Spend enough time swimming at a given pool and you will inevitably hear the very undesirable, "We're sorry, the pool is closed because of contamination." And we all know the most common type of "contamination."
Normally, this is something experienced later in the day, typically during or right after the pool has been swarmed by young kids. It isn't something expected at 5 a.m. on a Thursday. And yet...
I walked into the pool, this morning, to see a rather large number of people hanging out in and around the hot tub. Jerry, a frequent running partner, shook his head at me and said the pool was closed. Somebody found a dreaded "floater" that would require testing and cleanup.
I walked back into the locker room, drying off, thinking about how to salvage the morning. The pool was my real goal as I've been dealing with some minor knee pain after a Tuesday night roller blading adventure with a bunch of eighth graders. It seems I don't bend or bounce as much as in the past, but the concrete has remained exactly as solid as always.
Still, with the pool closed, running was about the only option, so I hit the track for a few lactate threshhold intervals. If you can't run for distance, run for effect. Thirty-five minutes later, I was back in the locker room changing so I could spend a few minutes in the hot tub.
Imagine my surprise when I walked onto the pool deck and saw a couple ladies aqua jogging in the pool. Jokingly, I asked if it was, in fact, a Baby Ruth bar they found in the pool.
"No," came the reply, "But the chlorine levels were high enough that they didn't have to keep the pool shut."
I headed to the hot tub, figuring that would explain why I always feel like my skin is literally sloughing off after I get out of the water. Just how much chlorine DOES it take to be able to open the pool less than 30 minutes after finding leftover from the previous night floating around the water?
If there's anything I'm worse at then swimming, it's doing math while swimming. Apparently I leave my accounting skills at the door to the pool.
I was undecided about this morning's workout as I was in the pool both Sunday and Monday. While I wasn't concerned about three days in the pool in a row, I didn't have a workout in my head. I sat on the pool deck trying to decide what might motivate me and decided to do 400s.
After a quick 200 yard warmup, I started with 8x50 fast. Well, fast for me. I then threw in 400 easy (which will become a factor, later). After the 400 easy, I did 4x100 with the first and last 25 easy and the middle 50 all out. Somewhere around there, I started forgetting what I'd already done, as well as the total distance. I did 2x200 to recover from all of the fast 50s, then tried to figure out of I was at 1200 or 1400. I calculated it must be 1400, so pushed myself to do 600 yards to finish. I did 400 easy, then cooled down with a final 200 yards to round out the 2000 yard session.
I was a put demoralized with my total time of 1:01 in the pool. Even accounting for rest intervals, that's a bit slower than I'd like to see after my recent form and pace focus.
Of course, if your math during reading is any better than my math in the pool, you will have already found my math to be a bit fuzzy. Five 400 yard sets plus 400 warm up and cool down doesn't equal 2000 yards. Yeah, it was that easy 400 I did between the 50s and the 100s that I completely forgot about. So, the point at which I pushed myself to finish out with 600 total yards SHOULD HAVE been the point where I said, "Gee, now is a great time to cool down."
Still, an extra 400 yards means I am much happier with my time.
First, allow me apologize to anyone who had a heart attack after seeing two posts in the same week. I really don't want any of the three of you to come to harm.
Today's workout was reminiscent of the final showdown in "The Princess Bride." That's where Westley (or, if you prefer, the Dread Pirate Roberts) challenges Prince Humperdinck to a duel "to the pain." Though there was no swordplay, and not much of a duel, the "to the pain" part was in play.
My focus for the past several weeks has been improving my pace, mostly through workouts consisting primarily of 100s. Today, I decided to do sets of 100 yards on 2:20 seconds until failing to stay under two minutes for two consecutive sets. My tenth set was 2:01, but I managed to get back under that on the next set, guaranteeing at least another couple hundred yards. In the end, I managed 1400 yards before finishing.
With that under my belt, it's probably time to think about a 1000 yard time trial to benchmark things. It's probably also time to think about more drill sets to help improve my form. After all, there's a race season just around the corner.
And this year, I won't be wiping myself out in the first race. There's a self-supported Ironman to be completed in September.
Well, I finally got back into the gym after last week's awesome swim workout. You know, the one where I managed to swim with the dolphins. The one were I also managed to get a good amount of water into my ear.
Yeah, that one.
By Tuesday, I couldn't really hear in that ear, and I had to sleep with a towel on my pillow because of fluid leaking out. By Thursday I was trying to get the rest of the water out of the ear, and dealing with a rather severe case of something in my chest. Might be bronchitis. Could be a chest cold because of the water in my ear. Or it could be that stupid mucus dude from the cough and cold commercial (you know who I mean, even if I don't). Regardless, the coughing was bad enough to wake me up throughout the night.
For a week.
Today, I decided that a bit of exercise might help. So, I headed back to the scene of the crime. I got in a 1500 yard workout AND maintained an average pace under two minutes per 100 yards. Nothing amazing, but great for me. And the chlorine seemed to do it's trick on my sinuses, clearing them out pretty well.
Side note: Unlike many people I know, chlorine doesn't make things a complete wreck in my nose. My sinuses are a wreck most of the time, anyway. Swimming, even in chlorinated pools, makes things better for me. Sorry Nancy and John. It just does.
The cough is still there, and It will probably take another week to get the water out of my ear. At least it's not blood, anymore.
I've decided that it will now take broken bones to keep me away from training. The coughs, colds, and sinus garbage is getting old. So, no more. I'll just keep hitting the pool. And making sure my ear plugs are sealed.
The past few weeks have been dedicated to getting back into the swing of things, training wise. Brilliant idea, trying to jump start training over the holidays. Does anyone care to guess if I hit all my workouts?
There was, however, a positive side. The high-tech (cheap) body fat scale says (guesses) my weight today is the same 186 it was before the holidays. If I can make it through Christmas and New Year without significant gains, I'll call it good. Of course, the scale could just be lying to me. I wouldn't put it past it.
I've been working on base runs and swims. In the pool, my main goal has been to remember that I DO know how to swim. Some of the people who swim with me might disagree. And they might be right.
Up until today, I've stayed in my lane. I tend to take the "Medium" lane, as I am somewhere above "trying to avoid drowning" and well below "Flipper." Most workouts have focused on 100 yard repeats, typically 10 sets. Pace? Let's not talk about that.
Today, I hit the pool for a short workout after a 5K run. After all, I didn't want to overdo the running thing. So, I headed to the pool and checked things out. Water aerobics day, and you know they HAVE to take up one of the swim lanes. Of the two left, I had to pick between uber-slow and hella fast. The two in the slow lane were on seriously different paces, so I ruled that out. That left Ms. Speedy Dolphin and the guy sucking up her wake.
I jumped in with them. After all, I was only looking at maybe 500 yards. They wouldn't pass me too many times in that distance.
Turns out they were doing 100s with 10 second rest intervals. Well, 10 seconds for the guy. Ms. Speedy Dolphin got more like 20-30 seconds. So, I jumped in with them. Who needs rest intervals?
I did the first 100 no problem. In fact, it was awesome. I swam something like 1:44. I know that's nothing amazing for all you fish out there, perhaps even a bit pokey. But for us 2+/100 swimmers, that's pretty fast.
The second 100 was a bit more annoying. It was even faster (1:42), but I noticed water squishing through my ear plug. Yes, it squished. It's my ear and I say it squished. After the set, I attempted to get a better seal, though I should have known better. It's always been pointless to try.
The next 100 was more like 50. Okay, it was exactly 50, but in a pretty good time of 50 seconds (shut up, that's fast). Buttttttt, and it was a huge butt, my ear plug was completely useless and I had water gleefully leaking into my inner ear. Really. I heard it going "Wheeeee!" as it went through the holes in my ear drum.
I hopped out of the pool, ran into the locker room, tried (in vain) to get water OUT of my ear, and popped in a new ear plug. I took the pack with me, just in case.
I jumped back into the rotation at a convenient point, and banged out four more 100s, all under 1:45. Then, they switched to 50s. Since I had already done 650 yards of a planned 500 yard cool down, I decided to only do two 50s with them, just to see how it went. The first was great. The second? Let's not talk about it.
Needless to say, I decided that was a good time to stop, so I went to the hot tub. NOBODY laps me in a hot tub.
I was a bit dejected when I got out of the pool, as I somehow deleted the swim set from my watch. I was REALLY dejected when I got to work and realized that I had somehow deleted both the swim set AND my run set. I remembered the time for the swim. The run? I just guessed. It felt fast, so I went with a bit slower than my last 5K run on the track.
But who cares about the run? I managed to hang with the dolphins without drowning or dying. That's gotta count for something.
Just who is this Iron Pol?
A former out of shape sailor, who became a marathoner, then a triathlete, Ironman, and ultramarathoner. Now, life has pushed me into short track speed skating. More important than the titles is the lifestyle, and sharing it with others.