I’m blogging on my iPhone because yesterday or the day before I started getting all these terrible notifications that my computer was infected by a terrible virus and now two days later my computer, the one I’m supposed to use to get work done, so I can buy food and pay rent, more or less, logs off the moment I log on.
It’s terrible timing. It would be much better if it could inconvenience my life next week. Hopefully, I will tell you why that is, but it has to do with Truth, Justice, and the American Way, and it’s so maddening that a computer virus would stand in the way of that. But it won’t stop me. I just hope my car starts.
So I’m going to tell you about the annual Hour Swim that our Coach Marie makes us swim every year, and then I’m going to tell you about my goal to swim the 200 Fly, maybe at a swim meet.
Last Sunday, I swam 4340 yards in one hour, for the annual Hour Swim, a postal event that no one really wants to do, but Coach Marie loves it, and we love Marie, so we all do it. Nobody loves the hour swim.
My personal record is 4700 yards, so 4340 is much slower, but is about the same as the last time I swam this five years ago, with a still broken collarbone, but I didn’t know that at the time and thought the pain was just pain.
By the way, doctors should never tell their patients, especially athletes, that it’s “just pain.”
So this year’s pace was considerably slower, but that was also “the plan.” Sometimes I have to remind myself that’s the plan, because it can feel discouraging to be that far off pace, or at least at the same pace you held with a busted shoulder.
This year, my “plan” was to stay under threshold (whatever that is; I went by feel) this winter for “base yards.” I told a lane mate this and she looked at me like I was crazy. And judging by the results, I could be, because the guys that hammer day in and day out swam really fast, and here I was, slower than ever.
The reason why I want to try it this way is because the year I swam 4700, I swam at or around that pain threshold day in and day out, but then I couldn’t go any faster later that season. I know I talked about swimming a PR that year in a prior post, but that was in the 50 Fly, an event I didn’t even train for.
I became efficient at swimming hard non-stop. That came with some benefits, but I couldn’t sprint freestyle to save my life.
Giving me some hope was today’s main set. It was 3 X (3 X 100), descending one through three, with the first one at your hour swim pace (or threshold) and the last one at your mile pace. I allowed myself 15 seconds rest, ‘cuz that’s what Marie wrote on the board, and I trust her.
I remember in years past struggling this time of year because my hour swim pace was about as fast as I could go. This time, since I stayed below redline all winter, it wasn’t so hard going 1:21, 1:18, and 1:15 three times through. I didn’t wear out my overdrive. Maybe?
I’m still not certain if this is the best way to go because it feels wimpy and counter-intuitive to swim slow to swim fast. Even though our swim coach at CSUB was keen on base yards, twenty years ago, it’s not like any of us really purposely swam slow. We were always racing each other, pretending that we weren’t.
It’s a lot more common in cycling, though. There’s a lot of science that proves that this works, and there are always cynics who claim it’s just a way to get out of working hard. Time will tell.
Aside from maybe a triathlon, I’m not sure what my swim goals even are, either. I’d like to do some open water swims, and maybe even some sprint Fly events, and maybe even the 200 Fly, though that one is connected to Truth, Justice, and the American Way, which I’m sure to tell you about sooner or later.
I did swim 250 yards of fly today, not all at once. One of the joys of being a Born Again Beginner is you get to let yourself take breaks and be forgiving of yourself. You can go a lot farther that way.