Fourty Four for Fourty Four  

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To help break out of my rut, I dragged my ass out of bed at 5:30am, had a very light snack and a coffee, watched a little tube, then off to the pool for my first morning workout in weeks.

Off to MUN pool, a 25 yard 4 lane pool on MUN Campus. My original plan, weeks ago was to attempt a very lofty goal of 4400 yards for 44 years on December 23rd. After the events of the last couple of weeks, I cut that goal by half, and managed to complete 44 laps for 2200 yards. Still a pretty solid morning session.

And I did the entire workout with all flip turns. Having the lane to myself for half the session was really great.

The plan from here is to keep up the momentum, and hit the pool again tomorrow morning for an early Christmas Eve workout, then back after boxing Day.

Christmas Blues I Need Motivation  

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I need motivation. Stories or sayings. I have a bad case of Christmas Blues. Please help me get my head in a good place.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas. It’s my favorite time of year. All that merriment and good cheer. Wine and good food. And no work.

But this year, despite all my good intentions and early plans, my training has suffered immensely the last three weeks.

Given my truck crash, my unexpected trip home, and a major emergency here at work, workouts have taken a back seat, and now that most of the local pools are shut for Christmas maintenance, I have been high and dry since last Tuesday.

As well, we are now getting hammered with another major storm, the second in two weeks. Winds are high reaching up to 100k gusting to 150, and rain is expected to top 80mm total in 3 days. That is not ideal mountain bike weather.

So my plan is to hit the pool on Boxing day morning, and start in on a week long session of long morning workouts at our university pool, and start out the New Year in better shape than I finished 2010. But I need help.

So send me your motivational sayings, or point me to motivational stories. First off the mark is Barbie who just signed up for her second 70.3 even before she completed her first.

Books and Stuff  

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Thanks again to all the wellwishers. Nan was a card. She would have loved to have you all over to her little house, cook supper for you, then make your ears bleed while she talked about everyone in the town, and made sure you knew their business, weather you wanted to or not.

I was disappointed to not receive my latest book, Champions: The Making of Olympic Swimmers Now 8 days late, the vendor simply replied with a ”Sorry, must be lost, we’ll give you a refund” which makes me wonder if they ever had the book at all. For whatever reason, this title is very expensive. New editions are well over 100 CAD, and used are almost 20 CAD. They were offering it used at a very good price, so I am a little upset because I didn’t want the refund, I wanted the book.

In the mean time, while travelling, I decided to pick up a copy of No Limits: The Will to Succeed The Michael Phelps story. This one is not as enticing as the Dara Torres book Not a knock against Michael Phelps, but the content, and the writing style are making it a lot more difficult to get through. As soon as I am done, I’ll be posting a review. Stay tuned.

Back in Action  

Posted by FLATOUT JIM

I want to give a huge Thank You to all who left comments. They were greatly appreciated.

My hiatus came to an end Friday night as I touched down at St. john’s International Airport at about 8:00pm.

It was a very good trip. Nan would have been proud. More of a celebration of her life than mourning her passing. I got to see many relatives I hadn’t seen in a very long time.

I managed one swim last Tuesday at the pool where I first learned to float and tread water. Now that I am back and settled in, I need to figure out a new holiday routine, which won’t be easy as the pools where I normally swim are shut for maintenance over Christmas. This will take some clever planning, and discipline.

So bring it on Santa. Just 3 sleeps till I hit my next age group.

An Unscheduled Hiatus  

Posted by FLATOUT JIM

Grandmother was a funny lady. She knew the business of everyone in the community, and had no trouble sharing their stories, weather you wanted to listen or not. She often mixed up the names and details from one story to another, so most of the people remained somewhat anonymous.

There was one time she kept referring to a pair of elderly bachelors in the community as the two old rams. That made my wife and I look at each other with a puzzled look on our faces. Having no idea what the answer would be, we asked “Why do you call them the two old rams?” She answered “Because they drives around all day in a Dodge Ram Truck”

As I make my way home for a few days to pay respects, and see family I haven’t seen in years, I am looking forward to sharing and hearing more stories. For the next week, I’ll be out of commission. But it’s only temporary. See soon.

I'm Training for an Ironman, Friday Funny  

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I received This Funny Video from my good friend Smitty. This is hilarious. And dead on the money.

Word of warning, a few STRONG sentance enhancers here, but still funny.

Swim Workouts for Christmas  

Posted by FLATOUT JIM in ,

Christmas is getting closer, and during the holidays, our masters group takes a little holiday as well. So I am starting to look for some good workouts that I can do over the holidays to keep me honest.

While researching yesterdays post, I came upon the Masters USA site, and they have an online magazine with a web workout feature. It looks like an excellent resource for workouts, and the one posted in the latest edition looks like a very interesting one.

The main set is 2400m done as 100’s broken into 8 sets of 3 x 100. Each set is done on a constant interval, but the progression is structured like a descending stepped castle. (Mouthful I know, we used castles during my rowing days)

Here is how you set the intervals. You use your 100m split from your best recent long distance swim. Your starting interval is + 25 to 30 seconds. Then each set of 3 descends by 10 seconds, then ascends by 5. Descends by 10, ascends by 5. By the 8th set, you should be at your best pace time, and should be barely able to make it.

For me, I used my 100m split in the 400, from our recent time trial. My time in the 400 was 6:45 which works out to 1:41 for 100m. So my set would look like this. (My intervals are in brackets)

1. 100m split + 2:05 to 2:10 (2:05)
2. -10 (1:55)
3. +5 (2:00)
4. -10 (1:50)
5. +5 (1:55)
6. -10 (1:45)
7. +5 (1:50)
8. -10 (1:40)

The workout is meant to be a challenge set, and the intervals should be tough enough that the first time you try it, you should fail on the last set.

I plan to do it early during my Christmas break, and see if I can actually improve during the holidays instead of slowing down.

If I can improve, I may just give myself an extra little Christmas treat.

Masters Swim Canada Million Metre Challenge  

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The Million Metre Challenge is a personal challenge that is part of the Masters Swim Canada Organization. The challenge is simple. Swim, log your workouts, and when you hit One Million, you get a certificate, badge, and a swim cap.

Along the way, there prizes for intermediate goals, such as 100,000, 250,000 etc. And on November 18th, at our Thursday Masters Session, I hit 100,000. A week later, my purple cap arrived in the mail.

The truth is that the numbers sound big, but the real challenge is not swimming a lot, but faithfully tracking your workouts. I had started three separate times, and then got slack logging my sessions, then fell off the boat altogether.

But this fall, with about 15,000m already in the bank from my previous years, I started logging, and before I knew it, I was closing in on 100,000. as of this morning, I am at 122,435m.

If you think about it, at 4 workouts per week, and 2000m per session in a year you would easily hit well over 400,000 (416,000 to be exact.) I swim 4 times at a minimum, and my workouts are usually between 2000m, and 3500m so my goal for the end of this year is to hit 500,000.

Masters Swim Canada uses the data to build a database of training information on masters swimmers.

If you live in Canada, and are a regular swimmer, I encourage you to sign up for the challenge. If you live in the USA, I encourage you to check out Masters USA. I don’t know if there is a similar program, but it wouldn’t be difficult to start. And if not, we could start our own.

So start logging those metres.

The Older Athlete  

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I recently came across this. Sent by Chris Carmichael from Carmichael Training Systems. I am a subscriber, and the majority of correspondence from CTS are notices of upcoming camps, or specials on memberships. But every so often, I receive something interesting.

This one is right up my ally as it deals with performance and the aging athlete, and at 43, going on 44, I am an aging athlete, still squeezing improved performance out of my aging body.

The CTS article references a New York Times article about Olga Kotelko, a 91 year old track and field athlete, still competing in masters competitions. Turns out that one of the keys to success is a trem we keep hearing more and more about. HIIT training (High Intensity Interval Training)

We keep hearing more and more about the benefits of doing higher intensity training, even for endurance events, and even for very long endurance events such as Ironman.

I encourage anyone at any age to give the CTS and the New York Times Articles a read for inspiration, and information. And please don’t let the number of candles on your cake be your crutch.

Here are a couple of more of my posts on Interval Training and Tabata.

Book Giveaway, And The Winner Is…  

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I swear this was totally legit. Here is how I chose the giveaway recipient.

I used the random number generator at Random.org as you can see in the screenshot below, the number chosen was 31.



That turned out to be Mel at Tall Mom On The Run

Mel is a runner with a blog that is pretty awesome. She has a load of followers, 750 at last count, and growing by the day. Her posts seem to consistently net 20 to 30 comments, so it’s a pretty active site.

Mel actually has 2 active blogs. The second one is called Tall Mom on the Run Giveaways and lists contests and winners. Everyone should totally go over and check out her blogs, and sign on as followers.

Enjoy the book Mel, and if there’s anyone who would still like to snag a copy, you get one for under 20 Loonies new, or used for under 3 loonies at Amazon

Thanks to everyone who participated in my giveaway. It was a blast. I’ll definitely do another one, but I am thinking about changing it up a little. Stay tuned for more, and keep coming back to Flatout Buddy.

The Review, Dara Torres Age is Just a Number  

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Ok Peeps, one more sleep. The big book giveaway. is tomorrow, and thanks to Tall Mama, I have had a huge influx of entries. I may just make 50 yet.

In the mean time, I promised a review, so here it is.

Picking this book was easy. I have been a fan of Dara ever since I first heard her name at trials for the 2008 Olympics. That meet was special because Michael Phelps was preparing for a run at 8 gold medals in Beijing, but before he could race in the Olympics, he had to qualify. But it was the 40 year old mother of 1 who peaked my interest. How could anyone not be sucked into a story like that.

After reading the book, I now felt guilty because like so many other people, I immediately drew inspiration from her. I kind of poached her personal accomplishments to inspire me to reach my own goals, but she carried those hopes and dreams squarely on her shoulders, and it almost broke her.

The book is structured differently than other biographies. It’s not so much chronological, but by event, or topic. For example, Chapter 1 is entitled “On Diving Back.” The final chapter is titled “On Not Giving Up.”

My absolute favorite chapter is “On Being an Older Athlete.” I can relate, and she describes the challenges of being a mature athlete preparing for a big even like the Olympics in just enough detail that a 40 year old weekend warrior like me can totally understand.

My favorite story is of the 50m semi final in Beijing when Sweden’s Therese Alshammarone, one of Dara’s main competitors in the 50, came up to her just before race, with a look of fear on her face, and a huge rip in her Speedo LZR race suit. Dara tried to help with the suit, and then on the pool deck, convinced the race officials to delay the start while Therese changed into another suit. I’d like to think that is what I’d do.

Some other thoughts, Dara’s father passed away not long before the Beijing games. In addition, her coach was diagnosed with a life threatening blood disorder, and couldn’t make it to Beijing. Talk about adversity.

What I liked? Pretty much everything. I couldn’t put it down.

What I didn’t like? Not enough pictures. (Get you mind out of the gutter) I am talking about candid’s from the Olympics. It would have been cool to have visuals behind the stories about the warm up pool, and ready room etc.

So whoever wins the giveaway will have a good read on their hands. Whoever doesn’t win, can still pick up a copy here.

New for under 20 CAD, used for under 3 CAD. Good luck and enjoy.

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