Monday, June 25, 2012

This Is One Of Those Moments

Date: Monday, June 25, 2012
Time: 2:10 p.m.
Location: Omaha, NE
Long Course Meters
0 days to Olympic Trials

I won't bury the lede: I swam a 1:04.16 in the 100 breast today, good enough for 68th place out of 139 participants. I was seeded 103rd, so I moved up!

I am extremely happy with the swim today. It will be an experience I will never, ever forget. Every minute of today will live in my mind forever. Unlike my previous two Trials experiences in 1992 and 1996, I am smiling and laughing. Not only did I beat my seed time of 1:04.42, but I raced very well, getting second in my heat. It was a tough race, but one that I will look back on and be happy with for the rest of my life. I definitely didn't have the perfect race -- I think I've only had three or four of those in my life -- but the mistakes are far outweighed by the triumphs.

I went out in 29.62, achieving one of my three goals for the race. Maybe it was a little too fast, but I needed to do that in order to be in the race. I think I turned second or third at the 50, and when I turned, I saw on my right two swimmers that were even with me. I was very tempted to glance to my left to see if there was anyone close on that side, but I didn't want to break my body line by turning my head.

After the pullout from the turn, I didn't want to start sprinting right away, as used to be my customary strategy. I used the third 25 to prep for the final 25, but I think the knowledge that those two swimmers to my right were even with me made me want to start my all-out sprint quicker than usual.

I don't know if turned out to be a hindrance, but I started feeling the lactate hitting right after the 80-meter mark. That's a few strokes earlier than usual, and I tried to ignore it -- as much as one can ignore the feeling of lead coursing through your arms. My legs weren't too tired, so I turned my focus to them in order to keep forward momentum.

As I passed over the mark at the bottom of the pool signifying 15 meters left, I decided to not turn on the afterburners just yet. I was already feeling the lactate, and trying to crank up the stroke rate would have been disastrous. I stayed at the same rate until the final five meters, and though I wasn't sure if I was going to get to the wall, I got there.

I had a feeling that I didn't win the heat, but I also knew that I didn't get last in the heat, which was the second of my three goals for the swim. Turning around to the scoreboard, I saw "1:04.16" and second place -- actually, a tie for second place -- and I was relieved. The guy to my left had won the heat in 1:03.6, and I didn't even know he was there! If I had turned my head to my left to look at him off the turn, I would have probably seen him, but I am glad I did not.

As far as my third goal for the race, I did not achieve that. This is the first time I am making this public, but I really wanted to go 1:03 today. I was upset by it for only five seconds when I saw my time on the scoreboard, but then happy that I beat my seed time of 1:04.42.

I want to give a shout to two people who were also in the 100 breast today: First, Steve West, who went 1:03.90 at 40 years old and will do incredible things in the 200 breast later this week at Trials. Steve and I have been racing each other since we were teenagers, and this is the first time ever he's beaten me in the 100 breast. Also, Stephen Estes was in a pretty bad car accident last October and I was moved to have him in my heat today. He was out of the pool recovering for three months, and to be able to be at Trials must have been a success in itself.

For the next 30 minutes, I was met with lots of words of encouragement from coaches and swimmers in the warm-down area. That made me feel awesome as well. My coaches, Mark Rankin and Coley Stickels, were very pleased with my swim. Mark was happy that I went under 30 for the first 50, and Coley was happy with my tenacity in the final 15 meters. I had a huge grin on my face for the rest of the afternoon.

I know this is being posted on the Internet and I have all the room I want, but it would take lots of space here to thank everyone that helped me through this journey to today's swim. Everyone who has interacted with me in some fashion in this past year has been a major source of fuel in training, and I had you all in my thoughts in the seconds before I dove into the water.

Though my journey to Olympic Trials is over, I've still got more racing coming up. I'm racing in the U.S. Masters nationals next week here in Omaha, so I still have to train this week. I'm flying blind here in terms of how much to train, how hard to train and how much to rest. But this will still be a fun experience, and I can't wait to race again in the Omaha pool!

Friday, June 22, 2012

I'm Ready

Date: Friday, June 22, 2012
Time: 6 a.m.
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Short Course Yards/Meters
3 days to Olympic Trials

Meet warm-up (about 1,400 yards)

Broken 100 breast (short course meters) :30 seconds rest between 50s
29.3 + 32.0 = 1:01.3

200 warm down

I woke up this morning feeling like complete crap. Nothing felt very good. Was it because I got a massage yesterday? I usually don't feel my best the day after a session with Tod Miller, because he does a great job of spreading out my muscles, and it takes a while for my body to re-adjust. This morning, I also didn't feel awake despite nearly nine hours of sleep, and it took a lot of effort to get motivated to do my broken swim today.

I needed to do the broken swim today. I always do at least one broken swim the week before my race, and I hadn't done one yet this week. Usually, I feel better after doing my typical meet warm-up, but I still felt groggy and heavy.

Besides all that, I was very pleased with my broken swim, especially since I had to swim it in short course meters. My stroke rate had to change a little bit to account for short course, but I think I handled the transition well. I felt pretty good going into the final 25, but my body wasn't used to having to do that fourth pullout, and my lungs were wondering why I was holding my breath!

The time is a little faster than I have ever gone in a short course meters race in Masters, which would convert to a low 1:04 in long course. That's a very good conversion considering my physical state this morning. And despite the way the swim went, I feel ready to race at Trials!

As I write this, about eight hours after workout, I am starting to feel better physically. It's easy to get demoralized when you're not feeling good physically so close to the big meet, and I was fighting the doubting voices in my head all day today. But the thing about taper is that each day is unpredictable, at least until the final two days before the meet. It's my hope and expectation that tomorrow and Sunday will be very good in the pool.

I am getting on a 7:10 a.m. flight to Omaha tomorrow, arriving a little after noon. I will go to the pool in the mid-afternoon and do a very light swim, probably no more than 2,000 meters. I might mix in some breakouts of 15 meters, but only two or three. I will be getting the kinks out from travel, and then doing absolutely nothing the rest of the day.

Sunday will be the final test of how the meet will go. I will do a fast 50 from a dive in the competition pool, a tradition that started when I was 22 years old. I had always had a disastrous first swim in my taper meets, and I figured the best way to start the meet right is to do a fast swim the day before the meet starts. That way, I'm getting my "bad swim" out of the way. Most of the time, this first swim is good, and that's what I am hoping for on Sunday, to take the good vibe into Monday afternoon.

I cannot guarantee I will have Internet access through Monday afternoon, so this may be the last blog post before I swim the 100 breast. The timeline estimated the swim to take place between 1 and 1:30 p.m. Central time. I am so happy about that, because I'll get to sleep in and take my time getting to the pool. I'll warm up around noon and be ready to go!

Send lots of positive vibes my way. every little bit helps!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

A Rested Body Is a Rested Mind

Date: Thursday, June 21, 2012
Time: 5:50 a.m.
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Long Course Meters
4 days to Olympic Trials

1. kick on 1:10
2. 25 drill/25 swim on 1:00
3. swim on :50

400 with pull buoy at ankles
25 scull/25 swim

4x100 back on 1:50 (avg. 1:35)

1 min. break

4x100 free on 1:45 (avg. 1:20)

6x50 on 1:15
No. 1 and 3 breathe six times
No. 2 and 5 breathe four times
No. 3 and 6 breath two times

Total: 2,400 meters (70 minutes)

My biggest fear with tapering is getting out of shape. This is essentially what happens when you overtaper. You rest your body so much, doing so little work that your level of conditioning eventually starts to wear away and you lose strength and endurance.

If I'm swimming well during taper, I fear that I could be starting to peak, and might get out of shape if I rest too much. That's why I turned up the juice just a little bit today on the 100s. I wasn't going faster than aerobic speed, but I probably didn't need to go that fast. On the opposite end of getting too much rest, you can not get enough rest, and your body can't perform at the level it's been training for on the day you need it to perform. I rarely  have had that happen to me, but I have overtapered a lot, mostly in college when double tapers were common. You would taper for the conference meet and get your NCAA cuts, then keep tapering for NCAAs two weeks later.

My body doesn't feel too great today, but in about two hours after I write this, I will be lying on a massage table, getting a nice pre-meet massage from Tod Miller. His pre-meet massages work very well in that they flush out any kinks in my muscles, but also get my nervous system in racing mode. The pressure he puts on my body isn't as hard as he usually does. It's just enough to feel relaxation, and a little rejuvenation. It helps that Tod is an athlete (triathlete, to be exact), so he knows what athletes want before the big event.

Another thing I'm looking forward to is getting home and turning on my Wii. I've been taking shorter work days this week, and with not much of interest on television, I've started playing a game I bought a couple of months ago, called Lego Indiana Jones. It's addictive, and I'm on a level that's seemingly impossible to finish! I was thinking of taking my Wii to Omaha with me, but I probably won't have a lot of time for playing video games, especially after I swim the 100 breast. Then, I'll be back to work for Swimming World, and the hours will be so long that the last thing I will want to is play video games when I get back to the hotel.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Dream a Little Dream

Date: Wednesday, June 20, 2012
Time: 5:50 a.m.
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Long Course Meters 5 days to Olympic Trials

1600 warmup

2x50 breast fast from push on 2:00
(32.6, 34.2)

100 easy

2x50 back fast from push on 2:00
(30.0, 30.8)

300 easy

25 breast from dive (13.4)

75 easy

25 breast from dive (13.2)

175 easy

Total: 2,500 meters (75 minutes)

My legs feel like lead today. It's part of the taper process, but that doesn't mean I have to like it! It's not great trying to sprint when your legs feel so heavy in the water, but I'm extremely excited about the way I performed today in spite of that. I haven't gone under 33 in a 50 breast since college, and though the drop-off on the second 50 was a little too extreme, I'm chalking it up to tired legs. They couldn't sustain my speed on that second 50, a point that was reiterated on my 50s backstroke.

Another thing that affected me a little bit was the chilly water. I estimate it was 76 degrees in there this morning. That's a little too cold. I could feel my muscles getting stiff during rest intervals. I'm rarely one to complain about chilly water, but for once Phoenix Swim Club had the aerators on a little too much last night! In the end, it's not a huge problem, but it does get uncomfortable when you're standing at the wall waiting for the next set.

I'll probably start complaining that the aerators need to be turned up in late July, when the monsoons roll through and the humidity makes cooling the pool more difficult.

Gonna take a nice nap today, but not as long as the two-hour nap I took yesterday! I didn't set an alarm for my nap, which was a good thing, but it made going to sleep last night a little rough.

Had some weird dreams last night, too. What I mostly remember is escaping a bunch of grenades being thrown at me, and my cat running toward me a few days later as we were cleaning up the rubble.

You gotta love taper dreams!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Self Control

Date: Tuesday, June 19, 2012
Time: 5:50 a.m.
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Long Course Meters
5 days to Olympic Trials

32x25 on :35, 8 of each stroke in reverse IM order
odd: swim
even: drill

200 kick choice

16x50 on 1:00 from middle of pool
1-4: 25 fly/25 back
5-8: 25 back/25 breast
9-12: 25 breast/25 free
13-14: 50 back
15-16: 50 breast

8x100 on 2:00
odd: backstroke descend to 1:19
even: free, hold at 1:20

200 easy

Total: 2,800 meters (70 minutes)

We're inside a week until Olympic Trials! There's no denying that the meet is drawing closer, especially when my teammates keep bringing it up during workout. I'm so happy to be on a team that's very supportive of me, and it's going to help me mentally on June 25 to know I have so many people cheering for me. On the other hand, it's a little scary to think that I have so many people anxious to either watch my swim or find out the result afterward.

This is the tough part of taper: Managing the mind. On days when you don't feel that great during taper (as was the case today) your mind tends to worry if the body will adjust in time for race day. And when you feel great (as was the case yesterday) you have to rein yourself in and keep the thoughts from going wild about race outcomes.

Self control is a strong exercise that I will be employing in the next five days. There will be so much internal and external stimulation that it will be easy for my mind to freak out. For example, the first time I walk onto the deck at the CenturyLink Center on Saturday afternoon for warmup might be a little weird. I've stood in that arena before, but not in this situation, so it will be a time to visualize a calmer environment and keep myself from thinking that it's all too overwhelming.

JR Rosania helped me with this last week when he mentioned a scene in the movie "Hoosiers," when the kids were overwhelmed by the big arena they were about to play in for the state championships. The coach measured the basketball court, assuring them it was the same dimensions as the court at their school gym.

The pool at the CenturyLink Center is still only 50 meters long. Nothing too special about that!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Don't Worry, Be Happy

Date: Monday, June 18, 2012
Time: 12:20 p.m.
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Long Course Meters
6 days to Olympic Trials

300 warmup

8x100 :20 rest
50 drill/50 kick, 2 each stroke, reverse IM order

200 free aerobic on 3:00 (2:40)
150 free on 2:30 (2:00)
100 free on 1:30 (1:18)
50 free (:38)

100 easy

2x50 on 1:30
#1: 15 fast breast/25 easy/10 fast
#2: 15 fast/35 easy

Five minute break

50 fast breast from push (33.98)

250 warm down

Total: 2,100 meters (45 minutes)

I felt very good in the water today -- though my legs were a little bit heavy.  I wanted to do that 50 fast that I had planned to do today. Mark Rankin was noticeably concerned about me doing it, thinking I might be in the best condition to do a fast swim today. I'm not sure why he was concerned. I've been swimming pretty well, but maybe he thought I was going through the "taper blues" today, and he didn't want to time a slow swim and have me mentally wrecked from it.

If I had swum slow today, it would have been fine. I've been feeling icky for the past three days, and if I wasn't feeling it today, I would still have six days to get things in order. But I swam quite well today, and I left the pool with a small grin on my face.

I am worried about my legs, though. They ache!!!!!! But, I do have six days, and I'm sure they'll turn around well before then. As I told Mark after my fast 50 today, I think I deserve to swim easy tomorrow. I will do more than 2,100 meters, though. My concern during taper is getting out of shape, so I'll keep up the cardiovascular training, but not overexert myself to the point of building up lactate or sustaining a high heart rate.

A couple of people asked me after workout what my time goal is for the 100 breast at Trials. I told them I didn't want to make an official time goal. My only goal is not to get last in my heat, and to that end, my training has been geared toward having a good race strategy that will allow me to keep at or near the head of the pack. All the splits I've been recording make it tempting to think of a possible time I could swim next week, but if I get caught in that, I build up an expectation that might be too high for me to reach at this stage in my life. The point of this is to have fun with the experience and let the results take care of themselves. So far, I am having a blast and I'm sure that will carry over to my emotions one week from now, when I'm warming down after my swim.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

On a Clear Day (You Can See Forever)

Date: Sunday, June 17, 2012
Time: 11:30 a.m.
Location: Tucson, AZ
Long Course Meters
7 days to Olympic Trials

300 warmup

5x100 free on 1:45
5x100 back on 1:50

8x50 breast kick drill on 1:10

4x15 breakouts on 1:00

100 easy

4x50 on 2:00
25 fast breast with bungee cord
25 easy back to wall

3x100 on 2:00 easy (50 back/25 breast/25 free)

 8x50 free on 1:00, breathe every 5

Total: 2,700 meters (75 minutes)

I had hoped to a fast 50 for time today, but I didn't have anyone available to time me, so I axed the idea. I could have done the swim and "guessed" my time, but it would have needed to be exact today. I didn't want to guess what I went and be totally off. I'll do a fast 50 either on Tuesday or Wednesday in Phoenix, since I'll have my coach Mark Rankin there to time me.

Today, I felt completely crappy in the water, until the last 700 meters. I felt more like sleeping all day than doing anything in the pool. This meant I was fighting the urge to get out the pool and take a nap. On the upside, it was a gorgeously clear day, with wonderfully perfect water to swim in today!

The only thing I don't like about taper is the guesswork of what the workout should be each day. It all depends on feel, and time of the week. Today, I'm not sure if I needed to be completely aerobic, or if I needed to do a pretty tough set to keep my conditioning up. I think I went somewhere in between, just because I wasn't feeling very good at the beginning of workout.

I'm not sure if I'll be able to swim tomorrow, since morning workout at Phoenix Swim Club is canceled. I have a half day off work tomorrow, so I might be able to swim at the noon workout. If I can't, then I am taking Monday off. It's not a completely bad thing, but it's not the best thing to do.

We'll see what happens!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Hot in the City

Date: Saturday, June 16, 2012
Time: 6:30 a.m.
Location: Tucson, AZ
Short Course Meters
9 days to Olympic Trials

400 warmup

100 free aerobic on 1:30
200 free aerobic on 3:00
100 free aerobic on 1:40
200 free aerobic on 2:50
100 free aerobic

4x100 on 2:00
1. 75 back/25 breast
2. 50 back/50 breast
3. 25 back/75 breast
4. 100 breast

50 free aerobic on :50
100 free aerobic on 1:30
50 free aerobic on :50
100 free aerobic on 1:30
50 free aerobic

4x50 on 1:05
15 breakout/35 easy

Two rounds:
25 breast underwater on :30
50 free aerobic on 1:00
25 breast underwater on :30
50 free aerobic on 1:00
25 breast underwater on :30

4x25 free one breath on :40

100 easy

Total: 3,000 meters (60 minutes)

During taper, you can't really take a day off. You will lose your feel for the water, and sometimes it will take an extra day to get back on track. Unfortunately, I might have to do that on Monday, because Phoenix Swim Club won't have morning workout. I usually take Saturday off, but needed to splash around today. Because the age group team was using the long course pool, the Masters group was forced to swim in the diving well, where the water was 83 degrees. Not a good temperature on a day when the air temperature was 78 degrees at 6:30 a.m.

I took my pace slowly through the workout to prevent overheating, but also because I didn't want to do much fast swimming today. (I will do that tomorrow.) The intervals made that pretty easy to do, and though the water temperature didn't make the workout comfortable, I still felt pretty good in the water.

Friday, June 15, 2012

What a Feeling

Date: Friday, June 15, 2012
Time: 5:45 a.m.
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Long Course Meters
10 days to Olympic Trials

300 warmup

3x(3x100 on 2:00
1. 75 swim/25 kick
2. 25 kick/75 swim
3. 25 drill/25 swim

12x50 on 1:00 swim aerobic
6 free (avg. :40), 6 back (avg. :42)

4x100 kick drill on 2:00
50 breast/50 free

300, work on breakouts and turns

4x150 on 2:30 aerobic
odd: back (2:05)
even: free (2:00)

100 easy

25 breast from dive (13.2)

75 easy

Total: 3,300 meters (75 minutes)

I didn't expect to swim so far today. My expectation was to swim at a very leisurely aerobic pace and maybe do some short-burst swimming. I was feeling OK this morning, though my legs did feel like lead. I've been doing housework and maybe running around the house, up and down the stairs for an hour each day Monday and Tuesday is starting to haunt me.

But I did my chores this week so I could use the time-honored "I'm tapering" excuse when given a "Honey Do" list. It doesn't mean my home will look like it belongs on an episode of "Hoarders," but certain things will just have to wait until I return from Omaha.

I have been doing this 10-day taper for a couple of years now, reducing down from 14 days, because it feels like the perfect amount of time to taper from an average of 3,500 meters per workout. I feel the same physical and mental sensations as those who taper for a full two weeks or more, but I think the sensations are more concentrated! In a few days my legs will feel like jelly, and I'll freak out about things not being ready in time for my race. It's normal, but it doesn't make it easier.

I don't really know how my body should feel on the second official day of taper, but so far ... so good!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Neutron Dance

Date: Thursday, June 14, 2012
Time: 5:50 a.m.
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Long Course Meters
11 days to Olympic Trials

7x100 on descending intervals
2:10 to 1:40

5x75 on descending intervals
1:35 to 1:15 (extra 25 on No. 5)

8x150 on 3:00 with snorkel
50 breast kick/50 free swim/50 free pull

8x50 on 1:10
odd: 15 fast/25 easy/10 fast
even: 25 left arm/25 right arm free or back

35 breast fast (10m fast into wall/25 fast)
(25s: 16.7, 16.5)

100 easy

Total: 2,900 meters (75 minutes)

Taper started this morning! I would do a dance, but I have to save my energy.

I really took advantage of the main set of 150s, swimming with a low heart rate (144) the entire time. The set was supposed to be done pretty fast on all eight, but that was for people who don't have a big race coming up in a little more than a week!

I was feeling OK today, and could feel some speed in my muscles today, but not fully developed. The 25 fast at the end was a very good idea. I wish we had been doing that set earlier in the season, to gauge progress. Mark said he thought I should be in the 15-second range on the 25 at Trials. I'm not entirely sure if that's possible, even with a shave and wearing a good suit. But I will work toward that goal! Today's times were pretty good to me. If you factor in that Mark started the watch at the time I touched the wall for the turn, I was on pace for a 50-meter swim in the mid-34 range. I'm happy with that.

Tomorrow will be another fairly easy day, at least that's the plan. I wasn't planning on those 25s today, but when Mark suggested it, I knew it would be a good test. So far, I'm on track, but taper is so crazy. Tomorrow I might feel like a million bucks. Who knows what I'll feel like the next day?

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Don't Speak

Date: Wednesday, June 13, 2012
Time: 5:45 a.m.
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Long Course Meters
12 days to Olympic Trials

1600 warmup

Four rounds:
100 easy on 3:00
50 breast fast from push
(33.5, 33.3, 33.3, 33.3)

300 easy

8x50 on 1:30
1. easy
2. 25 free fast from dive/25 easy
3. 25 free fast from push/25 easy

100 easy

Total: 3,000 meters (80 minutes)

Things are definitely on the right track, based on my performances in workout today. Last week, I was shocked that I was able to swim two 50s breast from a push under 34 seconds. Today, I was shocked thatI was able to do four of them under 34!

I wasn't perfect on all three swims, though. On the third one, I felt that I needed to pull and kick harder to go the same time, because I was feeling a little fatigued. And when I put more effort into it (which was only a perceived extra effort, since I was going 100 percent on the first two 50s), my stroke felt sloppy.

Nonetheless, a very encouraging workout today, the last one before taper officially begins! I am still struggling with feeling the easy speed and explosiveness, but i know from experience that it comes somewhere during the taper ... or at least, that's what is supposed to happen! On the 25s free, I was feeling a good stroke rate, but I still need to work on my freestyle start. I modify my breaststroke start to not go so deep, and I think it affects my speed when I enter the water. I'm not extremely concerned about it, because I am only doing one individual freestyle race at Masters nationals. But that will be a tough race anyway, and a good start will be very important.

My last dryland session with JR Rosania was tougher than I expected, but very productive. I did about 15 sets of exercises focusing on fast movement, mostly working with only my body weight. I remember last week that I was more sore from doing fast movements than I was during the high-volume portion of the season. I will probably be very sore tomorrow!

I am extremely grateful to JR for taking my under his wing to improve my dryland training in these past 10 months. I told him today that dryland was the only major change I've made in my training, and I am certain it's been a big help ... though I had my doubts back in January!

Everyone is telling me how excited they are to watch me swim at Olympic Trials, and it's also making me excited. I do worry, however, about getting too excited! It can cause my mind to go to some unwelcome places. Today during some down time at work, I started visualizing the day of the race and what the experience will be like. I started feeling some butterflies as my mind scanned the arena to see the large number of spectators. Feeling a little bit of a twinge in your stomach is good, but not at the expense of the endorphins trying to prepare your body for action.

In this visualization, I focused on the task at hand and managed to feel calmer when I visualized myself behind the blocks. It's hard for me, though, to talk about my level of preparedness for the meet, because I don't want to jinx myself and say I'm ready, but I don't want to seem nonchalant about it and shrug it off. I don't want people to avoid me and feel like I am in this bubble for the next 11 days, but I don't want to be bombarded by swarms of well-wishers, especially those who believe I will make the Olympic team. How do I let them down easy, when their excitement about this possible outcome is what motivates them daily? People keep asking if I am expecting to make the final of the 100 breast. Usually, I say it will take a major miracle, but then again, it was a minor miracle to beat the qualifying time!


I apologize for the brief rant. My mind is starting to go into taper mode, and I can be a little irrational at times. In the end, this has been an exciting 11 months, and the encouragement and support from friends, family and complete strangers is what has fueled my drive through the tough workouts and the bad races to get to the days like today, when everything just fit into place. That's what I'm hoping for on June 25!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

I Got Rhythm

Date: Tuesday, June 12, 2012
Time: 5:50 a.m.
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Long Course Meters
13 days to Olympic Trials

300 IM (25 kick/25 drill/25 swim)

8x50 breast on 1:10
odd: pullout and 3 strokes for entire 50
even: swim, descend to :38

6x100 back on 2:00
odd: 50 drill/50 swim
even: 25 fast/25 easy

20x25 fly on :35 breathe every other

4x100 on 1:45
25 fast/75 easy, 1 of each stroke

4x100 on 2:00
75 easy/25 fast, 1 of each stroke

100 easy

Total: 2,700 meters (75 minutes)

I was surprised by the small amount we swam today. I know I am about to start taper, but no one else is! (The ones going to nationals will probably start taper the week of Trials.) This was a much smaller workout than usual, though I'm not complaining! I was feeling quite sore from yesterday's weight workout, especially in my lats. Fast swimming wasn't easy, though marginally easier than yesterday. I should be back on track tomorrow, when my body returns to a normal rhythm.

I started getting nervous about Trials today. I started picturing the ready room area, and walking out on the deck right before the 100 breast race. I was watching some of the races online from this past weekend's Swimvitational, and it started to bring butterflies to my stomach. As long as I don't start freaking out, those butterflies will still work to my advantage. I'm not nervous about swimming at Trials.

I am nervous, however, about Masters nationals. It will be a tough meet for me. I am happy to have some good competition in the 50 and 100 back, but I'm sad I won't get to race Steve West in the 100 breast. After all of our virtual racing this past year (which will likely include a virtual race at Trials), we still won't get the opportunity to race together, since he's in a different Masters age group. At nationals, they put everyone in with their age groups, though I learned today that the 200s will be seeded by time, not by age. That means I'll get to race the 200 IM against the fastest people at the meet, regardless of their age. I'm very excited about that!

Off to teach a swimming lesson, then going home to sleep. I was thisclose to a nap at work.

Monday, June 11, 2012

I Love the Night Life

Date: Monday, June 11, 2012
Time: 4:45 p.m.
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Long Course Meters
14 days to Olympic Trials

At the gym:
Five minutes shoulder exercises

Standing lat pull (15@50, 12@ 60, 10@75)

Two rounds:
Knee-ins with feet on therapy ball (15 repetitions)
20 plyometric jumps onto box

Incline bench press (12@105, 10@130, 8@145)

Leg extensions (15@95, 12@125, 10@150)

At the pool (6 p.m.)
500 warmup

6x150 on 3:00
100 swim/25 kick/25 scull

3x100 free on 1:50 (avg. 1:18)

1 minute break

3x100 free on 1:40 (avg. 1:15)

1 minute break

3x100 free on 1:30 (avg. 1:10)

200 easy

Four starts

6x50 on 1:10
odd: 5 strokes free/hold position for 3 seconds
even: 5 strokes free/5 strokes back

4x100 free descend on 2:00 (1:25, 1:19, 1:15, 1:03)

200 easy

Total: 3,400 meters (90 minutes)

Because I did not swim on Saturday or Sunday, it was imperative that I swam today. I felt OK in the water, but not particularly strong. Did doing weights cause me to not feel the speed I hoped for, or was it taking two days out of the pool?

I wasn't thrilled with the 1:03 in the last 100 free, because I was trying very hard to go fast, and I thought I was going to be 1:01 or better. But again, the speed wasn't there. I didn't do any speed work today, which is not a bad thing, but I will make sure to find my speed again tomorrow!

I'm too tired to write more. I have to be back at the pool at 5:45 for more!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Friday I'm In Love

Date: Friday, June 8, 2012
Time: 5:50 a.m.
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Long Course Meters
17 days to Olympic Trials

900 warmup

6x100 free kick with snorkel and fins on descending interval
2:10 --> 1:45

6x75 kick with fins on descending interval
1:40 --> 1:15

8x25 kick on :35
odd: breast kick underwater
even: dolphin kick on back

Six rounds continuous:
15 meters fast from dive/10 meters scull/10 seconds vertical kick/75 aerobic

50 breast fast from dive (30.5)

250 warm down

Total: 3,050 meters (75 minutes)

Not a bad day at all! I woke up still sore from the dryland work ... and possibly from last night's massage. Kevin worked my muscles harder than they have been worked in a long time, but I think tomorrow will be better. Mostly, my pecs are in shock from the push-ups with hand claps, and my lats are just experiencing general soreness.

With that in mind, it was great to go under 30 seconds in my 50 breast today. I wasn't expecting that, even though my stroke and kick felt in harmony today. I just didn't feel like I had the speed for the first four or five strokes, and I was concerned I was rushing the stroke too much. This is my issue in any race. It takes me about 20 meters or so to "get going," and that's why I'm working on that in these final days of training.

I am listening to the advice of my body and not lifting weights today. I will most likely lift weights on Monday, and instead of the heavy sets I had planned, I'll do a medium-strength workout, since next week will be my final week of dryland. I was thinking of going to the gym anyway and sitting in the hot tub, but I'd rather go home and relax for a couple of hours before getting in the car for my drive to Tucson.

I might not be able to swim until Monday. I'm going to attend a bat mitzvah tomorrow and on Sunday, I'm flying to St. Louis to watch my older brother, Darryl, become an ordained minister. Then, I'll be back in Phoenix mid-morning on Monday. I am trying to find some time Saturday afternoon to swim, but Hillenbrand Aquatic Center will be full of swimmers for a meet this weekend. I might just go to La Paloma Country Club, one of our swim lesson sites, but the pool isn't great and I have little to no motivation when I swim there. But if I can just churn out about 3,500 meters, I'll be happy to take Sunday off. I am worried about the possibility of two days off in a row at this point in the season.  

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Dig a Little Deeper

Date: Thursday, June 7, 2012
Time: 5:45 a.m.
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Long Course Meters
18 days to Olympic Trials

400 warmup

2x400 on 7:00
150 free/50 back/150 free/50 breast
(#1 5:55, #2 5:45)

18x50 back on 1:00 (averaged :38)

400 kick easy

8x15 on 1:00 breast breakouts

8x50 breast on 1:00 (averaged :40)

200 warmdown (25 scull/25 swim)

Total: 3,300 meters (80 minutes)

The first set on the board today was "3x1500," which was presented as an option instead of the rest of the workout. One person in my lane thought Mark was serious and started doing the set during the first of our 400s. He stopped after the 400 and found out Mark was kidding about the 1500s.Apparently, this guy was the only one willing to do the set!

The workout was an attempt by me to work on my 200 IM endurance. I had trouble with my backstroke today. I kept bumping into the lane line and it threw off my stroke. I was very frustrated with it. On the upside, I don't really have to worry about that at Masters nationals, since it's indoors!

Those 50s breast were brutal, but I made it. I took 17 strokes per 50 for the first five, then 18 for the last three.I was happy with how my stroke held up, but I wish I had been able to hold that average with the same stroke count.

I'm very, very sore today, and it has everything to do with yesterday's dryland session. All those quick explosive movements really did a number on my pectorals, shoulders and upper back muscles. I think the push-ups with hand claps were the icing on the cherry on top of the sundae in terms of pushing my muscles over the edge. I didn't think I'd be this sore today.

Tod Miller is on vacation this week, but I was very pleased with my substitute masseuse. He really understood the term "deep tissue massage." Several times, I think he was digging so deep that he was massaging bone! He even managed to get deep into my left rhomboid and feel the adhesions nestled deep inside there. Those adhesions have been there for as long as I can remember, and no one has been able to completely wipe them out. Maybe the knots that the adhesions cause will never go away, but Kevin managed to tame them into submission.

I hope I'll be able to lift my arms tomorrow morning! A good night's sleep will help cure what ails me.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

It's All Coming Back to Me Now

Date: June 6, 2012
Time: 5:50 a.m.
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Long Course Meters
19 days to Olympic Trials

1200 warmup

Three rounds:
100 @ 400 pace/50 easy on 3:30
50 @ 200 pace/100 easy on 3:30
25 fast/125 easy on 3:30
Rounds 1 and 3: free (1:10, :31, 11.9)
Round 2: back (1:15, :33, 13.1)

150 easy

4x50 free on :45 (averaged :35)

100 easy

Total: 3,000 meters (75 minutes)

I didn't feel like doing breaststroke today. After yesterday's workout, I figured I deserved a day off from breaststroke. Remember that I am also training for the U.S. Masters nationals the week after I swim the 100 breast at Trials. I'm excited to be able to swim fast more than once in that pool, especially the 100 free! I don't know who I will be racing in that event in Omaha, but I did see the roster of swimmers signed up in the 35-39 age group, and I don't think I can beat Matt Eisenhuth, Brian Jacobson and Scott Greenwood in a 100 freestyle! As such, I need to do some sprint freestyle work to make sure I can compete with them.

I was starting to feel the snap in my stroke come back to me today. It's still feeling a little forced, but not as forced as it was on Sunday, or even yesterday!

This is my second-to-last week of dryland training, and as such, the workload in my sessions with JR Rosania are getting lighter -- but not necessarily easier! Instead of working on power and endurance, the emphasis is on speed and getting the fast-twitch muscles engaged. I will need those, not only to get me going in the first half of my 100 races, but when I do the 50s at Masters nationals.

Here's a video of me doing some ball throwdowns. The ball weighs 15 pounds, about five pounds heavier than I usually use:

And a look at me doing push-ups with hand claps. I've been progressing to doing claps on every repetition, but this is the first day of doing them:

I think I'm going to start feeling the snap in my strokes very soon, especially when I stop doing dryland exercises on June 15. I'll just do some light weightlifting that day, just as maintenance.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Looking Up

Date: Tuesday, June 5, 2012
Time: 5:50 a.m.
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Long Course Meters
20 days to Olympic Trials

16x50 on 1:00
1-4 25 fly/25 back
5-8 25 back/25 breast
9-12 25 breast/25 free
13-16 25 free/25 fly

10x100 on 2:00
odd: free aerobic (avg. 1:20)
even: back strong (avg. 1:15)

200 kick easy

10x50 on 1:15
1-4: 15m breakouts
 5: breast fast form push (33.2)
6-8 easy
9: breast fast from push (33.6)
10: easy

100 kick easy

4x50 on 1:30 -- 25 fast/25 easy

100 easy

Total: 2,900 meters (75 minutes)

Things definitely look like they are heading in the right direction in these final weeks of preparation. I was not expecting to go under 34 seconds on my fast 50s breast. I didn't sleep well last night, and as such, I was mentally out of it. Plus, the set of 10x100 took a little more out of me than I expected.

But sometimes we're able to surprise ourselves and do some pretty amazing things. My stroke felt very good on the 50s, and I feel like I'm getting the snap back in my stroke that I felt I had lost last week. Coley Stickels came to the pool just in time to watch my second 50 fast, and he said he thought my stroke looked great.

I was surprised we didn't break 3,000 meters today. It felt like we swam a lot today. But the easy kicking took time away from more swimming. I'm not complaining, really, but I don't want to do too may workouts totaling under 3,000 in the next few days. It's not time for me to start tapering, and though the intensity was pretty high today, I do have to keep up the quantity until at least June 15.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

One More Hour

Date: Sunday, June 3, 2012
Time: 11:15 a.m.
Location: Tucson, AZ
Long Course Meters
22 days to Olympic Trials

300 warmup

6x100 free on 1:45 descend to 90 percent (1:12)

8x50 on 1:10 (25 kick/25 drill, 2 of each stroke)

2x200 :30 rest (100 back/100 breast aerobic)

4x15 breakouts on 1:00

Four rounds:
10 strokes breast fast from dive with bungee cord on 1:30

8x100 on 1:40 (50 back/50 free)

4x50 breast kick with board on 1:10

4x25 fast swim to wall assisted with bungee cord on 2:00

4x25 IM order fast on 1:00

300 easy (25 scull/25 kick drill/25 scull/25 swim)

Total: About 3,500 meters (90 minutes)

I needed more time to do the full workout I had written, but I had a swimming lesson to teach at 1:00, and I wanted to have time to shower, get dressed and chug my P2Life drink without feeling rushed. I had another 500 written throughout the workout, but I had to shorten the "recovery" sets a bit to make sure I had time to do all the fast swimming I planned to do.

I felt a little sluggish today, which isn't new for me on Sunday, but I managed to do pretty well. I felt like I was doing well technically on my swims with the bungee cord, which is important. I put a lot of focus on being good technically with doing resistance swimming. This is usually made to show you where all your drag points are in the stroke. Yes, there are lots of them in breaststroke, but you notice the really big ones when you aren't swimming correctly.

Last week was pretty brutal in and out of the pool. Saturday was a big rest day for me. In addition to sleeping almost nine hours, I took a two-hour nap on Saturday! I think my body wanted to stay in that sleepy mode Sunday morning, but after about an hour in the pool, I felt things coming around a little better.

Friday, June 1, 2012


Date: Friday, June 1, 2012
Time: 5:45 a.m.
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Long Course Meters
24 days to Olympic Trials

1200 warmup

400 kick - 50 free/50 dolphin on back

Five rounds:
1 minute vertical kick breast with 5 kg weight
1 minute rest

One minute break

Five rounds:
30 seconds vertical kick breast with 5 kg weight
30 seconds rest

8x50 easy :15 rest

Three rounds:
15 fast breast from dive/25 easy/15 fast breast on 1:30
25 free at 100 pace/25 easy on 1:30

50 easy

25 breast fast from dive (12.98)

100 easy

50 free fast from dive (25.8)

150 easy

Total: 2,700 meters (not including vertical kicking) (75 minutes)

It's been a while since I've done vertical kicking, but I don't recall that set being so difficult! My quads were burning at the end of each minute-long repeat, and all I wanted to do at the end of each (or at least, all I felt I had the energy to do) was sink to the bottom of the pool. Since I needed to breathe, I made myself reach for the wall and shake out the lactate in my legs, which was impossible to do in only one minute.

Yesterday, I had some bodywork done, and I was pretty sore this morning from it. Tod Miller really did a number on a lot of my muscle groups, including my quads, groin and upper back. Sometimes the work he does makes me sore the day after, but then things start to feel better. 

I was pleased that my legs were able to recover to a large degree after the vertical kicking set. I wasn't sure how they would respond on the final set, but my starts were pretty good. I was working on having good reaction time, and I admit I false started once or twice in my attempt to be quick off the blocks. But the highlight of the day was the 12.98 on my 25 breast. I haven't gone under 13 seconds in a dive 25 in any other time except for the week of taper, so this was great! I still have work to do in terms of keeping my legs together on the start, but everything else felt like it was working in harmony.

As for that 50 free ... I was just about to finish my warmdown, when I was challenged to a 50 free match race with teammates Gordon Beh and Jose Ponce. I had already "turned off" my brain in terms of fast swimming, but I rarely turn down such a challenge. I stepped up not sure how fast I could go against two freestylers, but I managed to win by a second. Through the race, I kept picturing how sprint freestylers such as Roland Schoeman and Nathan Adrian can swim so freaking fast with seemingly so little effort. I was nowhere close to looking like they do, or swimming anywhere near their speed, but it was fun to do. And since I'm racing the 100 free at the Masters nationals next month (as well as participating in a freestyle relay or two), I needed to check in on my sprint freestyle prowess. Lots of work to be done there.

At the gym:

Eight minutes elliptical machine

Five minutes shoulder warm up

Sitting bench press (10@160, 8@180, 6@195)

Sitting leg press (12@180, 10@210, 8@230)

Sitting row (12@130, 10@150, 8@170)

Ten minutes abdominals and stretching

In the gym, it was a simple case of not overdoing it, but working on keeping up my strength in these final two weeks of heavy dryland. As usual, I wanted to go home, but not to rest. This morning, while in my sleepy haze, I was mixing my usual P2Life post-workout drink, and didn't notice that the cap was loose. I sprayed vanilla milk all over the place, and I have to clean it up when I get home. It's going to take quite a while to do, and I should have done it this morning, but I would have been very late for workout.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Sabbath Prayer

Date: Thursday, May 31, 2012
Time: 5:50 a.m.
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Long Course Meters
25 days to Olympic Trials

5x100 on 1:45 descend to 1:20

1000 free (13:29)

4x50 on 1:10 -- 25 drill/25 swim

5x100 free breathing every 5 on 1:45 (avg. 1:23)

4x25 breakouts

400 kick

Total: 2,700 meters (70 minutes)

Yes, I did a straight 1000. The workout called for a straight 3000 (or it could be broken up), and there was no way this sprinter was going to do that, especially so close to the end of the season. I should have done more after the 1000, but my mind was mush after having to count to 10 (as in 10 100s), and I couldn't think of much to do. I could have done 10x100 free breathing every 5 instead of five, but I stopped at five.

The title of today's blog is the song I had in my head during the 1000 on an endless loop. It was the last song I heard in my car on the way to the pool this morning. My iPod is set on shuffle, so I'm at the iPod's mercy in terms of what I listen to. I like it that way. The song kind of had some relevance to the swim, in a small way, based on this lyric:

May the Lord protect and defend you.
May the Lord preserve you from pain.
Favor them, Oh Lord, with happiness and peace.
Oh, hear our Sabbath prayer. Amen.

I wasn't trying to make the 1000 an all-out swim, but I did take out the first 200 a little too fast (2:35), and felt it at 500 meters. I managed to get through the final 500 meters and even split the swim, splitting 6:45 at the 500. I was feeling the burn in my shoulders and upper back, and in my legs in the final 200. But I was happy that my heart rate didn't get too high (162) and I recovered pretty well from it -- physically, at least. I averaged 1:21 on the swim, which is right at my aerobic pace. Since I only got 500 meters of warm-up before the swim, I had no intention of going faster.

Combined with yesterday's fast 100 breast and today's 1000, I think I've done enough "long" stuff for the remainder of the season. I planned to have this week be the start of working on short bursts of speed and focusing on the first 25 of my 100. I haven't really had the chance to do that this week. Maybe tomorrow, after all the vertical kicking Mark has planned for us.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

I Sing the Body Electric

Date: Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Time: 5:45 a.m.
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Long Course Meters
26 days to Olympic Trials

1200 warmup

8x50 on 1:00 -- 25 fast kick underwater with fins/25 swim easy

Three minute break

2x50 breast on 1:40 (34, 34)

200 easy

100 breast fast from dive (1:09.2)

300 easy

50 breast fast from dive (31.3)

100 easy

50 breast fast from dive (31.2)

150 easy

Total: 2,650 meters (80 minutes)

I wasn't planning on doing much sprint breaststroke today, especially when I saw that the main set on the whiteboard was six rounds of 100 fast/100 easy. I haven't done a 100 breast from a dive in workout in a very, very long time. The last time I did a 100 breast fast in workout was November 2, and that was a 1:02.1 in short course yards from a push.

I had no choice but to do the 100 breast. My coach pretty much suggested it after he discovered I wasn't doing all six of the fast 100s. Plus, when I was standing on deck preparing to do the 100, Coley Stickels arrived. So, with both of my coaches on deck, I couldn't wimp out, even though I had just done two fast 50s breast already and was pretty wiped out. Luckily, I didn't have a previous best time for this swim in recent history, so I was unemotional about the 1:09. I didn't go out fast enough, because I wanted to avoid pain, and I didn't come home well enough, because I was in a lot of pain! Coley told me I wasn't pointing my hands downward on the insweep, which is something I try very hard to do. I think he was looking at my final few strokes, which weren't very good. But that's no excuse. I need to have perfect strokes every time!

That was the last fast 100 breast I'll do before Trials. It might be the last fast100 of any stroke I do before Trials (not counting any broken 100s).

I worked on the insweep during the fast 50s from a dive, and I think it took away from doing the sprint well. I was too focused on technique, instead of power and speed. The times weren't too bad for a morning's worth of sprinting.

Today's dryland session with JR Rosania transitioned into a speed focus more than power. Some of the exercises were to be done as fast as possible, with not much weight (if any at all). It felt a little forced to get my arms and legs moving quickly, but I'm sure when it's time to rest, my nervous system will remember these movements and respond better when it's time to race again.

Speaking of that, I'm not going to do another meet before Trials. My only racing option was to swim a meet at my home pool the weekend before Trials. That's too close to the meet, and I don't want to race right when I'm starting my taper. It can mess with me mentally if I don't swim well.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Be a Man

Date: Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Time: 5:50 a.m.
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Long Course Meters
27 days to Olympic Trials

900 warmup

Two rounds:
300 free on 5:00 (4:13, 4:10)
200 IM on 4:00 (2:58, 2:56)
100 back on 2:00 (1:25, 1:19)

Two rounds:
4x50 on 1:15 --- 25 scull/25 swim
2x100 free on 1:45, breathing every five
100 breast on 2:00 (1:17.9, 1:18.2)

200 warm down

Total: 3,300 meters (75 minutes)

I am a wimp.

The main set called for four rounds of a 300 free, 200 IM and 100 stroke. After two rounds, I didn't want to do the 300 free anymore, and I wanted to be able to put a good effort into my 100 breast, which meant no 200 IM.

After two rounds, I decided I needed to put some focus on maintaining my body line while going about 90 percent effort. I took 19 strokes per length on the 100s breast, which was pretty good. I was surprised I went as fast as I did. I haven't gone under 1:20 in a 100 breast with that effort in a long time. Well, I haven't gone a 100 breast outside of a meet in a long time!

I liked the workout today. Very simple and it enabled me to deviate from the set without causing too much distraction!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

The Final Countdown

Date: Sunday, May 27, 2012
Time: 11:45 a.m.
Location: Tucson, AZ
Long Course Meters
29 days to Olympic Trials

300 warmup

Four rounds:
25 underwater kick on :40
50 IM transition on 1:00
75 free breathing every 5 on 1:20
100 IM on 1:40

8x25 breakouts on :45

Three rounds:
25 fast breast from dive with bungee cord / 25 back fast assisted with bungee cord / 25 breast underwater swim from a dive / 25 free fast
5x50 recovery on :55

4x50 :20 rest -- 25 scull/25 swim

4x50 on 2:00 IM order fast from push (30, 31, 34, 29)

6x50 free with snorkel on :55

Easy 100 (with stretching)

Total: 3,350 meters (90 minutes)

The original plan today was to do two broken swims: a broken 100 breast and a broken 200 IM. Because I did not have any to give me accurate times on my swims, I decided to cut out the 100 breast, make the broken 200 IM more like four 50s with a decent amount of rest in between.

Substituting a major lactate set for a broken 100 breast wasn't an even trade, but I enjoyed doing the lactate set today. The bungee cord wasn't too tight. I didn't feel the resistance until 15 meters out, giving me 10 meters of resistance swimming. The bungee cord was initially too short to reach to 25 meters, so I improvised and added another cord, shortening it just a little bit. I knew it was too long after the first round, but it was too much work to make it shorter.

I didn't go right into each subsequent round on the lactate set. I did the lactate 100 in about 1:40, then had about five minutes for the recovery. Then, I gave myself an additional three minutes or so before starting the next round, putting each round on a 10-minute interval. It was a pretty adequate amount of rest.

Today was a crucial day for swimming fast, not because we are past the 30-day mark until Trials. I will likely not do as much fast swimming per workout for the rest of this training cycle, concentrating instead on explosive speed on 25s more than 50s. Everything seemed to fall in line today, and I was happy with all the fast swimming I did today, especially the 50s at the end. The times listed above are based on what I saw on the clock when I touched, so likely a little faster, but who knows? The real goal was good technique and speed endurance. I fell apart a little bit at the end of each 50, but not to a major degree.

I'm happy to have tomorrow off work and swimming! I will definitely enjoy sleeping in and having no real plans to the day. Have a good Memorial Day everyone!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Break My Stride

Date: Friday, May 25, 2012
Time: 5:45 a.m.
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Short Course Meters
31 days to Olympic Trials

1300 warmup

15x50 kick with short fins and snorkel on 1:00 (avg :45)

12x25 on :30 (half underwater kick/half swim)

400 free breathe every 3 aerobic

6x100 on 2:00
Fast 100 IM on 3 and 6 (1:03.1, 1:02.7)

200 easy

Total: 3,550 meters (80 minutes)

At the gym (5 p.m.)

Eight minutes elliptical machine

Five minutes shoulder warmup

Sitting bench press (15@110, 12@130, 10@155)

Standing lat pull (15@50, 12@60, 10@75)

Leg extensions (15@100, 12@125, 10@155)

Three rounds of:
15 reps ball throwdowns (12 lb. ball)
15 reps horizontal crunches with feet on therapy ball
15 reps lie on back with ball throws and kicks

I didn't want to go to the gym today. I almost talked myself out of it. But once I put on my gym clothes, I figured I might as well go. Once I got there, I reduced my workout to only 40 minutes instead of the usual 50. It was the end of a physically stressful week, probably one of the most stressful my body has felt in a few weeks. All I wanted to do was crash on the couch ... at least until I had to get in my car and drive 120 miles to Tucson. I have to keep up my motivation for at least 15 more days. After that, it'll be time to start backing off dryland and focus on the meet.

As far as the pool workout goes, I was surprised with my fast 100 IMs today. Understandably, I haven't been doing much IM work in the past few weeks, and I know I need to not forget about that since I will be doing the 200 IM at Masters nationals a week after Olympic Trials. But considering I hadn't put all four strokes together in a long time (and add in that I was circle swimming) the times were pretty good. I usually gauge a good fast swim in workout if it is six to seven seconds slower than my time in a shave and taper meet. My goal is 57.0 in short course meters in the 100 IM, so I was right on target.

I'm so glad the week is over, and the holiday weekend is here! I won't be doing much out of the ordinary, except sleeping in on Monday!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Heart of Rock and Roll

Date: Thursday, May 24, 2012
Time: 5:50 a.m.
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Short Course Meters
32 days to Olympic Trials

4x250 on 4:30
150 swim/50 kick/50 pull

6x100 free on 1:45, 12 breaths per 100

10x125 on 1:45 (avg. 1:29)

300 easy (25 kick on back/25 free fingertip drag drill)

10 minutes starts

Total: About 3,300 meters (70 minutes)

I wasn't going to do the set of 125s. I didn't have an alternative to the set, though, so I did it anyway. It wasn't an extremely difficult VO2max set, as I didn't start to break down until number eight. Usually, I'm toast halfway through sets like these, but I was able to hold my stroke and not feel like I was sinking until I pushed off for the eighth repeat. What made it worse was a female teammate in the lane next to me had been descending the set, so she was starting to catch me, even though I resolved to keep my average, even when Mark Rankin provoked us by telling her, "Don't let the old guy beat you." She did by a lot. I went 1:30 on number 10, and she went about 1:25.

My heart rate was high at the end of that set, about 180. I took another heart rate 30 seconds later and it was about 145. Another 30 seconds later, my heart rate was 126. It appears I'm doing well in getting my heart rate down. I remember when it wasn't easy to do so, before I was on my blood pressure medication. I remember having a 180 heart rate, and 30 seconds later, it was 170.

When I was working on my starts, I tried to think about keeping my legs together and not have them just float behind me on the entry, but that is not easy to do. I am thinking about so many other things that I still forget to focus on my legs. If I don't focus on throwing my head and my arms, I might not have a powerful leap or a good entry. If I don't keep my head at a good angle on the entry, I'll be too deep. And then I have to think about the pulldown, and by then, it's a little too late to worry about my leg position. Lots to improve, and plenty of time to do it!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Every Rose Has Its Thorn

Date: Wednesday, May 23, 2012
Time: 5:45 a.m.
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Short Course Meters
33 days to Olympic Trials

250 warmup

1. kick on 1:10
2. non-free on 1:00
3. free on :50

16x25 on :35
1-4, 9-12 breakouts
5-8, 13-16 descend

Four rounds:
75 fast/175 easy on 7:00
1. free with small fins (40.8)
2. breast from dive (48.5)
3. back from push (45.5)
4. breast from dive (47.5)

50 easy

4x50 kick with small fins fast on 1:30 -- 25 dolphin on stomach/25 flutter on back with 12 dolphin kicks

100 easy

50 breast fast from dive (29.9)

100 easy (with stretching)

Total: 2,900 meters (80 minutes)

This has been a rough week, physically. I haven't been able to get my body to perform as easily as weeks past. But I guess it can't all be life on a bed of roses, can it?

This morning, I didn't have much of a desire to do fast 75s, but I did them! Instead of doing eight rounds of 75 fast/75 easy on 3:30, I decided to do every other round fast. I still don't think I had enough recovery to adequately do each one fast, but six minutes is better than three!

I wasn't too happy with my breaststroke times on the 75s. I thought 46-high was a good goal, but I realize now that's reaching pretty high during workout at 6:30 a.m. But it might have been possible if I hadn't swum my first 50 in 31 seconds. If you remember, I was doing that on repeats last week! I did have to circle swim on the fast 75s, so maybe I can take away about a second, since I swam about 77 meters!

I was happy that I was able to get under 30 on the 50 from a dive. I got to swim that one straight, and though my legs were tired from the kick set we had just done, I felt like I was swimming quite well. I did have trouble with the finish. I glided a little too long on the final stroke. I was trying not to spot the wall as I approached it, and maybe that affected my ability to accurately time my stroke to finish better. These are small things that I can work on in the next four weeks.

JR Rosania helped set my mind at ease today. He said all of the swimmers he's training for the Olympic Trials are feeling the same way I'm feeling in the water. That gave me a huge sense of comfort. He added that all the hard training we've been doing -- both in and out of the water -- is finally catching up with our bodies, and it's OK to feel like this right now. We've got a little more than a month to go, and everything will be OK.

I'm sure he's right. I am not pushing the panic button. I'm going to continue on this path, knowing the final three weeks will feel much better.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Could We Start Again Please?

Date: Tuesday, May 22, 2012
Time: 5:50 a.m.
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Short Course Meters
34 days to Olympic Trials

4x(3x50 on 1:00)
Round 1: 25 fly/25 back
Round 2: 25 back/25 breast
Round 3: 25 breast/25 free

16x100 on 2:00, four each stroke, descending
fly: 1:17
back: 1:12
breast: 1:17
free: 1:05

400 kick choice easy

4x200 on 3:30
100 back/100 breast descend (#4: 2:29)

100 easy (with stretching)

Total: 3,500 meters (75 minutes)

I did not want to swim today. I did not sleep well last night, because my partner, Geoff Glaser, got food poisoning. It's not easy to sleep with the sounds of retching coming from the bathroom. I think I got a total of five hours sleep.

Before I left I considered going back to bed, because I was moving so slow and a little out of sorts. But I figured I wouldn't get any more sleep with Geoff still sick, so I went to the pool. I was so lethargic in the water today. I felt heavy, and it wasn't easy to get my body to put forth much effort. I did the best I could, but I wouldn't rank today in my top 100 workouts of the year -- and I think I've only done about 100 in 2012!

Later on, I started getting muscle cramps in my stomach, and instantly I remembered that I got so busy at work that I forgot to eat breakfast! All I had consumed today was my P2Life Nutriboost shake. No matter how busy my day gets, I rarely forget to eat!

This day hasn't been all negative, but dealing with a sick person in the middle of the night, suffering through workout that included a 100-meter butterfly and subconsciously skipping breakfast outweighs all the positives. If I could start the day over ... well, maybe we should rewind to last night and not go to the Asian restaurant, where I'm certain Geoff ate a bad batch of sushi.

In any case, the key to getting through a tough workout is to concentrate on technique, because if things aren't feeling good, the tendency is to forgo technique. Not a good thing to do!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Wake Me Up (Before You Go Go)

Date: Sunday, May 20, 2012
Time: 1 p.m.
Location: Tucson, AZ
Long Course Meters
36 days to Olympic Trials

300 warmup

Four rounds:
50 with :20 rest -- 25 scull/25 underwater kick
100 free, breathing every 5 on 1:40
150 with :30 rest -- 50 back/50 breast/50 free (25 kick/25 swim each stroke)

4x50 on 1:00 free descend 1-4 (descended to :30)

200 easy

Broken 100 free -- 50 fast/50 fast with small fins

6x50 choice easy, :10 rest

Broken 100 breast -- 50 fast with small fins/50 fast no fins

6x50 choice easy, :10 rest

50 breast fast from push (32.9)

200 easy

Total: 2,950 meters (75 minutes)

This morning I started watching "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" on ABC Family. It's probably my favorite in the series, and when it comes on TV (as it seems to do a lot on ABC Family), I will watch it. This morning, my body wanted a brief nap before workout (despite waking up three hours earlier).

I planned on a 15-minute nap. It became a one-hour nap. This made me late for workout. I had swimming lessons to teach this afternoon, and I had planned the start of my workout to give me time to get dressed and have a bite to eat (as well as guzzle my P2Life Nutriboost shake) without feeling rushed. I dove in right at 1:00, about 15 minutes later than planned.

As usual, I put the workout on the wall of the pool gutter. At this time of year, you have to make sure the paper is always wet, because the heat will dry it up quickly, and it'll float away. That's what happened in the middle of the first set. When I looked for the paper, I could not find it floating in my lane or on the deck. I was pretty sure I could remember the workout, particularly the sprint sets I had in mind. After the workout, as I rushed to write it out on another piece of paper to remember it later for typing this blog post, I realized that I had missed a 400-meter warmup set. Would it have made a difference? I don't know.

I was fairly lethargic in the pool today. I wasn't sure if I had the energy to swim fast. But when you mentally challenge yourself, some good things can happen. My legs were overworked on that broken 100 free, and that was the goal. I wanted to overload the work on my legs on that final 50, which is when the legs should be working hardest, especially in a freestyle swim. I'm planning on swimming the 100 free at the Masters summer nationals in Omaha, so I do need to train for that as well!

I took about 15 seconds rest between 50s on my broken swims, just enough time to either put on or take off my fins. I was pleased with how my body responded to the sets. I was very, very tired at the end of each 100, but unlike Wednesday, I was able to put forth some great effort on each one because I did a recovery set in between. Nothing against Coley Stickels' lactate workouts, but I prefer the ability to flush out a good portion of the lactate before ramping up the speed again.

As for that fast push 50 breast at the end. I had my partner, Geoff Glaser, time me, and after he told me the time, he said he thought he started a tick late. Therefore, the actual time might have been a 33-low. Still, that's a great time after those fast 100s.

With five weeks left until Trials, this is a crucial time in training. I think the power focus in my dryland has really helped me, but i have to be careful to not get too bulky. I don't want my muscles to get in the way of fast swimming! It is possible to be too buff in swimming. You want to have strong muscles, but you also want to be hydrodynamic. Having arms and legs like tree trunks can often work against you.

Friday, May 18, 2012

One More Chance

Date: Friday, May 18, 2012
Time: 5:50 a.m.
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Short Course Meters
38 days to Olympic Trials

3x(4x100 on 2:00)
1. 75 swim/25 kick
2. 50 swim/50 kick
3. 25 swim/75 kick
4. 100 kick

12x50 on 1:00
odd: 25 flutter kick rotating all sides/25 swim
even: 25 dolphin kick rotating all sides/25 swim

100 breast kick with board fast (1:30)

300 free easy with snorkel

4x15 breakouts on :45

2x50 breast fast from push on 2:00 (31.6, 31.8)

200 easy

2x50 breast fast from push on 2:00 (32.0, 32.0)

200 easy

50 breast fast from push (31.3)

100 easy

Total: 3,050 meters (75 minutes)

I haven't done a lot of breaststroke kick work recently, so today had a breaststroke focus. I was surprised that we didn't do more fast kicking, but I wasn't really complaining. I did very well on the fast 100 kick. I wasn't expecting to go 1:30 in meters. I think I usually go 1:30 for yards!

This makes me happy because I'm getting stronger in my legs, thanks to all that vertical kicking and work with JR. My IT bands, which greatly help breaststrokers, are quite sore this afternoon, but it's nothing a nice soak in the hot tub won't cure, which is what I plan to do after work. The hot tub at my gym isn't the best, but since I'm paying for it, I need to use it!

As for the fast 50s, I was extremely happy with them. I was working on grabbing as much water as possible on my outsweep, and as a result, my Trapezius muscles were working very hard this morning. These are the muscles used mostly to help the arms go outward on the breaststroke pull, and is a reason why you see overdeveloped "traps" on many breaststrokers.

After the second round of 50s, I was content to do a warm down and move on with my day. But, something inside me convinced me I could do one more 50 under 32 seconds. How was I able to go 31.3? It's real simple. On the first two rounds, I was circle swimming with others in my lane. On the fifth 50, I swam straight in the lane. But besides that, I picked up my stroke rate just a little bit. I had a long glide into the finish, but it couldn't be helped. Knowing I was going to be a little far from the wall, I just kicked extra hard on the last stroke. When I heard the time, I didn't tell those around me that I went faster mostly because I wasn't swimming in a circle, but I let them heap lots of praise on me. I was, despite the obvious advantage, happy that I was able to break 32 seconds, and it was a good way to end the workout.


I haven't mentioned anything about this, but I found this article about the special group of swimmers that I belong to: the breaststrokers. I've copied the full article from below. Everything that's mentioned about breaststrokers is pretty much true!

By Ryan Hurley, NBCOlympics
Thus far in 2012, Phelps’s world rankings are fourth in the 100m butterfly, fifth in the 100m freestyle, 10th in the 100m backstroke, and tied for 77th in the 100m breaststroke.* True there are millions of swimmers out there that swim their entire career without being ranked 77th in the world in any event, but comparatively for Phelps it does not stack up.  The trend is similar for most of the other elite “well-rounded” swimmers because of one simple fact - you’re either a breaststroker or you aren’t. 

Just ask Brendan Hansen, Rebecca Soni, Eric Shanteau, Amanda Beard, or Kosuke Kitajima.

They represent the other side of the spectrum – the best breaststrokers in the world, who cannot disguise themselves as anything else. It is unlikely that you will see them compete in any event other than the breaststrokes, let alone earning a spot in the world rankings. For the most part, breaststrokers put in their two races, and an occasional high-stakes medley-relay leg, and are on their way. 

More so than with any other stroke, breaststrokers find their calling early on in their swim career, and if the body position and feel does not come naturally, it’s an uphill battle to master the stroke.

“It either comes to you or it doesn’t,” says Olympic-gold-medalist Rebecca Soni. “You have to have funky legs that turn in funky ways and stretch.”

The way breaststrokers are built affects the way they must train, often breaking off into their own practice group and doing particular sets that allow them to hone their skill. Tips on rotating your feet, lifting your torso, or extending your glide are instructions you would hear barked in the breaststroke group, but nowhere else. You might also see more kick sets or breath control, as breaststrokers spend plenty of time underwater during their pullouts and rely heavily on their legs.

Breaststroke to me, at least the way I swim breaststroke, it’s more [about] finesse, more of a gliding stroke than the others,” says Soni. As it is the slowest of the four strokes, breaststrokers are always looking to find that perfect rhythm, and glide a little bit more smoothly.

Outside of their atypical training, breaststrokers are also known for their unorthodox perspectives on the sport, and - most notably to the untrained eye – their distinctive walk or waddle. 

“We’re definitely the weird ones,” says American Eric Shanteau. “I think you have to be weird to swim breaststroke. You can pick us out in a group of swimmers - we’re usually the ones standing with our feet sticking straight out like a duck.” 

For the most part though, breaststrokers embrace their role as the oddballs of the swim community. Consider it a peaceful medium between the nutty distance workhorses and the often-envied lackadaisical sprinters.   

“We’re our own special breed of swimmer,” says Shanteau. “It’s kind of fun being in that little group within the group.”

Thursday, May 17, 2012

A Hard Day's Night

Date:Thursday, May 17, 2012
Time: 5:45 a.m.
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Short Course Meters
39 days to Olympic Trials

300 warmup

3x(3x100 on 1:45)
1. last 25 head up breast
2. first 25 head up breast
3. free or back, 12 strokes per 25

8x50 on 1:15
odd: 25 swim/25 v-scull
even: 25 v-scull/25 swim

2x500 on 8:00
1. 100 back/100 free (6:45)
2. 100 free/100 back (6:40)

8x25 on :40
odd: free 1 breath
even: breast double pullouts

6x75 on 1:40
50 bow and arrow drill/25 swim

Total: 3,250 meters (75 minutes)

I was a little worried about this workout before I arrived at the pool, but it turned out to be just the type of workout I needed. My body was still in recovery mode from last night's workout, and I needed to just "go through the motions" this morning. My heart rate didn't get very high, and Icould feel my body actively recovering with each set.

The drills we did were a good way to feel out my muscles in ways I am not often able to do when simply swimming. Head-up breaststroke allows me to keep my core in check when my hands are in the glide position. Without my core, I'm not able to keep my head above water. The vertical sculling was another good core exercise, though I would have liked the interval to be slower. It was essentially a straight 400 for me.

I didn't complain about the 500s, because I knew a little distance swimming would help stretch out the muscles. I didn't feel that good on my backstroke, but freestyle felt OK. Again, my body was still smarting from last night, so I wasn't up for pushing the pace past 1:20 per 100.

In the gym today, I did more maxing-out exercises. Sitting bench press, seated row and hamstring curls were my main exercises. I also did some calf extensions, but didn't do them too heavy, because I felt some tightness in my right calf. The exercise was primarily to get range back in that right calf muscle, and it seemed to work.

I spent longer than usual stretching at the gym. I got a foam roller and rolled it over my IT bands. It felt goooooood. I also stretched out my calves on the foam roller, and could feel that tightness still in my right calf, but it's much better now. Everything feels much better now than it did 24 hours ago!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Take a Look at Me Now

Date: Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Time: 4:30 p.m.
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Short Course Yards
41 days to Olympic Trials

That was the hardest workout EVER!

OK, maybe I'm exaggerating. A little bit. I have done some very difficult workouts in my 30-plus years in swimming, but very few of them had me wishing I had a third lung to help me get through it. Plus, I have never seen two people throw up into a garbage can in the middle of workout. I saw that happen today.

It wasn't a completely difficult workout with the Phoenix Swim Club's elite group from start to finish. Just the main set, which had us sprinting for 600 yards with next to no warm down between rounds. I built up so much lactic acid during the first of the five rounds of fast swimming, and I never fully got rid of it. That is the essence of lactate day at Phoenix Swim Club, and though it's very tough, I know it will pay off in the end. The pain I'll feel in the last 15 meters of my 100 breast will be NOTHING compared to the pain I felt for 45 minutes today.

The set called for a lot of swimming on the Power Tower, plus a few running dives and more fast swimming. Three of the five rounds only had 100 yards of fast swimming, but the entire 100 was at all-out pace, no building to the last 25. The other two rounds had 150 yards of fast swimming, and I think those were harder than the other rounds.

During the main set, Coach Tako was doing some underwater filming, and after the workout, most of the swimmers gathered around a monitor to watch our strokes. I was still warming down while they were watching, but I got to see some of my swimming. A few people remarked on "interesting" freestyle kick, which consists of a whip kick, a flutter kick and a scissors kick. It used to be much worse.

But on the video, Coley and I got to take a look at my breaststroke pullout. He discovered that I am bringing my hands too far under my body on the insweep. My thinking behind that was to simulate a butterfly pull, but he believes I could be better by keeping my hands outside my body line. I'll have to try that in tomorrow's workout.

Ugh. Tomorrow morning. I don't know how much I'll have to give for Mark Rankin. I gave everything I had to Coley tonight. Thursday morning with the Phoenix Swim Club Masters team is very much like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get!

When I got home tonight, I drank about 24 ounces of my P2Life Nutriboost shake, and I'm going to probably have a bit more before I go to bed, to help with the recovery process. I'm glad I didn't drink any before  workout. You might have seen some of it in the garbage can on deck.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Be Our Guest

Date: Tuesday, May 15, 2012
Time: 5:45 a.m.
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Long Course Meters
41 days to Olympic Trials

300 warmup

400 IM - 25 kick/25 drill

6x50 on 1:30 -- 25 fly with flutter kick/25 vertical breaststroke

8x100 roving IM on 1:45

200 easy

Two rounds:
4x50 back descend on 1:00
1x50 easy on 1:30
4x50 breast on 1:00 -- 25 fast from dive/25 easy
1x50 easy on 1:30

4x50 breast kick easy :10 rest

Total: 3,400 meters (75 minutes)

This morning, I felt pretty sore when I got out of bed. This is how I usually feel on Thursday morning, after my workouts with JR. My legs weren't feeling up to the task of walking from the bed to the bathroom, then from the bathroom to the closet, then from the closet down the stairs to the kitchen, and so on, but they managed anyway.

Before I got to the pool, the plan was to not push the workout if my body wasn't able to handle it. But we had a special guest in our group this morning. Mike Nelson, who swims with the top group at Phoenix Swim Club, was in the pool! Mike has also qualified for Olympic Trials in the 100 breast in a time that's a couple of tenths faster than mine. When I saw Mike, I sighed and groaned a little, but put on a happy face. I knew this meant I'd have to push my pace a little harder than planned this morning.

Both Mike and I weren't feeling like breaststrokers today, but we got through that last set. On the first round, Mike did backstroke, but he switched to breaststroke on the dive swims, which offered up a challenge for me. I was happy that he was stepping up to race me at the end of workout. It was the push I needed to work on getting off the blocks faster. I think I haven't been doing very well on my starts because there has rarely been someone there to challenge me. Mike did that, and I had good results. I did a couple of the dive 25s in the low 13-second range (13.3 and 13.4).

I was so exhausted from the workout that I was this close to a nap at work. I managed to hold out well, knowing that I was going to sleep extremely well tonight. And I'll need it: Tomorrow, I'm doing the lactate workout with the kids, and I'll need every bit of energy I can muster!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Walk Like a Man

Date: Monday, May 14, 2012
Time: 4:45 p.m.
Location: Phoenix, AZ
42 days to Olympic Trials

Today was supposed to be a planned day off from exercise, but I adjusted my schedule this week to allow me to do my dryland session with JR Rosania today instead of Monday. This week might be the last time I get to swim with the kids at Phoenix Swim Club, since the team is shifting to morning workouts only when school lets out in a couple of weeks. I won't be able to swim with them at the 7 a.m. start time, so I wanted to get in one more lactate workout on Wednesday with Coley and his crew before Trials.

Today's workout was pretty tough, but it was kind of fun to do! I enjoy working on power ... I am a sprinter, you know! I wasn't very active physically at work today, so I felt a little lethargic when I started exercising. That went a away during the first set of exercises! My legs weren't feeling so good today, and I worried about them on a new set of plyometrics that had me jumping down from a platform and up onto another one. I didn't feel any pain, but my IT bands were having a hard time responding to the quick motions I wanted them to do.

Near the end of the workout I noticed myself walking a little funny. Well, I'm a breaststroker, so people think I walk funny anyway. But in order to avoid the soreness in my legs, I felt like I was walking like a penguin! I don't know if I walk like that after all of JR's workouts, but I think the heightened awareness of the tension in my legs made it more noticeable.

When I got home tonight I drank about 12 ounces of Nutriboost milk to help speed the muscle recovery, and did some stretching on my foam roller. When I rolled that right over my IT bands, I felt waves of endorphins envelope me. For a brief moment, everything felt wonderful ... until I started on the other leg! I should feel OK for tomorrow morning's workout.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

We Do What We Can

Date: Sunday, May 13, 2012
Time: 11:25 a.m.
Location: Tucson, AZ
Long Course Meters/Short Course Meters
43 days to Olympic Trials

Long Course Meters:
300 warmup

1-5 free with snorkel on 1:45 (avg. 1:22)
6-10 50 back/50 breast on 1:55 (avg. 1:28)

4x75 :30 rest
15 fast/20 easy/30 fast/10 easy

Short Course Meters:

Starts for 10 minutes

Two rounds:
4x50 on Power Tower on 1:30
3x100 aerobic on 1:40
Round 1: 25 fast/25 easy
Round 2: 25 easy/25 fast 

2x50 on Power Tower on 2:00 all fast
3x100 aerobic on 1:40

4x50 on 1:00 -- 25 scull/25 swim easy

Total: About 3,300 meters (80 minutes)

I usually write my Sunday workout two or three hours in advance, but today, I wasn't sure what I wanted to do, mostly because my motivation for training today was pretty low. All I wanted to do was sleep for the entire day. The past six days had been very stressful, and I just wanted to relax at home, not put my body through rigorous exercise.

But I did it anyway, and the main Power Tower set wasn't devised until about five minutes before I did it. I originally was going to do some short-burst sprints in the long course pool, but I knew I needed to work on my swimming strength, and the Power Tower was a great way to do it. Unfortunately, the Power Towers were only set up in the diving well, which was about 82 degrees today. Not optimal at high noon, when the temperature was in the mid-90s. I didn't do too bad, and was happy with the way the set went.

I knew I needed to work on my starts, not because I wasn't happy with how they were on Friday, but because the Hillenbrand Aquatic Center has the fins on the back of the blocks, similar to what will be used at the Olympic Trials. So, I got some good work done on those. I still need to adjust my start, since the fins put my body at a slightly different angle on the blocks. But I do feel like I get a little more power and am able to hold that into my pullout.

For a workout that I wasn't too thrilled with doing in the first place, it turned out to be one of my best.

Friday, May 11, 2012


Date: Friday, May 11, 2012
Time: 5:50 a.m.
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Short Course Meters/Short Course Yards
45 days to Olympic Trials

6x200 on 3:00
odd: 150 swim/50 kick
even: 50 kick/150 swim

Four rounds with snorkel and small fins:
4x50 on 1:00
1x50 easy on 1:30
Rounds 1 and 3: free swim easy
Rounds 2 and 4: kick @ 90 percent

2x200 free :30 rest
#1 breathe every 3
#2 breathe every 4

Short Course Yards:
4x50 on 1:20
25 breast from dive/25 easy
(12.6, 12.4, (no time), 12.3)

100 easy

4x50 on 1:20 as above
(12.0, 12.2, 12.2, 12.2)

100 easy

Total: 3,200 meters/yards (75 minutes)

I wasn't feeling like going fast today. On the set with snorkel and fins, I tried to look like I was putting forth some effort, but my body was saying "No!" Doing a second workout within 12 hours used to be the norm for me, but that was almost 15 years ago. Now, I need a full day to recover, especially after that tough set of 50s breast pull I did last night.

That said, I knew I need to do some short-burst sprints today, and the last set provided a great opportunity to do that. The original set was 8x50 on :40, but I knew that was not for me. I was glad Mark was able to time me on the 25s, but I had hoped to go under 12 seconds a couple of times. I still feel like I have a lot of work to do on my start, particularly with keeping my legs together on the entry, and having a faster reaction time. I'm not sure how exactly to work on that, since I don't know how slow my reaction time is, and how to work on improving it on the blocks. Sure, I can do lots of dryland work, but how to get that to translate to a faster start? Any ideas?

At the gym (4:30 p.m.)
Five minutes elliptical treadmill

Five minutes shoulder warm up

Sitting bench press (10 @ 150, 8 @ 170, 6 @ 190)

Lat pulldown (12 @ 135, 10 @ 165, 8 @ 180)

Five minutes abdominals

Hamstring curls (12 @ 110, 10 @ 120, 8 @ 130)

Leg adduction (12 @ 160, 10 @ 180, 8 @ 200)

Five minutes abdominals and stretching

Felt a little invigorated at the gym. I am doing a two-week strength routine, followed by a week of endurance lifting, followed by two more weeks of strength, then taper! My hamstrings are weak, and I know it. That's why I rarely do the hamstring curls. I will be instituting more plyometrics into my Friday dryland routine, which could help reaction time and explosiveness. Again, though, how will I translate to the blocks? I need to devote time during workout for that, and have a coach start me and look at my entry. I've got plenty of time, so no reason to panic!