Friday, April 11, 2008


"C'mon, let's go get strong!"

Spring training has been rigorous, engaging, enlivening and fun. It's been magic distilled.

At the Tuesday morning practice, we paddled through radiant waters and reached for the wide unstudied sky:
300 swim
16 x 50 IM order
100/200/300/400/300/200/100 FR
100 ez
200 kick with fins
4 x 100 IMs with fins
12 x 50s maximum push off
2 FL
2 BK
2 BR
2 BR
6 FR (descend :10 by groups of 3)
300 FR

In the afternoon, we listened to Olympic hopeful Leila Vaziri's inspiring talk about her personal journey and training progress. And after yoga, we attended Coach Marty's evening short course workout:
8 x 75 K/D/S IM order
One round of each IM stroke: 3 x 25 K, 3 x 50 drill/swim, 75 stroke
8 x 25s (swim with 4 breaths only, then 3 breaths only, then 2, then 1 breath only twice, build back up to 4 breaths) "Relax, relax, relaaaaaax!"
200 swim down

Refilling my water bottle before bedtime, I ruminated over Coach Hash's sapient observation: "Staying calm changes everything."

On Wednesday morning, we returned to the long course pool and swam:
400 FR
300 BR
200 BK
100 FL
6 x 100 BR/BK
24 x 50 K IM order (with fins)
100 ez (with fins)
200 ez (with fins)
7 x 100 FR sprints

In the afternoon swim clinic, the coach offered us the following advice:
Coach Marty's evening practice seemed more challenging than Finnegan's Wake. Holy commodius vicus of circulation! I was back to Howth Castle or rather, square one. Completely spent mentally. Sigh.
200 k/s
150 free
150 drill/swim
150 build
3 x (225 FR smooth, 150 neg. split, 75 fast)
200 cool down

Coach Conrad's Thursday morning's workout was surprisingly manageable (more Dubliners than a progression of anagrams and disfigured words):
400 reverse IM (with 100 FL drill)
200 FR
200 BK
200 BR
200 FL
Repeat 400 reverse IM with alternating k/s
200 FR with fins
200 BK with fins
200 BR with fins
200 IM with fins
16 x 50s four of each stroke, maximum push off underwater--with fins
200 cool down

Reflecting on our four-day progress, my lanemate Charles remarked, "It's pretty amazing. You don't really know what you're capable of until you push yourself and try."

The focus of the evening practice was speed:
6 x 50 (3 kick, 3 drill/swim)
5 x 50 (descend 1-3, 4-5)
3 x 50 breakouts off the wall
150 moderate
4 x 25 odds fast off the blocks/evens, ez FR
150 moderate

On Friday morning, the warm-up set was 300 FR followed by 700 FR with fins. And after we split up into groups of 10 (i.e. five swimmers on each end of the pool), we swam a series of seven relays:
  1. 50 sprints
  2. 50 BK from one side of the pool and 50 BR, from the other
  3. FR toward the middle of the pool and exchanging a double high five with partner
  4. 50 FR wearing a baby pink souvenir baseball cap
  5. 50 FR donning a pink Florida t-shirt
  6. FR toward the middle of the pool wearing matching t-shirt and cap, then exchanging outfit with partner
  7. 50 FL
On Friday evening, we enjoyed a recovery workout:
2 x (100 pull/50 kick/100 swim)
4 x 100 FR
4 x 75 kick choice
4 x 50 IM order slow
200 warm down

Tomorrow, we're swimming in the ocean. And I'll be joining the two-mile group--"climbing that imaginary rope up to heaven."

Monday, April 07, 2008


Switching to decaf

Part two of the poem "Fallen Leaves" reads:
...In the mixed scent of mosquito
and jasmines wafting from the yard I fall asleep
Dreaming of carefree flying, like a red-crowned crane thrusting forth
from the matting of a
Chinese scroll, an almost transparent snow-white
spreading its large cartwheel wings, floating amidst
an ascending range of mountains. Time shifts its balance
in the wind, changing speed as it pleases.

On this second day of spring training, I reconsider Yang Mu's words:

...In the mixed scent of sun-
and hibiscus wafting from the pool deck I fall asleep
Dreaming of carefree flying, like a white-crowned pelican thrusting forth
from the matting of a
beach blanket, an almost transparent snow-white
spreading its large cartwheel wings, floating amidst
a horizontal plane of palms. Time shifts its balance
in the sea breeze, changing speed as it pleases.
Here is this morning's splendiferous long course workout:

4 x 100 free
6 x 50 (fly, back, free)
4 x 200 free rolling 50 kick
6 x 50 free with fins
4 x 400 free descending with fins

And the fab afternoon short course workout with the FLA follows:

800 warm up
8 x75 kick/drill/swim IM order
400 free (3 and 5 breathing pattern per 25)
4 x 100 kick (IM order)
9 x 100 descend :10 seconds in groups of 3

"Inhale, extend and exhale, releeeeeease."

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