Saturday, May 31, 2008

Saturday's Swim Up the Coast

On Saturday morning I met up with Dave and the dedicated paddle crew of Brian, Scott and Doctor Jack for a swim up the Pacific Coast. We started the swim at Corona Del Mar, swam north for 2 hours past the Newport Harbor breakwater, Balboa pier, Newport Pier, and then the next 2 breakwaters and put into shore after 4.5 miles. The water temperatures were in the low 60s, a few degrees colder than our southbound swim a few weeks ago.

Click to view the video of our swim past Balboa Pier

I felt pretty good until the Newport Pier, then my stroke started breaking down. It was tough keeping it together for the next 1/2 mile. Though the water temps weren't an issue and I felt like I had several hours in me still, I know my pace was dropping off significantly. These last 2 long swims have made glaringly clear my training needs for the next couple of months: weight training and stoke improvement.

Afterwards we made plans for training for the next 2 and half months. We are looking forward to spending a bit of time in the Pacific this summer.

Thanks to Brian "D-Fro" DeFrancesco for taking the picts!

Friday, May 30, 2008

Back in Southern Cal

After arriving in LAX a little after 11pm on Thursday evening, I did the obligatory wait for the luggage, wait for the shuttle, queue to pay for parking, and drive down the 405 to Orange County. I crawled in bed at 1am.

When the alarm went off at 5am, I wasn't readyto get up, but I wanted to head to Wollett Aquatic Center in Irvine for the 5:45am Nova practice. I crawled out of bed and got there in 15 minutes. Chris called the set on a 50m layout:
1 x 600m warmup
10 x 50m (odds sprint, even easy)
Repeat 3 times:
3 x 50m kick w/fins (sprint/easy, easy/sprint, sprint)
1 x 50m easy kick
5 x 50m sprint w/fins
1 x 50m easy
5 x 100m negative split 50s
6 x 50m sprint from blocks
1 x 200m warmdown

Get some naps today- tomorrow is a 9.5 miler in the Pacific.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Wednesday Ride and Thursday Swim

I tried out the new mountain bike after work last night with a nice ride up Waterton Canyon. It was fairly flat 6.5 miles each way. Then I explored a few miles of the Platte River down to Chatfield reservoir. All told, probably 20 miles of riding. It was incredible being in the mountains, smelling the cottonwoods, pines, and river in near perfect weather. I encountered a deer near the trailhead after the ride.

This morning I did the 6-7:15 workout at Highlands Ranch- only it is now 5:45 to 7:00 due to the kids workouts. Still I got in a good workout:
1 x 200 warmup
1 x 500 pull on 7:00
5 x 100 Race Pace on 1:40
1 x 400 pull on ?
4 x 100 Race Pace on 1:35
1 x 300 pull on ?
3 x 100 Race Pace on 1:30
1 x 200 pull on ?
2 x 100 Race Pace on 1:25
100 easy
100 Fast
200 warmdown
=3,400 yards

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Rest and Recovery Long Weekend

Well, it wasn't intentional, but probably good none-the-less: After the 7 mile swim one day and then a couple of miles with paddles a few days later- my body probably needed a few building days before tackling another big swim. A late Wednesday night kept me from a Thursday morning workout, Friday's workout at Soka University in California was cancelled due to the Speedo Grand Master Challenge. An overnight get away with my wife to La Jolla on Friday night meant lots of food and lots of sleep, and no Saturday intensive workout with Nova. I like to avoid working out on Sunday. Cold weather and a little rain conspired against a planned 4 mile swim at Laguna Main Beach on Memorial Day.

When I arrived back in Colorado on Tuesday morning, it had been 6 days since my last workout and I needed to get my swimming fix. On Tuesday evening after work, I left my client's and headed to Grant Ranch. Though the water in Bowles Reservoir was cool (mid sixties) and the sky was overcast, I was able to swim 2 short laps and 1 full lap around the lake in under an hour for 2600-2700 meters.

This morning (Wednesday), I did the 5:30am Highlands Ranch Masters workout in Northridge Recreation Center's outdoor pool for the first time. Summer is here! That consisted of:
150 warm-up

Repeat 4 times:
4 x 25 (2 drill, 2 kick) on :40
1 x 100 (changing each repeat: IM, free, stroke, free) on 1:30

1 x 400 pull (even 100s stroke)
8 x 150 (free, choice, free by 50s) 4 on 2:00, 4 on 2:15
12 x 25 (mid pool starts) on :45
12 x 100 (4 free, 4 pull, 4 fins) on 1:20
150 warm-down
= 4,200 yards

The age groupers are now swimming mornings too and kicked me out at 7am sharp.

I bought a mountain bike last night after the reservoir swim and hope to get in a good ride tonight on Denver's famous trails.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Stroke Day

I set the alarm last night so that I wouldn't miss the 5:30am masters practice in Highlands Ranch.

Coach Paul called a good set for a guy who was feeling the effects of a good swim less than 12 hours earlier- good mix of strokes and lower yardage:
1 x 400 swim
1 x 100 kick
4 x 100 pull (odds Reverse IM order, even free)
16 x 25 (4 back drill, 4 back, 4 free drill, 4 kick)
1 x 200 pull
6 x 100 (odds IM, evens free descending)
50 easy
8 x 25 mid-pool starts, 2 x strokes in IM order
6 x 50 (odds stroke, evens free descending)
8 x 25 (odds drill, evens fast)
200 warmdown
= 3,250 yards

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Open Water Swimming in Colorado

I guess the travel, the swimming, and the many social activities over the weekend with their accompanying accumulated sleep depravation took their toll. Since I've been waking up consistently at 5am for months, I thought I didn't need to set my alarm clock Monday night. This morning I woke up at 5:50am and realized that, at best, I could make it to practice 10 minutes late. I decided to catch an extra hour of sleep and hit an evening practice.

An hour and half later and better rested, I threw my swim gear in the back of my Hummer and headed to work. (BTW, if you ever rent from Thrifty, choose the "wildcard" car option. Apparently, you can sometimes get a Hummer for the price of a compact. A word of caution though: the Colorado Highway Patrol tend to notice quickly moving BRIGHT RED HUMMERS more than the average vehicle, but that is a story for a different blog.)

On Monday night I had discovered that the former Highlands Ranch Master's coach, Matt Beck, had started an open water swimming program on Bowles Reservior in Littleton. I left work at 5 and headed to the Grants Ranch Clubhouse situated on the lake's shore. I immediately found the coaches, Pete and Steve of Mile High Multisports, who showed me the locker room and the way to the Lake.

I started my swim at 5:30. The water was glassy and the top 2 feet of water was high 60s. A 1500m open water course had been laid out so I did 3 laps and a short loop on my own while the coaches keeping watch from the shore. I guess the crowds start coming after Memorial day. The simple set consisted of:
  1. 1 loop (1500m) swim
  2. 1 poorly sighted loop (1600m) pull
  3. 1 loop (1500m) pull w/fins
  4. 1 out and back (500m) swim
    =5,100 m (5,575 yards or 3.2 miles)
I finished before 7pm and felt great. It is a little wierd swimming alone in a fresh, still-water lake, but it was also nice not to worry about waves, sharks and jellyfish.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Sunday Post Swim Update

I'm back in Colorado tonight. I wasn't feeling too sore today after yesterday's big swim. However, my wife and folks at church commented on my strange coloring. My face got some nice coloring in the areas that my cap and googles didn't cover, creating a nice racoon look.

My back was a little splotchy. My lower back got a nice burn. You can see the contrast with what my suit covered. (Sorry for the plumber shot) It doesn't feel as bad as it looks, but...

next time, more sunscreen!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Beautiful 7 mile Swim in Newport...and sharks?

Dave Galli (lt blue), Chris Roberts (dk blue) and Emily Evans (orange)

Today was our first long ocean swim of the year: 7 miles in 3 hours and 30 minutes from the north side of Newport Pier, south past Balboa Pier, outside The Wedge to the Newport Harbor breakwater and back again. It was a good taste of what the Catalina swim may be like.

I loved the swim south to the breakwater- the pace was just right, my stroke felt strong, the water was warm and smooth, and the sun was bright. We had Brian in a kayak on one side and Scott on a paddleboard on the other. At 1 1/2 miles, we met up with Emily Evans and her entourage which consisted of her pace swimmer/dad and her sister in a kayak. In the midst of this armada, it was about as safe as you can feel in the Pacific. Though some dolphins passed right underneath us, I missed them.

After we reached the Newport Harbor breakwater we refueled and headed back. Emily apparently had been sandbagging the trip south and turned up the speed going north. While Dave met the challenge, my energy level dropped and I started to lose ground. Scott stayed with me as I began to trail the group (thanks Scott!). At Balboa pier, Emily headed in to shore and Dave waited for me so we could finish the last 2 miles together. After half a mile, I begin to loose energy again and my stroke got "lazy". While my "lazy stroke" is easy to maintain, it is too slow to keep up with Dave- even when I am drafting. We decided to separate. Brain accompanied Dave back and Scott guided me for the last 1 1/2 miles. I finished about 10 minutes behind Dave. Even with lead shoulders, it was a fun swim coming back. Though I had no extreme fatigue during the swim, I did become accutely aware of the strength training and feeding strategies I would need to improve upon before our Catalina attempt to ensure that I can maintain a strong stroke for 21 miles.

On a final note, Scott told me that a little seal was following me for a while when I was about 1/2 mile from Newport Pier. While I appreciate nearby dolphins, I prefer to swim without seals (aka sharkfood). As I came into shore after going around the pier, a large crowd was on the shore. I wondered if a fight had broken out. I swam in and looked to see what the others were oggling. Someone had pulled a dead baby seal out of the surf. It had two broken bones extending out of its body where its tail should have been and its abdomen was punctured. Given the fresh state of the wounds, it was obvious that it had been killed very recently- within minutes or hours. I don't know if it was a propellor or shark, but I was grateful for my beautiful and peaceful swim.

This swim has me even more excited for the Catalina swim. It is a zen like experience being in the ocean while listening to the sloshing of the water and thinking for hours. Click here to get Dave's take on the day and see additional pictures.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Novaquatics Workout

I am back in Orange County today and so I did the 5:45 Novaquatics workout at Soka University in Aliso Viejo. It was great to see Coach Ahelee again. It is the first time I've seen her since she got back from the World Championships in Perth and National Championships in Austin. She took age group titles at both events, as in she placed first in the world and nation! Congratulations! I understand she may no longer be coaching at Nova this summer and it really bums me out. She is the type of coach who notices when you aren't there and is full of positive energy. I hope the team can prevent her from leaving!

She gave a good speed workout:
350 warm-up
6 x 75 (kick, drill, swim)
12 x 25 yds (down underwater, back sprint)
100 easy
4 x 50 fast on 1:00
150 easy
4 x 50 fast with fins on 1:00
150 easy
4 x 50 fast with fins on 1:00
150 easy
4 x 50 fast with fins on 1:00
200 warm down

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Thursday Morning

I seriously debated turning off the alarm clock and sleeping for another hour, but I knew I'd regret it later so I crawled out of bed and got out of the hotel by 5:45am. Coach Susan Williams called today's set:
Warmup: 2oo swim, 100 kick, 200 swim, 100 drill, 200 swim. (descending 200s)
20 x 25 yds (3 FAST, 1 Easy repeated 5 times) on :30
200 easy
1 x 800 yds (every 4th 50 surge)
1 x 600 (drafting drill)
1 x 400 yds (every 4th 50 surge)
1 x 200 yds at 1500 race pace
100 easy
5 x 100 pull on 1:30, 1:20, 1:10, 1:20, 1:30
200 easy
= 4,300 yards

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Self-Coached Workout

I did the 5:30-7:00am workout at Northridge Recreation Center in Highlands Ranch. The sky is clear. The air is warm. It feels like early summer...again. Gotta love Denver weather! I understand tomorrow we might get snow again before a beautiful weekend starts.

Coach Paul was gone, so I grabbed a lap swimming lane and did my own set:
1 x 300 swim
1 x 200 kick
1 x 300 pull
10 x 100 swim on 1:20
200 yards of something
2 x 300 pull
1 x 100 kick
1 x 100 kick with fins
1 x 50 with fins on :40
1 x 100 with fins on 1:15
1 x 150 with fins on 2:00
2 x 200 with fins on 2:30
1 x 150 with fins on 2:00
1 x 100 with fins on 1:15
1 x 50 with fins on :40
4 x 100 pull on 1:20
4 x 150 on 2:00
1 x 200 warm down
=5,000 yards

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Back in the Pool, Back in the Snow

The weekend in Orange County was fun and busy with family visiting from out of town and lots of meetings, events, errands and food. The only downside was that I was unable to workout on Friday or Saturday.

Monday mornings involve early morning travel to Denver, so it was another day out of the water. But out of the water it was a nice 77 degree afternoon followed an overnight light snow?! When I got back in the pool this morning, I expected to be sluggish, but I actually found myself with lots of energy .(?) Maybe a good rest every once in a while is good for us old men.

Coach Susan Williams called the set, which I did join a few minutes into the warm-up swim:
Warm-up Set
300 swim - 100 kick - 300 pull
200 swim - 100 kick - 200 pull (as little faster)

Repeat 6 Times:
5 x 50 yards on :55,:50,:45,:40,:35

300 pull EZ

Repeat 2 Times:
1 x 100, 25 Fast, 75 Easy on 1:40
1 x 100, 50 Fast, 50 Easy on 1:40
1 x 100, 75 Fast, 25 Easy on 1:40
1 x 100, 1500 Race Pace on 2:00

300 pull EZ
200 warm-down

my yardage= 4,000 yards

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Thursday's Workout

Coach was sick so we put together our own workout:
Warmup of 300 swim, 100 kick, 100IM, 100 pull
1 x 400 w/10 secs rest
1 x 300 w/20 secs rest
1 x 200 w/30 secs rest
1 x 100 Fast
1 x 100 kick
10 x 100 w/10 secs rest on mile pace
4 x 250 pull
1 x 300 warmdown
=4,000 yards

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Thunderstorm and Yardage

A fantastic lightning storm with rain and hail accompanied me during the drive to practice and shook the pool a little at the beginning of the swim. I guess lightning hit a gas line a few miles away in Littleton starting a fire. Haven't seen a thunderstorm like that in a few years. Hey, if sharks don't kill you, lightning can pick you out of rush hour traffic here in the Mile High City.

The workout at Highland's Ranch was only coached from 5:30-6:20. I swam in the "lap swimming lane" so I was able to do some extra yardage during the beginning of practice and for 35 minutes after practice. I hope to get another 20K plus week. The workout:
1 x 550 warm-up
2 x 50 builds
4 x 25 sprints
3 x 200 pull on 2:45
4 x 150 stroke/free combos 2:00
4 x 50 "Texas 2 turns" on 1:00
4 x 150 (2 stroke/free combos on 2:30, 2 free builds by 50 on 2:15)
4 x 50 descending on 1:15
2 x 1000 ladders (first pull, second fins) on 1:20 per 100 pace
150 warm down
=5,100 yards

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Highlands Ranch Workout

I felt the soreness/stiffness from Saturday afternoon's swim all day on Sunday and Monday. It was good to get back in the pool here Tuesday morning. As always, it was tough getting out of bed a little after 5am. Coach Susan Williams called the sets at the Northridge Recreation Center this morning at 6:00am:
1 x 400 swim
4 x 150 (50 kick/100 build)
6 x 50 (1-3 descending; 4-6 25 Fast/25 easy)
1 x 100 for time
1 x 100 easy
5 x 100 (1:10-1:15 pace) on 1:30
4 x 125 (25 Fast / 100 on pace) on 2:00
3 x 150 aerobic on 2:20
2 x 175 (75 Fast / 100 Pace) on 2:40
1 x 200 Pace plus
1 x 100 easy
1 x 200 pull
1 x 200 warmdown
=4,000 yards

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Deicing & Great Whites

First, an interesting travel story: In hopes of getting home a little early on Thursday, I caught a standby flight out of Denver International Airport (DIA). Unfortunately, because its was snowing so much, planes were required to be de-iced before takeoff. That meant our plane queued up on the tarmac for almost an hour before the plane was blasted with an anti-freeze looking solution. Shortly after takeoff, the pilot thanked us again for our patience and announced that our delay on the tarmac before take off had resulted in the plane not having enough fuel get to Southern California and we would be required to land in Las Vegas for a quick re-fuelling before we finished our flight. So the usual 2 hour flight took 5 hours due to the de-icing and unexpected 30 minute "layover" in Vegas. Though the flight was a little frustrating, at least it wasn't scary. 3 weeks ago, wind shear caused the flight I was on into DIA to abort a landing AFTER touchdown. After a very turbulent flight, it is quite an experience to hit the runway hard and then hear the engines gun and abruptly go into a steep climb. If you aren't into excercise, it is a great way to get the heart pumping. :)

On Friday morning I did the Novaquatics workout at Soka University. The workout:
1 x 300 yards warmup
3 x 150 yds (50 catch-up drill, 50 kick, 50 swim
18 x 50 yds on :55,:45,:50,:40,:45,:35 repeated 3 times
10 x 150 yds with fins and paddles on 2:15 (1:35 pace)
1 x 100 yds warm-down
= 3,250 yards

I had to jump out a little early to get to the day's appointments, including a doctor's exam to certify me "OK" to do the channel swim. I passed, but was warned that sharks should concern me as much as my physical shape. Nice. I then took my son to an overnight camp out at O'Neil Regional park with our church group. I brought our small tent and didn't bring sleeping pads. I "slept" on hard rocky ground with a kinked neck because I couldn't fully lay out in the small tent. I was exhausted come Saturday morning.

On Saturday afternoon, I met up with Dave Galli at Newport Pier wanting a nap, but I wanted to get back in the ocean even more. It was blowing pretty hard and the sea was choppy. But the water temp was at least 63 degrees, visibility was about 15 feet, and Dave's friends were ready to kayak and paddleboard next to us. We swam around the pier and down the beach about a mile and a half (almost to Balboa Pier) and then came back. It was a swim of 3.5 miles in about 90 minutes. The temperature felt great the whole swim, maybe our swim pace had something to do with it too. I'll admit I had trouble keeping up with Dave. I was thinking about Great Whites the whole swim and I suspect Dave was too. Though I was relatively calm, when my hand hit a jellyfish or a vortex, I was ready to head into shore. I think Dave wanted to make sure if one of us was going to be eaten, it was going to be me, so his fast pace meant that I either swam in his bubbles or 10-20 feet behind him most of the swim. It did make for a good workout. Evolutionarily speaking, its fair. I've already had a chance to pass on my genes, but my younger friend has not so this old man should be the sharkbait. ;)

Thursday, May 1, 2008

250s and then Snow Again in Denver

Despite sleeping through my alarms, my body knew it was time to swim and I woke up at 5:30. Though tired, I got to the pool in time for a great set from Coach Susan Williams:

3 x 200 yards
3 x 100 pull
3 x 50 easy down/fast back
1 x 300 kick, every 3rd length fast
2 x 250 on 3:00 (50 sprint/200 hard)
2 x 250 on 3:00 (just make)
1 minute rest
2 x 250 on 3:00 (50 easy, 50 hard, 50 easy, 100 fast)
2 x 250 on 3:00 (just make)
1 x 100 easy
4 x 150 pull on 2:10
8 x 25 on :30 (3 sprint, 1 easy)
50 warmdown

=4,300 yards

After practice the snow started falling. This is May?