After competing in triathlons for 9 years, I decided it was time to try something different. In the back of my mind I had always had this idea that I would try to swim the English Channel some day. Now, after almost 2 years of distance swimming training, that day is almost here!

Plot of my course

Thursday, September 11, 2008

A shot in the arm

Today I swam 100 laps in the pool which is just a little shy of 3 miles. This is one of the most boring (and most common) type of workouts I do where I just jump in a go without stopping until I am done. No warm up sets, no kickboard, no pull bouy, no resting between sets. Just one long swim. I often try to concentrate on stroke technique and efficiency. But the best thing to do is to try and think about something else besides swimming. I have solved a lot of work problems in the pool. Or I think about what I will do this weekend, current events in the news, my kids and what they are doing in school. Anything but counting laps. I have a cool lap counter that fits on my finger like a ring. I just hit it with my thumb when I do my flip turn so I don't have to think about counting. If I concentrate on how many laps I have done and how many I have to go on a long swim, it just makes me nuts. I had a couple of good suggestions from other distance swimmers of things to help pass the time - sing bible songs or 99 bottles of beer on the wall. I'm Episcopalian so those things are not mutually exclusive. (I hope you're not reading this Father Andrew!)

I got a cortisone shot for my right shoulder tonight and it already feels better. I think that did the trick. I've never had one before but had heard stories about the huge needle and how much it hurt. But I was pleasantly surprised. Barely hurt at all. I went to see Dr. Terry Hassler for knee issues back when I was hitting the triathlon circuit hard and he has continued to do good work on me with my swimming issues. Just a little plug for him, if anyone has orthopedic or sports injury needs, Terry is your guy! He knows his stuff and takes great personal interest as he and his wife Wanda are road bikers and all of his children swim competitively. In fact this past weekend two of his daughters participated in the Hartsville Triathlon performing quite well. I participated in a relay with Wanda and Bill Wilson (see pic above). So, a very athletic family and a really nice bunch of folks to know. Thanks for all of your help Terry!


Anonymous said...

Let me say this to those of you who wonder what 100-laps is like in a 25-yard-length pool. It's very challenging! Personally, I have swum competitively in high school and for a year or so after that with the master's team in Pittsburgh, PA. Really, nothing to brag about, but I know the conditioning of what it takes to be able to pull-off what Alan is speaking of. This is no small potatoes even to train for such an event--let alone the event in itself.

It's very difficult to compare running, biking and swimming conditioning seperately. They're all so different really. However, Alan is not a person--from what I can tell--to brag upon such atheleticism and fortitude. I tell you, this is a very big deal. Swimming 100-laps is about the same amount of energy that it would take a normal person to wash his or her family car 8-12-times, non-stop (most likely with wax too). No joke!

For instance, I ran/walked three miles today. No big deal, but it was very much a different kind of conditioning than someone might suspect in comparisson to swimming three miles. Just totally different!

Regardless, my anchor, my prayers, my best is behind Alan! He will become the upteenth person to attempt such an accomplishment; and Lord willing the 1600-hundreth person to accomplish such a task!

“Far better it is to dare mighty things, than to take rank with those poor timid spirits who know neither victory nor defeat.” Theodore Roosevelt 1899

Allan said...

Thanks anonymous (aka Michael). Haven't heard the car washing analogy before. That was interesting. I don't feel like 100 laps is much at all now but I did at one time. Over time you just add a little more until what was once hard is routine. So now my "that was kinda hard" threshold is around 360 laps or 10 miles. And its not so much from the distance but more from the 720 flip turns. It makes me really dizzy and disoriented like I'm in a washing machine. Sometimes I would do a few open turns but I really don't like to because it takes longer. I remember one time on a sunny day in the Darlington YMCA pool I had just finished 10 miles and my stomach did not feel well at all. With the sun flashing in my eyes for 5 hours, the Gu gels I ate that didn't sit well and the flip turns, I "tossed my cookies". Don't worry, I made good use of a cooler I had placed at the end of the pool. But even that experience was good training as it is very likely I will do the same in the Channel. That's just part of distance swimming.

Anonymous said...

I should have been more clear! Poor writing on my part--but the analogy to washing cars was a reference to your shoulders. Swimming taxes the shoulders just like washing cars does. Remember the movie, "The Karate Kid?" "Wax on, wax off" as was the phrase immortalized by the actor Pat Morita. You had mentioned a cortizone shot for your shoulder--but nonetheless, I should have been more clear.

Erin Kelley said...

Hey Allan i hope you are having fun, but more importantly how is Ben?? Tell Ben i miss him and tell onion i said hey

from Erin