I learned something important at the 2006 Tiger Invitational: treat it like a game.
My first event was the 200 BR, one of my real targets, so of course even though my training volume was down through November and December, thanks to holidays and conference travel, I wanted to get a best time there. And this was a BIG meet, with sometimes as many as 16 heats per event.
Warm-ups were delayed, because the morning session was even bigger, so I waited waited when I got there. Then we warmed up, which I am getting used to, even though it is about 45 minutes of getting crashed into and trying not to crash into other people, and getting lapped by teenagers.
Then more waiting, because the 200 BR was not the first event.
So by the time it came up, and I had warmed up again, I had pretty much psyched myself out.
The starter looked at my tense face and said, “It’s a game.” It so did not feel like a game to me right then: pretty much all the focus of the day and the week and denial about the week to come and the stress therein was poured into anticipating this race.
The swim was OK, but off my best time by about 1.6 seconds—which seemed huge in my head, but my starter friend pointed out after that one should not get so upset about a time gap from here………to here. An excellent point, I thought, and decided that I needed to work on my turns, which I knew were slow, and to train more—but all this would have to happen after I could start breathing again and after my chest stopped hurting, assuming it ever would.
But let me just say I kicked the ass of the 100 FR, because I was ready for it, dammit, and after all, free is not my event. But I cut about a second—the first time in a while.
One thing I realized on Saturday evening was that all the music I had in my little device was 100% psych-up music—very intense. So on Sunday morning before the meet I reloaded it, aiming for downtempo 80% music.
On Sunday was the 200 IM. Regular readers may remember that I completely did myself in the last time I swam this event, and so my goal this time was to swim it smart and stop being afraid of it, for pete’s sake. Success! Got my time under 2:50 again, which also felt good, even though it was not a best time.
And during the 50 FR I swam fly, since there is no 50 FL in kids’ swimming, and I wanted to see how close I could get to a national cut. About 2 seconds off, it turns out, but that was with a lousy turn, so I am hopeful I can cut a little time from that at the next meet.
And then the 100 BR, where I also did not cut time, but where I did keep my time very close (a few tenths off) to my best. Not a bad race, but more confirmation that I need to work on turns.
Which is exactly what I did this morning in the pool. There is hope for them, after all.
And the better music helped: it kept me upbeat, but it is simply not possible to be 100% psyched for 5 hours at a stretch, which I had tried to do on Saturday. It is a game, after all.
Off for a couple days for a marathon event. It is also game, I remind myself.
200 BR: 2:54.58
200 IM: 2:49.28
50 FL: :32.48
100 BR: 1:19.81