Last Monday I did my first flip turn in probably a month. That was partially my fault and partially due to maintenance at my pool taking waaaay longer than initially advertised. I think the pool was supposed to be down for like 10 days, that turned out to be extremely optimistic. Things opened back up during the week prior to my return but my swim buddies weren’t back yet so I just relaxed and stuck to messing around in the ocean until Monday came.
That first swim back I wasn’t sure if anyone would be joining me yet so I invited my roommate along to mix in a bit of a swim lesson for her. She swims solo at the Pismo Beach Athletic Club (where I used to train back in the day) after spin classes and we talk technique over the kitchen table sometimes. I figured we should actually go to the pool together to see what her stroke looks like in real life. Her swimming is pretty solid but had some room for improvement. We talked high elbows, less bend in the knees while kicking, and streamlines. Between our first test 50 at the beginning of the workout and one at the end after working pretty hard we had a 5 second drop! I was pretty stoked with that! Hopefully she keeps coming along occasionally to swim with us and work on getting better. In the midst of all that I was also popping in and out of a workout with Chad. I set the plan for the workout and between helping my roommate I swam whatever part of the workout he was on. Ultimately I probably only swam 2000 yards, but it was an ok start. On Wednesday and Thursday nights we did a couple more workouts in the low 2000s and our group started to grow again. Thursday saw Kelly, Dan, Chad and myself… next week I think Jason might join us too.
During the week I mixed in a couple trips to the beach as well. I hustled down to Pismo after work on Tuesday with my GoPro to do some photographical experiments as the sun came down. The tide was way out and the surf was pretty anemic. I swam out to where a couple surfers were still trying catch a few waves before it got totally dark. I got to spend maybe 30 minutes in the water, but once the last surfer left I decided I should probably roll out too… especially after I saw a few marine mammals pop up and wonder what a person was still doing in their ocean.
On Thursday I got a quick surf session in at lunch time. I paddled out on the south side of the pier and mourned the loss of our major surf from the last couple weeks. After lots of nice hollow barrels we were back to waist high mush. Oh well, it was good while it lasted. I caught a few ok waves, got some sun, and improved my mood for the rest of my workday. I got out a little colder than I usually do though, not sure what my problem was that day.
Saturday morning it was finally go time for the one hour swim after maybe 6000 pool yards and a little bodyboarding… not sure you could be more ready than that :) My team (Conejo Valley Multisport Masters) had 60-70 swimmers participating on Saturday morning and we were split into 2 heats. I was in heat one and would be timing in heat two. Since I came a from a couple hours away I didn’t have my own counter, but we managed to wrangle one up from the team.
I was pretty apprehensive about what my tired untrained body was going to produce in an hour… I was pretty sure it’d be ugly, but I was just going to lay it out there and see what happened. The nice thing was we had digital clocks set up on the side of the pool so I could at least tell where I was through the whole thing. I started my swim way too fast, but with what felt like minimal effort… it felt harder later though :) I tried to lay off a bit in the first few hundred meters, and within the first ten minutes I think I found my stride. I thought a lot about fractions during the swim… as in how much have I completed? 2/5? 13/20? 7/15? In regular life I can add to save my life, but put an expiration date on my swim and I turn into a damn mathematician!
As time wore on I didn’t feel so good so much as I felt like I was doing pretty good. I passed my lanemate a few times along with the guys in the lane beside me. I tried to really work my walls and take advantage of the fact that I have pretty good turns. A half an hour in I started to build a cramp in my thigh from all that pushing but it never turned into a full blown disaster cramp. I could kind of shake it out between walls before I had to flip again.
As time wore down I just focused on staying consistent instead of speeding up. Once I lock into a pace that’s where I’m staying, trying to go faster just feels harder and doesn’t seem to actually get any faster. On the back half of minute 59 I had the clock in my view and knew I’d hit the wall one last time and pick up a little change on the other side of my flip turn. I took a big turn and pushed as hard as I could. When I came up to breathe the stop whistles were blowing.
In the back of my head I was hoping to at least crack 4 grand on the swim since I was in the low 4′s the last couple years. When I swam back to the blocks my timer announced my distance of 4008 yards, yes! Just barely made it! I was pretty pleased with that considering I hadn’t been training for pool stuff. After I dried off and changed I sat down behind the same block and counted for one of my teammates who also didn’t have her own timer.
It was really nice to reconnect with my coach and a lot of my friends during the one hour swim. This is the 3rd year in a row I’ve come down specifically to do the swim and I always have a good time. I didn’t see my team as much as I would have liked to last year since I didn’t travel as much to meets in 2010, but I think I might show up more often this year.