13 November 2022
Back in the heyday of the USMS Forums (about a decade starting from the mid-to-late aughts), a vibrant virtual community of Masters swimmers from around the country and the world exchanged ideas, workouts and friendship. This community was a big part of me getting back into a consistent training routine starting in late 2008, jolting me out of a life where I'd let my athletic pursuits fall to a distant (practically non-existent) third place behind the demands of raising a young(ish) family and working in a startup. I will be forever grateful to friends I made there, many of whom I never met in person, but all of whom helped me get better.
As I was pretty wiped heading into today's workout, from Friday's 3,000 yard timed effort and a particularly taxing weight-lifting session on Saturday at Thrive Fitness, but as I also wanted a long swim and some fast IM efforts six weeks out from my December taper meet, I took inspiration from two swimming greats:
Aquageek of the USMS Forums
Chlorine Daddy David Popovici
I knew it would take a long time to work the lactic acid out from the last two days, and I wanted to feel as warmed up and ready to sprint on the Popovici set as possible, so I grabbed my first main set from my old buddy Aquageek. Prior to this 2,600 fun mix of IMs, I had done a fairly standard 1,500 warmup (e.g., 1 x 400 IM kick-drill, 3 x 100 descend backstroke, 12 x 25 odds fast, 1 x 50 easy, 1 x 400 kick fast, 1 x 50 easy). Throughout the Alphabet IMs, unless there was a specific reference to going fast, I focused on cruising through this, concentrating on technique and really using this as a long recovery and wake-up combo. I went these on 1:40, providing enough time to peek at the sheet before the next repeat to know what was coming up. It was a very fun way to roll through 2,600 yards.
Then, came the main event, courtesy of the Swimnerd's expertly timed email. While Popovici's coach designed this to be freestyle, my plan was to go through the 6 rounds as follows:
Rounds 1 and 4 - fly then back fast 50s
Rounds 2 and 5 - back then breast fast 50s
Rounds 3 and 6 - breast then free fast 50s
After each set of 2 x 50 fast on 1:30 and 1:00, I did 3 x 50 recovery on 0:45, 1:00, 1:45 so that each round totalled six minutes. I couldn't go from the blocks at my local LA Fitness, but I did wear my FINIS Smart Goggles to get my times.
Everything went swimmingly on the first 3 rounds, with strong swims:
Round 1 - fly 31.0, back 32.2
Round 2 - back 30.9, breast 35.8
Round 3 - breast 38.5, free 29.9
The second breaststroke effort exacerbated a lingering groin pull, so I removed breaststroke from the next three rounds:
Round 4 - fly 31.0, back 31.3
Round 2 - back 31.2, free 29.1
Round 3 - fly 31.7, free 28.7
With an extra 150 cool-down at the end, this made for a most wonderful 5,750 yard Sunday morning swim.