I told someone on the phone Wednesday night that I was planning to swim Thursday evening at Ottawa U with Technosport. Their response took me aback completely. Now, “What for?” can be a genuine question. But this, in fact, wasn’t a question at all. The words were spat out – it was a put down I was not at all prepared for.
There comes a time when it is very difficult to make progress on your own. When no matter how knowledgeable you might be about your sport, you need a coach to provide you with feedback. Or you need other people to push you. Sometimes just the camaraderie can bring you further than you otherwise thought possible. You might need to chase the big boys to ramp up your speed (or if you are really quick you might need to be chased). And sometimes you have something to contribute to a group ...
It took a half hour from my front door to the University locker room. (It took longer to get home. Workout is 6:00 - 7:00. Uncharacteristically as I traipsed through the mall where I transfer buses, the call of Burger King was very loud! I got home around 8:00.) But sandwiched in the middle was a workout in lane with 5 people helping each other out. Not with words of encouragement, unless you count confirmation of the number of repeats swum. But by being. By concentrating, and focusing, and having a common goal. After the Swim Camp Experience, Duane had the good sense to put me in a lane where I didn’t have to lead. In fact, I started at the back, and ended up in the middle.
I don’t usually post my workouts here – instead there’s a link in my sidebar that takes you to what I’ve been up to. But this one does deserve a bit more. The workout gets posted set by set on the white board, with the fastest lane’s times, and then the repeat times are modified verbally as Duane works his way from lane 8 down to lane 1.
After the warm-up, in lane 6 our main set was 4 x (4 x 100 IM on 2:15) 30 seconds between sets. (Lane 8 swam more repeats on 2:00.) Not a set I would have assigned myself, but also one not particularly conducive to swimming in a lane swim situation. Because Wendy = Backstroke Avoidance I swam catch-up free for the backstroke leg instead. IM is the four competitive strokes in the following order: fly, back, breast, free. I started last in the lane, and by the final set was swimming third. I gave myself permission to swim fly drills, yet I swam them all full fly. But here’s the important bit – I was also swimming comfortably between 1:45 and 1:50. Not that I wasn’t working.
Aside: Lane 8 has its own lane line. Then there are lane ropes between lane 6 and 5, between 3 and 2 ... so when you've got a bunch of people swimming up the middle with no rope, it gets a little choppy. Especially when you're swimming fly! We swam in the shallow end (which is deeper than my home pool, and I found myself hopping around between repeats – oh the trials of being 5' tall!). It's the far end in the picture above. The bulkhead was set up at 25 metres, and the net was down as the deep end was full of teenage water polo players.
There was a sprint set that followed: 6 x 50 your choice fast on 1:00, 4 x 50 easy on 1:00. I chose to make it 4 x 50 easy on 1:00 and call it a day.
When I got out of the water the Duane helped me up. He smiled and said he was proud of the way I swam. He told me my strokes looked long and smooth and he could see I was concentrating on what I was doing. (He didn’t have to tell me that the fly looked a little sloppy at the end of some of those 25’s. I knew that.) We talked about the consistency of my holding times. (I'm no Kim, Joe, but I was pleasantly surprised with the workout.) We discussed the events I had chosen for the Winterlude meet, the coach that will be on deck. So that’s what for!
I really earned the spinach and cheese cannelloni in vegetable sauce that was waiting for me at home! And the cookies, too ...