Wednesday, December 21, 2016

DSU Times Two

I did it again. I pulled off another double dip. Tuesday morning, I packed my truck with clothes, towels, swimming gear, and snacks then headed for DSU, the home of the Fighting Okra. I arrived a little late for the 12:00 to 2:00 opening and got into the water around 12:20. I started with a straight swim because I wanted to work those aerobic enzymes. Besides, Masters practice is always filled with fast 50s. This swim came on the heals of a big back yard weight session on Monday, so muscles were sore and tight. I like it like that, and I seem to swim well the day after lifting hard. Go figure.

My initial set was 3,600 meters straight in 1:10:03 (1:56). My usual pace for this type of swim is around 2:02 or slower even. I was helped by having other people in the pool, one guy near my speed. Every time we passed-- he going one way and I the other-- I marked the spot and then tried to see if I could add some distance between us when we passed again. This helped me push it a little harder than I would have if I had been alone.

My second and only other set was 800 with small paddles. Although there was still some time left, I tapped out after the paddle set knowing I would be swimming again. Total: 4,400 meters. For lunch, I had a protein shake and a sweet potato which I ate whole, skin and all. It is time to declare war on the belly. 

After swimming, I went to see Smu and the grandchildren. I left with hugs, a jug of candy corn, and a big box of Oatmeal Raisin Cookies. My son-in-law has a cookie route. Did I mention I've declared war on the belly? War is hell.

At Masters, I swam

8 X 150 small paddles, breathing 5, 7, 9 by 50s 
200 cool down
total: 2,800 meters = 7,200 for the day.

After the night swim, I had another whey protein shake, another sweet potato and an apple. I made it all the way back to Greenwood without touching the candy corn. Don't say you don't believe in miracles.

Now for a word about breathing sets. I hate them. A lot. I hate them a whole lot. One of the reasons for having a coach is they make you do things you would not do on your own, and normally I follow instructions without complaint. I complained last night.

There are several reason given for doing breathing patterns. One reason is that it teaches your body to perform in oxygen dept. I have read a lot, and the science allegedly does not back up that reason. I say "allegedly" because I have not read the primary studies but have only read synopses done by other people. I take their word for it but understand they may be wrong. It is like those training masks that some MMA fighters use. The theory is that by restricting airflow, your muscles are forced to work harder in the absence of enough oxygen. That is logical and appealing to my mind. But from what I have read, the science doesn't back up the benefits of those training masks either. Still I am tempted to purchase one.

Another reason given for breathing sets is it helps you focus on your stroke. That also is logical and although I know of no studies on that, I am confident that none are needed. My problem with breathing sets is they hurt and they are potentially dangerous. Let's look at my first problem: they hurt. Most people don't like pain and I fall in with most people on that one. But remember, one reason for having a coach is he or she makes you do what you would not do on your own. I don't mind some pain if there is a good purpose behind it, i.e., a payoff. For example, hard 400s hurt, but there is a big payoff; they really boost your fitness and they do it fast. I question, however, if there is any balance between benefit and pain on these breathing sets.

As far as danger goes, it is real, and I have experienced it. Once, I almost blacked out after a flip turn doing a nine breath pattern. I am not exaggerating, and it scared the holy doo doo out of me. That's when I began to cheat on these sets. I take two breaths coming off the wall on seven and up patterns, and on nine patterns I take two breaths after each nine. It goes like this: nine strokes, breathe breathe, nine strokes, breathe breathe. It is still difficult but I never get into trouble. If I were to black out and sink to the bottom, I could be down there a couple of minutes before anyone noticed. That is long enough to die. It ain't worth it. Not now, not never, and I don't mean ever.

Well that is my rant for the day. I hope you enjoyed it. I did.