I've never been a "swimmer" per say. I've never even had an official swim instruction, or lesson, or anything like that. I grew up in Spokane, lakes with in 20mins of my house. Our family vacations were spent at Priest Lake in Northern Idaho camping. I also spent a lot of time at Lake Roosevelt in Washington. Actually, at Lake Roosevelt (Porcupine Bay) campground, is probably my first real memory of "swimming" for lack of a better term.
My parents were fond of the "sink or swim" method. It's not an exaggeration. At the campground, there was a floating dock in the middle of the swimming area. I can picture it now. It seemed like miles from shore (in reality it was probably 50 yards) and had a green top. Well, my parents took me out there, took my life jacket and made me jump. Sink or swim.
Sounds harsh, but honestly I think it made me the fairly decent swimmer I am today. I've never been afraid of water, lake water that is, an ocean is whole other story!
We also spent a lot of our summer days at the beach in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. That lake is like home to me, and when I decided to do my first Ironman, there was no other first choice. Getting back in the water was more comfortable than any other race (I struggled with a lot of open water swims).
Now, going back a few years in college, I decided to join my roommate and signed up for an elective one semester - Conditioning swimming.
Let me tell you. While I could swim, I learned quickly I didn't really know how to actually SWIM, SWIM. One length of the pool and I was DYING. Kicking as hard as I could... gasping for air. It was a long hard semester, but I got better, and more efficient... and loved it.
My roommate, Erin was a great swimmer, and I would watch her. Watch her streamline the top of the water with one of the best flutter kicks (to this day) I've seen. I tried to mimic her form, and slowly got a little better...
Now over the years I've had some great pool workouts. Some speed stuff, longer stuff... and also learned flip turns, which if I feel like I have finally mastered if I do say so myself!
However, and maybe on the same note as my cycling, I've been in a slump. I got comfortable going longer and slower, and in turn, I GOT slower. My splits were not getting any faster and I certainly was not getting a closer to beating my husband out of the water in a race....
Then Monday happened. I'm at masters, doing my thing. A nice slow 3000 yard workout. And next to me, my lane partner in Momo's absence starts speeding by me. Between my sets I hear him chatting with Anne, our instructor, about times and workouts. Something about a 3:02time.
I'm all jeez, that's fast. Which fires Anne (passionate about swimming) up... and one thing leads to another - her overconfidence in me, and my lack of speedy confidence. Next thing I know I have a date for Wed at noon. "Anne's House of Pain workout", as James called it.
She mentioned 10x200 on 3:15. I knew that was pretty crazy.. but she was SURE I could do it. We got there, did a 500 warmup, and looked for Anne. She was finishing up a swim lesson so we decided to start the torture on our own. We decided we would start at the 3:30, and descend by :05 each time.
Now, I know we all go out too fast sometimes, but I think I'm fairly good at pacing. And after what happened next, I'm KNOW I am much better than others at pacing.
First 200. 2:54. THAT IS MY 100 speed, on a good day. I looked at James and said WAY TOO FAST..... I got him to slow down after that. Mostly I think because he was DYING and while he had much more get up and go than me, he also needed a lot more rest time than me.
Then next 4 were right at abou 3mins, with 15-20seconds rest.
5 was enough... that was freaking hard. So, we decided to pick up on the rest of the workout and did another 800 yards of shorter, easier sets.
THEN ANNE CAME BACK. She asks us how it went, times, etc.... Then she says "Do you want more?" I started laughing.
James says, "I have 20mins left".... WTF? Dude... shut up. We're already at 2300yards for the day.. come on.
Suck it up Buttercup....
Next up 6x125 (she actually said something about doing this TWICE over, but I put my foot down at 3000yards for the day). starting with 4 lengths easy, 1 length fast - 3 lengths easy, 2 length fast..... last one 5 lengths fast. ALL on :15 rest.
After our longer rest sets for the 200s I really stuck to the :15. That, and Anne said she was "watching".....
I ACTUALLY felt GREAT! And, I paced right... felt great.. and :15 was actually more than enough time for me to catch my breath (even if I sounded like I was dying when I first hit the wall) However, Mr. speedy James had to take an extra break for the last couple. He actually said at one point "I think I might get sick"
In the back of my head I thought - HA, "chicked" strikes back! But, I didn't let those thoughts go too far, since I invited him to ride with momo & I on Saturday... and he just so happens to be a bike racer..... I'm keeping my mouth shut and ego in check.
So, I'm feeling excited and happy about this swim workout. I did more than I actually thought I could. I also realize why I haven't gotten any faster. It's easy. I don't try hard enough. While my arms can feel trashed, I've never felt that level of effort in the pool like I did today. I don't know if it was out of fear of going breathless while under water? Or something else?
Either way, I'm excited to see what happens over the next months. She said on Wed we could continue to do stuff like this and eventually... we would be doing those 200's ON 3:00.
How cool would that be?
Maybe someday, I actually WILL get out of the water before him....:-) Ya think?