Sunday, January 3, 2010

endless swimming in the snow

Winter journey from 2009 into 2010
Dennis and I drove the 8 hours off the ferry, to BogBrook cove in Maine, to visit our friends David and Alan. Arriving at their farmhouse on the morning of New Years eve, we left our car (low profile wheels, 2WD, no traction in the predicted 2-3 feet of snow) at the end of the driveway 2 miles away, and hoofed it back to the house, ready to get buried in for the weekend.
A beach walk with Lola and David brought had all of us skating on pond ice and crunching salty icicles. We made the short drive to Lubec to search for lobsters, but being the eve that it was, the old smoke house was shuttered tight so we wandered to the wharf where there was some life in the diminishing light. Alan procured some fat scallops right from the boat, with the fisherman popping one in his mouth, fresh from the shell for good measure!
Dennis and I trekked over to the barn for a pre-dinner swim in the endless pool.. how spoiled are we? I didn't feel like doing very much swimming, so I happily ducked under for long breath-holding spells to watch him swim and to give feedback. I love this pool, not purely for its situation on the base of a rocky promontory overlooking the ocean, but for its utility in teaching, with instant feedback, about body position and efficiency in the water. Are you listening Santy?
We feasted on a wonderful dinner celebration with tons of champagne, local scallops and shrimp and good company rounded out the year, as the snow began to blanket us..
New Years day began with waking to the crashing ocean while tucked up in bed in the "grainery", an 18th century crop storage building renovated as a bedroom on the farmhouse..The new year was heralded with a pre-breakfast swim where I was totally lost in the endless pool, working on drills, experimenting in the water, refining stroke components and having fun! I totally understand the connection with Terry Laughlin's "total immersion" concept, and am able to apply it much more readily in this circumstance. I thoroughly recommend this tool to anyone who is curious about swimming, who wishes to master and refine their technique or who simply want to explore their physical function in a watery way..Here is one of my wintery swim workouts, which can be modified and replicated in a regular pool, but is specific here to the endless pool, endless fun!
Warm up: 10 minutes, @ low speed, (10 x 1 minute/ 50 strokes: 10 sec rest interval (RI)
Drill set @ very low speed: push off back wall to glide in streamlined position, allow current to return you to wall, try to maintain fuly streamlined position and land close to, or at the starting position. Allow your knees to flex deeply upon landing, pause then push off into the current again. The purpose is to develop body position sense and work on alignment in a fully streamlined prone position, as well as working on the plyometric components of the swim turn. Repeat 10-20 or more times or until you feel like your take-off and landing positions have the same footprint, ensuring control during the explosive phase, and optimal positioning in prone phase of swimming.
Warm-up set: (5-10 intervals@ moderate speed/ 100-200 strokes (2-3' intervals with 20 sec RI) with focus on alignment and elongation from previous drill.
Recovery 1-2 minutes @ low speed
Main Drill Set: @ low speed: Side-lying kick drills: 3 sets of 3-4 intervals on each side until "failure" point, 30 seconds to 1 minute each with recovery of breaststroke for 30 seconds: the point at which you are unable to maintain a consistent position in the current: pushing into the center of the pool in a side-lying position, once you have found the "sweet spot" that Laughlin refers to, maintain the balanced streamlined position and continue to flutter kick in sidelying. Try to alternate face down and face up while maintaining this position, using a point on the ceiling (in my case, one of the barn beams!) or an object on the wall as a visual guide. Alternate with Catch-up drills, with breathing on alternate sides. Here you will really feel the difference in balance from one side to the other, don't be reluctant to drop the speed of the current further in order to master the drill at a lower speed, before nudging the speed up for an increased challenge.
Main swim set: 3-4 x 5 minute steady open-water pace swim @ moderate pace, 1' RI @ low speed, inching the current up from the first to the final interval. Focus on the practices worked on during the drills, balancing right and left side glide while breathing, extending the reach upon hand entry, following though to complete the pull.
Finish with 5 bursts at full speed, maintaining central positon in the pool while concentrating on minimizing the splashing!
Cool down with low speed breaststroke, multi-directional walking against the current, or some on-deck stretching.
The snow was dumping about an inch per hour all day as we moved with reading material and coffee, from the kitchen to the living room and back to the kitchen before settling in front of the fireplace with a full-bodied zinfandel and some snacks. A brief trip (by Toyota Highlander Hybrid AWD) to get wood from the woodshed had the truck battery crash, while deep in snow, and resulted in us hoofing several armfulls and bagfulls of birch back to the house while the wind and snow whipped us sideways with 30 knot icy blasts. Having left the SUV buried, we were finally totally stranded! Our tracks each time, were totally obliterated, so we waded in increasingly deep waves of snow, through the fields and back to the warm farmhouse.
The next morning we feasted on Danish pancake dumpling things that Alan whipped up, resplendent in a sauce of maple syrup and farm-grown blueberries, from the lower fields outside the house. Rest assured, I ate many, many more than these few..Fully loaded for the winter weather, Dennis and I schlepped down to the cars to dig them out and prepare for the return journey to the real world! Some hot tea, more reading, some school work, some chatting followed by more tea, some short hikes in the deep heavy snow, and a final swim before preparing dinner for the final night..
Truly, a great break from the final wind-up of Christmas and Winter 2009 and fully recharged for 2010..
NEXT post: Goals, races, plans for 2010..

1 comment:

Jen Gatz said...

Love it! Now we have to get our endless running again and I will try out your body position workout! Curious, what temp do they leave it on through the winter???