As usual, this morning’s practice started with a good chunk of minutes dedicated to wall-sits and jump rope. Today’s practice, however, brought another spin: Alice’s Restaurant.
That’s right, the 18 minute, 34 second song was the soundtrack and stopwatch of our dry-land workout this morning, with Coach Jeff King happily singing along as we went through the workout.
Jeff brought in both a CD and MP3 version of the song, and after several of my attempts to get the CD to work with two of the lifeguards three boomboxes (none of which worked), we were finally saved by Pat Sullivan, who brought in a boombox that looked as though it were meant for heavy-duty construction sites. He hooked up the MP3 and we started sitting.
I didn’t bring my video camera today but wish I had, because at the end of the song as Arlo Guthrie implores the audience to sing along to the chorus (You can get anything you want, at Alice’s Restaurant, You can get anything you want, at Alice’s Restaurant, Walk right in it’s around the back, Just a half a mile from the railroad track, You can get anything you want, at Alice’s Restaurant), Jeff told us that if we did not sing along we would extend our own dry-land. The chorus was off-key, but it was there.
Yes, Alice’s Restaurant has strong political messages. I mean, frankly, the song is one long political statement. But let me make clear that this was not a political statement at practice. Just having fun with an 18-and-a-half minute song while we sat on invisible chairs.
Props to Conor MacNair, who remained in invisible chair mode for the entire song. I, for one, got up and did some invisible jump roping to break up the wall-sits. There was a lot of “invisible” going on this morning.
There was also a ton of kicking going on.
This morning was a big ol’ huge kick set. We warmed up with 10 50s, odd freestyle, even back or breast. Then we went into the kick.
10 100s kick
5 200s kick
These were on varying intervals for the varying speeds of kicking. I, of course, was in the slowest interval because I am the slowest kicker in the history of man. Of course that meant I was also one lane over from the fastest kicker of the day and then had to listen to people (Conor) having to talk about coming in consistently on 1:25-1:30 in the 100 with breast kick.
Yes, I am bitter. Yes, I am jealous.
After the kick set, Jeff had me swim three 50s sprint freestyle and in these I tried really hard to maintain both bi-lateral breathing but also the stroke that decreased the number of air bubbles on my hands. It’s something Jeff talked with me about and to do so I am focusing on rotating through my hips.
To further that development, Jeff had me finish practice by kicking on my stomach with my hands by my side. When I wanted to swim, I couldn’t just turn my head. Instead, I had to rotate my hips first, then shoulders and that would bring my head out of the water.
Every day this week there’s been something new. Tomorrow, we’ll see what we get. This I know: One of the age groupers told me she is bringing donuts for her birthday. I avoided donuts on Tuesday, I will not avoid them tomorrow. I am chowing down.
Washington Post reporter Paul Tenorio will train with a swim club over the next few months and chronicle his journey as he attempts to transform from regular guy/sports reporter to competitive swimmer — everything from his waistline to his best times.