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SQUID practice 8-2016 (with a GREAT set).

WARMUP = 750 yards

300 free K/D/S by 25
4 x 50 kick IM order by 50
100 free drill - I did 25 royal wave / 25 closed-fist / 25 thigh brush / 25 piano brush
6 x 25 choice :35 - I did 2 x fly / back / breast
odds: build easy -> sprint
evens: diminish sprint -> easy

THE ONE AND ONLY SET = 2,600 yards

I am guessing at most of the intervals. This is a ladder set - we did the whole thing, then started right at the bottom & went back up. Yes, we did the last pair of 125s twice.

125 free 2:20
125 IM double up on your worst stroke 2:20 (down fly / up breast)
75 stroke 1:30 (down back / up breast)
75 free 1:10
175 free 3:00 (should've been more like a 3:15, needed more rest)
175 free 3:00
100 kick 2:00
100 kick 1:50
50 best stroke (down free / up back) 1:10
50 worst stroke (down fly / up breast) 1:10
125 free 2:20
125 IM double up on your best stroke 2:20 (down free / up back)

WARMDOWN = 200 yards

Total workout = 3,550 yards in ~80 minutes.
I did 3,200 yards. I skipped a 25 in each of the 125s in the middle of the set. And we didn't have time to do the last two 125s.
2016 cumulative distance = 19,700 yards (11.2 miles).


SQUID practice 7-2016.

WARMUP = 700 yards

300 free 50 drill / 25 swim
2 x 100 flutter kick 25 stomach / 25 left side / 25 back / 25 right side
2 x 100 pull free (We didn't finish this. I think I did a 50 before we had to hold up.)

FIRST SET = 300 yards
4 x 75 free K/D/S by 25 :10 rest

SECOND SET = 1,350 yards
10 x 125 free middle 75 fast 2:20
100 easy free

We started doing the 125s on 2:00, which was damn near impossible. I would like to try that set on that interval again some time.

THIRD SET = 450 yards
6 x 75 25 free / 25 non-free fast / 25 free 1:30
I did 2 x IM order

WARMDOWN = 200 yards

Total workout = 3,000 yards in ~60 minutes.
I did all 2,800 yards (didn't get a chance to do the last 150 of warmup, skipped a 50 in the second set).
2016 cumulative distance = 16,500 yards (9.38 miles).



My brother weedweasel got me a really cool Christmas present this year – a test kit from 23andMe, one of the DNA sequencing companies that will collect a sample of your saliva, then sequence your DNA. I got my results yesterday, & while I haven’t gone through all 62 of the reports in detail yet, there are already some fascinating things.

First off, an unsurprising result: I am 99.7% European. 23andMe broke it down further as 97.3% Northwestern European (60.4% British & Irish, 7.8% French & German, 3.7% Scandinavian, & 25.3% “broadly Northwestern European”), 1.5% “broadly Southern European”, and 0.9% “broadly European”. The remaining 0.3% is Native American, weakly supporting a long-held tradition in my mother’s family that we have one Native American ancestress (more on this later).

Second, my DNA appears to be four percent Neanderthal! This is a very high percentage, higher than 98% of 23andMe customers! I have 325 variants that are considered Neanderthal in origin (out of a possible 2,872). The highest number 23andMe has ever seen in one customer was 387! I have them from both parents (at 21 variant locations, both of my genes have the Neanderthal allele). The information on what these gene variants may mean to me was pretty limited in the 23andMe report, but strangely one of them is associated with LESS back hair (totally contrary to what I think of when I think of Neanderthals) and another, strangely, means I am less likely to sneeze after eating dark chocolate (??). Not that any Neanderthal ever would have encountered dark chocolate. Since so much of my ancestry is European and Europe is where Cro-Magnon humans and Neanderthals co-existed & interbred, it makes sense that I would have a relatively high genetic contribution from Neanderthal sources. Maybe that’s why I like the Paleo diet so much!

Other interesting discoveries:

  • I am part of the mitrochondrial/maternal haplogroup J1c2. I inherited this genetic marker from my mother, who inherited it from her mother, who inherited it from her mother, etc. This is a very interesting data point for me, because our family’s oral tradition states that my mother’s mother’s mother’s mother, Nancy Lee Burns, a Cherokee Indian. Since she is my matrilineal ancestress, I should carry her maternal haplogroup. But haplogroup J1c2 is associated with deep ancestry in Europe or the Mideast. Possibly Nancy Lee Burns had a non-Native mother and a Native father. This would allow for my 0.3% Native American ancestry to still be traced to her. As my great-great-grandmother, she likely contributed about 6.25% of my DNA (one-sixteenth). So if she was even half-Native American, I should have a much higher percentage of Native American DNA. Other thoughts on the J1c2 haplogroup: I’ve had trouble sussing out exactly what it’s supposed to tell me. But interestingly, King Richard III Plantagenet of England was a J1c2c (Wait, there’s an extra letter in there! What’s my J1c2 sub-type?). Perhaps I have some Norman ancestry on my mother’s side.
  • Lower caffeine tolerance. Two genes were identified by 23andMe as playing a role in a person’s sensitivity to caffeine. One is the CYP1A2 gene, which contains instructions for an enzyme that breaks down many substances, including caffeine. The T allele of the CYP1A2 gene is associated with higher reported rates of caffeine consumption. Perhaps this variant causes more of the CYP1A2 enzyme to be produced, thus clearing caffeine from the body more quickly? Anyway, I have the C allele, which is more common & is associated with typical levels of CYP1A2 enzyme production. 23andMe also tested for variants of the AHR gene, which contains instructions for a protein that helps turn on the production of the CYP1A2 enzyme. In this gene, the C allele may cause this protein to turn the CYP1A2 enzyme on more frequently, which would again clear caffeine from the body more quickly. And again, I have the T allele, associated with normal levels of the controlling protein. These two genes may partially explain why I was the Energy Creature in college, unable to come down off a caffeine buzz for hours at a time. Not enough CYP1A2 enzyme!
  • More fast-twitch muscle fibers. 23andMe tested for variants of the ACTN3 gene, which contains instructions for making alpha-actinin-3, a protein found in certain types of fast-twitch muscle fibers. People who make this protein tend to have a greater proportion of fast-twitch muscle than people who don't make the protein. I have the C allele, which is associated with typical levels of alpha-actinin-3 being produced. The T allele results in no function alpha-actinin-3 being produced and therefore fewer fast-twitch muscle fibers. This might explain why I’ve always been more competitive at sprints vs. long-distance swimming events. 100 IM for-evah!

Interesting omissions from the report:

  • 23andMe did test for genetic markers associated with the so-called finger length ratio. Generally, in women, the index finger is longer than the ring finger, while the reverse is true in men. However, lesbians are more likely than straight women to have longer ring fingers than index fingers. Developmental biologists discovered that digit length is influenced by levels of testosterone in the womb - but it's also partially controlled by some genes. 23andMe reported these genes, but didn't mention anything about the correlation to homosexuality.
  • The report included 36 reports on carrier status for genetic diseases. There were some big ones, including cystic fibrosis, sickle cell anemia, & Tay-Sachs disease. But I was more struck by what they didn't report: media-famous genes like BRCA-1 & BRCA-2 (related to breast cancer), or any of the markers for Parkinson's or Alzheimer's disease. Perhaps they are trying to avoid panicking their customers.


Resolution progress. #whole30

Resolution #5 this year: "I will log at least 30 Whole30-compatible meals a month into MyPaleoPal. I will review progress on this goal every month & the only acceptable reason for missing this target will be extended work travel."

So, in January I logged 24 Whole30-compatible meals on MyPaleoPal, & I also logged an additional 15 "General Paleo" meals. The main reason I did not hit the 30-meal goal is that we took a week of vacation in January, & during that week, I ate whatever I wanted. When I was at home though, I was doing pretty well. Many of the "General Paleo" meals were only one ingredient away from being Whole30-compliant - salad dressings with dairy in them were a big trip-up, for instance. Also, I made a batch of Texas Red chili & used masa to thicken it - corn is non-compliant, so every meal with that chili in it was "General Paleo", not Whole30.

Of my 24 Whole30 meals, 13 were breakfasts, 6 were lunches, & 5 were dinners. This doesn't surprise me - I have mastered several Whole30 breakfast casseroles & at this point, they are my go-to breakfasts at all times. Lunches would have been much better if I had stuck to Whole30-compliant salad dressings. As for dinners, I simply haven't been diligent about leaving out every. single. forbidden. food.

This has been a good exercise. It has reminded me how strict the Whole30 really is, but also demonstrated to me that my standard diet is not ALL that far off of it any more. I'm thinking of doing a pure, fully compliant Whole30 for Lent, which would start in 10 days.

SQUID practice 6-2016.

WARMUP = 350 yards

25 drill free / 25 swim free / 25 swim breast or back - repeat for 150 yards
25 kick free / 25 drill free / 25 swim free - repeat for 150 yards
25 scull free
25 drill free

FIRST SET - PYRAMID! = 2,250 yards

8 x 25 stroke (2 each IM order) :10 rest (about :30 for fly & free, about :35-40 for back & breast)
50 free DPS
4 x 50 2 each of your two worst strokes (I did fly & breast) :15 rest
50 free DPS
4 x 75 odds: 25 free / 25 stroke / 25 free (I did fly)
evens: 25 stroke / 25 free / 25 stroke (I did back on #2 & breast on #4)
:15 rest
100 free DPS
4 x 100 IM :15 rest
100 free DPS
4 x 75 odds: 50 stroke / 25 free (I did back on #1 & breast on #3)
evens: 50 free / 25 stroke (I did fly)
:15 rest
100 free DPS
4 x 50 2 each of your two best strokes (I did back & free) :15 rest
50 free DPS
8 x 25 stroke fast (2 each IM order) :10 rest
--- I did this for my warmdown - all fairly easy free

WARMDOWN = see above.

Total workout = 2,600 yards in ~60 minutes.
I did all 2,600 yards.
2016 cumulative distance = 13,700 yards (7.78 miles).


Ganglion cyst.

About three weeks ago, I was walking Shadeaux on her retractable leash. I usually hold the leash in my left hand, because I am left-handed. Shadeaux saw a squirrel or another dog or a shady-looking plastic bag or some other deadly threat & charged, pulling hard against the leash.

And a little knot at the base of my index finger said, Ouch.

When I got home, I dug around in the flesh of my hand and found a pea-sized, hard lump that felt like bone, right at the bottom of my index finger, on the side near the middle finger:

 photo left palm.png

It didn't hurt to poke & prod at it, but it did hurt when I held things that pressed against it, like the dog leash. Or a knife while cutting up food for dinner. Or a steering wheel. Or a ski pole. Or the xBox controller. So, you know, it was definitely annoying.

Also, it's a freakin' lump of bone that mysteriously appeared in my finger. Not. Cool.

So I went to my primary care physician, who sent me for an X-ray. The X-ray came back with no anomalies, so my PCP referred me to a hand specialist, who I saw today. He took about 3.4 seconds to diagnose a ganglion cyst on the tendon sheath. To me, these cysts sound kind of like a hernia - a small lesion forms on the sheath that surrounds the tendon, and the tendon-lubricating fluid (synovial fluid for the terminology-minded) bulges outward at the lesion, creating the cyst. There are two treatments - 1) surgery to repair the damage to the tendon sheath, & 2) a cortisone injection reduce the inflammation of the sheath so it can have a chance to heal itself.

Sign me up for Option Two, please! Pretty soon I was laying down on a table with my hand laying flat, knuckles down. The doctor tells me to hold still then STICKS THE NEEDLE STRAIGHT THROUGH THE CYST. I have not the words. Thank God it was over quickly & the cortisone was followed up with a local anesthetic that numbed the whole finger. The doctor said this treatment is 50-70% effective, & I could feel the cyst decreasing in size before I even left his office. However, if it re-forms, I will have to go back & at that point, we will be looking at surgery to repair the sheath.


SQUID practice 5-2016.

I bailed early in this workout for two reasons: 1) hotpantsgalore & I are traveling to Lake Tahoe today, & if I had stayed for the whole workout we would've been cutting it close to catch our flight; & 2) I donated blood yesterday afternoon & I wasn't feeling very energetic. But I wanted to go in order to reinforce the habit of going.

WARMUP = 400 yards

100 seriously just messing around
25 drill free / 25 swim free / 25 swim breast or back - repeat for 300 yards

FIRST SET = 450 yards
6 x 75 :10 rest
Odds: free
Evens: IM strokes only

I did one 75 free & one 25 fly, then realized I was already exhausted. Workout over.

Total workout (that I was there for): 950 yards
I did 500 yards.
2016 cumulative distance = 11,100 yards (6.31 miles).

SQUID practice 4-2016.

WARMUP = 300 yards
25 drill free / 25 swim free / 25 back or breast - repeat

FIRST SET = 800 yards
4 x (4 x 50) IM order by 200 (i.e., by sets of 50s)
1, 3: 25 kick / 25 swim
2, 4: 25 drill / 25 swim
:15 rest
The butterfly set was AWFUL.

SECOND SET = 600 yards
2 x 300 broken into 75s
1: 25 fly / 50 free easy
2: 50 back / 25 free easy
3: 25 breast / 50 free easy
4: 75 free swim
:15 rest

THIRD SET = 500 yards
100 breathe every 3
100 breathe every 5
100 breathe every 3
100 breathe every 7
100 breathe every 3
This set was completely impossible for me. On the breathe every 5s, I did one 5-breath per 25. On the breathe every 7s, I did two 5-breaths per 25. And I tried to do flip turns throughout the 500 for breath control

FOURTH SET = 600 yards
odds: 100 IM :30 rest
evens: 100 swim free focus on form :10 rest

WARMDOWN = 200 yards
200 easy

Total workout = 3,000 yards in ~70 minutes.
I did all 3,000 yards.
2016 cumulative distance = 10,600 yards (6.02 miles).


SQUID practice 3-2016.

WARMUP = 450 yards
25 drill free / 25 swim free / 25 back or breast - repeat
FIRST SET = 600 yards
8 x 25 free hard pushoff, hard finish :35 (in on :25, :10 rest)
8 x 50 free build by 50 :55

SECOND SET = 600 yards
6 x 100 1:50
1st flipturn - breathe on second pull after turn
2nd flipturn - breathe on third pull after turn
3rd flipturn - breathe on fourth pull after turn (HARRRD to do!)

THIRD SET = 600 yards
8 x 75 free
1st pushoff - 3 butterfly kicks before surfacing
2nd pushoff - 5 butterfly kicks before surfacing
3rd pushoff - 7 butterfly kicks before surfacing
I couldn't do this set very well. I did open turns & still had trouble doing 7 kicks on the last pushoff.

WARMDOWN = 300 yards
3 x 75 IM stroke only :30 rest
1 x 75 free easy

Total workout = 2,550 yards in ~60 minutes.
I did all 2,550 yards.
2016 cumulative distance = 7,600 yards (4.32 miles).


SQUID practice 2-2016.

WARMUP = 300 yards
25 drill free / 25 swim free / 25 back or breast - repeat

FIRST SET = 600 yards

8 x 25 free sprint from the middle of the pool - turn drill :10 rest
8 x 50 free focus on turns :55

SECOND SET = 500 yards
10 x 50 1:00
odds: sprint 25 / easy 25
evens: easy 25 / sprint 25

200 free breathe every 3 / breathe every 5 by 50 = 200 yards

THIRD SET = 500 yards
5 x 100 free 1:50 (in on 1:35, :15 rest)
1: easy 50 / sprint 50
2: easy 25 / sprint 50 / easy 25
3: sprint 50 / easy 50
4: easy 25 / sprint 50 / easy 25
5: easy 50 / sprint 50

200 free breathe every 3 / breathe every 5 by 50 = 200 yards

FOURTH SET = 500 yards
Five times through:
25 fast breakout :05 rest
25 fast finish :05 rest
25 with only 2 breaths :05 rest
25 easy :10 rest

WARMDOWN = 0 yards

Total workout = 2,800 yards in ~60 minutes.
I did 2,750 yards (skipped one 50 in one of the breath-control 200s).
2016 cumulative distance = 5,050 yards (2.87 miles).


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