This old adage has been stuck in my head this past month for two reasons: first, I’ve been fighting some sort of cold since the holidays and it turned into a horrible sinus infection that kept me dry for a week and a half. It. Was. Horrible. Second, my endurance has vastly improved.
Nothing sucks more than not being able to swim. The entire time I was quarantined to my bedroom all I could think of is how adversely this time off was going to affect my progress. I spent the time reading both of Michael Phelps’ books, watching even more technique and drill videos, and dreaming of the pool. No, really… I had a dream I was swimming. It’s a good thing I’m not a sleepwalker; dolphin kicks just aren’t the same on land!
Go figure this cold attacked me mid-month. My irrational thoughts were along the lines of ‘greaaaaaaaaaaat now how am I supposed to cut time next month?’ I had a really good January time trial: shaved nearly 3 seconds off my 50 free, 11 off my 100 free, and almost 6 off my 100IM – we’re not going to talk about the 50 fly that I cramped during. I mean, I know I’m still new, but ELEVEN SECONDS? SIX SECONDS? My coach kept telling me how proud she was of me, which feels awesome, but all I could think was ‘what the heck was I doing last month, was I even trying?’ Answer? Yes, I was. I tried so hard my tongue got tingly. I’m not sure why this is, lack of oxygen I guess, but I know I pushed to the limit if my tongue is tingly at the end of my sprint! Something I’ve been trying to work on this month, at least since I’ve been back, is my fondness for oxygen. My turns would be much more effective if I could just hold my breath a little longer! Oxygen is overrated, as they say. Trying to convince my brain of that fact has been quite difficult, but sort of doable. I expected my first swim back to be absolutely atrocious but I was able to get through 1750 yards with decent turns. Not too shabby.
If you read the blog prior to this one, you’ll know that I had my first fight with swimming and that it came in the form of 2×300. What I’ve come to love most about swimming is that while it has team aspects, it’s largely individual. I’m not a competitive person like most athletes. I’m an only child – there was never anyone around to compete against except myself. This is why swimming is right up my alley; it’s me against the clock. I’m always trying to one-up myself and surpass my best. Once something is presented to me and I’m not able to accomplish it, say a 300-yard swim, I won’t be satisfied until I can. The week after our substitute coach wrote that set I allowed myself to just swim at the end of one of my workouts to see how far I could go and before I knew it I was at 225. I was so close – there was no way I was stopping now. And I did it. Go me! Distance makes the heart grow fonder. Literally. The more I’m able to swim, the more I love it.
When my coach came to me earlier last week suggesting I train my backstroke for racing I had a ‘oh crap, this just got real’ moment. Entering a meet has just kind of been a ‘one day…’ thing, but now that I have concrete goals in mind, and something specific to train for, it all seems more legit. This is actually happening. Other than backstroke, we’re toying with the idea of racing the 200IM. This might not end well, but I hope it starts well. I’ve seen way too many videos online of people face planting into the water off the blocks or even just the deck (clearly not professionals). Keep your fingers crossed for me that I don’t do this at my first meet!