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!