I've decided that I'm a fan of swim meets! They remind me a lot of high school track. Sit and wait and warm up and then wait and then warm up again and then some more waiting...and then RACE!
Last year I swam 22:44 and I was over the moon about it. I thought I would swim more like 23:30. This year, I knew I was in better shape. Well, I'm not sure I would call it so much better shape as more like I'm just a better swimmer. Swimming has been very frustrating for me at times because progress has been slow. Like 3 years slow. But I've now been swimming long enough that I can definitely see the result of several years of faithfully swimming week in and week out, yard after yard after yard. Plus now I know how to flip turn and NEWSFLASH - that is like wayyyyy faster than open turns. Hmm...who would have thought?
So that was my long winded way of saying - my goal this year was to swim 22 minutes/1:20 pace. I knew it would be a challenge to swim 45 seconds faster than last year however, I also felt confident that I could do it.
I was in heat #3 today. And my favorite swimming partner of all time was in heat #2. Her and I swim next to each other in masters all the time and always seem to consistently swim the same pace. So I was bummed not to get to swim in her heat HOWEVER, I did get a big boost of confidence when I saw her finish in 21:09. WOW! I was so excited for her and although I was thinking "there ain't no way I'm swimming that fast" I did think that 22 minutes was very doable. So let's get this thing done!
Still no diving off the blocks. I'm saving that for next year I guess. :) But I did dive off the deck at least. The starter sort of gave me a funny look when I didn't get up on the blocks and I sort of waved like "nope, this is where I'm diving from!" :)
And so the race began. And really there isn't much to report on other than I just swam hard. As hard as I could. I was in the 5th lane and for about half of the race the girl in lane 4 was in front of me and pulling away - but then, just at that point where I was REALLY ready to be done with swimming, I started to catch her! And it was just the boost I needed - someone to go after and then once I got a little ahead - someone to try to stay ahead of! And before I knew it, O (my faithful lap counter!) was waving the lap board all around with the red blocks indicating that THIS WAS IT! SPRINT!!!
My time? 21:09!!!!! Same exact time as Meredith, my swim partner, in the heat before. I told you - I can only swim her pace! (so of course I told her that I would appreciate it if she would swim in the mid to low 20s next year so I can too :)
I couldn't believe I swam 1:35 faster than last year and a good 50 seconds faster than I thought I would this year. I instantly felt so rewarded for all the hours in the pool and so much graditude for my coaches and teammates that push me to work hard. And at the same time thought "now I need to translate this into OPEN WATER swimming" because this is where I fall short. It's nice to swim faster in the pool but what would be even better is to finally start getting out of the water with the top packs in my triathlons. (when I say top pack I'm discluding those outliers that swim 18-19 minutes and are 1-2 minutes ahead of everyone else! :)
So yeah fun swim! :) Because I have a husband that is a math teacher and took all my splits:
I don't think I'll ever be accused of inconsistency. :)
I had so much fun at the meet too. This year I know a lot of my masters teammates a lot better so O and I had fun cheering for them all and several of O's fellow teachers and fellow coaches from his high school were swimming so we got to cheer them on as well! Plus, the head honcho of Eat'n Park was swimming so there were about 50 dozen Smiley Cookies for all the swimmers and fans! (gotta say, that made O QUITE a happy camper :)
Meredith and I after our races and her adorable son Levi. O and I got the honor of holding Levi while Meredith's husband swam and she counted laps for him. Um...WAY CUTE! He is such a good baby - he even comes to our swim practices sometimes and he never cries! He is only 6 months old and Meredith didn't even miss one swim practice while pregnant or after giving birth! She is my swim hero! Oh, and did I mention that she is a med student in her final year and about to start residency? Amazing...
Coach Jen (our fearless masters coach) and I. Jen has helped me with my stroke a lot and gives us some really tough workouts to prepare us so well! AND today I learned that she ran track and cross country in high school!! (and obviously also swam) The makings of a perfect triathlete if you ask me...
This is me right after getting out of the water and still breathing quite hard for like...the next 10 minutes. :) Okay, maybe not that long, but close! Anyway, O was taking the picture so you could see me and the board with my name/time on it. Kind of hard to see but if you squint - 21:09!
And finally, what's a race without the post-race celebration! I was HUNGRY (even though I ate right after my race) so on the way home we stopped for burritos and then ice cream! Eating ice cream in February in Pittsburgh though, requires wearing lots of layers as you can see. A sacrifice O and I are clearly willing to make. :)
So we had a fun morning. And now it's time to do my long run! Luckily I have a pretty swell training partner and O is going to join me. Good thing too - I just looked out the window and the snow is REALLYYYY blowing.
Thanks for all the good luck wishes everyone! Hope you all have a great start to your weeks!