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Triathlete Blog

Dirty Words

By January 11, 2008June 9th, 2015No Comments

Lately I’ve been hearing a lot of dirty words.

Words like hypoxic, threshold, no-breath-off-the-wall or my least favorite lately which I seem to keep seeing over and over again…..repeat.

Dirty words that have been swimming around the pool lately. And I’ve been doing a lot of swimming in the pool. And as I hopped into the pool today when the coach put the workout sheet down by our lane there it was, another dirty word. At top in big, black, bold letters I see the word:


A dirty word. Because what it means is that you are going to do something hard, fast, and repeat, repeat, repeat. And it seems like every time I get into the pool lately it’s something about lactate or threshold or IM reverse repeats or my personal favorite when I showed up to masters on Monday and learned that it had been declared “Fly Week”.

Super. Not just a dirty word – fly – but an entire dirty week.

And so all week, these past few weeks I’ve been swimming dirty at threshold, seeing stars, 12 x 200 on 10 seconds rest, 3 x 100 fly repeat, 4 x 400 as 200 all out 200 tempo, did we really just swim 4700 yards in that time, eight dolphin kicks off the wall before you can breathe, 8 x 25 underwater no breathing, and my personal favorite…25 fly no breath.

No breath?


*I have now declared “no breath” a dirty word*

But back to tonight – a serving of lactate on a silver platter which doesn’t make the dirty word any more clean. 8 x 200, by 50, 10 seconds rest. Repeat. Repeat, repeat some more.

But first a warm up of 400 with some breaststroke, backstroke, some fly. After all, it’s still fly week and there is much more dolphin kicking to do. Thinking dirty lactate set impending thoughts in the middle of 200 streamline fly kick, I almost swim smack into Jugs Magoo. Yes, she’s my friends and yes, she’s back in the pool after a one year sabbatical from all things fit. Search back into my archives you’ll find tales of a friend who did IM a few years ago, the friend that had me saying I’ve heard of people doing strange things after Ironman but the boob job is all together something else. And it is. It was. They are. I’m sorry, that’s the boobs talking, not me. And now she is back, and there she is standing at the wall which I realize as I nearly swim into the twins of Jugs Magoo.

She is the perfect partner for this lactate set.

The coach tells me to lead and I almost miss the start. I am too busy wondering if Jug’s jugs would be better off in their own lane. Come on, Jugs, I couldn’t resist that one, this pool is swimming with dirty talk (Lactate! Kick! Hurt! Hard! Streamline! Push! Fast!). So I barely get my goggles on in time to start the first set. After 4 we come in and all agree that the first 4 50’s already hurt. That the rest after each 50 is really just a joke. Nothing big is accomplished in 10 seconds and certainly nothing close to “rest”. 4 x 50, 50’s are hard, at the hardest pace we can maintain 32 times.

32 times?

Yes, 32. Dammit, someone in our lane did the math. I think it was Jugs. That’s what I get for talking dirty about her twins. She reminds us we are not doing 8 x 200 nor 8 200’s broken with 4 50’s. We are doing 32, count them 32 50’s in case it didn’t feel the same. Well it didn’t. Because I went off on the next one thinking I have 20 more 50’s to go.

32 becomes a new dirty word.

And after about 12 of them I start thinking my own dirty words. Dammit this hurts. Damn my triceps I think they are going to detach. Dammit that is my lunch coming back up. Dammit I still have……18 more to go.

The lactate is building and we are swimming close now to our threshold. Around 20 someone says this hurts while Jugs and I stand at the wall. She starts to unravel, saying she might do the last 3 as kick. We exchange dirty thoughts. She threatens to switch lanes. I tell her she is only in our lane by default to which she replies mumbling under her breath that I am going straight to hell.

For that, I pick up the pace on the next set.

We are almost done. I am determined on #7 to make it my fastest set yet. And if I can make #7 fast can I make #8 faster? I do. I did. The dirty words, they are all done. Along with this set. No more lactate, or repeat, no breath, monster sets, and this is also nearly the end of the week of fly.

I cool down and then sit in the hot tub. The swim work for the day is done. And for now, there are only calm, quiet words. But tomorrow is the intrasquad meet. And I have already announced to Chris that I will be swimming 200 free, 100 free, 50 free, 50 fly, relays and 100 IM.

100 IM. You see that used to be a dirty word. Until I decided I was going to learn to do it and do it right. In the past few months with the 100 IM I’ve come clean. And so I wonder if tomorrow they’ll have 200 IM? And am I ready to turn that dirty word into something clean? I am and I’ll say it – 200 IM – you can wash my mouth out with soap and count me clean.