flake out so early on in the training schedule! I think I will allow myself an out for a true sleepless night (less than 3 hours), but that otherwise I should just go and swim easy/swim short as needed.

Which is pretty much what I did today - not that short, but very easy. This was partly because my muscles are incredibly and amazingly sore from Monday's strength training! I guess that means that (a) it was a good workout and (b) I need to get back into strength training as a regular habit...

Main sore muscle groups are (a) the lunge muscles (b) back muscles involved in row and lateral pulldown and (c) core. Since (b) and (c) are crucial for swimming, there was not too much I could do - I really could feel my core muscles as quite sore when I pulled out from the wall in an attempt at streamline, and it was hopeless to try and swim fly, my back muscles just didn't have it in them, which is most unusual! (Usually I would have a cardiovascular limit on fly, not muscular.)

Anyway, a nice little swim - water still feels sludgy, but I think this must be because it is warmer than I am used to.

4 x 150 as 100 free, 50 stroke (back, breast, fly drill, 6-3-6 freestyle drill)
6 x 100 odds free, evens non-free (back, IM, breast)
3 x 100 freestyle drill-swim by 25 (fists, front scull, 6-3-6)

That was enough - there seemed to me to be no point even trying doing higher-intensity freestyle work, though my arms certainly felt better after I'd warmed up than they did at the start.

I like that combination of drills at the end - I think that there is much room for improvement on my catch, and that the fists drill is especially good for correcting the imbalance in my stroke whereby my left arm is much straighter and with much weaker catch/pull than my right.

I definitely have the sense more generally that though my stroke would benefit from major improvements (like, start from scratch!), there are some minor things that are truly and realistically within my power to change right now, and that would contribute a good deal to improving efficiency if not speed. Catch and high elbow (with particular emphasis on getting the form on the left side closer to that on the right, and of course rotation is important for this too), body position in water i.e. hips high in the water, feet up and close together rather than splayed apart - these are the two things that seem truly accessible and largely fixable.

There are other things that are bigger problems, like the thing that drives Jim Bolster crazy when he sees it where I lift my head up out of the water when I breathe on the right-hand side. But this, I know, is truly very difficult to modify - I know what drills to do to work on it, but it is extraordinarily difficult to keep my neck in a neutral position and not yank it up...

1500 meters

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The puddle club

90 minutes indoor ride - Spinervals 14.0, Totally Time Trial. I am not doing it at the appropriate intensity, I can see, but it remains a good workout - I'll try and hold a higher heart-rate average next time.

(NB I think I am going to follow Coach Troy's recent tip for affordable sports nutrition!)

Heat acclimation run #1

We were out the door at 4:30 - it is not hot but it is very, very humid! Just did half an hour, following JB's suggestion - it is slightly overwhelming for the unaccustomed body to run in this climate...

3 miles