10 days no alcohol
On Tuesday morning at swimming the coach decides he wants to do an analysis on my stroke. The whole session I am being critiqued and we are trying different things to make me more efficient in the water and therefore faster. My stroke count has always been an issue as I 'glide' too much through the water and therefore there are parts of my stroke where I slow down and almost stop resulting in momentum stopping and me being slower. We do a verbal breakdown compared to a year ago and determine that I am definitely getting better but do need to focus on stroke speed. My coach reminds me of the 1.5km time trial that is on Thursday and that he would like to see me go under 25 minutes. The fastest I have ever been is around 25 minutes 13 seconds so that is a whole 13 seconds off my best time. It is also around 1:40 per 100 metres which for those non swimmers out there is relatively fast.
Although we are trying new things with my stroke, I am feeling confident that I can break the 25 minute barrier. Training is going well and diet is good, I just need to feel it on the day.
I wake up on Thursday morning and get changed into my bike gear before the 13km ride to the swimming pool. I am aiming to warm up on the bike but take my time so as not to fatigue myself before the time trial. I have eaten some breakfast and jump on the bike. I am not feeling good. I feel quite fatigued but enjoy the ride into town non the less. By the time I make it to the pool it is 5:45am and I am still not feeling good. I eat a banana and have a drink before jumping in the pool at 6:00am for a warm up swim. I have a plan for today. I am going to go out hard for the first 200 metres and then settle into a rhythm before sprinting the last 200 metres. I start my watch and we are off.
The first 50 metres is good and I am focussing on my stroke speed. I am feeling okay at this point as I hit the wall and turnaround for my first 100 metres, only 14 to go. I look up at the clock and have done the first 100 in around 1:30. I settle into the second 100 but there is no sprint, the energy is just not there. I get into a good rhythm though and continue through the first 500m with the last 400m done on about 1:40, I am on track and only 1km to go. The 600m, 700m, 800m and 900m mark passes and I am still on 1:40 pace. I am feeling okay and know that I only have 600m to go. I hit the 1km mark and before I know it I have someone touching my toes, wanting to pass. I hang on for another 100m before I am passed by one of the guys in the lane and as soon as he passes he is getting further and further ahead of me. 400m to go, only around 7.5 minutes of pain left. I keep going and hit the last 100m before I begin the sprint home. I touch the wall, look at my watch to see the time of 23:47 and my coach looking down at me saying "don't you have another 100m to go?". Shit!! I push off the wall and sprint the last 100 metres (again) before touching the wall. I look at the clock and it reads 25:37. I am gutted. I have been on track for most of the swim and have lost it somewhere near the end. I do a warm down and then head over to the coach. "I don't know what else I could have done today" I say. "Yes, you looked pretty pissed off when I told you your time" he says. He has recorded the splits and begins to go through them with me. At the 1km mark I was on track for a 24:58 swim. Every 100m after that I have lost around 5 seconds a lap.
"You blew up" he says.
"I would have rather blown up than just gone slow all day. My lats are killing me so I know I have worked hard".
"Blowing up is good" he says. "At least you knew that your limit was 1km and now we need to improve that to 1.5km".
I am disheartened. I really wanted to break 25 minutes but what he has said has made sense and based on the way I was feeling this morning, a 25:37 is not the worst swim in the world. I put on the bike gear and head to work. Still feeling pissed off and now with even less energy than this morning.