I feel like all I do is swim. Every other day or maybe every day – I have lost track – I am walking into the pool. I go at all different times so I can’t keep track of who I saw yesterday or the day before or the night before or Saturday. It’s hard enough for me to remember to pack my goggles, cap, and suit. And by the way have you ever had one of those days where you have to remind yourself to look down before you walk out to the pool just to make sure you have your suit on?
That is my every day.
Lately it seems like every time I show up to swim practice we are doing something like 1000000 x 1000000 IM. Like today. Today was supposed to be my easy swim day. It was supposed to be technique day in the pool. Little did I know that it was short axis technique day. I may be short but short axis I cannot really do. My breaststroke is proof of why people should never use breaststroke in a triathlon swim. It is the most inefficient and slowest stroke. Please believe me – just watch me. I have finally mastered some semblance of the breaststroke kick but it doesn’t get me very far.
Lucky for me today was all breaststroke kick and fly. That’s great. Because when you are trying to go easy one of the best things for you is fly. Especially 100 fly. Especially when it is wrapped up in a set like this:
2 x 250 IM (done as 100 fly/75 breast/50 back/25 free) followed by 2 x 100 dolphin kick followed by 50 easy.
Because once through surely won’t be enough. But I’m convinced all of this will come to good use some day. At this point I am seriously going to smackdown at my first race and do the entire thing sans wetsuit AND all fly.
Just wait and see.
But this was nothing compared to where I’ve been. 250 IM is nothing compared to 600. Let’s revisit Saturday. On Saturday morning, we did something I can only describe as gutfully hard. That is not a word. I made it up. Because it is the only way I can describe a gut-full of vomit, pain, my pounding heart, wizard stew – it was a workout that went straight to the gut and hurt bad.
12 x 50 descend
12 x 50 power kick
6 x 100 IM
5 x 150 swim
6 x 125 pull
200 cool down
Sure, it doesn’t look bad. But I want you to imagine doing it all on an interval that allows for no more than 10 seconds rest. Plus anything that says power kick you should be very leary of. And the 6 x 100 IM, just for kicks I want you to imagine doing it on an interval that allows – oh – at most 3 seconds rest. Which doesn’t really count so it really feels like 600 IM. And for more kicks, go ahead and lead the lane. You step out of the pool after that one wondering what the hell just happened. And how the hell you were able to pretty much hold your breath for 90 minutes straight.
The best part is that the Thursday before that I had hit the jackpot again.
20 x 25 descending :40 - :20 done as every 4th no breath, free
On paper going on the 40 sounds just fine. But wait until you get to the 20. And then try it with no breath. That is where you cross the line from I was enjoying this to I am going to shove my pull buoy down someone’s throat if they tell me to hold my breath for one more 25.
But I guess someone heard me sassing back in my head. Because after that glorious set, they threw out this one:
10 x 25 fly descending :40 - :30; #4 & 8 no breath
No breath fly? Seriously? Is that possible? Advisable? Should we not have medical staff on hand? No one else seems worried but me. So I give it a try. I can do one breath fly. But no breath – no way. Not yet.
You would think this would be enough watered down torture for one week. But the week actually started on Tuesday when I showed up to evening practice to be greeted with 6 x 400. I hate the 400. Especially when I get lapped. Especially when I get lapped on every single one. And I am in the slowest lane. Life is so unfair. Seriously one of these days I am going to be put me in the therapy pool with a foam noodle and told to swim back and forth for an hour while the big kids finish their swim.
So that was my week in the swim. I may have swam once more but I can’t remember. At some point it all becomes a mix of kick, free, pull, back, paddles, fins, medley, intervals and, and…..the lingering smell of chlorine that I cannot wash away.
And tomorrow, what do you know. I just checked my schedule and there it is again – swim! I think I heard someone mumble that we are doing 20 x 200 tomorrow. On the 3:00 or something silly like that. Honestly 20 of anything sounds like a bit much but part of me is really looking forward to it. I find the more I swim, the more I like to swim. And the more I like to swim, the faster I go. In fact, the other day someone came up to me and said “you’re getting faster, you know.”
Really? Because I didn’t know. Or I wasn’t sure. Because I have found myself hurting, huffing, or lapped so many times that I can’t keep track of whether I’m having a good or a bad day. And that’s when I decided a few weeks ago that I would let it go – whether I was swimming fast for the day or slow didn’t really matter any more. I stopped fretting about intervals and time. I just keep putting in the effort and doing the workout all the way through. And I trust that one day it will get me there (faster than before).
And besides, most days as long as I walk out of the lockerroom wearing my bathing suit I feel like I’m moving along swimmingly in the day. So however fast I swim – well, that’s just icing on the cake.