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Swimming is getting easier, but not easy

Posted May 26 2010 12:00am
This morning was the 2nd of 3 swim sessions during my week and I can say it is getting easier for me, but I would not use the word easy.  It is still a challenge and I love that as it pushes me to keep getting better.

One of the best parts of this training is that as I get better I look at the other swimmers in the pool for tips on how I can improve.  I used to be intimidated by these swimmers and just try to swim (muscle) as fast as I could through the water to get out but now I watch them and study them.  When I finish my session I sit on the bench for a few minutes and notice how they get their elbows up and out of the water.  How they turn their hips.  How the breathe.  How the kick.  Swimming is truly an amazing workout and it is even more interesting as you keep getting better, just like anything in life.

So today, I had a simple warm-up of 4x50 with 20 :RI followed by 1x200 and 2x100 and 8x25.  When I was previously training doing 200 was easy in that I would just power through it and go home.  Now with the training and swimming 100s and 50s and drills the 200 was getting intimidating.  I didn't think I could handle the distance, but today was a different story.  Previously I broke it down to 2x100s but today I broke it down to 4x50s since that was my warm-up.  When I was done with that initial 200 I felt I could swim 300 without being taxed b/c it was only 2x50 at that point.  Strengthening the mucsle between my ears is as important as getting stronger on the bike, pool or run.

After this main set came my drills.  All drills are performed with :20 RI and I believe this is done so that you can focus on form and not speed so you aren't spent.  On the catch-up drill I found that my right hand would drop before I could get through the recovery on the left hand and Coach C provided advice that I breathe every third stroke.  This worked perfectly for the first 35 meters but then my breathing was struggling and I went back to the every other stroke breathing and forced myself to glide more so my arm did not drop.  I think the fear of having to hold my breathe for three strokes was scarier then dropping my arm and I did not drop it the rest of the way.

Today I got to use all the equipment that I had bought from ( )  I got a kickboard, a pull buoy, hand paddles and fins.  I used the pull buoy and kickboard during the drills that call for them.  I swithced to using the hand paddles for the RT/LT drill where I am just stroking with one arm.  They seemed to help as they pushed a ton of water under me.

I also got do to the drill I love the most.  The fist drill.  I worked my way through that and focused on gliding and then when I did the finger-drag drill I was cruising.  I felt so much faster, just like Coach C said I would.  It was amazing to feel that fast.

At the end of the session I was required to do 2x50 at a HARD pace.  I wound up doing the first 50 in 50 seconds and the second in 54 seconds.  I don't think I can handle that pace for longer then 50-100 but it is amazing how much faster that is in comparison to when I first started, which would have been around 1 minute.

I ordered my first wetsuit today as well.  It is an Xterra Sleeveless and you can't go wrong for $99.  They are running a Memorial Day special right now that expires on Saturday.  This would be a beginner suit but I need to get used to swimming in one before I invest big money in a more advanced suit.

If you are interested in getting one for that cheap, or a different Xterra suit here is the link:    Xterra Wetsuits
On a personal note today is Man's Day in our house.  That means that I take my step-son to school in the morning and then we have dinner at night together alone.  It helps build a bond between us and also allows Karen to get her own training in.

I am also going to be signing up for the Metroplex Tri which is an open water swim tri once I find out if I have to go to NY for work.  This is going to be a great challenge not just in the race, but we are also hosting a wedding shower for our close friends Jill and Cary as they are getting married later this year.  Going to be a long but very exciting day.
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