Saturday morning 6:30 am rolled around and it was time to start the day. Masters today. And I could feel it – this one would be rough. I ate an extra good breakfast, had extra strong coffee (AMEN) and put my swim face on (similar to the face of fear and sits right next to my angry eyes that I keep stored away in my closet).
As I got on deck I heard the coach asking the speedy swimmers (of which I am not) which interval they did their 200 IM on. When they said 2:30 I almost walked right back through the lockerroom, into the car and home. 200 IM on the 2:30. Not in 2:30. Sending off – 2:30.
Is there a point for me to even be here today?
I asked my lane permission to swim with them hoping they would say NO and send me back home. No such luck. I only got a “silly of course you can swim with us”. Hey, what happened to the surly you don’t belong here eyes I used to get? Would someone please reject me? Announce to the pool that they cannot swim in my lane? (yes, someone once did that to me in front of the entire team)
400 easy warm up. Is never easy in our lane. I am the first one in the water and after the first 75 stop to let The Doctor go by. She tells me there was no need for that but I know better than to believe it and tell her please just go ahead. Is she not aware by now that I have a rule that I cannot be lapped within the first 500 yards? Seems like everyone else but me warms up at top speed. Often I think about going with them but the endurance athlete in my tells me that in a 90 minute swim blowing all you have in the first 5 minutes is not a good pacing plan. Perhaps I need more risk, less fear, less logic, blow it all out early and simply hang on for the remaining….4600 YARDS!?!!??
300 pull is always my favorite. I can keep up and I absolutely love paddles. If my hands were paddles I would rival Phelps in the pool. Maybe. At least would lead this lane today.
300 dolphin kick. I think I’ll pass. I’m the classic Editor at masters. If I don’t like it (and I have created a long list of things I don’t like including kick, IM, hand entry paddles and anything hypoxic), I change it and do what I want. Swimming happy is where it's at.
6 x 75 drill 50, swim 25; free for the first 3, IM order the next 3. I play along. I love to drill. Honestly I do. First of all – you can never drill too slow. It’s not like you’re going to get lapped while drilling. Second of all – I spent all of December drilling and of all the things I have done to get better in the pool none were as effective as that.
The mainset. I could sense something epic coming as the coach was hiding the dry erase board of pure evil. I saw her writing furiously on it and could only imagine what it said. Earlier this week I heard they swam the timed mile. Last week I heard they did race pace 100s on the 3:00 meaning you go so hard it takes you over 90 seconds to catch your breath again. So how do you top workouts like that?
In a moment of reveal, there it was:
4x (4 x 100 on the 1:30, 1;25, 1:20, 1:15)
IM for one of them, pull one of them
And those intervals were the cushy ones. The fast lanes were going down to the 1:10. The worst part is that while 1:15 might mean 2 seconds of rest for me, for the other lanes the 1:10 would mean more than 10 seconds rest.
THAT is not fair.
My lane gripes and groans. First things first, we nix the IM. There is no way we will make the 1:30 so it gets scratched. I am in a lane of editors and I love it. Next: there is talk of ditching the 1:15. As Editor-In-Chief I say: No! No way. We are doing it. We are going all the way. It is my goal to at some point in life send off on the 1:15. I know, to all you "real" swimmers the 1:15 is NOT that fast….tell me something I don’t know. But it’s an improvement for me as nonrealfakeswimmer. I also know I will have to pull it to even have a chance at it but the rules said to pull one of them so I’m safe.
On the 1:30 is nice. There is a lot of air and it’s relaxing. On the 1:25 is picking it up a bit. On the 1:20 is generally uncomfortable and now my legs burn. On the 1:15 and for the first time EVER I have made the interval with 3 seconds to spare. The next one I come in at 1:15 then send off. The third one we miss by 1 second. The last one we just did. When you miss the interval you kind of get screwed and just swim.
A set like that and you think – great, I’m done. I’m a winner today. We can just coast the rest of the practice, do some kicking and drill to finish it up. Right?
Unfortunately there were 40 minutes remaining. And this on the board:
4 x (200 IM on the 2:45/3:00, 1 x 100 on the 1:30/1:40)
My only question is: what happened to the 2:30?
WHAT!? Of course that was not my question. The real question was: WTF!?
Adding insult to injury, that is what I call that set. The Doctor simply says “no”. Sara says she is getting out early. Jack – I’m just surprised he was still in the lane. Right about now would have been the perfect time for a potty break.
Come on team, we can do this. I know we can. I talk the doctor in trying the IM. Put on fins? Just survive? Agreed. We are finning our way through 200 IM. Unfortunately for me I spent the whole time with 1 fin hanging off because I am convinced people with medium-sized feet keeping wearing the small fins. Hey, if the small fins are not made for small people like me then who are they made for? It’s not like a pair of jeans. You don’t get a feel good prize for putting on a smaller pair people!
On the second 200 I realize I have reached the margin of diminishing returns. More effort = more slow. The Doctor finds her 3rd wind and pulls away. Poor Jack is stuck in my draft. I am going backwards. And Sara has left for the day.
We make it through that set and still 15 minutes remain. For the love of god please someone shoot this swim and put us out of our misery. But 2 x 200 pull is next. At this point my arms hurt so bad. I hurt. At some point I swam past Ironman. Every time I look at the clock it gets no closer to 9 am and all I can think about is coffee.
Giving up coffee? What was I thinking?
I hit 5000 and I am done. I am trying to do the math about how far that is but I lost my math skills after the first set. Something about trying to figure out when you came in and when you have to send off – and you all wonder why I have bad math.
I was tired afterwards but nothing a little coffee couldn’t cure (thank you coffee). It was a great feeling to walk away from this workout knowing I did one thing today I had never done before. It’s not huge progress but it’s something. And each week it builds. You find your little success each week and in time it builds up to something big.
Race season is almost here. I have no idea if all of this will pay off but that’s the exciting part – isn’t it? I have no idea what awaits me in the water this year but I can help but feel a little closer to ready. Ready is a good place to be.