Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Happy swim

Sorry Jenna, in order to tell the story of this mornings swim, I have to start with a dentist appt. I have one on Friday, you see. This is all routine, my teeth are pretty good, and my hygienist is wonderful, even if she does give me shit about staining from coffee and wine. Anyway, they had left a couple of messages on the phone reminding me, which is nice. And did I say they have a really cool office not far from where I live? My wife reminded me this morning about going, and getting the teeth polished up, and mentioned it's a good thing I don't smile when I swim, cause I'd frighten the other swimmers with my shark impression. That put me in a good mood.

So I got in the pool this am ready for a nice workout. Pardon me if I go on a bit about the stroke and stuff. I'm in the mood to write, and I'm staying late at the office tonight, so I can start a little late this morning.

2000 m in 38:49. Not a personal best, but a time I'me very happy with because my stroke was good, and my heartrate at the end was a nice low 135 or so.

A few minutes of core work in the dive tank, but we'll call it 45 min overall to keep the math simple.

I've decided that blueberry pomegranite yogurt on my granola doesn't go with this coffee very well. If that's the worst part of my day, that will be good. Today the water was slippery on my body, and yet I could get a grip on it with my hands and arms. I was working on reaching forward, catching the water, then sliding my forearm to the vertical, thinking about it almost as a lever to pry myself forward, and my body just sliding along. Then a nice long steady pull, but not cupping the water and swooshing through, but rather using it as an anchor to move myself forward. I was getting some good roll too at least some of the time. I only wish there had been someone to video it. I'd love to see a video of me swimming.

It was nice that there was a couple of girls in the next lane swimming just about the same speed. So I could chase one (yeah, I know how that sounds, but we're in a public pool here,suppress your imagination, and you know who I'm talkin'bout! :-) ) and over several laps catch up, then set my sights on the next one. They're strong swimmers, with nice strokes and a good pace.

I also had a request to explain how a pace clock and a stopwatch can tell you how many laps you've gone. Easy, for my poor men brain. All I have to do is remember if I'm swimming faster than 1 min per 50 m, or slower. Lets start by assuming that is exactly the pace you swim. Then the number of minutes you swim will be exactly equal to the number of laps.

Now lets assume you're just a little bit slower. Start with the hand you can see easiest and remember where it is. The bottom of the clock works for me. Start your watch, and start your swim. At the end of the first lap, the clock will be slightly past the bottom, and you're watch will read 1:02, for example, and you've swum 1 lap or 50 m. So you continue at that pace for a while. At 500 m your watch will read 10:20, and the pace clock will be a third of the way around. At 1000 m, your watch will read 20:40, and the clock will be 2/3rds of the way around. The only trick to this is to remember than when the clock arm you've been watching passes the bottom of the clock again, as it will at about 1500 m, your time on the watch is now 31:00, and the laps you've swum is the number of minutes MINUS one.

If, like me, you can swim about that much faster than a minute, the same logic works, only right from the beginning, you've swum one MORE lap than the number of minutes on your watch. So if you're swimming 50 m in 58 seconds on average, your 1000 m time will be 19:20. At some point, the clock arm will pass the bottom of the clock again, and all you have to remember is that you've swum 2 MORE laps than minutes on your stopwatch. But that doesn't happen all that often yet. Simple, yes? Much better than trying to remember a number for a long time, then the next one, in the face of all the competing thoughts there are to be thunk.

Legs are feeling good, though throughout the spin last night it felt like someone had taped some fishing weights to the back of my legs. They were in a sort of pre-cramp stage, which is sort of odd.


  1. even better yet is to have a coach who will time your swim, tee hee. all i have to worry about then is counting laps...which i usually end up screwing up! LOL.

  2. I have heard people don't count they go through the alphabet.
    Lap A you think of a word that starts with a.
    Lap b - baby
    Lap c - candle and so number of laps is equal to where you arein the alphabet. If you get to z - you have done 1300 metres.

    i have also see two buckets of large wodden beads at teh end of the pool. They put one bead in the bucket each time they come to that wall. when they empty their bucket into the other one, they are done.

    Quite frankly, I'm stupid. I can add, spell or think when I am moving. Ask Chuck, when we ran the marathon a few years back and I got to km 39 I had to ask him how many left cause i couldn't do the math.

  3. I'm the same way -- all brain functions go out the window, especially when I am swimming. It has only happened twice -- but I have swam straight into the wall because I was concentrating so much on swimming properly! LOL!!

    Sounds like you were really in a good zone during swimming. Gotta love when things come together eh?

  4. I use the lap button on my stop watch.

  5. I've read this three times and still don't get it. I will wait until my coffee kicks in and read it again ;)


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