Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Bat Cap Challenge!

A few weeks ago Michelle threw out the idea of ordering our famous bat caps. She had these made about 5 years ago, and they were handed out at her choosing to athletes that did something special, out of their comfort zone. This something didn't have to be a swim (and still doesn't), but I did earn mine in the pool.

Michelle flew out to AZ to train with a few of her local athletes for the first ever BSC camp. She stayed with Shane and I a few days before heading to Tucson to attend Hillary's SmashCamp so Shane & I got some bonus time with her. On our second swim with her, she learned, in person that I could in fact swim, but I must not be pushing myself enough because my times weren't all that impressive.  I don't remember what the swim was, but I remember this picture being taken after because I couldn't even lift my anything. I earned my bat cap that day. Unfortunately it wasn't silicone and didn't last, but in my head I knew I earned it ;)



The caps arrived and Michelle posted something on social media about how they can't be bought and the thread grew with like 200 comments in just a few hours.  One of my newer athletes, who had never even done a 3k set was the first to say she was IN.



The interest was growing, and while I had no desire to spend all week long in the pool, I wanted to lead by example and do the challenge myself.  I like swimming.  I like how my body feels when I'm done.  I like how it flushes the swelling and horrible water retention my body likes to hold onto and I like the weightless feeling. That said, after spending many years working on my swim, my speed has pretty much flatlined over the past few years, an I'm ok with that. I have other fish (bike splits) to fry, and with limited time these days for training spending 2+hrs with getting to the pool, etc doesn't leave time for much else!

I've done two epic swim challenges myself.  We trained for about 2 months to build up to a 10k swim in Kona. Logging about 12-15k/week for several weeks, then the swim itself. I didn't love, but I didn't hate the training, however, I didn't enjoy the 10k swim AT ALL. I was sea sick and dry heaving, and my swim buddy who did a bit less training then I did burned all his matches and struggled after 2hrs in the water which had me floating and swimming through swells making the nausea worse for almost half the swim.

My second challenge was doing 100x100 for my birthday swim a couple years ago.  I was post IMAZ and wanted something to focus on over the holidays. I had a bunch of friends join me for the swim, it took 3 hours, I swam strong and I LOVED every minute of it!

I digress, back to the swim challenge. My challenge was 30k over 7 days. I started it the day after we climbed Mnt Lemmon, so I was worried I'd have lingering fatigue, but the day went well! I took the day off work to catch up on life so it probably helped that I got to start at my chosen time and not feel rushed. Here's a real life recap of how my challenge went with the workout and then my post workout notes to Michelle!

Day 1:  4800
1000 w/u neg split
8 x 50's 25 easy/25 fast w/u set
MAIN SET: 2800
200 FAST @ 3:00!!
300 easy/steady @ 5:30
500 FAST @ 7:45
300 easy/steady @ 5:30
200 FAST @ 3:00!!
300 easy/steady @ 5:30
500 FAST @ 7:45
300 easy/steady @ 5:30
200 FAST @ 3:00!!
500 PBB easy c/d

My post activity notes:
Pleasantly surprised how good I felt!  My low back (both sides QL) are really sore, but not pain like before, just sore muscles.
Endurance wise fine, but the speed just not up to these splits to get any true rest.
I used the buoy for the fast stuff - 200s were 2:54, 2:57, 2:59 -- 500s were 7:35, 7:37.
Added a 100 easy flop to kick my legs out a bit at the end so one less 100 to do tomorrow   

Lindsay also took video of me when I didn't know.  My swim has felt like SHIT lately and masters coaches keep telling me I'm breathing late.  It's been driving me crazy because I can't figure it out.  I needed to see it. 10" of this video and I was MAD.  What happened to my rotation and no wonder my neck has been hurting so bad and I've lost like 5"/100....

I sent the video to both Jane (masters coach) and Michelle and they both gave me feedback.  Day 2 was masters and Jane gave me a tip that really clicked (getting my shoulder down which would force the rotation).  And, I self grounded myself from my buoy.  Too much swimming while exhausted and using the buoy as a crutch somehow made my body forget how to turn and the neck/head compensate.  I'm not rotating so I breathe late with a head turn and lose half my pull.


Day 2, Masters: Planned 3800, Completed 4200
My post activity notes:
Got in 1600 b4 class.  Jane gave me a cple thing to focus on.... dropping shoulder down to help  pop the hip.  I'm hoping it helps! I'll have lindsay do another video next week to see if anything clicks.

Mainset:  6x75 desc by 25s
5x 275 alt fast 100 through then all fast (3:49!) 
25 ez
6x 100. Build

Muscle fatigue, but energy good.

Day 3: 3100 cruise recovery day
1000 straight/easy swim
================
10x50's @1:00 as alternating 25 easy/25 fast; 25 fast/25 easy. (x4)
5x150's PBB cruise swim form focus 15" rest
5x100's swim no toys cruise form focus 10" rest
5x50's swim cruise form focus 5" rest
100 easy breaststroke

My post activity notes:
You mathed wrong on my challenge!!! Lol, now I'm 600 up.  I am sore today on my neck but really focused on getting my shoulder down to fire rotation... didn't look at the clock at all.

Day 4:  4400
400 swim easy w/u
300 as 25 kick/75 swim
4 x 75 descend 1-4 on 1:20
==========================
Main Set 3300
4 x 150 on 2:40
6 x 100 on 1:50
3 x 150 on 2:40
5 x 100 on 1:45
2 x 150 on 2:40
4 x 100 on 1:40
1 x 150 on 2:40
3 x 100 on 1:35
==========================
100 easy c/d

My post activity notes:
Slept like a ROCK last night!! I took the warmup stupid easy - didn't feel bad, but didn't feel awesome.  I'm so glad the main set was all short distance it was easier to wrap my head around.  I felt HUNGRY the whole swim even tho I ate a snack en route to the pool.  It wasn't like a bonk, just hunger (and fine when I stopped).

I used paddles for 150s and send off 2:30 vs 2:40
Then did baby descends to make the 100s have purpose or I'd just flop them.  Ranged from 1:35 down to 1:28.

Kept paddles for the last 3 and did 1:23. REALLY working on my rotation and kick.

Day 5: 3700 (this was probably the day I felt the worst!)
800 easy w/u choice
Main Set 1800 (repeat 2x through, 2nd time PBB)
3 x 100 fast @1:40
300 relaxed @5:00
2 x 150 as 50 fast/100 easy @2:30
======================
1000 fartlek as:
25fast/25easy;
50fast/50easy;
75fast/75easy;
100fast/100easy; (then repeat back down)

100 easy for cool down

My post activity notes:
I felt ok in the water, but my speed SUCKED.  My "fast" 100s were 1:30-1:31...... Put the SIMS on for the 1000 and did much better - 15:20ish for the total I think - helped I was trying to lap Shane :)

Day 6: 4000
800 w/u as 500 easy then 300 alt 50 fast, 50 easy
===================
4 x (200 @ 3:30 holding <3:05 100="" 1:26="" 1:50="" 1="" 2="" between="" can="" hold="" if="" needed.="" p="" rest="" s="" sets="" x="">===================
1500 straight done like this- 500 solidly paced with paddles, bouy, bands; 500 drop the bands and back off the effort a bit; 500 drop the buoy and back off the effort further. Last 500 is rather easy.
100 easy

My post activity notes:
HOLY SHIT!  I am shocked.  The warmup HURT.  Like my shoulders and triceps were sore... so I beyond flopped it.  Then, put my SIMS on for the main set and right off felt smooth and had rotation and felt good!
200s were 2:59, 2:52, 2:51, 2:49 (WHAT?! Haven't seen that for a while)
100s were all 1:22!!!
1500 was pretty fast too - 7:09, 7:24, 7:35.

--- I was SUPER hungry after and enjoyed lunch, a couple of beers and silly talk with the BFF at the gym after.  It was perfect!



Day 7:  Planned 6400, Completed 6800
1000 mixed w/u
8x50 kick w/fins rest 15"
8x50 swim w/fins easy/fast by 25; rest 15"
200 easy
===============
10x400 @6:30. Goal is to hold even pacing throughout the set.
===============

2x200 easy w/ buoy c/d

My post activity notes:
SO happy with how I felt!  I ate really well the night before and went to bed early.  The middle of the week was hard for me cause I wasn't sleeping well (puppies).... once I got sleep and added calories I felt great.  I also was REALLY working on rotation after Jane gave me tips Tuesday and it sorta clicked, especially with the SIM shorts, on Friday.

I was tired at the end, but not wasted.  It felt so good to do 2 epic things the past weeks (Lemmon & this swim).  Even though I REALLY don't love to swim THIS much, I do love doing big things and feeling my fitness creeping back.  Between life, dogs, and work the past 2 years it's been tough and I haven't been back there so this makes me so happy!

#1 & 10 were 6:10, all others 6:06.  I finished up with 800 PBB relaxed to make it 6800 for the day and 3100 total.  Those damn bonus yards at the beginning of the week were haunting my OCD.

I'm super happy to have completed the challenge, but not just for the cap. I was really blown away by my athletes stepping up and joining in on this challenge. For a lot of people swimming is the first thing to get left out or pushed aside because of time or they just really don't enjoy it.  Most think they can't get faster or improve their swim fitness so they don't bother, but the truth is it takes time and it takes discipline. You may not see your swim split drop by an extraordinary amount, but the fitness gains are huge and you will see the benefits later in your race because of that solid fitness.

I'm also happy because it allowed me to really focus on what I had been doing wrong for quite some time.  I wasn't trashed from cycling or running so I could really put my time and energy into not just swimming the distance, but doing it with purpose and working on correcting my form.  It will be a work in progress for some time, but I'm happy to be heading back on that track.

Getting out of our comfort zones and doing something we would never do on our own is so fun and it's more fun when others are sharing in on the journey ;)  If you are interested in the #batcapchallenge let me know, we can come up with something EPIC together!

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