Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Hammer Time

The water was nearly 100 degrees today, and by that I mean it was actually 84, which is insanely hot for our pool and for the workout we did today. Coach Bill thought we needed to toughen up, so seemed blissfully unaware of the carnage that was happening with swimmers gasping for air and sitting out to cool down in the middle of the set. This is MIT, and I simply cannot buy that "we put a work order in over 10 days ago" or "they left a side door open during the heat wave". This is the place that invented the disposable razor, the link between cancer and genetics, and the World Wide Web for heaven's sake! Turn the spigot on cold and let's get this done! Special thanks to Hubbard for reuniting me with music from the early 90s as we started the tough part of the set. We were definitely 2 legit 2 quit (hey, hey).

100 warmup

6 x 25 free focus on extension and catch
6 x 25 free focus on power (pulling motion)
6 x 25 free focus on 'finish'
4 x 50 free drill
4 x 50 stroke drill
4 x 50 free build

1 x 75   1:20
1 x 75   1:15
1 x 75   1:10
5 x 75   :60

1 x 75  1:20
1 x 75  1:15
1 x 75  1:10
4 x 75   :55
1 x 25 ez  :50

1 x 75   1:20
1 x 75   1:15
1 x 75   1:10
5 x 75   :60
1 x 50 ez   1:20

1 x 75  1:20
1 x 75  1:15
1 x 75  1:10
4 x 75   :55

Monday, July 22, 2013

Report: Nubble Light Challenge

MIT Masters and friends at Nubble Light Challenge
The 2013 Nubble Light Challenge is in the books, and definitely lived up to expectations. This was my first NLC, and I joined nearly a dozen other MIT Master's swimmers and friends in York, ME last Saturday. I did not know what to expect and when I gazed out to the lighthouse so far away I must admit I was a wee bit nervous. My teammates, many who were veterans of the race, assured me that it would be fine, and the conditions were excellent. I was in wave 2 of 5, and as I watched the large and very fast wave 1 depart, I felt like a preschooler who was watching her big brother leave for kindergarten. I wanted to go with them! Why can't I go with them? I was a newbie at the NLC. It was not to be. Two minutes later, my wave went off. The good thing about a small wave is that you have lots of room and clear ocean in front of you the whole time. The bad thing about a small wave is that you have lots of room and a clear ocean in front of you the whole time. My strategy to find a faster swimmer and draft went out the window. It was cold (60/61) at the start but felt good after standing on the hot beach in black neoprene. The race was well marked, so much so that if you went off course, there was nobody to blame but yourself (or if you were drafting, the person in front of you). The organizers said there were 2 to 4 foot swells, which look like cute, calm little waves when you are standing on the beach. But when you are swimming it feels more like an outtake from A Perfect Storm but there is no boat or George Clooney. One of the coolest parts of the swim was going through the gut, where the temperature dropped to the 50s and we all became Jacques Cousteau for about a quarter of a mile, as you could see crabs, fish, rock formations, and other cool marine life in between the island and the mainland. I loved that so many spectators were out there watching, and I gave them a wave and a smile in appreciation. After the gut, it was a long slog back to land, and my neck was starting to burn from my wetsuit. The finish was not like those highlights you see in other races, it was more like watching someone who drank too much try to run, stumble, and eventually careen their way over the line. Not pretty. Several of my teammates had on GPS devices and said that it was 2.75 miles total. In the end, I was happy to have finished strong and felt like I kept my stroke the whole time. A fantastic job by the race organizers and some impressive swims by MIT peeps and friends. I think this race will continue to grow and attract some of the best swimmers in New England.
Me and E trying to locate the first bouy
P.S. A special shout-out to Elaine Howley (E2) who swam without a wetsuit and was 3rd non-wetsuit woman! Elaine is in Scotland right now preparing for the North Channel Swim. More on that later.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Lighthouse in the distance

About a dozen members of MIT Masters are competing in the Nubble Light Challenge this weekend in York, Maine. The swim is a 2.4 mile ocean swim that takes swimmers out by the Nubble Lighthouse and through the gap between mainland and the lighthouse island. The majority of my teammates who are racing have done this before, but this will be my first time and I am very excited! Conditions vary by year, and I am hopeful that we have some warm temps this year. Coach Bill gave us a distance set to get us geared up for the race. Here is the website: Nubble Light Challenge.

300 warm up
2 x 125 going:  75 free -- 50 stroke
2 x 100 going: 25 drill - 25 choice swim
3 x 50 free on :45
3 x 50 free on :40
4 x 100 going:  50 fly - 50 back
1 x 800 free on :50r
*  long strokes
*  watch your 200 splits
*  Hold consist pace
2 x 400's on 6:10
* Make sure you 'Finish' each stroke long
* Negative split
1 x 600 free on :60r
*  long strokes
*  Faster 200 splits
2 x 300's on 4:15
* Think about Roll, and 'Elbow Pop'
* Negative split

Monday, July 15, 2013

Let the Yelling Begin...

There is a  man who coaches (loosely defined) his son in the mornings while we are at practice. He paces back and forth gesticulating wildly and usually screaming at the kid. In the past, a number of us have complained because, let's face it, anyone who swam AAU as a kid remembers being yelled at by a coach and nobody wants PTSD at master's practice. Lately, however, the guy has been quiet during practice. But I discovered this morning that the moratorium of screaming apparently stops when we leave the deck, because I could hear him from the locker room today. Let me assure you - screaming at a kid to "kick, kick, KICK" will have the opposite effect and I am exhibit A. Thank goodness we swim master's where a 100 kick can magically turn into 100 drill with nary a raised voice.

400 warmup
4 x 75 kick/drill/swim :15r
6 x 125 going 50 stroke/25 kick/50 free :15r
2 x 300 on 4:20 each 100 faster
200 IM on 3;15
3 x 100 on 1:25
4 x 50 stroke on :60
4 x 75 descend on 1:15
3 x 100 on 1:50

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The Importance of Context

I have just returned from a week long vacation in Duck, NC on the lovely Outer Banks. While the water was cold (61F), the sand was warm and I spent lots of leisure time watching all the people who tried to swim and then thought better of it. On one particularly warm day, a man and woman walked by and the man had on a bright red Speedo. As someone who sees small suits like this every day (and believe me, my male teammates can push the limits of fashion), I must say even I was taken aback at the sight of the scantily clad gentleman. Why is this? It's totally a cultural thing, as most American's are predisposed to dislike the Speedo outside of the pool/racing context, which is ridiculous but it is true. I saw people watching him, probably thinking he was European or didn't get the memo that it is board shorts or nothing on a family beach. Yet on a pool deck, we scoff at someone wearing board shorts to work out. And there is a double standard for women, too. If I wear my one-piece swimming suit on the beach I look out of place, but if I wear a bikini at the pool it's a thing. I frankly like the Speedo and wish it were more accepted. Thank goodness we have friends who embrace this look, as evidenced by BB who is in Turkey preparing for a big swim this week. Here he is on the podium (he's #1) showcasing one of his many fashion pieces.

Distance day in a short pool, which seems like an oxymoron but it is sadly true.

300 warmup
Three times thru:
25 drill
25 fast swim
50 count strokes
75 (50 fly/back/breast/25 free)
25 fast
3 x (4x50)
Kick no board on 1:10
count strokes :55
power :50
fast :45
600 swim on 8:00
500 on 7:05
400 on 5:30
300 on 4:00
200 on 2:50
100 on 1:25
12 x 25 going IM order on :30