My top five Slowtwitch threads tonight:
- Beer and recovery
- Why can't "experts" agree on anything
- I love Kara Goucher !
- Why does a swimmer ever want to lead out of the water?
Until this year—until a few weeks ago—I couldn't have told you my 100-yard interval times, because I didn't do intervals. I didn't swim hard. I got in the pool and swam back and forth for 40-60 minutes, damn near every time. This year in the early going I began to mix in a few sets, but not enough to make a difference. Then came Big Swim Week at the start of April: five consecutive days in the water, during which the evolution toward swimming hard began to unfold. Bored enough with all that swimming to try something different, and inspired by the declaration that at my speed I was not swimming, I did a lot of hard intervals. Slowly, by most standards, but as hard as I could do them.
Fast-forward to today. I arrived at the pool late and didn't have much time before I had to pick up The Lad from school. After swimming four easy laps it occurred to me that I should do a 1000-yard time trial. A month or so ago I swam the distance in 19 minutes. Today, I had given up some time by swimming easy the first 200 yards, but then got into a faster, steady groove. I was holding back a bit to make sure I didn't run out of gas—next time I do the 1000, I'll definitely go a little harder. Despite all that, I still dropped my time to 18:05, a 55-second improvement. I'm sure if I had set out to do a TT and had known I had the endurance to go harder I could have been around 17:45. That's getting me under 1:50 per lap. Does that make me a swimmer? I don't know, but I will say this: I'm going to improve a lot more in the next two months.
Also today, on the bike: Hill repeats on Tabor. I was aiming to do 10 on a 0.3-mile, 100-foot vertical-gain hill (that's a 6 percent grade), but apparently lost track and did 11. It was the last day of the outbreak of spring, all sunny and mild. Tomorrow the high falls by about 20 degrees and the rest of the week we're cloudy, possibly drippy, and probably not cracking 60 degrees. Portland. Anyway, here's the data, showing the heart rate bumping up near 165 with each hill, then falling below 100. Each climb was within two or three seconds of 1 minute and 20 seconds.