You know that feeling you get when you work your lungs so hard that if you try to breathe at anything more than a super-shallow level, your whole body goes into coughing convulsions? PP says, Oh right, like you get from running. Well, PP, I personally have never gotten this feeling running, which tells us all we need to know about my running. But I do get it from swimming, and I am still battling it this morning after 2 days at the Team Greenville Holiday invite.
Day One of the meet was a tough one. I kept trying to remember something I had learned from a book I got for my birthday: FAILURE IS FEEDBACK, AND FEEDBACK IS THE BREAKFAST OF CHAMPIONS. For me on Saturday, the failure came early, in the form of a 200 IM. Apparently I took the fly out too fast, and then my backstroke is really bad (no, I mean REALLY bad) and it demolished whatever rhythm I had going, so when I got to the breaststroke, I was done. You must understand that usually this is where I can turn it on, but there was nothing to turn on. It was all so bad that my breaststroke leg was actually slower than my backstroke leg, and that never happens for me (although my coach insists that for most swimmers, the backstroke leg should be faster). The one bright side of the event was that I swam the best 50 fly of my life: all the elements of the stroke seemed to come together with ease. (Of course, it is probably that feeling of ease that led me to take it out several seconds faster than I should have, thereby totalling the event.)
So in part, I suppose, it was just bad race strategy that did me in. But I also felt like I got slammed by a severe lack of energy--much more than I would have expected in the first event of the day, even of the meet. It took forever for my heartrate to come down, and after it did, I could not get warm, and I could barely stand up. So I suppose it was a combination of the poor swimming and perhaps the time of the semester or something.
I did manage to power through the 50 free. That is what I love about 50s: you hardly have to have anything to get through them.
I swam the 200 BR the best I could under the conditions. I tried to work on my turns, which are pretty slow and a place where I could really cut some time before Nationals in May.
But man oh man, was it nice to be done with that day, or what. The PP and I stayed in G-ville for the night, going out for quite a lovely and sinus-clearing Thai meal that couldn't be beat, then retired to our hotel for about 12 hours of sleep.
The next day I was a little worried when I felt exhausted after warm-ups again. But I really wanted to go after the 100 fly, especially after the way the fly had felt in the first 50 of the 200 IM. My coach said, "just swim the 100 the same as you swam that 50 yesterday--but don't stop after the 50."
The first 50 felt great, and I even felt OK through the 75, although I was starting to get a little tired and I had to concentrate more (on not drowning, for instance). The head official (who we sometimes swim with) said afterwards, "You would have dominated if it had been an 80 fly," and that about sums it up. With about 15 yards to go, I could hardly move my arms, and I was in serious oxygen debt. I finished by cutting 3 seconds off my seed time, and 2 seconds off my best.
In the open division of USA swimming, there are no 50s for any strokes except free, so in order to go for a masters' national cut in the 50 breast, I have to get creative. Yesterday I swam the 100 breaststroke, but announced that I was going for a split, which means that the time after the 50 would be official, as long as I finished the event legally.
Inspired by that 100 fly, I decided to go for the cut. I told the official and then worked to get psyched--stretching, focusing in, and most of all, listening to Panjabi MC. Do you know that cut that samples from the Magnum PI themesong? Well, what better motivation is there, really, than memories of Tom Selleck in Hawaii?
The national cut for my age group in the 50 BR is 37.28 and I managed to swim 37.15. Whew! And although I was wobbly on the blocks, and could have been called for a false start (although the PP who was timing for my lane thought I looked slow off the blocks), only 1 referree saw it. And as one of the team parents pointed out, Rowdy Gaines got a gold medal on a disputed false start. So there!
Made it through the 100 free with nothing to write home about, and then enjoyed the hell out of a tepid shower.
200 IM 2:53.88
50 FR :30.96
200 BR 2:55.47
100 FL 1:16.73
100 BR 1:23.32 [split: :37.15]
100 FR 1:07.80