Saturday, November 19, 2011

Oh, What a Beautiful Morning

Date: Saturday, November 19, 2011
Time: 8:30 a.m.
Location: Mesa, AZ
Short Course Meters/Yards
219 days to Olympic Trials

This morning, I made the trek out to the westernmost part of Mesa for a quick Masters swim meet. All I wanted to do was get some fresh racing under my belt before I prepare to taper in a couple of weeks. Things didn't go as expected.

2,300 yards warmup

100 breast: 1:05.79

400 warmdown

100 IM: 1:01.17

300 warmdown

100 back: 1:00.80

500 warmdown

Since I had done a very tough pool workout and an equally tough gym workout yesterday, I don't know why I put such high expectations on myself this morning. The muscles in my upper body were in knots. The tendons and muscles in my left shoulder (the one afflicted with minor tendonitis) were very sore. Nothing I did could stretch them out.

The 100 breast felt technically good, though I knew the speed wasn't fully there, based on how I felt the first 50. Still, I felt like a 1:03-low was happening, and I would have been pleased with that. I felt dejected to see 1:05 on the scoreboard, and when I got out, I wondered if the bulkhead in the pool was set at 26 meters, instead of 25. For about a minute, it was a joke rattling around in my head, but I briefly wondered if that were true. (I subtly verified that the pool was 25 meters at the end of the meet.)

About 20 minutes after my 100 breast was the 100 IM, and my transitions were not clean. My fly-to-back turn felt weird, and I didn't have much speed coming off the wall. But again, the technique was good.

The 100 back was a victory in that I stayed in the middle of the lane for the last three 25s. That is my major issue on swimming backstroke outdoors, and though I had hoped for a sub-1:00 swim, I was happy with the way it was swum.

Again, I know I worked very hard yesterday, but I am taking a while to process what today's swims mean as I move forward to taper. Does this mean I am working harder than ever? Yes. Does this mean I am overtraining? Not sure.

I don't have much of a benchmark for in-season times in short course meters, but no matter the pool format, I am never four seconds off my taper time in an in-season meet. I've swum three 100 breast races in the past month, and the times were agonizingly slow. At the Rowdy Gaines meet in Orlando, I chalked it up to devoting more time to working than swimming. At the pentathlon two weeks ago, the rationale was that I had raced 750 yards in 30 minutes. I had no real reason for today. I should have been able to step up and swim as fast as I normally do, even with tough workout still lingering in my muscles.

I am not discouraged, but I am being very introspective about this. I just hope that with a good taper, everything will fall into place. I will admit I am a little afraid about how to approach the next 11 days, and the nine-day taper I have planned after that. Should I back off weights and JR's boot camp early? The dryland seems to be the only thing I can figure to be weighing me down right now.

I have a lot of reflecting to do. But on the upside, tomorrow's workout will be largely aerobic, since I did my race pace training today.

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