Monday, January 07, 2008

Death by Push-up. Not Noodle or Coyote

Today was a spectacularly brilliant day here in the ATL burbs. Hello? January? Thursday--15 degrees. Four days later it is in the 70's.
What can I say? Welcome to Atlanta.

Sadly my kids don't go back to school until tomorrow and Ryan had to work (someone's got to earn a living around here). So if I wanted to stick to the Kindzia challenge I was resigned on this beautiful day to the gym. And after 7 straight days of running (one of those days was a double with 2 runs and swim, btw) I really needed-- for the sake of my sore hammies-- do something different. So swim it was.

My swim workouts are almost always hardly worth mentioning. Since I started back swimming last spring I have been in the 30 minute just over a mile rut. Occasionally I might get a wild hair and push it to 40, maybe 45 minutes.

Really there hasn't been a reason for me to go longer in the pool. The only triathlon I've done was a sprint and the swim there was a measly 400m. You blink and you are done. Swimming a mile once or twice a week was more than enough.

But then Steph had to go and throw out into the ring a 5k swim which for some reason confused me at first and I thought it was a mile and half. That would be a 3k swim. I appreciate that Steph is so patient with me. At this point I think she is only hanging with me to see what dumb thing I am going to say or do next.

My stupidity aside I did have a great swim workout today that I thought I would share.

My plan was a 90 minute swim.

I should mention that the last time I swam longer than 45 minutes was the day before I had Beau. And those were desperate days. I was trying to encourage his exit and I'd already worn myself and my bladder out with running. Swim was all I could manage at that point. And the last time I swam over an hour was back in those old Swim Atlanta days when I was 12. So we are talking a long time ago.

I told myself that if I can run for nearly 4 hours and ride a bike for almost 3 surely I can manage to swim for an hour and half.

I planned my workout before I went. I figured I'd get bored with a steady swim so I thought up 2 drills to at least kill some of the time. I also really hoped that nobody was going to be at the pool. Sadly this was not the case.

I got to the pool just as Aqua fit was clearing out. I totally feel ridiculous doing my drills and laps swimming when the only other people in the pool are floating on noodles. I know I shouldn't feel like I am the ridiculous one but I just feel out of place working so hard while everyone around me is lounging.

I started with a 600m warm up. I finished this in just under 9 minutes.

Next up was the 10 x 100 in 2 minute intervals. The plan for this drill is 1:30 per 100m with 30 seconds rest. Usually I blow myself up in the first one because I feel so fresh and do that first 100 in under 1:20. Today, knowing I wasn't going to be done after the drill I purposely reigned myself in. Even still every 100m came in around 1:25. All were below 1:30 none faster than 1:20. This probably means that I should start doing 30 seconds rest instead of waiting until the 2 minute mark. Really this workout was no where near as challenging as it usually is. This tells me that running before swimming isn't doing my swimming any favors.

My plan after I finished the 10 x 100's was to do a 400m easy swim and then go into my next drill and then a steady mile swim. But I realized that only 29 minutes had passed and that I would be done with the 400 and the next drill well before the hour and even with the mile cool down swim it still wouldn't get me to 90 minutes. So I went ahead and swam for 30 minutes.

I didn't count the laps as I always lose count but I can always hit a mile+ in 30 minutes.

My next drill was my most hated workout from my neighborhood swim coach--not Swim Atlanta. He called them "Suicides" and they definitely made my 10 year old self want to die. I would have gladly taken 100 laps of butterfly any day. But my 36 year old self figured my 10 year old self was just a whiner.

And today I learned that my 10 year old self kicks my 36 year old self's ass. In fact 10 year old self wipes up the pool deck with my sorry 36 year old fat ass.

Suicides are fucking hard as shit.

I don't know if Coach Jones made up Suicides or if this a legitimate drill that other swim coaches punish their swimmers with or not but I am going to assume that you have never heard of them.

A Suicide is 10 push-ups done on the pool deck--no girly push-ups allowed. Gotta do it the manly way. Then you dive in the pool and sprint 25m. That is one suicide. You need to do that 10 times. And at the end you will have done 100 push ups and 10 25m sprints.

I know. On paper it doesn't sound hard. But I challenge you to go swim for an hour and then do 10 suicides. The sprint will feel like relief, like you are light as a feather. But then when you hop out to do those push ups you will see somehow you've gained an extra 50lbs. Your muscles just feel all sorts of wrong.

Please note that I did not dive. I just got in. There is no diving allowed at the La Fitness pool. Not to mention this would have drawn even more attention to my foolish antics.

So yes, I seriously underestimated how difficult this drill was going to be. And I use to be in the habit of doing 2-3 sets of 25 push-ups on a regular basis without much effort. It is a habit I have, especially after today, regretfully let lapse.

How this drill played out was so ugly. Going in I knew I would feel totally ridiculous jumping out of the pool to do push-ups, especially if there were the noodle floaters in there. But worse of worst case scenarios happened and there was not only noodle floaters to witness my death but also other triathletes.

The first 2 suicides went down just fine. But by the fourth one my sprint was not much of a sprint and my push up form was failing. At that point I decided I would only do 5 Suicides but I got to 5 and said screw it I am seeing this through to the end even if it kills me. ha ha ha So I kept going and handicapped my way through rest of them with piss poor form and copious amounts of rest (you are not suppose to rest at all. You are suppose to get all 10/100 done as fast as you can. Definitely in under 10 minutes)

I think the guy in the lane next to me was pretty embarrassed for me but whatever, next time I'll do better. I rested for a minute--chatting briefly with the tri guy next to me and the guy that works at my gym and does triathlons. I finished up with a solid 30 minute swim and could have kept going but I had to get my kid's out of gym hock. I think I was in the pool for a little over an hour 40 and I think I will be just fine for the 5k swim.

In other workout news. . .

I took the kids trail "running" this afternoon. Beau has begging to go with me so I agreed to take them. We walked/ran on the Sope Creek trails for about an hour for a little over 4 miles. There was much whining and complaining. Much running ahead and then much sitting in the middle of the trail claiming to be too tired to take another step and then more sprinting ahead.

Carmella said it was boring. Not enough hills! And for God's sake she needed a walking stick! How about this stick? Nope too heavy. This one? Too ugly. This one? Too big.

Beau said I was too fast. Too slow. He was dirty. (Uhm yeah, that is why I was telling you not to lie down in the mud) It was too far. This is definitely the wrong way. He wanted to go to the factory (there are Mill ruins on the trail). Where are all the wild animals? There aren't any, Carmella told him. There are probably coyotes, he informed her.

And at the word "Coyote" Carmella lost it. A scuffle broke out in the middle of the trail. Beau kept shouting Coyote! Coyote! as Carmella tried to cover his mouth saying Don't say it! Don't say it!

And then at the end, once we finally got back to the car, they didn't want to leave. But I was done and I felt like how my Dad must have felt all those times he took me backpacking and I laid on the trail kicking and screaming that it was too hard, too far and I was never doing anything like this again . . .

Last week totals:
Running: 43 miles
Swimming: 1 mile
Biking: 0
Weights: 20 minutes

Kindzia's Challenge:


  1. At this point I think she is only hanging with me to see what dumb thing I am going to say or do next.

    Well, I don't know about Steph, but that's why I keep coming around ;-)

    I got that swim workouts in a binder book. If you want some swim workouts, drop me a note.

    You're kids are so cute. They'll be pounding out two a days in no time.

  2. Wes and anyone else: Share your favorite swim drill or even least favorite as that usually means that it does the most good. Someone give me a good pyramid workout.

    BTW my chest muscles are so freaking sore from those damn push ups. I bet I wouldn't be sore at all from my swim if it wasn't for those pushups.
    Atleast the legs feel good.

  3. Holy cow, those suicides sound hard!

    Yes, any swim workouts are welcome. I did 2x500, 1000, 500 (learning to sight) today. BOOORRRING.