It’s funny. A few months ago I was reading a friends blog (he’s an Elite Triathlon dude) and he noted weeks where he was pushing upwards of 20,000 yards. I thought to myself then…wow – there is no way I could ever swim that much in a week.
See, I’m not a swimmer. Not by any stretch of anyone’s imagination. I just started swimming last year, everyone else has years of yardage under their belts. But I am getting better, one yard at a time. Over the past two months with the new coach we’ve been concentrating a ton of fixing my swim technique. As I think I mentioned before – when he first saw me swim 50 yards he stopped me, got me out of the pool (literally!) and said:
“Well…I have some good news. I can make you a much faster swimmer.”
So..week after week we’ve been working to fix the 17,575 little things that I do wrong in my swim technique. And slowly but surely it’s coming around. I spend half of my swim sessions working on technique. Swimming faster – not harder is my mantra.
Yesterday was a breaking point for me, mentally anyway. I swam 5,050 continuous yards at the pool. No flip turns, no stopping. It wasn’t super fast. It wasn’t hard. It was just smooth and efficient. It was like when you go out for a long run – you shouldn’t be out of breath – and at the end I wasn’t. I just went back and forth. I could have easily gone on for thousands more yards, I was in that much of a groove. Oh, and the last 3,000 yards were with a pull buoy.
(A photo after the swim. I LOVE this pool, even on crappy days it’s still great to be outdoors)
As you can see above, I was also pretty much the only person in the pool. It was threatening to rain (outdoor pool), so nobody was around. Towards the end of my workout two swimmers showed in up some lanes next door.
The reason this was such a big workout mentally for me is that I’ve never swim that far before. Nor did I have any idea how I would do time-wise. I’ve never been concerned about completing the distance, I’ve been concerned about completing it correctly.
Yesterday I did those 5,050 yards in exactly 1hr 20m. Which means I would do 4,400 yards in roughly 1hr 10 minutes. Even better is that typically I get about 4-5 minutes per mile of efficiencies gained due to wetsuit buoyancy and not having to stop/turn every 25yards. So that puts me in the realm of 60-62 minutes for the Ironman swim. Which is exactly where I want to be.
As for the 17,575 – that’s how many yards I swam this past week. Seriously. Rather mind boggling for me actually.