Friday, November 27, 2009

Life as a Crazed Marsupial

I'm currently reading the novel Once a Runner by John L. Parker. Of course, living here in Track Town USA, I was 28th on the library's On-Hold waiting list to read the copies of the finally in-print new edition that they just got in. If you're a competitive athlete and have never read this cult classic, you absolutely must do so, if only for quotes like this one:
Tired as he was, Monday was a twenty-three mile day.... He lived from workout to workout, hanging on like a crazed marsupial on a branch in a flash flood."

Now who among us who has ever gone through the Ironman wringer cannot relate to that feeling??? It's only one of the little gems from this funny, poignant, fascinating book.

At the same time, I'm reading New Moon, since my teen is reading it and I want to discuss plot points. Let's just say that the prose in that hefty tome is, well, severely lacking in comparison. So seriously, if you like to read and you like to run and you have managed to not read Once a Runner so far in your life, do yourself a favor and pick up a copy!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Eclectic Workout Playlist

Burning a CD right now for my garage workouts:

Wake Me Up Inside - Evanescence
This Moment - Disturbed
Killing in the Name - Rage Against the Machine
I Am - Godsmack
Ace of Spades - Motorhead
This Ain't A Scene It's An Arms Race - Fall Out Boy
It Wasn't A Pretty Picture - Social Distortion
Lose Yourself - Eminem
Vertigo - U2
Doesn't Remind Me - Audioslave
Remember the Name - Fort Minor
Dragula - Rob Zombie
Beat It - Fall Out Boy
The Hungry Wolf - X

Monday, November 16, 2009

Swim Workout: Crossfit-Inspired BLAST in the pool

For this week's Saturday Masters, I decided to let my Crossfit training provide the inspiration for a truly taxing workout. For the main set, I got everyone out of the pool and used all four lanes. We did a serpentine swim, entering the pool on one side and swimming up and back in that lane, then under the lane line to the next lane. Up and back in that lane, switch to the next lanes, etc. until you reach the other end of the pool and get out on the opposite side. Since our pool is four lanes, that's a 200 yard swim total. Then on that corner of the pool, swimmers did 10 squats, came back over to the starting side and did 10 situps. We did that all four times, so four rounds of 200 yard swim, 10 squats, 10 situps, for total time.

One thing I noticed as I watched my Master's swimmers go through this workout is that different swimmers have different limitations. For some people, it's flexibility. Some swimmers can't squat without their heels coming off of the ground. This points to reduced leg and achilles flexibility, which can hamper swimming. For some swimmers, core abdominal and back strength is a serious limitation, for others its overall conditioning or swim technique. Since this workout hit all of those areas, if you couple it with a technique-heavy warmup like I did, it's a great one for making sure you are improving across all of the modalities that swimming requires: Technique, Flexibility, Core Strength, Conditioning.


SKILL: Kick Timing
DRILL: Two-beat kick with pull-buoy

Warm Up
300 Drill/Skill by 50
100 Kick 200 D/S 100 Pull 100 D/S

3 x (25-50-75-100 Build reverse IM) r 10

Main Set

4 x 100 Desc. Get warmed up!

4 x All-lane serpentine swim + 10 squats + 10 situps For Time

EZ 100

2 x 200 Pull, 200 Stroke

100 EZ

3550 y

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Stopping Knee Pain By Running

So a strange thing has happened to me on my self-imposed running hiatus (6 weeks as of this week): my left knee has started to really bug me. It's an old skiing injury, compounded by an old skydiving injury, but it usually just sings up every now and then and lets me know its there but doesn't really bother me too much. Since I stopped running it has been getting worse and worse and worse, to the point where I was having shooting pains during any lateral motion (one jumping jack during karate just about did me in).

But this week (Hallelujah!) I started running again. Oh, it felt soooooo good. Nothing like having something taken away to make you appreciate the gifts it brings to your life. The first run was a bit of a slog, 3.5 mile punctuated with walking/stretching breaks. But strangely after that run several days ago my knee stopped hurting. Today I just went out and ran, and ran and ran in a brief sunny reprieve from the torrential rains of November. And now my knee feels good as new again. Go figure, I had to run to make my knee injury go away?? Doesn't it usually work the opposite of that?

In any case, with my hand still keeping me out of the pool, I am so very grateful to be back running again. Although I've never considered myself much of a runner, maybe my body thinks differently.

Sunday, November 08, 2009


The news on the hand is all good, or as good as it gets I should say. The break is simple, no problems with the joint, I should only have this silly thing on my arm for another couple of weeks and then I'm on to a soft splint and hopefully being able to get back in the pool again. If nothing else, I've had to get dreadfully creative with my workouts to keep from going bonkers. Lots of time on the bike trainer, combined with Cross-fit style intervals of whatever I'm capable of doing (mostly situps and squats right now).

The good news is that I bunged up my bad wrist doing Crossfit a couple of weeks ago, and now that it's been totally immobilized for a week, it feels so much better. Gee, maybe I should abandon my full neoprene suit idea, and just have myself encased in plaster every so often to let my body rest and recupe. I swear that if you cut me open, you would just find that I'm full of duct tape and bailing wire, it's all that's holding this body together some days.

Still, though I miss my left opposable thumb (such a useful invention that one!) especially when trying to do something like, say, zip up my pants, I am hopeful that I'll be on the mend fast.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

But You Shoulda Seen the Other Guy

Actually the other guy looks just fine. Unfortunately I broke my hand in karate last night. I think it's telling that the first thing that went through my mind was "now I can't swim. waaaaahhhhhh!" Followed quickly by some words I better not retype here. Unfortunately, not knowing it was broken, I taped it up and finished class. Probably a mistake. I should find out today if it's straightforward or in need of an orthopedist. Keep your fingers crossed for a simple break and straightforward healing.