Friday, December 21, 2012

Somebody ate his Wheaties!

I am going to guess that the whole Wheaties reference is a generational thing. Growing up, I remember how cool it was to see Bruce Jenner, Walter Payton, or Mary Lou Retton on the Wheaties box. I mean, they changed the cover of a cereal box! With really cool athletes! If those people ate their Wheaties, (the Breakfast of Champions), they would be winners. There are some major icons on Wheaties boxes too, like Lou Gehrig and Jesse Owens. Anyway, one special person n our lane today definitely ate his Wheaties before coming to practice. In fact, this person (who we will call H) swam every single day this week and I would not be surprised if a little orange box shows up with his smiling face on it. All in all, eight people showed up to Alumni today and we had a good workout.

300 on own
Warmup set:
200 free
200 drill/swim by 25
200 IM
200 pull
200 choice
Main set:
300 pull on 4:30
2 x 200 free fast on 2:45 (or whatever)
3 x 100 IM on 1:45
300 pull on 4:30
2 x 200 IM on 3:30
3 x 100 free on 1:30
6 x 75
odds free on 1:05
evens stroke on 1:20
2 x 50 ascend on :60

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Workout of my Dreams

As we all know, the Z Center is closed, so many of us have trudged to the Alumni pool to get our workouts in. And I must say, this morning I had one of the best workouts in recent memory. I felt great in the water, even lapped my fellow lane mates on a long swim. Most interestingly, I led the IM set and my usually sluggish breaststroke was nearly perfect. This was of course preceded by me waking up without an alarm, my coffee was already ready, and miraculously the car was toasty when I got in. The only problem with this perfect little scenario was that it was a dream. I did not get up, I did not drink coffee in a warm car, and I most certainly did not lap my lane mates or lead a set of 100 IMs. To say that I was disappointed upon awakening is an understatement. But it all fairness, it seemed really, really, real - I was even a little sore from pushing it a bit on the last part of the set. Oh well.  It's lane night out tonight and I am going to hold my head high and pledge to get up tomorrow. Here is what I did in my dream (or, at least what I wanted to propose to my teammates):

500 swim
5 x 100 swim/IM
400 pull
3 x 200 on 2:45 (note dream-like lack of reality)
3 x 100 IM
3 x 100 swim
8 x 50 fast/easy on :60

Friday, December 14, 2012

Goodnight, Pool

We have our annual shutdown of the Z-Center pool upon us, which is a sad time for many master's swimmers as we love our pool and love seeing all our friends in the morning. So some of us will move to Alumni pool next week, with it's mid-20th Century feel and nice warm temp. In honor of our beloved pool, here is a little bedtime story. Sweet dreams!

Goodnight pool Goodnight pool
Goodnight water that is cool

Goodnight lockers and the nice wide lane
Goodnight workouts where we use our brain

Goodnight buoys and goodnight paddles
Goodnight, all those in-lane battles

Goodnight clocks and goodnight blocks

Goodnight gutters Goodnight air

Goodnight lanemates everywhere!

300 swim
6 x 50 drill/swim by 25 :15r
6 x 75 1-3 IM no free; 4-6 free :20r 
150 swim
150 all one stroke
150 swim
150 choice
Twice thru:
50 on 1:10
75 on 1:20
100 on 1:20
125 on 1:50
150 on 2:10
125 on 1:50
100 IM on 2:00
75 breath control 1:20
50 easy 1:10    

Monday, December 10, 2012

Reset Button

If I wanted to enjoy swim practice this morning, it looks like I picked the wrong set of activities this past weekend to prepare, including watching an historic ice swim (yes, I said watch), dancing like Baby at a wedding (and NOT in the corner) and taking my first kick-boxing class. All of this, combined with shopping, good food and wine, and little sleep translated into a horror show in the pool this morning. Thankfully, I was not the only one who seemed to suffer.  BB, sore from chopping down and hauling his Christmas tree, was also moving slowly. As with any after-school-special, there is a moral to this sad story, kids. If you want to swim well on Monday morning, do NOT have fun over the weekend.  Congrats to MIT Masters who placed second at the BU meet in the small team division! I am guessing that these are mostly night swimmers, so hat's off to you!

300 swim
6 x 50 on :60
6 x 50 going:
1-2 free on :20r
3-4 IM no free on :20r
5-6 stroke on :20r
450 every third 25 is fly
Four times thru: (the first interval was our original, and we did that the first set then changed it!)
100 on 1:15/1:20
2 x 75 on :60/1:05
2 x 50 fly on :1:05
2 x 25 easy on :40
400 swim (I did not do)

And yes, I used the ladder to get out today. That's how bad I felt.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Ice Swim Success!

A special blog is in order today, as one of our own MIT Master's teammates, Elaine Kornbau-Howley (known as E2), completed the 2012 Ice Swim, a one-mile swim in 40 degrees with her fellow crazy-town friend Jerome Leslie. To put this into perspective, only 26 people in the history of open water swimming have accomplished this feat, which E2 did in 29 minutes and change. To provide further perspective, when the EMT arrived at the L Street bathhouse prior to the swim, his understanding was that this was another ice plunge, where swimmers get in and get out quickly. No biggie, thought Cal, our new EMT friend. So when he realized that these two nut cases (said lovingly) were going to actually SWIM back and forth for a mile, he immediately alerted his command center, secured backup, and made an actual plan for what to do when one of the swimmers needed to be pulled (and I am not joking here). You see, in Cal's experience, when someone unfortunately plunges into 40 degree water accidentally, they are treated for hypothermia after 5 minutes. So he truly thought he was facing an emergency situation.

While I will let E2 recall her experience, as a spectator/helper, it was amazing to watch. She and Jerome walked calmly into the water and started swimming. At first, it seemed tough to have her face submerged, so she did backstroke. But once she got her groove going, she got her GROOVE going and simply smoked the mile, looking stronger with each stroke. Meanwhile, those of us watching were fully clothed and ridiculously cold as the rain pounded down on us. Yes, the definition of wimpy. After emerging, she went through the typical stages of someone with hypothermia, including scary shaking and alternately turning blue and red. The whole time Cal is moving back and forth between E2 and Jerome marveling at what was happening. But in the end, it was a celebration as these two brave/crazy swimmers will get the official red jacket that comes with this accomplishment. And Cal (pictured above with E2 and her friend Lisa)  has a great story to tell all his EMT friends.  Bravo!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Swimmer's Choice

It's a sad day when coach Bill is not on deck, as was the case this morning when he was unable to come to practice. Get well soon coach Bill! Of course not having a coach might result in anarchy at some places, but as is usually the case at MIT Masters, swimmers took a cue out of Bill's coaching playbook and efficiently developed workouts. Nobody left the deck. Workouts varied by lane, with some taking to heart the Wednesday distance day theme and doing 2 x 1650. However, unless forced to do that, I can pretty much assure you that my lane would never choose to do that. We tried to stay true to the theme but wanted to make sure there was a little something for everyone. Except Joel - there was no kick. A special surprise today was the return of Rachel! Welcome back!

200 swim
200 drill/swim by 25
200 IM
200 pull
200 choice
Two times through:
400 pull on 6:00
300 descend by 100 on 4:15
200 IM on 3:30
100 fast
10 x 75 going odds fast, evens easy on 1:15

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Grading the Morning Experience

For morning swimmers, it's not always sunshine and roses and unicorns as we dance our way to the pool in the dark days of late fall and winter. I have had a number of conversations with lanemates about the unique aspect of each step of the process, and for today's blog, I will put a letter grade on each step.

Step 1: Alarm going off at 5am, getting out of warm bed to cold room: C (it is not an D because we actually GET out of bed)
Step 2: Drinking coffee in warm car, finally waking up, driving to swimming: A (extra credit applied here for getting up, and self satisfaction for positive trajectory to pool).
Step 3: Walking on to toasty warm pool deck and seeing your fellow teammates and coach Bill: A (why else would we do this?)
Step 4: Talking on deck for so long that coach yells at you: B (see A above - it's social for heaven's sake, coach Bill!)
Step 5: Jumping in to cold pool and the first 500 yards: D (this really is the worst part of the morning swim. For those who say it isn't, I simply don't believe you. There have been times that I make it to step 4 and then can't move on to step 5).
Step 6: Doing the workout: A (always an A, even if we feel crappy and complain)
Step 7: Walking from toasty pool deck into Antarctica (also known as the locker room): C (try it yourself - it's shocking)
Step 8: The spa showers at MIT Z-Center and chatting with the ladies: A+ (what can I say - great locker room and great company)
Step 9: Driving to work, knowing you did the first 8 steps: A++

Overall, because actually doing the workout carries more weight, I give the overall morning experience an A because Steps 6 and 9 are the most important.  Today was distance day! Great job Hubbard for your steady pace.

300 warmup
200 drill/swim by 25 :20r
4 x 50 reverse IM :60
200 swim :20r
2 x 100 on 1:40
1650 swim
2 x 100 sprint on 2:30
800 swim

Wednesday, October 31, 2012


We all have little things that annoy us, like someone clipping their toenails in the seat next to you on the plane, nails on a chalkboard, or snapping your gum in the library. One of things that bugs me is incessant humming, especially in a public place. And my friends, we have someone who hums in the ladies locker room. I can't say exactly why this grates on me because some think it is nice, but it does. And today, said hummer took it up a notch and broke into song, which also rates high on the annoyance list especially when I don't know the song and they don't have a voice like Katy Perry (yep, she rocks). It also disrupted the song that I had playing in my head the entire workout, which I must say isn't the worst thing in the world. But the workout was anything but ho-hum.

200 swim
4 x 50 choice
2 x 50 on :35
4 x 50 on :45
6 x 50 on :40
4 x 50 on :45
2 x 50 on :35
800 free keep pace (we did 850)
2 x 400 descend on 5:50
16 x 25 (1-8 easy/fast, 9-16 pace) on :25/:35
50 easy


Saturday, October 27, 2012

Cant' swim alone

As I sat by the edge of the pool today (which never happens), I thought about all the reasons why I should not get in the water, including my need to prepare for Frankenstorm (I need water! Batteries!) but most importantly because I was not motivated to swim. Sure, I got up and got myself to the pool. But I have done it before - reached the point of jumping in - and bailed. This usually never happens if someone is with me, but when I am alone it's easy to do. As I was mulling this over I heard "Katie, come join me!" It was my friend Christian, who I had not seen in awhile. I went from unmotivated to motivated in an instant, and jumped in with him. Thankfully, he was having an "easy day" so I could do the workout with him. What is funny about all of this is that most people swim alone because it's easy to do, but for me it is a social endeavor. Lesson learned. Our workout was very simple, but fun.

10 x 200 on 2:55 keep pace
10 x 50 alternate sprint/easy
300 pull keep pace 4:30
200 ascend by 50

Friday, October 26, 2012

Swimming is not Pretty

The problem with having a meeting first thing in the morning after swimming is that people often look askance at you. Case in point, this morning's meeting, where I got the sense that my colleagues were planning an intervention because I looked like I had been crying all night. Truth is, in a person over the age of 30, the goggle marks take a little while to disappear, so one is left with dark rings around your eyes that appear to be either "I had a bad night" related or tear-induced, neither of which was the case. I also did not have time to apply makeup under the eyes as I often do with early meetings. I am usually good at getting out in front of the issue before they attempt to call an expert to deal with me - "don't worry, everyone, those marks on my face are from my goggles - I am fine!"- but this morning I forgot. And yes, it works both ways. If I have had a bit too much vino (rarely the case of course), then I blame my goggles. Swimming is an all-purpose excuse.

200 warmup
4 x 100 going right arm, left arm, catch up, swim
4 x 150 going:
1-2 gallop 50, build 100
3-4 100 kick, 50 stroke build
10 x 100
odds on 1:30
evens on 1:20
8 x 75
odds on 1:10
evens on :60
6 x 50
odds on :50
evens on :40

Great to swim with the Bobs today, BB and Dr. :)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Law and Consequence

I tend to be a rule-follower by nature. Even in high school, I would not run a stop sign on a dare from my friends, even though we were in a remote location with little chance of being caught. While I understood that it was not likely I would be busted, in my mind I thought through all of the consequences (what if a small child came out of nowhere? What if some other stupid teenager felt like doing the same thing?) and just couldn't do it. Of course, I break the rules all of the time - speeding, swimming during a kick set, etc. But most of the time, thankfully, my rule-breaking does not have consequences. In today's set, rule breaking had consequences. Coach Bill told us to do legal turns on our 400 IM or else we would have to do a 400 free and a 1000 free. Most of us took this seriously, but not Dr. Bob. Dr. Bob didn't even pretend to do legal turns (swimming freestyle into his breastroke turn, for example) so coach had no choice but to penalize all of us. I ask you - what is worse: going 80 on the Pike or forcing your lanemates to swim 1000 hard? We gave Dr. Bob the silent treatment for about a minute, and that was mostly because we were out of breath. For the record, Ian went the extra mile and did double-hand-on-the-wall backstroke to breast turn, which is not necessary but a valiant effort nonetheless.

200 warmup
5 x 100 thinking about each aspect of the stroke :205
4 x 75 kick on :20r
4 x 150 going:
odds on 2:10
evens pull hypoxic on 2:20
400 IM legal turns
400 free descend by 50
1000 swim (punishment)
we did it alternating leads each 250, and the leader had to go hard
4 x 50 free on :50 and :60

Monday, October 22, 2012

Sweat Lodge

It seems that every workplace is getting into the business of helping their employees lose weight, get fit, and start moving around. It is a wonderful idea that I fully support. Yet it seems that MIT is taking a slightly different approach, at least in the Z Center, in the form of a sweat lodge. A sweat lodge is often used as a purification process or meditative technique in a variety of cultures. At MIT, it is more broadly embraced as a weight loss mechanism. You see, the locker room temperature is in the 90s, the pool deck is the same, and the water temperature in the pool has been in the low 80s. They say you can't sweat in a pool, but I beg to differ. I definitely saw some of my lanemates after practice today looking much slimmer, more gaunt, and dehydrated. In other words, the sweat lodge was successful! Now those of you who know me know that I rarely if ever complain about something being too warm. That should tip you off that this is for real.

300 warmup
6 x 75 50 free/25 stroke on :20r
6 x 50 middle of the pool :60
3 time thru:
100 fly 1:45*
50 drill 1:05
50 br. 1:05
25 fast 20
25 swim 30
3 x 100 on 1:20 descend
300 swim on 4:30
3 x 100 on 1:20 descend
400 swim on 6:00
3 x 100 on 1:20 descend
500 swim on 7:15

*IM order

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Taking One for the Team

I am participating in a health and wellness competition at work, and belong to a team which is competing against other teams to be most active. We all get this little thing called a FitBit which measures your steps.  My main concern about the FitBit was that it only tracked your steps (and sleep, which we already know is an issue for me), so I did not want to drag the team down. I quickly learned that my swimming would count toward "active points", so have recently ramped up my swimming. Case in point, today I convinced BB (who now knows about this competition) to swim 4k with me. We were both tired. We were both a little cranky about our times. But he kept me motivated and we finished. The problem with telling him about my new team is that he will hold me accountable. Let's face it, BB likes to win and likes hanging out with winners. I can't let him down. As we left he said "you'll have to get to the pool early on Monday - for the team".

The workout:
200 swim
200 drill/swim by 25
200 IM
200 pull
200 choice
500 going 1,3,5 fast on 7:05
500 going 2,4 fast on 7:05
400 pull on 6:00
300 descend by 100 on 4:30
200 IM on 3:30
100 fast (sub - 1:15)
4 x 125 going:
50 fly, 25 back, 25 breast, 25 free
50 back, 25 br, 25 fr, 25 fly
50 breast, 25 fr, 25 fly, 25 back
50 free, 25 fly, 25 back, 25 br
6 x 75 hypoxic (5-3-5) going:
1-2 on 1:05
3-4 on 1:10
5-6 on 1:15
50 easy

Friday, October 19, 2012

Swim Abacus

It seems only fitting in the epicenter of science, technology, engineering, and math that we use an old school mathematics technique to count our workout. Yep, the abacus, in the form of a lane line. It's astounding in its simplicity. You take a "boring but doable" workout (not my words, coach Bill!) which could easily be shortchanged or extended (usually the former), and we use the abacus to keep us honest. Who said that you can't learn while you swim? That's another benefit to swimming at MIT, besides getting to swim for coach Bill. Just being here makes you smarter.  On another important counting note, our teammate Rachel needs an abacus to count another member of the family - Sarah Marie was born yesterday! A note to the infant/toddler swim instructors: watch out.  This kid was swimming earlier this week and most likely will take the warm pool by storm in a week or so. Congrats!

200 swim
100 count strokes
4 x 25 drill
2 x 50 back
4 x 25 drill
2 x 50 breast
4 x 25 drill
2 x 50 fly
Four times thru:
75 stroke on 1:35
50 on :45
25 kick on :30
Main set: 18 100's
1-9 on 1:25
10-18 on 1:30

Happy weekend everyone!  Special shout out to Suzanne and KC, my loyal readers. :)

Monday, October 15, 2012

Monday Enlightenment

The Dalai Lama is visiting MIT today, evoking feelings of altruism and good karma. Imagine, then, the surprise of many of us who were wrenched out of the pool to hear that our cars were being towed to make room in the parking lot for His Holiness. I clearly was not feeling the karma. But then again, I should have listened to my inner voice at 5:30am when it told me to "sleep, my child, sleep". Instead, I shut out my inner voice and proceeded to slog through getting to the pool, doing a workout with my arms feeling like jelly from the day before, and no hot shower afterward. All in all, it serves me right. I should have slept in! Even the Dalai Lama would agree with me. Now a small bone to pick with Joel - Bill created a workout just for you and you did not show up!  It was all stroke/IM and kicking. In other words, pure torture for me.

150 swim :25r
150 stroke/free by 25 :25r
150 drill/swim by 25 :25r
150 IM no free :25r
150 free
6 x 50 count strokes :50
8 x 50 going:
1-4 stroke :55
5-6 free :45
7 stroke :55
8 free :45
10 x 50
1-4 stroke :55
1-6 free :45
7-10 free descend :40
4 x 3 x 100
all one stroke 1:40
all one stroke 1:45
all one stroke 1:50
IM 1;55

Thursday, October 11, 2012

4k for E

While we were busy swimming 4000 yards today, E's magical contraption was hard at work, so was her cat Bishop, who is attentively watching E to make her heal quickly. I particularly like the well-placed kitty bed. Knee surgery is over, now we count the days until her return to swimming. So, E - this one's for you! A good one today, though some parts were less fun than the others. If you know me, you'll know which part that is:

200 swim :25r
2 x 100 stroke/free :20r
100 scull/fist
100 free :20r
100 IM
3 times thru:
3 x 25 kick on :25
25 kick ez on :45
4 x 200 going:
75 fly, 50 free, 25 fly
75 back, 50 free, 25 back
75 breast, 50 free, 25 breast
75 choice, 50 free, 25 choice
5 x 75 on :60
2 x 25 on :30
5 x 75 on 1:05
2 x 25 on :30
5 x 75 on 1:10
2 x 25 on :30
5 x 75 on :60
2 x 25 on :30
4 x 50 free

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Sleep or swim?

It was probably a mistake for me to read a new study suggesting that if you have a choice between exercise and sleep, you should choose sleep because the overall benefits to your health are greater than for exercise. Armed with my new found knowledge, I slept right through my alarm yesterday when I had intended to swim. For the record, I did not feel any healthier missing practice. And in a cruel twist of sleep fate, I was up at 4am this morning so there was no excuse. A dreary day out there, but as always, sunshine in the pool!

200 warmup
2 x 25 drill
2 x 25 free
2 x 25 drill
2 x 25 breast
2 x 25 drill
2 x 25 back
2 x 25 drill
2 x 25 fly
5 x 100 free on 1:30
4 x 200 on 3:00 odds hypoxic (7,3,5,5), evens swim
3 x 300 going:
300 - first 100 fast on 4:30
300 - second 100 fast on 4:15
300 - third 100 fast on 4:00
400 on 6:20
400 on 5:40
500 swim

That's 4100, and I will take it!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Monday IS Funday!

I don't usually embrace Mondays, but seeing all my friends at swimming this morning reminded me that Mondays are not so bad.  This was particularly true because I had been hunched over a computer all weekend writing, so every little thing (there's Maggie and Rachel walking in to the pool! There's BB all tan back from Hawaii! Did SB just wink underwater at me during that flip turn?) was magnified. And then we did my favorite workout - 200s. An extra special bonus today was learning that Coach Bill raced the Provincetown swim this weekend!  Yes, our coach did a SWIM this weekend. Fantastic! Now, according to him he suffered quite a bit, but at least he did it and we are so proud. Oh, and don't think Bill wasn't showing off the numbers on his arm, which should wash off easily but apparently not easily enough. :)

200 swim :15r
8 x 50 drill/swim on :60
4 x 75 stroke on 1:30
9 x 200 going
1-3 on 2:50
4-5 on 1:45
6 on 1:30
7-8 on 2:45
9 on 2:50 (with Joe and BB racing)
8 x 75 going:
1-2 on 1:05
3-4 on 1:10
5-6 on 1:15
7-8 on 1:20

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Don't look at the paper!

At MIT Masters, we get our workouts on little slips of paper, which we then attach to the wall or to the little yellow standing sign that says "lane closed for masters". We look at the sheet and do the workout.  Sometimes, though, coach Bill puts the little slip of paper on top of the yellow sign before our current set is done, tempting us - daring us - to look at what is ahead.  It is a rare person (Joel?) who looks at the paper before the current set is finished. I do not understand why anyone would want to know what comes next as it would just cause anxiety. For instance, if we are doing a nice, long distance set, it would cause me great stress to know that the next set was 100s hard. Likewise, coach Bill often surprises us with a redux of a set that he gave us earlier in the workout, usually one that is pretty hard and that we did not enjoy. If we looked, half of us would get out of practice.  When you all collectively groan together upon reading the paper, there is a sense that you cannot betray your lanemates by getting out (unless you have announced said departure at the beginning of the workout). I was really hoping to see Maggie today, but she wasn't there.

200 warmup
4 x 25 IM order on :30
4 x 50 IM order on :60
4 x 75 pace on 1:20
4 x 50 free on :60
6 x 100 going:
4 x 150
odds pull hypoxic (7,3,5) on 2:20
evens pull middle 50 stroke on 2:30
6 x 100 going:
4 x 50 fast on :40
2 x 25 easy on :35
4 x 50 fast stroke on :55
2 x 25 easy on :35
4 x 50 fast free on :40
2 x 25 easy on :35
2 x 50 fast free on :40
2 x 25 easy

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Master's Choice

There are certain benefits that come with master's swimming, among them comaraderie with fellow swimmers, good health, and a sense of accomplishment by 7:30am. Another benefit is one that is not often talked about but equally as important: the "master's option". The master's option is a little thing that master's swimmers utilize, albeit infrequently, to alter the workout to suit their particular needs. Take this morning, when we looked at the first set and together decided that we would pull a master's option and do whatever it was we wanted rather than what was on the paper. We were happy, and the coach didn't know any different. Of course posting this now outs us, but this should not be a surprise to Coach Bill. Master's option usually makes a workout easier, not harder, but Joe again pulled a master's option and substituted fly for other strokes when he was not required to do so. In doing so, he negated the previous master's option and therefore we are in the clear with coach.

8 x 50 swim on :55
6 x 75 stroke going twice thru:
25 fly, 50 back
50 back, 25 breast
50 breast, 25 free
6 x 400 going:
200 hard/200 easy on 6:00
400 hypoxic pull 7,3,5,3 on 6:20
400 swim steady on 6:10
400 descend by 100 on 6:00
200 easy/200 hard on 6:00
400 fast
75 on :60
25 on :40
2 x 75 on 1:05
25 on :40
3 x 75 on 1:10

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Congrats and Good Luck, Fritzi!

If you are a morning swimmer, and if you regularly use the South entrance to the Z Center, there is big news to report.  Our friend Fritzi, who greets us every day with a smile, a hug (I get a hug!), and a surprisingly positive vibe for 6am is leaving us because he got PROMOTED! He is going to be the new equipment manager for a number of the MIT varsity sports. This is excellent news, and well deserved for someone who works hard at his job and who makes our lives a bit sunnier in the early morning hours. BB, I am so sorry that you are not here during his last week.  He wanted to tell us together. That's Fritz with coach Bill this morning.  For you noontime and evening swimmers, you'll still see Fritzi between 11am-7pm.  Best of luck friend!

Big crowd at today's workout:

200 free 3:10
6 x 25 breast 1-3 on:35, 4-6 on :30
150 free on 2:25
6 x 25 back 1-3 on :30, 4-6 on :25
100 free on 1:45
6 x 25 fly 1-3 on :35, 4-6 on :40
8 x 100 descend in pairs:
1-2 on 1:35
3-4 on 1:30
5-6 on 1:25
7-8 on 1:20
6 x 125 broken stroke going:
50 cruise on :60
75 build on 1:25
Three times thru:
75 free on 1:15
75 free on 1:10
3 x 25 sprint on :25
2 x 25 stroke fast on :30
25 easy

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Crickets in the Locker Room

No, not real crickets (as if the Z Center staff needed another locker room crisis!). I mean the crickets that you can hear when there is nobody around, because that is what the locker room was like this morning. Zero ladies. I thoroughly enjoyed my swim with the boys, but seriously missed my post-workout social time with the gals. My usually busy row? Empty. No Nancy, Linda, or Grace. The next row? Same. No Rachel, Maggie, Sarah, Mo, Dawn. Further down the row? No E or E2. Even Callie, our MIT swimmer was absent. Of course the upside to all of this is that there was no line for the shower and that the rest of the people in the locker room didn't have to hear us yelling or laughing over the shower stalls or lockers to each other. But I didn't like it one bit, especially because the benefit of my locker location at Grand Central Station (i.e. row one) is that I get to see my friends.

Great workout today, a bit complicated but fun. Nice to see Steve U. and friends join us from Cambridge Masters.

200 warmup
50 stroke :15r
30 drill/scull
50 free
50 one-arm
50 breast drill/swim
50 back drill/swim
100 free
4 x 100 count strokes odds free, evens stroke :25r
100 going 50 free/50stroke on 1:50
3 x 50 descend on :55
50 fly
3 x 100 free on 1;40
100 choice
2 x 300 IM on 3:40
6 x 150 free going:
1-3 middle 50 fast on 2:40
4-6 descend on 1:35
2 x 50 warm down

Monday, July 30, 2012

What Not to do at the Olympics

The Olympic spirit has taken hold at MIT Masters, as evidenced by the packed pool this morning and chatter on the pool deck about the past weekend's events. Some of us were so inspired by the swimmers that we actually tried to change our stroke or turns. We also got to talking about a few gaffes that happened, which leads me to today's post. Without further ado, here are five things you should not do at (or during) the Olympics. #5. Do not glance back at the Peloton when you are 100 yards from the finish line. Doh! That was hard to watch. #4. Don't play the South Korean anthem before the North Korean soccer match. I mean, if it was another dictatorship like Cuba it would have been amusing, but really, South Korea? Oops. #3. Do not wear a tiger-print t-shirt to watch your daughter in gymnastics. Or, if you are going to wear a tiger-print t-shirt, at least have it say "USA" on it. #2. If you get a silver medal in a relay, act like you got a silver medal, not like your dog just died. It's pretty darn awesome to get a silver medal. And, the #1 thing not to do during the Olympics: Do not send an email to a listserv with the results of a big race in the subject line. Perhaps next time you could say "spoiler alert!" so we don't open it. And now, for today's workout:

8 x 50 reverse IM order
3 x 100 drill/swim choice by 25
5 x 200 on 3:20
3 x 200 IM on 3:30
2 x 200 IM on 3:20
1 x 200 IM on 3;10
100 easy

Friday, July 27, 2012

Our Own Olympian

We are pretty darn excited that the Olympics is here! The swimming starts tomorrow, and most of us will be dialed in to see some fantastic events. What many MIT Master's swimmers (who don't swim in the morning) may not know is that we have an Olympic gold medalist among us! Yes, Mike Austin won a gold medal in the 1964 Olympics for the 4 x 100 men's relay. Oh, and they set a world record too. Mike is a pretty impressive guy, and even this morning the workout was a bit of an homage to him, as we counted our strokes and did a little breath control. As we all agree, Mike has the most efficient stroke at the pool. My guess is that he could cover 50 meters in 10 strokes, max. Compare that to my 42 strokes, and I look like a hand mixer. He also gave us the tip that you should exhale at the last minute to increase your bouyancy. I forgot that he also has a wicked turn and resurfaces about 20 yards after his turn. So as we prepare for a fun two weeks of competition, a shout out to our own Olympian, Mike Austin!

Today's workout

200 warmup
3 x (4 x 50) going:
50 side kick
50 free count strokes
50 choice drill
50 free
4 x 100 going 50 stroke/50 free
15 100's going:
1-5 on 1:40
6-7 on 1:30
8-9 on 1:25
9-11 on  1:45
12-15 on 1:30
4 x 50 going:
9 breaths
7 breaths
5 breaths
3 breaths
2 x 50 easy

Congrats to Callie for doing NO breaths!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Back to my Happy Place

I want to close the loop on the traumatic locker situation from last week. To recap: I was booted from my locker accidentally (oops! sorry!), but thankfully it all worked out and I (and my suits) are back in business. As evidence of this, please see the photo on the right. A special thanks to Grace and Maggie for their help in staging my locker for the photo shoot. In all honesty, if a stranger had walked in on us they might have thought that we were doing a photo shoot for Swim Lockers Monthly, because it took a few times to get the money shot. Of particular note is the placement of the new Aveda products, new shelf from the Container Store, and of course my suits from The little stickers are courtesy of E. And in case you are wondering why the product placement is so important, I am seeking sponsors for my new memoir entitled Lane 3: The Real Story. Today's practice gave me a lot of material (yes, Don Johnson made an appearance). Here is the workout:

200 swim
100 stroke
150 drill/swim
50 back
100 swim
2 x 250 on :40r going:
100 free
50 stroke
100 free
1500 swim (we did a pattern: 200 easy, 100 fast, 100 easy, 100 fast x 3)
500 going odds stroke, evens free

Bill suggested that we watch this 1500 race. Well worth it!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Good Luck SB!!!

Our friend and lane mate SB is in Lake Placid this weekend doing a little race called an Ironman. We are all very excited for him and expect great things, especially with his swim. Several of us did the over/under this morning and while it would be great to see SB break an hour, with one massive swim wave and a very narrow course (read: it's a line at the bottom of the lake) we settled on 1:05. We also should factor in that he does not have his wubbie with him. His little blue friend has seen Steve through a lot of good times and bad, through 50 x 100 on his 50th, and through a number of IM sets where he had no business using a bouy. Nonetheless, We created an honorary wubbie for him with lots of positive energy and good thoughts for a great race!

300 swim
200 drill/swim by 50
2 x 50 stroke
100 free
2 x 50 free
100 drill/swim
12 x 50 going:
1-3 free on :60, :55, 50
4-6 stroke on 1:05, :60, :55
7-9 free on :50, :45, :40
10-12 stroke on :60, :55, :50
4 x 100 descend on 1:35
4 x 100 hold pace on 1:30
4 x 50 stroke/free on :60
3 x 100 on 1:30
3 x 100 on 1:25
2 x 50 easy
3 x 100 cool down

I want to make a special shout-out to Mrs. Edwina O'Toole, a follower from the great state of Virginia. I am happy to report that her daughter attended swim practice today.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

You and your stuff - Get Out!

I am still trying to recover from the harsh reality of being evicted from my pool locker on Monday. In short, I arrived at the pool to find my lock had been cut off and all of the contents removed. Poof! Gone. When I inquired at the front desk (while presenting the evidence that I renewed my contract weeks ago), I was met with blank looks and a large trash bag with all of my items. Quickly realizing their mistake, the front desk re-assigned me to my locker and gave me a new lock and combination. It must have been pretty hilarious to see my dragging this bag (I had a lot of stuff in that little locker) past the pool where my lane mates were looking quizzically at me. The hard part was going through the suits, goggles, swim caps, and other items and realizing that several of the shampoo/soap caps were not on tightly when they gently (said with sarcasm) and unceremoniously dumped the contents. I can just see the aforementioned dumper saying maniacally  “take that, lawbreaker. That will teach you not to renew your locker! Wuahhahahahaha”.  So, to whoever had to do the dirty deed, there is a silver lining to all of this: new hair care products and a trip to the Container Store!

200 swim
6 x 100 going:
50 fly/50back
50 back/50 breast
50 breast/50 free
16 x 50 going:
1-4 on :50
5-8 on :45
9-12 on :60
13-16 on :55 holding pace of 5-8
1000 swim each 250 do something different; I alternated fast/easy by 100
400 ascend by 100

Monday, July 2, 2012

Heat Advisory

Those of you who know me know that I rarely complain about the heat and always complain about the cold. I love 100 degree temps and consider the Heat Miser my buddy. Mr. Freeze, not so much. So it is with some wariness that I report that this heat wave we are experiencing has hit home, with home being the Z-center pool.  It was just darn hot today, even for me. Even the air was warm. Adding insult to injury, there were two huge hairballs the size of Plymouth Rock in the deep end. Overall, not a particularly welcoming swim environment.  Juxtapose that with a little 20 minute swim I did with E2 in the harbor on Saturday where the temps were in the upper 50s upon entering the water, literally taking my breath away. It's therefore only fitting that Mr. Freeze and Heat Miser appear together in this photo.

200 warmup
8 x 50 going:
25 drill/25 swim
25 drill one arm/25 swim
25 drill choice/25 stroke
25 drill stroke/25 stroke
6 x 100 on :30r
50 fly/50back
50 back/50breast
2 x 50 choice on :60
100 fast on 1:50
4 x 50 choice on :55
100 fast on :50
6 x 50 choice on :45
100 fast
3 x 400 going
200 fast/200 cruise on 7:00
100 cruise/200 fast/100 cruise on 7:00
200 cruise/200 fast on 7:00

Friday, June 22, 2012

What Would Janet Do?

Olympic trials are next week, which prompted coach Bill to pose a question to the team today: What Would Janet Do? Of course he is referring to our favorite distance swimmer who is still rocking the trials at age 40. It also happens to be that BB knows Janet personally, so with two degrees of separation, we feel like we know Janet personally too. But back to the question at hand: WWJD? I am pretty sure she did not get where she is today by choosing the "master's option" at workout, e.g. choosing to do freestyle when the set requires fly or taking extra rest because, well, you can. No, the lesson learned today is that if you want to go to the Olympics, don't use your pull buoy (SB!) when one is not required by the coach. At least I know why I never reached that top level! We will all be watching Janet next week and Conor Dwyer (our friend Pat's son!) as they go for the Olympic team. Go Team USA!!!

200 warmup
200 drill/swim by 50
4 x 50 count strokes :15r
100 swim on :15r
4 x 50 stroke on :15r
Main set:
100 IM on 2:00
100 free on 1:40
200 free on 3:25
2 x 50 breast
300 free hypoxic 5,3,7,3 on 4:30
2 x 50 back
400 negative split :30r
2 x 50 fly (or freestyle with master's option)
500 fast
6 x 100 on 2:00
2 going 50breast fast/50 free
2 going 50 back fast/50 free
2 going 50fly(free) fast/50 free

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


Today in the locker room I posed a challenge to my dear friend Maggie - come up with a theme for today's blog.  She did not disappoint (when does she ever disappoint?). But you might be asking yourself - what is RAAM  and what is MOPO? The first the Race Across America, and some friends of ours are riding and crewing this event that starts on Saturday.  It is a grueling bike race across - you guessed it! - America. It starts in San Diego and ends in Annapolis. These cyclists race either as singles or teams and it's pretty intense. Juxtapose that with MOPO, an event that many of us are participating in this weekend.  Notice I said "event". You see, the Morses Pond Swim is just a swim. There are no prizes, no posting to coolrunning.  Maggie was a bit shocked to find out this morning that MOPO was not a race (I mean, why even do it if I can't get a prize? thought she). But it begs the question: is something somehow less appealing because the competition factor is taken out? Do we need to push ourselves or others toward something to make it meaningful?  I'll let all of you ponder that on this rainy Wednesday. We got our butts kicked today at distance day.

100 warmup (lame)
Four times through:
50 drill/50 stroke on :25r
50 build up/50 build down on :25r
300 fast on 4:30
200 easy on 3:30
500 keep pace on 8:15
300 fast on 4:30
200 easy on 3:30
500 keep pace
8 x 100
2 on 1:35
2 on 1:45
2 on 1:55
2 on 2:05

While we are leisurely frolicking in Morses Pond this weekend (shown above, very serene), you can follow team Live4Life on twitter, @RAAMLive4Life.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Bait and Switch

I think there are laws that prevent false advertising. A typical bait and switch (in the retail sense) lures customers in for a product or service at a low price, and when they get there they discover that the advertised good is no longer available and are  "switched" to a costlier product.  Well, that is exactly what happened this morning, but it happened part way through the workout when we were already in the store.  As we all know, Wednesday is distance day, and there is a specific mindset needed for d-day, something akin to "keep calm and carry on".  With this in mind, I was pleased that the first set was an 800 swim, nice and easy, clearly leading up to a faster 800 or, at worse, two 400s.  But here is the switch: No more distance, but 200 sprints.  Now usually I love 200s, but just like flip flops and socks, "sprint" and the number "200" don't go together. The young kids with their names on their suits were tickled pink at this turn of events, while the 35+ crowd tried to keep it real.  It's not fair, we usually swim circles around them at the end of the workout on d-day. But we'll probably keep shopping here anyway.

300 warmup
100 swim
2 x 50 stroke
100 swim
2 x 50 stroke
100 (25 gallop, 25 swim)
2 x 50 stroke
4 x 100 kick
800 swim watch your splits
200 sprint (15 seconds FASTER than you fastest split in the 800)
2 x 50 easy
200 sprint (keep that pace!)
2 x 50 easy
200 sprint (don't die on me now!)
2 x 50 easy.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Happy Summer 2012!

It's Memorial Day, the official start of summer, so fire up the grill, get in an open water swim, and attend a Memorial Day parade to honor those who have served or are currently serving in our military. The photo above is from the Boston Common, where 33,000 American flags have been planted representing all of the soldiers from Massachusetts who have died since the Civil War.  If you are in town, you simply should not miss this.  A great day at the pool, lots of good communication, negotiation, and consensus happening in the lane, and an overall solid workout.

10 x 50 swim/drill
5 x 500 going:
500 pull :60r
300 fast/200 easy on :60r
5 x 100 on 1:50
500 easy going 200 swim/50 stroke repeat :60r
500 going odds fast, evens easy
6 x 50 choice

Thursday, May 10, 2012


I feel obligated to post today's workout even though I really, truly disliked it. But to my credit, I did not get out, I stayed in and finished the set.  All I can say is that I hope that tomorrow's workout (the first in long course) has some distance in it!

300 warmup
6 x 50 count strokes
4 x 75 drill/swim
100 free
100 stroke
4 x 225 going:
225 pull hypoxic
225 75 fly, back, breast
225 pull hypoxic
225 75 fly, 50 back, breast, free
100 kick
50 x 25 in sets of 5
combination of swim, stroke, kick, drill and off the blocks on between :30 and :40

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Shake, shake, shake

That describes what I was doing after practice in the locker room after today's workout, and I was not dancing.  I suppose the old adage is true: if you don't feel like being sick after a hard workout, you didn't work hard enough.  I worked hard today.  Great job by the men actually descending the fast 200s, impressive.

300 warmup
200 kick/swim/drill/stroke
4 x 50 count strokes
100 kick
4 x 50 count strokes
6 x 50 middle of the pool, working turns :50
6 x 225 going:
200 on 2:40
25 on :45
50 easy
4 x 200 IM going:
odds: 100, rest :15, 100, rest :30
evens: straight swim
4 x 75 ascending on 1:15