Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Lucky to have an extra 30 minutes

don't you hate it, when you get to the pool (or gym) and you can't get in for another 30 minutes, because they're waiting for a key, or a lifeguard.

Today, it was that kind of day,
but I got all the yardage in that I wanted to get in ... 10,000 yards

A BUSY day, because I got into my car to head to the office, with a message from Bert, that she was out-of-commission today...
well, I guess we'd better get busy.

Long day, Kassandara came over to help for an hour,
and I ended with a pizza, sausage and eggplant, perfect for a crazy day.

Good night.
Dream, Prepare, Succeed

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Dislocated rib

The question of dislocating of a rib while swimming, came up in our channel chat group this week.
Had it happened to anyone, and unfortunately I have had a multitude of injuries, so 'yes'. I also have been lucky to have healed from all my injuries and I continue to learn how to prevent most of them.

Of course, this LONG distance swimming, has extreme overuse concerns on our bodies. It's not just the 'big' swim we are looking forward to, but ALL the training that goes into the PREPARATION.

I can not stress the importance on working on technique and strengthening the small stabilization muscles, not just through swimming, but weight training, yoga and calisthenics.

In 2007, during my 9th E.Channel crossing, I had excruciating pain that started in the 10th hour of the swim. The discomfort began with an occasional spike of pain under my shoulder blade and gradually radiated over my right side and increased in frequency as I continued to move toward France. I swam despite the pain, which was probably a stupid move, but finally I made it to France after 13 & 1/2 hours, using only my left arm for the last 45 minutes.

When I arrived home to CT, my 1st concern was to see my Chiropractor. Upon examination, I learned I had dislocated one of my ribs. That is when I learned my stabilizing muscles surrounding the shoulder blades were in-proportionally weaker than the larger shoulder muscles. After an important realignment, I was given some simple exercises, that I can do at any time, even at this moment of typing I am exercising the shoulder blades.

Posture is very important, concentrate on:
1) keeping the shoulders down (no shrugging). Chest should be up and out.

2) bring the shoulders blades down and in (as if you are pinching the blades together)

3) add extension of one arm, as you do the exercise on one side, i.e. extend your left arm out to 90 degrees, reach a bit out, as if you are trying to reach for something, just out of reach. Now, do the exercise with the left shoulder blade. Repeat on the right.

I do this exercise while I am driving, throwing a ball for my dog or just sitting at work. When ever working with weights, it is better to use less weight, and have proper position, ENGAGE the shoulder blades. I have learned to do this exercise while swimming, as I push off the wall in streamline position, I engage the shoulder blades, it seems to help keep my stroke in alignment.

TECHNIQUE, Technique, technique.

Dream, Prepare, Succeed.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Tired week

This has been a very tough week, the body is feeling a few years older than what the calendar tells. Aches and pains, but then I remember a patient of mine, Tom, dealing with MS. He is bed bound, only leaving his bed and room with assistance, total paralysis from his waist down, BUT he always has a smile and joke for us when we go to see him.

I think of Tom and stop feeling sorry for myself, and appreciate my health and every stitch of discomfort, nothing compared to some. Wow, this is an oldie but goodie picture, me and Marcia Cleveland, back in 1994 at Columbia Lake.

Cut of the Day 8,000 yards

Swim: 4 x 500 (7:45)
Rev. Hans Pad: 6 x 100 (1:35/1:40) **25 catch-up drill/75 free
Swim: 3 x 500
Buoy: 12 x 50 (:50) alternate breathing pattern per 50
Big Pad: 3 x 200 (3:15) **
Tube: 12 x 50 (:50)
Swim: 2 x 500
Regular Hans Paddles: 6 x 100
Swim: 1 x 500

Appreciate and cherish your health.

Dream, Prepare, Succeed,

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Drag baby...

If you really want to appreciate the feel of the water, put on a Drag suit for part of your workout, when you take it off, you will feel 10 pounds lighter, and feel yourself fly through the water.

Cut of the day: 10,300 yards

500 (**w/ drag : 25 modified catch-up/ 100 free)
25 ++Modified catch-up using Fulcrum
1000 (15:00) ND/SH (no drag, swim hard)
25 ++
1500 **
50 ++
2000 (30:00) ND/SH
100 ++
2000 **
50 ++
1500 ND/SH
25 ++
1000 **
25 ++
500 ND/SH

Dream, Prepare, Succeed

Friday, April 16, 2010

Aztec or Egyptian

I'm starting feel like a swimmer again, working through the water is getting easier and my muscles are warming up faster, even on a big day 4.

I'm happy I'm a morning person, because as the day progressed, my back started to act up and I know an evening practice would be painful and exhausting. Best to get a good night's rest and enter the pool tomorrow morning.

Cut of the Day: Please remember these are my intervals, adjust for your comfort

Big Paddles: 300 (*25 Catch-up/ 75 free)

Swim Pyramid: >all on 1:30 per 100 pace
[2nd 500: 25 modified catch-up/ 100 free]
500/ 400/ 300/ 200/ 100/ 500/ 100/ 200/ 300/ 400/ 500

Big Paddles: 25 x 100 (1:30, 1:35, 1:40, 1:45, 1:40, 1:35, 1:30...)
the 100's on 1:30 were full stroke, the others had a 25 catch-up drill

Swim Pyramid:>
100/ 200/ 300/ 400/ 100 (modified catch-up)/ 400/ 300/ 200/ 100

Big Paddles: 300 *
8700 yards

Dream, Prepare, Succeed

Pool vs Open Water Training

? of the Day: Is there a difference between training in the pool vs. the open water?

I use both, but mostly the pool. Living up in New England, we only have the summer months to train outdoors. I use the pool to work on pace by watching the clock. Practicing technique is very important, working on body position can keep injuries away. If I had the opportunity to swim in the open water everyday, would I? Probably not. I feel, I get a better workout in the pool, but I would love to spend some time in the ocean on the weekends. It's all a head game, this is mine....what's yours.

Cut of the day

Swim: 1000 (15:00)/ 8 x 100 (1:30)/ 1000 (**25 Modified catch up dril: 100 free)
Pull Buoy: 500 (8:00) alternate breathing pattern
Swim: 800 (12:00)/ 6 x 100/ 800**
Buoy: 2 x250 (4;00)/ 8 x 50 (:50)/ 2 x 250
Swim: 600 (9:00)/ 4 x 100/ 600
Buoy: 500
Swim: 400 (6:00)/ 2 x 100/ 400
10,000 yards

Dream, Prepare, Succeed

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Oh, how I wanted to stay in bed today

Very (sleepy) tired swim this morning, just wanted to get it over.
Technique is a good thing to focus on days like this.

Swim: 2500 (38 min)
Rev. Hans Paddles: 5 x 100 (*25 Catch-up/ 75 free) (1:35)
Swim: 2 x 1000 ( 15 min)
Rev. Hans Pad: 40 x 50 (1 on :45, 3 on :50)
Swim: 1500 (23 min)
Rev. Hans Pad: 5 x 100 *
Swim: 2 x 500 (7:45)
10,000 yards

OK, I looking forward to hitting the pillow.

Dream, Prepare, Succeed

Forgot about yesterday

After a day off, just couldn't wake on Monday,
Tuesday, April 13th was much better.
New strategy: long swims with a few drill work sets tucked inbetween.

Swim: 3 x 500 (7:40) plus 15 x 50 (2 on :45/3 on :50)
Tube: 10 x 100 (alternate 1:35/1:40)
Swim: 2 x 1000 (15 min) plus 10 x 50
Tube: 10 x 100
Swim: 2000 plus 5 x 50
9000 yards

Dream, Prepare, Succeed

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Cold Water Preparation

Can you get yourself used to the cold water?

The answer is: YES, but it is easier for some swimmers. Some people have a metabolism that naturally has adapted them to cooler temperatures. I believe I am one of them. I have a mellow personality, which I think has made me easier to accept cold temperatures.

I never was a sprinter, I can swim at a good pace, but my Fast Twitch muscles are relatively lazier, BUT my SLOWER twitch muscles are mastered, they go and go.

Now, can we change our bodies that we were born with, I think gradually we can teach and confuse the muscles to switch over. We can teach our bodies to adapt to temperatures, the body will burn more calories in cooler temps, to keep the energy going.

I do not like the extreme cold temperatures, such as New Year plunges into high 30's, 40 degree waters. I gradually get my body used to cold water, especially if I have long swim in the channel.

This year, I'm planning an early season (late June), loop around Jersey, one of the E. Channel islands and I know it will be in the high 50's, or hovering around 60 degrees. I will be starting my preparation to the cold, next weekend in Columbia Lake, CT. Starting with 15-20 minutes will be fine, gradually adding time.
...but my main focus is adding yardage to my weekly totals.
45,000 yds this week, pushing for 48,000 next.

Yesterday, Saturday, was a nice long day, thinking about good stroke technique and wrapping my head around longer time swimming with less rest. By the time I got to 8000, my core muscles were firing and helping me get on with task.
Today, Sunday, will be a day off, maybe some abdominal work, but mostly house work.

Saturday, April 10.

5 x 2000

1,3 & 5: straight swims, #1 was a warm-up, #3, felt good and pushed, #5 long and strong.

#2 & 4: I wore my drag skirt and added some drill work: alternating 25 Modified Catch-up drill with 100 full stroke.

Have fun, only take about 15-30 seconds rest between each 2000.

Drem, Prepare, Succeed.

Friday, April 9, 2010

To shave or not...

Question of the day:

Should I shave before a real long swim, such as an English Channel Crossing?

I coach youth swimming, pool racing, focusing on speed. At certain levels of competition, primarily teens and adult with full body hair, yes, shaving can take off hundredths of a second....but the main thing shaving does, is put your MIND into a FAST frame. Shaving helps psych you up.

I don't believe shaving in LONG swims, makes you faster or makes you colder. I shave my arms and legs before a channel swim, primarily because it is a COOL feeling. It is part of my preparation. It's a personal decision.

I don't think the hair keeps you warm, if you're ready for 60 degree water, a little hair on your body is not going to help.

Swim for the day: 9000 yards

Swim: 3 x 800 (12 min)

Pull Tube: 4 x 200 (3:10) ***alternate Br. pattern per 200
Fulcrum: 200 (modified Catch-up stroke
Pull Buoy: 4 x 200 (3:10) ***

Swim: 2 x 800 (12 min)

Rev. Hans Paddles: 8 x 100 (1:35/1:40) 25 Catch-up per 100
Big Paddles: 4 x 200 (3:10) 50 Catch-up per 200
Reg. Hans Paddles: 2 x 400 (6:15) 25 Catch-up per 100

Swim: 1 x 800
9000/ Total for week 35,000 yds

Have a wonderful day.

Dream, Prepare, Succeed.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

5's and 2's

Starting to feel the water better, yes I said feel. For all you newcomers to swimming, try to make each stroke count, from your extension to the finish.

Now I have to get my act together and send out my applications and medicals to Jersey.

Fulcrum: 500 (modified catch-up stroke)
Swim: 10 x 200 (3:05)
Rev Hans Paddles: 500 (25 catch-up/ 100 free)
Swim: 8 x 200 (3:00)
Buoy: 500 (alternate breathing pattern per 50)
Swim: 6 x 200 (2:55/ 3:00....)
Big Paddles: 500
Swim: 4 x 200 (2:50/ 3:00...)
Tube: 500
Swim: 2 x 200 (2:45/ 3:00)
Paddles: 500
9000 yards

Dream, Prepare, Succeed

Monday, April 5, 2010

Happy Birthday Mom

After a wonderful Easter holiday weekend, oh how I wanted to turn over and adjust the alrm for another hour of zzzzz.

...but I promised myself to do a birthday swim, to honor my mom, Teri MacDonald's 80th b-day. Here she is sitting at Dover square with the castle inthe background.

It started off with tired limbs, and finished off stong, feeling better with ever 100.

Enjoy if you you'd like to join me...

Pull Tube: 8 x 50 ( 1 on :45, 3 on :50...) alternate breathing pattern

Swim: 40 x 100 (4 on 1:30, 3 on 1:35, 4 on 1:30, 3 on 1:40...)

Paddles: 24 x 50 (1 on :45, 3 on :50) throw some Catch-up drill in
1-8: Reversed Hans Paddles
8-16: Big Paddles
17-24: Regular Hans Paddles

Swim: 40 x 100 (4 on 1:30, 3 on 1:35....) plus one for good health
Pull Buoy: 8 x 50 (1 on :45, 3 on :50) alternate breathing pattern
10,100 yards

Dream, Prepare, Succeed

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter

Happy Easter to you all,

After a long few hours in the yard doing lots of raking and dumping leaves in the woods, today I am off from the water and most exercise.

Enjoy and see you tomorrow,

Dream, Prepare, Succeed.

Friday, April 2, 2010

I can't stay away... April Fools Day

Wow, was that liberating, even for a day.

...but I do know where I belong, where I feel most at home (for exercise).
Has this ever happened to you, it takes at least 500-800 yards of swimming before your arms loosen up enough to actually enjoy moving them. After 800 yards, my arms seem to surcome to the pressure and get with the program.

Today, was day 5 for this week, a good workout week and well deserved rest from the water.

Swim: 2000 (30 min)
Buoy: 12 x 50 (1 on :45, 3 on :50) alternate breathing pattern every 50
Swim: 1500 (22:30)
Rev.Paddles: 6 x 100 (1:40)
Big Paddles: 4 x 200 (3:10)
Paddles: 4 x 150 (2:30)
Swim: 1000 (15 min)
Tube: 12 x 50
Swim: 500
8000 yards

Dream, Prepare, Succeed and accept your destiny.

Thursday, April 1, 2010


I've had enough of...

waking up at 4:15am,
endless, boring laps in the pool,
pushing the weights around the gym,
counting calories,
I'm tired of it all.

I want cake.

You can have this open water crap.

2015 ... Swimming for Homes for the Brave

After spending the past 20 years paddling from Dover to France, it is time to venture into new waters, while helping some special people.
Soon, I will be traveling with my A-team to Scotland to swim the length of the famous Loch Ness.
As always, I try to help a Foundation raise funds and awareness and I thank you for interest and support.
I am deeply troubled with the thought of homeless individuals, especially in our US Veteran population.

That is why I am teaming up with our Connecticut-based “Homes for the Brave”. Can you imagine not having a place to call home?

Here is more information about Homes for the Brave! -Facebook pages –

- Annual Appeal with more information about our financials and programs-

-Check donations can be mailed to the following address:
Homes for the Brave
655 Park Avenue
Bridgeport, CT 06604

- Donations can be made online as well:

Please write “Loch Ness Swim/Marcy” to track your donation.

I will always be dedicating my swimming to all those battling cancer and in the memory of 4 special people in my life. Cancer first hit my family when I was young. My grand-aunt Eleanor Kersavage, passed away with uterine cancer and my Auntie Bea Halchak battled with brain cancer.

On January 1, 2002, our LEHY family lost Nikki Giampolo to bone cancer, just turning 16 years old. Her spirit still lives on in our East Hartford swim team.

In July of 2009, my brother-in-law, Gregory Allen Urban, who passed away, after a valient battle with lung cancer. I can see him now, talking about cars and projects around the house, music and his family.

I know Aunties, Eleanor and Bea, Nikki, Greg and all the angels will help me CUT through all this water this summer.

The St. Vincent's Medical Center Foundation, based in Bridgeport, CT provides financial support for the needs that Health insurance companies don't cover, in addition to providing affordable cancer screening, wigs, medication and other things to make life easier for those suffering with cancer and their families.

Please make a donation, and thank you.

Online donations can be made at:

or you can send a check through the post to:

Swim Across the Sound
St. Vincent's Medical Center Foundation
2800 Main Street
Bridgeport, CT 06606

Thank you so very much, peace and good health to all.