One Week; Four Practices: Lake-Pool-Lake-Pool
It's been three weeks since I posted. Most of that time I've been laid a bit low by a combination of gastroenteritis and cellulitis. Both probably due to low white blood cell count following chemo. I swam 2-3x/week but mostly short and restorative.
This week I still need to take it pretty easy but decided to log what I did. I alternated lake and pool practices this week.
Tuesday 8/23 -- 1600m at Lake Minnewaska
I swam four 400-meter loops along the cable. Because my energy level was low, I swam quite gently.
On northbound 200m legs, I focused on forming long, sleek, stable lines with each side of my body; ‘holding my place’ by applying feather-light pressure with a soft lead hand; and avoiding water disturbance as I entered and rotated to form a new line.
Southbound, I counted strokes, trying to swim 200 meters in fewer than 190 strokes. It took laserlike concentration to reach the end of the cable in 188 to 189 perfect strokes.
Wednesday 8/24 -- 1600m at Ulster County Pool
I swam another mile in 8 repetitions of 200 meters. Again I swam gently, but I challenged myself to steadily increase my 200-meter pace while maintaining Stroke Length. My baseline focal points were the same as at the lake.
On my first 200, I averaged 43 strokes per 50-meter length and my 200 time was 4:00. On the next three repeats my time improved only slightly, to 3:57, but I gradually reduced stroke count to an average of 41 SPL by being softer and more patient with my lead hand. On the final four, I added back a few strokes per 200, while swimming slightly faster. On my final 200, I averaged 42 SPL and finished in 3:54.
Friday 8/26 -- 1600m at Lake Minnewaska
Today was another day of restorative pace swimming.
I did 4 sets of 2 x 200, each set with a new focal point, counting strokes on the 2nd 200 in each pair.
1st 400 (2 x 200) Weightless Head 190 strokes
2nd 400 Extend Bodyline and Open Axilla as I stretch forward. 181 strokes
3rd 400 Form lines with each side of body 183 strokes
4th 400 Move thru water like arrow thru air - slightly brisker pace 185 strokes
I felt really fantastic on the final 400m--really as good as I've ever felt. I think this was the product of being so focused on quality of sensation.
Sat 8/27 -- 2500m at Ulster County Pool
This was--by 100m--the longest practice I'd done all summer. But I felt really refreshed at the end, no doubt because I'd swum the entire thing at restorative pace.
I did this as a series of 4 x 500m continuous swims, with the final 500 as 5 x 100m, resting 5 cleansing breaths between. I counted strokes every length of the practice and sequenced focal points in an orderly way.
1st 500 Weightless Head - On non-breathing and especially breathing strokes, I strive to feel as if I'm resting the weight of my head on a 'pillow' of water molecules.
2nd 500 Weightless Head + Mail Slot Entry. Maintain focus from 1st 500. Add new focus of slipping forearm through same slot fingers cut on entry.
3rd 500 Mail Slot + Stretch Forward/Open Axilla. Maintain Mail Slot focus from 2nd 500. Add new focus on reaching forward until I feel the axilla or underarm open fully.
4th 500 Open Axilla + Form Lines. Maintain focus from 3rd 500. Add new focus on forming long sleek lines with each side of body after reaching forward and opening axilla.
5th 500 Form Line + Draw Line Maintain focus from 4th 500. Add new focus on drawing a parallel line with fingertips on recovery. I.E. Form and Hold a Line with right side of body, while drawing a parallel line with fingertips of right hand on recovery.
Stroke Count range remained steady between 41 and 44 SPL per 50m pool length.
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