Thursday, June 28, 2007

Another of my favorite "Heights"


Yesterday I wrote about the event at Sharon Heights, and last night I hiked up high with four of my dear friends on Windy Hill. It was a gorgeous night, albeit windy *duh* and we brought things to toast with at the top. Usually when we get together, which is only about once every two months, we do the basic go-out-to-local-sushi-restaurant or maybe to Oak City Grill routine (costing at least $40 per person with no view of anything but each other's grown up and go out clothes). Nothing wrong with good sushi, or sea-level girl talk, of course. But it stunned me to realize we'd never thought to do what we did last night, before last night. Hike + sunset wine toast + taqueria in Portola Valley afterwards. Total: $10 each, including a work out, meal and cocktails. Just a little reminder to myself that I love where I live and I need to live in it, more.

My sore thigh muscles were happy to let my arms pull a long set this morning:

*warm-up with 4 x 100's free

add pull gear for:

*500 moderate free (30 sec rest), 200 fast free (no rest), 50 recovery on back, 100 fast free (30 sec rest)
*400 moderate free (30 sec rest), 200 fast free (no rest), 50 recovery on back, 100 fast free (30 sec rest)
*300 moderate free (30 sec rest), 200 fast free (no rest), 50 recovery on back, 100 fast free (30 sec rest)

option to remove pull gear (I did) for:

*750 done by lengths of the pool:
5 lengths moderate
4 lengths fast
5 lengths moderate
3 lengths fast
5 lengths moderate
2 lengths fast
5 lengths moderate
1 lengths fast

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Sharon Heights reaches new heights

I don't know about you, but I had a great time last night. Of course, nothing that starts with passed glasses of wine and appetizers and a glassy view of rolling green hills and blue sky - OH, and none of my kids in sight - can be bad. But this was really, really great.

Why was it so great? First I'll issue a warning (especially to Tim and other emotional folks): this is going to get sappy.

Last night was so great because of how many of us turned out to support Tim and John and other members of our team who are championing a project that has the potential to change an entire classroom full of kids' lives (and, as evidenced by the testimony of Edwina, the mother of an EPA Dreamer, their families' lives). It was so great because, well, Tim cried. And when your big strong badass swim coach cries, you cry (if not in your actual eyes (I'm incapable of crying in public but believe me I wanted to) then in your heart). The emotion flowing through Tim's talk was something that we all, I'm sure, absorbed in some way. Why is that? Why is it so easy to empathize with, want to impress, follow and be coached by Tim? There's something about him, and it ain't just his swimmer muscles, that compels folks to follow him. Whether he realizes he's got it or not, he's putting this charisma to Saintly use. Sure, he could coach us all to victory in some swim meet and inspire us to work out more. But whoopdeedo. He already does that. The simple fact that he realized he could take this coaching thing further than the pool or pavement is reason for applause. And then there's the follow-through, and finally, the execution of a plan for a night like last night.

If I hadn't come already ready to give my help in any way I could, well, Tim's teary performance would have done the trick. (But the word is it was not orchestrated. Honest.) To organize a huge, influential group for positive social action is one thing. To care so much about the action that you cannot get through describing it without tears is quite another.

Nothing exemplifies why Tim is so special and inspiring better than his behavior last night. He doesn't just want us to succeed in swimming and triathlons. He doesn't just want to make enough money to support his amazing family (members of which seems to help him in his every endeavor). He wants to lift us all, and others who have not had the means to join such athletic or other typically upwardly mobile groups, up in some way. He wants all the people he can possibly touch to have a fighting chance to uplift themselves. Think for just a moment about all the folks you know who could use their circle of influence to drastically help others who are less fortunate, but don't. Then think about Tim. And thank him, for all that he does.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Out of Water Party Tonight

Today's workout was my favorite (10 x 400's) and I've been looking forward to tonight for quite a while. I'm excited to see what Tim and I Have a Dream Foundation have cooked up, and also to see what Sharon Heights Country Club has cooked up. Let's be honest. It's fun to go to a club for food and drinks (and of course inspiring work). I hope to see you all there!

Monday, June 25, 2007

MP Escapes from Alcatraz


It was one of those San Francisco days you cannot quite believe. The sky was cloudless (and fogless!) at 6:45 AM and it was too warm for a sweatshirt already. Alcatraz glistened (okay, more like poked out of a glistening Bay) in the Bay and runners were so thick on the Marina trails that Kathleen and I could barely make our way over the hill to Aquatic Park on foot (I'm exaggerating, but you get the idea: NICE day).

The other times I've swum from Alcatraz have been gloomy. Prison escape weather is all I can describe it as, and I was always scared shitless to jump off that boat and swim against the currents to the beach.

This time, it was a joy. And lo and behold, Menlo Park swept first and second (I knew I should have held Kathleen's ankles at the starting line) place for the ladies. Whooohooo! We also saw Chris Kellerman there swimming with a group of buddies to raise money for a special child. He did some worldly good and won his age group too. Go Menlo Park!

Saturday, June 23, 2007

I Miss You

I gave my husband a break this morning and didn't go to the pool, since I'm swimming Alcatraz tomorrow and his morning will be gobbled up by my early departure. But Saturday just isn't Saturday without the swim, and I'm having withdrawals. I know I'm a sicko and I should just work on healing my chlorine addiction, especially since it seems I will be giving up one of my four swim mornings, starting this week. The hubby is working his ass off, barely making it to bed by 1 AM after getting home for a few hours with the kids and then going back to work on his start-up venture after bed time (while I go immediately to sleep), and then getting back up at 5 AM with our little guy while I go off to swim (damn those early rising children!).

He seems miserably tired and unable to find time to get a workout in, while I'm having the time of my life swimming and running and (yes also working hard but...) going to bed by 9. Giving him this one morning off seems to have helped already. He slept more than four hours last night and then got up for a good long run. They say that if the woman's happy, the family's happy, and that's true. But Dad's gotta be able to function and stay healthy too, I guess. So, I'm taking one for the family team and giving up one swim per week. I miss it already, but I've also already started scheming ways to slip in swims during the days I work.

Shhhhh.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Today, and Someday


I'm swimming Alcatraz this Sunday, and whenever a race day approaches I start to think of all the other races/swims I'd like to do some other day. This happens especially when I'm doing a swim I've done before and am feeling like I've perhaps done one too many times. Alcatraz has lost some, not all, of it's allure since I've swum it twice before. I know it will still be thrilling and chilly and I'll still have to visit the bathroom after I get lubed up and pull the wetsuit on due to nerves. But, three times might be enough. Anyway, this prompted me to list five swims I'd (realistically) like to do someday (most likely - hopefully - after the younger members of my family are both out of diapers and before I end up in them). And here they are:

1. The Waikiki Rough Water Swim followed, of course, by a week's Hawaiian vacation
2. Swim Around the Rock
3. Trans Tahoe by myself or with one other swimmer (done it twice in a relay already)
4. Trans Tahoe, or any swim relay, as part of a team with one or both of my sons (as you can see by the photo, we're practicing already but this is quite a few years off)
5. Bridge to Bridge swim (10K!!!)

But enough about someday. Today's workout was fan-tabulous. All of you p*ssies that saw the email and stayed away...THANK YOU. We had about 10 people this morning and wow was it nice to have uncrowded lanes. Okay, I'm not totally serious. I like it when everyone shows up of course (and probably the low turnout had more to do with chance that reluctance to swim long free mixed with fly). But once in a while it IS nice not to slap arms at all during a swim. And I didn't have to wait in line for a shower either.

*warmup: 3 x 150's free, each followed by a strong 50 free descending 1-3

*main (and i mean MAIN) set (2400 yds):
500 free aerobic (on the 1:25 base)
3 x 100's free threshold (1:30 base, hold approx. 1:14)
4 x 25's fly

400 free aerobic (on the 1:25 base)
3 x 100's free threshold (1:30 base, hold approx. 1:14)
4 x 25's fly

300 free aerobic (on the 1:25 base)
3 x 100's free threshold (1:30 base, hold approx. 1:14)
4 x 25's fly

*3 x 150's free aerobic-like

Monday, June 18, 2007

Shower Sharing


Despite being in the midst of teaching two little boys that sharing is good, I'm not a good sharer. One of my least favorite things to share is food. Family style restaurants and sushi houses are okay because I enter with the knowledge that I must share, but I still end up stuffing myself out of fear that I won't get my hands on the salmon or tempura rolls fast enough. Sharing food leaves me feeling unsatisfied, no matter how much I eat--as if I've had to compete for the morsels of nutrition I ingested. There is no calm; no sense of having savored my own full meal.

I like sharing a shower stall at the pool even less than I like sharing food. I'll wait in that wet line of ladies waiting to warm up as long as I need to in order to get my own stall. I will happily let others go ahead of me to share stalls so I can wash myself in peace. Don't get me wrong--I'm not against being wet and naked next to all the hot babes on the team. That's actually tempting :). But, there are a few things in this world that keep me sane and one of them is a thoroughly solitary (well, between the two little walls of my own stall), however brief, hot shower after a good hard swim. So let it be known, ladies, if you ask me to share with you and I decline it isn't personal. And if you notice I'm not inviting you into my water while you stand aside shivering, just know that I'm hurrying and that's the best I can do.

Today's pre-shower workout:

Honestly? I can't remember. It was a bunch of short sprinty stuff with fins and my brain cannot retain exactly what those sets consisted of for more than about five minutes.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Fly

How do you know one of your lane mates is getting in serious shape? They choose to do fly whenever Tim offers up a stroke choice, and sometimes even when he doesn't. Nothing bursts your "I'm feeling good today" bubble like the guy who's following you choosing to do fly on a free set and touching your toes on lap four.

Emmit is in some serious shape for his upcoming Ironman race. "Oh no, you lead," he'll say demurely when I ask if he wants to go ahead on a big free set. For a minute I'll feel good, like "Okay hey I'm the leader, I'm the top dog." Then he'll say, "I'm doing fly."

Today's Workout:

*warmup
300 easy free
2 x 25's kick
2 x 25's stroke
300 moderate free

*100 choice broken at the 25 for 5 seconds
2 x 25's kick
100 choice broken at the 50 for 5 seconds
2 x 25's kick
REPEAT 2X

*4 strong 100's choice. Sane folk chose free of course. Emmit-the-bad ass chose fly, I think just to make the rest of us feel weak ;-):
100 strong
50 recovery
100 strong
100 recovery
100 strong
150 recovery
100 strong
200 recovery

*4 more strong 100's choice, this time with a single 50 of recovery between each

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Sunny Thursday


It's only Thursday and I've already had quite a first week of Summer. But this morning I actually got to leave the house and get chlorinated, and while it would be nice to be sitting on the beach, I'm now sitting at Printer's Ink (for shame, Borrone is SO much better as I was reminded a few minutes ago by dry eggs) waiting for my hair cut appointment, which is another type of bliss. My boys are still sick but an angel-nanny is dropping by today so that I can actually clean myself up and get to work for a few hours. Then it's back to the slow grind through another hot day while stuck inside.

Today's workout:

*warmup was some amount of 100's free (I guess 5?) followed by 5 x 50's free

add paddles for:
*5 x 300's free
odd swims fast
even swims moderate

*4 x 200's free, dropping a piece of pull gear each 200 so that last one is without gear

*600 straight (with or without paddles) done as repeating 100's:
25 three-count
25 two-count
25 one-count
25 regular

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

I Did It

I wore the suit to practice this morning. Miraculously, it stayed in place even through a lengthy and tortuous breaststroke set (breaststroke kick does not, shall we say, help suits stay out of one's butt crack). But, the almost-thong didn't turn into a thong and I am pleased to say that it actually did make me feel fast (again a monstrous feat during a breaststroke set).

Perhaps it is the act of wearing next to nothing...the polar opposite of a drag suit, but this thing really feels good in the water. And I've been surprised at the lack of disapproving glares. Even my mother said it was a very cute suit.

So get in that Pro Shop and check 'em out ladies!

Today's workout:

*warmup:
250 free followed by 50 weak stroke (yes, for me this was breaststroke)
200 free followed by 50 weak stroke
150 free followed by 50 weak stroke

*8 x 100's:
odd 100's first 25 is kick weak stroke (on the 1:50)
even 100's first 25 is swim weak stroke (on the 1:35)

*flat top pyramid of weakest stroke: 25, 50, 75, 100, 125, 150 (repeat 150 twice then go back down)
by 25 here are the lengths (do all that apply for each distance):
1. one arm
2. two count
3. triple kick
4. regular stroke
5 and 6. freestyle

*few hard free swims:
50 hard free followed by 50 easy weak stroke
100 hard free followed by 50 easy weak stroke
150 hard free followed by 50 easy weak stroke

Saturday, June 9, 2007

My Favorite Set and a New Pet

This morning we did 10 x 400's and I swam like a fish. Then I took my son to the Nativity Carnival and we won a fish. A goldfish. Our first pet. Winning the fish cost me only $2, but on the ride home I was forced to buy fish food. And a fish bowl. And then my son said "Mommy! What about toys for my fish?"

That's where I drew the line. Anyway, now I've got a fish to clean up after in addition to my two, er, three, boys. Fun stuff.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Hot Suits

Tim has just returned from his seasonal fashion buying trip to Milano, and he has some new suits in the pro shop that are hot hot hot (think Brazilian bikini somehow stretched into a racing suit). The first time I tried one on I laughed hysterically at the prospect of actually wearing it out of the locker room. I have children for G-d's sake. I'm not sure anyone in Menlo Park needs to see me in an "Italian style" bottom half of a swimsuit. My immediate thought was that wearing one of these suits would not only be inappropriate (which, incidentally, has never stopped me before) for a 35-year-old mommy of two, but would require weekly waxing. That's expensive.

However, the brand logo for the suit maker is a little skull and crossbones, placed just above the butt of the suit. This is what got me. I'm REALLY into pirates right now, and that's just a really hip little touch. I've reserved one for myself with Tim and I'll be picking it up on Saturday. I'm not sure I'll ever actually wear this suit anywhere but the beach, but if I break it out for practice it better damn well make me faster because it certainly won't be providing much service in the coverage department.

Today's workout:

*warmup: 2 x 300 free. last 50 of each is 3 count drill

descend by long free swims (300 is faster than 500)
*500 free
*3 x 50's drill: catch-up, fingertip drag, thumb touching thigh drill
*400 free
*3 x 50's drill: catch-up, fingertip drag, thumb touching thigh drill
*300 free
*3 x 50's drill: catch-up, fingertip drag, thumb touching thigh drill

long free swims broken at the 100 for 5 seconds. descend by 300.
*300 free
*2 x 50's drill: 5 kicks to a stroke, fist free
*300 free
*2 x 50's drill: 5 kicks to a stroke, fist free
*300 free

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Cloudy with a chance of meatballs


What is up with this weather? Is it not June? Is it not the last week of school? Is summer coming anytime soon? I'm concerned about continuing the tan I got on my recent vacation and this cloud cover is not helping. I wanted to take my visiting sister-in-law from New Jersey to the beach and impress her with our sparkling sand and sunny coast but all I would be able to show her if I drove over the hill is fog. I guess we'll just sit inside this afternoon and read an appropriate book (my favorite from childhood...read it!).

Hmph. But hey, it was a great workout this morning (3600!), so I've got that going for me. Which is nice.

*warmup: 6 x 100's free

*3 x 400's:
1: reverse circle swimming (swim down left side of pool)
2: fit in 2 fast 100's, stop and gather lane after each fast 100
3: change leaders whenever current leader gets tired (leader swims strong)

add fins

*3 swims (700, 500 and 300) fitting 100 fly, 100 head up free and 100 streamline off the wall free into each distance, in any order

remove fins

*3 x 100 on the 1:45 descending 1-3

Monday, June 4, 2007

Easy (but hard) Monday

Today was just like I like it: simple and long.

warmup: 500 free

*5 x 200 descending (on the 1:30 base for L2)
*3 x 50 repeated twice: 50 kick, 50 one arm, 50 catchup

*5 x 150 descending (on the 1:30 base for L2)
*3 x 50's stroke

*5 x 100 descending (on the 1:30 base for L2)

So easy, and yet so hard!