Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Genie in a Bottle

Date: Tuesday, May 8, 2012
Time: 5:45 a.m.
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Long Course Meters
48 days to Olympic Trials

300 warmup

16x50 on 1:05, various kick, drill and swim repeats

2x400 on 7:00 -- 200 back/200 breast
#1 6:07, #2 5:50

200 easy

400 breast (goal: under 6:00)

6x50 on 1:10 easy

4x100 back on 2:15 (avg. 1:16) 

300 easy

Total: 3,500 meters (80 minutes)

Despite having two days off from exercise, I felt pretty good int he water today. No sense of feeling "off" in any my strokes.

On the board this morning was written "4x400 on 7:00." Immediately I thought, "No way!" I decided to do just two of them, then branch out and do some sprint work, though I wasn't completely sure what I would do. But anything would be better than two more 400s!

After I finished the 200 easy after the second 400, Mark wanted to know what I was going to do. "Definitely not another 400!"

"I wanted to see if you could go under six minutes breaststroke on this last one."

Sounded like a challenge -- and even though I knew I didn't want to accept this challenge, I thought about it for a few minutes. I had found out that one of my teammates, Laura Ruberto, had specifically requested the set of 400s. Since she got her wish granted, I figured I'd make a wish of my own. I told Mark I'd try to break six minutes, but only if we did a set of 4x50 on 2:00 tomorrow. That's my type of set!

I was nervous about the 400. The sprinter in me wasn't confident about taking the 400 out slow and building to the finish. I am not very good about switching to another gear, and that's what I would have to do. Plus, I was doing this 400 alone. No one else in the pool would be going at my speed. The first 100 was very easy, probably too easy. I don't know what the split was, but I knew I was going too easy. I tried to speed up without picking up my stroke rate on the second 100, and it wasn't easy to do.

At the 250 mark, my arms were quite tired and my legs were feeling the burn. I knew I needed to go faster, but I couldn't feel my body kick into that next gear. Sprinters have only one gear: fast!

The final 400 was brutal, but the entire time I kept focusing on maintaining my stroke technique. It kept my mind off the pain.

When Mark said "6:02" when I touched the wall, I let out a mixture of a groan and scream. I was furious! I swam all that way and didn't break six minutes! It seemed fairly easy to me at the start. All I had to do was average under 1:30 per 100! Another teammate of mine, Tarek El Dokor, congratulated me on the time. Yes, it was pretty fast, but I was too upset to acknowledge that.

It's been 13 hours since that swim, and I'm still a little miffed about not breaking six minutes. I think it was simply a poor pacing choice and not a statement on my conditioning. However, my body was ruined for the remainder of the workout. That final set of 100s was pretty much useless, but I gave it my best effort anyway.

The point of today's workout is that it is OK to accept a challenge from your coach, but don't be afraid to go for it! If you fail, fail because you tried your hardest. I think I was too wimpy in the first part of the swim, and it stung me in the end. I'm now reminded of a special day I had when I swam at the University of Texas. I was challenged to do a get-out 400 butterfly (short course yards) swim one day, and all I had to do was go under five minutes. I had never gone under five minutes, and was pretty much the only swimmer on the team who hadn't done so. But on that day, I went out fast and held on, going 4:49. I also had the team cheering for me. This morning, I only got a few medium-loud yells from my coach.

I can't wait for those 50s on two minutes tomorrow!

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