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The Turtle and the Hare(s)

Sunday, March 24, 2013

A tale of swim class!

Swim class was a great workout. It's a class for people who are training for a triathalon, which I am so not. I'm always there when class starts - I hit the pool at 7:15a when it opens, and class is at 8:00. When I told the instructor about my channel challenge (she noted that I am ALWAYS in the pool, haha) she said "you should stay for class sometime." And then I was promptly out of town 5 weekends in a row. Heh.

Anyway. I went early & swam 20 minutes of laps before the 1 hour class. Because: crazy person.

Class = 2 guys, and me. The guys have been training at least 6 weeks, probably more (I've seen them a bunch of Saturdays while working on my channel mileage.) We started with 2 warmup laps (a.k.a. "4 lengths" - this will be important later).

The pool was very warm, which is bad for speed work, so we were to work on flexibility. Which means arms, arms, and more arms. Pull buoy time! (For those who don't know: that's the floaty thing you put between your knees). We did 4 lengths (2 laps!) each of arms only for butterfly, backstroke, freestyle, breaststroke. (I SUH-HUCK at butterfly. At least I feel like I do... I just feel like I'm flailing around underwater. Apparently I am not that bad, though, and have "great" shoulder flexibility.)

Then a bunch of other arm things I forget. The pool is only 2 lanes, so with 3 people we were swimming around: down on the left, cross & back in the other lane. The guys swim way faster than me! During a couple of the exercises I paused at one end of the pool so they could lap me instead of waiting behind me.

At least halfway through class it was time for the "long swim". The instructor was confirming with the guys " did 30 last week, right? Ok I want you to do 34 I think." Then she asked me "what's your longest swim?" And I'm thinking... hmmm. Channel challenge was roughly 40 laps 3x a week. 40 is not a stretch for me. My max is limited by time (time without other people waiting to use the pool!), not endurance. Top ever = 60 laps. But I'm SO SLOW. I accept that the guys are going to lap me a couple times, I just dont want to hold up the entire class! So I fib a bit "oh, I usually try to do like 30..." her: "ok, let's keep you at 30 today." So long swim.

I had my counter, but I was on an odd number, since I'm only counting full-body laps towards channel mileage, not the arm work laps (I'm a crazy person; don't ask...). I think it was on ~19, so I'm adding in my head, ok, gotta go til the counter says 49...

We swim. The guys lap me once. I'm doing okay though- the instructor made a couple of corrections to my form that help a lot. I lost count somewhere- not sure if I missed some clicks on my counter, and because I keep having to switch lanes at the end of the pool, I miss my usual opportunity to check my number. The guys have stopped. I'm thinking... did they lap me once or twice? (I think twice...) so I should have 2 more laps...

I just stop anyway to check if the instructor was keeping count. She gives us each corrections for our form, then walks back to the other end of the pool to get some gear for the next exercise, which she says will be sets of 8 lengths.

Me, to the guys: I lost count. Did we finish 30?
One of them: yeah
Me: oh, she just said 8 lengths. Were we doing 30 lengths, like (point from here to other end) One, (end to here) Two?
Them: yeah, 30 lengths.
Me: OH! I thought we were doing 30 *laps*, like (here to there, there to here) One, (here to there, there to here) Two!
Guy: that would be 60. You usually do 60??
Me: actually I aim for 40 laps. So 80.
Guys: *stare at me in awe*

(I didn't tell them I've done 120... hahaha)

So yeah.

I could look at this as, I was slow and felt like I was interrupting the class of Serious Triathlete Trainees with my turtle pace swimming.


Hey, it was my *first* class and I *almost* kept up with 2 much more buff than me men who have been training for months.

I mean, if I think about the speed more objectively, it's not like they swim 2x as fast as me. If I start 3rd, the guy who started first is finished with his first length as I am starting. After ~4 laps (8 lengths) he has caught up behind me. So they gain ~1 length of the pool on me every 8 lengths. That's not THAT much faster...

Also, they may be faster, but in a distance or brute force endurance challenge? I would smoke the hell out of both of them. Hahahaha.

My lats are a little sore, in a good way, from all the upper body work. But honestly, at the end of class? (After swimming for an hour & 20 minutes) I was not that tired. I had easily another 20-30 laps in me. Both dudes looked sort of hosed.

I think I'm probably kind of amazing.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • MINEA999
    Pardon me for commenting on a 2 week old blog - but I loved it! I've been thinking about getting back into the pool since I hurt my leg and can't run much. And now you've inspired me to do it. In spite of it decolouring my fabulous fake red, I love being in the pool. It makes me feel strong!
    1843 days ago
    you are awesome.
    1849 days ago
    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1851 days ago
    You are definitely AMAZING!! emoticon emoticon
    1851 days ago
    That is AWESOME! Triathlon swims are usually, at most, 2.5 miles for the ultra distance courses. And often times, triathletes end up struggling the most with the swim portion...they are usually runners/bikers who convert to the triathlon format. So that makes sense...while they are built a little more for speed, they wouldn't be able to handle a true distance swim.

    Setting a good pace is always critical for a distance swim, and it sounds like you've totally got that covered! I'm glad you got to stay and got some good tips on your form.
    1852 days ago
    emoticon You make me want to go jump in a pool!
    1852 days ago
    You ARE amazing!!! They can't even COUNT lol.

    One thing I've heard from my step-sis (the channel swimmer) is that distance swimming has very little to do with age or physical conditioning, and way more to do with endurance and cardio. And the longer you work on it, the better. There's no age limit on swimming, you can only get better!

    1852 days ago
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