Last weekend I did my first open water clinic up at the Rolling Hills Club in Novato. It was so much fun! We learned sighting, what to do when someone’s swimming right on top of you, how to get around a buoy, starts, etc. One of my favorites was testing if you *really* swim in a straight line by having us swim 25 yards with our eyes closed. I’m pretty darn accurate on that as I may end up off by a few inches, but I didn’t cheat like most other people and open my eyes partway across the pool (or one guy who was several feet off course). Everyone was really nice, and I had a great time! I couldn’t wait to actually do some of this stuff in real open water! I wanted to immediately sign up for Swim Art’s open water clinic on 11th May in the bay afterwards. Turns out one of the women there helps organize the annual Pacific Masters meeting, and I volunteered to help with it for whatever she needs me to do.
One of the most awesome parts of the clinic was the partner exercises. We learned what it was really like to have someone swimming smack next to you the entire time and how to rollover them and gently push them away. The woman I was paired with said after the first lap that she noticed that I take less strokes than her (aka I generate more power per stroke) so she tried to reduce her stroke count to match mine, but was having trouble trying to keep up when she did. That compliment made me feel really good! I emailed Tom (my Masters coach) later thanking him for all those DPS (distance per stroke) exercises. Tom and Cindy (one of the assistant coaches) only ever make us do two drills: DPS and “catch up” (one stroke doesn’t start until the other completely finishes and your hands touch).
I had lunch with my friend Romy at Mission Chinese Food (finally!) the next day. She was the first person to encourage me to do open water swimming (on the very first day we met actually). I dumped everything I had been feeling about open water swimming, both good and bad. As always, she was encouraging and said that she would hate to see me just throw my endurance away and not do any open water. PacMasters hasn’t published the open water schedule for the season yet, but Romy already knows of one in June in Long Beach. She wants to do it and invited me to join her for it. I’m planning on doing just that now and we’ll see what else is on the schedule once it gets released. 🙂 I’m very grateful to have met her and having another swimmer that I can talk to. She’s a physical therapist too so she helps me with other things like how my body is working while swimming and even has some exercises to do to help keep certain parts (e.g. shoulders) from burning out while swimming.
Wednesday I swam 5000 yards, but decided to do 2 x 2000 yards then a 1 x 1000 yards. With my Finis Swimsense watch working now (funny that…sent it to Finis as defective, they “tested” it and found nothing wrong, sent it back, and now it magically works), I was able to enjoy swimming and let my mind completely wander without having to worry about what yardage was I up to. I contemplated on just continuing as I got closer to finishing the first 2000 yards. Did I have it in me to just do 3000 yards straight? I decided against it as I didn’t want to push myself too much in this experiment plus I couldn’t be *that* brain-dead at work later from dehydration and electrolyte depletion. That last 1000 yards was kind of brutal though. I almost threw up halfway through it. Of course I have a crazy idea of sometime soon doing 3 x 2000 yards. Why? Just because I want to see if I can do that too.
Thursdays with Tom as always. He gave me times to do my sets, which I scoffed at a bit. 100 yards on the 1:45? Was he kidding? I’m at 1:50! And so forth with the 25 yard sprints on the :25. Well, I surprised myself by coming in on the 1:42 +/- 1 second during the 100 yards and nailing the rest of the times or coming in slightly under! I had no idea that I had dropped 18 seconds of my 100 yard time in the last 4 months. The only times I couldn’t do was the 200 yard times at the end of the workout as he wanted me to do them on the 3:20 – 3:30. I did the first one on a 3:45. 😦 He watched my second one and said I came in on 3:38. Okay, it’s a little easier to go faster when you know it’s the very last set before quitting time. 🙂
My arms, hips and legs are sore right now from doing a “Dryland for Swimmers” workout at my pool’s gym yesterday. It was a hard workout, but definitely one that I at least plan on doing parts of (along with some other ones) to help develop my core and key muscle groups during non-swim days. Every little bit helps. 🙂