Thursday, June 5, 2014

Me 'n John One More Time


I went back to Masters at DSU Tuesday night for the first time in weeks. If you want to know exactly how long, read all my posts backwards and you will eventually find out. The pool at Twin Rivers was closed for a private party, so I jumped at the chance to drive west, see my grandchildren, and swim with the crew. My granddaughter gave me a piece of candy and a big hug for my birthday. She is a sweet child and has always been giving and considerate of others.

It was neat to be back at practice and to see Cagri who gave me some advice on my taper. I told him what I've been swimming on my own: last week, 26,000; the week before, 35,000. He said I wasn't swimming enough to taper. Huh? I'm not a twenty-year old college swimmer. I'm a fifty-eight year old adult-onset swimmer. His advice was to keep the volume up but reduce the intensity. I thought a taper went the opposite direction: you reduced volume and upped intensity. Not according to Cagri, not for distance swimmers. I don't call  him the Mad Swimming Scientist for nothing. We did

1,600
4 X 100 breathing 3/5
6 X 150 as first 25 of each 50 all out
200 easy
Total: 3,100 meters.

Wednesday afternoon, I picked the pontoon up from Greenwood Nursery. Bert Fleming, the owner, asked me if I was ready for the swim and we chatted about that for a bit. His wife came in and said, "You know he's Allison's teacher," she motioned towards me. Then I connected the dots. Their daughter is in my Comp I class.

"She, they, are writing about diabetes and the Chicot Challenge now," I tried to add to the conversation.

"I know," Bert nodded. "She was just typing her paper back there on my computer."

"I was going to tell you to take $100 off that bill," his wife, Rhonda, chimed in.

"He already wrote the check. Just give him a $100," Bert said, and she did.

Wow! Another donation for the Diabetes Foundation of Mississippi. I had just made my third mail off to them a few minutes before coming over for the boat. In all, I have sent them $625 and have now another $100 to give them. Not bad considering I haven't even done the swim yet. Last year I raised $1426. I hope to raise at least $1500 this year.

John told me if he was late to start without him. John is always late, so I got in and started a little before 6:00 pm. I had swum about twenty minutes when he showed up. There were a few kids in the pool and they would get in my way every now and then. I hate to confess, but I was most disturbed about that, and a little pissy in my mind. Maybe God used them because I did a lot of praying. After I left that night and thought about things, I realized I overreacted a little. A lot. They were just kids, and they were just having fun. When I was their age, I am sure I was no more conscientious than them. Probably I was worse.

I didn't feel very good from the start. My left shoulder was tight, and I was not swimming nearly as fast as Monday. Doubts about swimming 10,000 straight (the plan) weren't creeping into my mind. They were flooding in. I kept plugging away, however, concentrating on finishing a 1,000 at a time. I have found when I am doing something really long that the best way to think about it, for me at least, is to ponder how far I have come, not how far there is to go.

The first 1,000 was dreadful. After the second thousand, my shoulder started loosening up. That never happens in running. Not for me anyway. In running, things go from bad to worse, but with swimming things sometimes go from bad to not too bad. Things never got good, but I just kept cruising along. One thing I did notice that surprised and disturbed me was how fatigued my legs became. I have only a very light two-beat kick. But since I have not run in about three weeks, the lower limbs began to tire to an alarming extent. Wow! I didn't expect that. If 10,000 wears them out, what will 17 miles do? I have just a few days to walk, run, and cycle some to put a little endurance back into them.

Anyway, I did the 10,000 and as I got near the end, I tried motioning to John when I swam by him, holding up fingers to let him know how close I was. He either did not get it, or did not respond. Finally, I didn't flip on what would have been the last turn so I could yell out, "Last one." When I got back to the other end of the pool I decided to do one more. John hadn't moved. I did one final lap, two over 10,000 and then stopped. John still hadn't moved.

"Get a few more while I swim out," he yelled at me.

I appreciate his effort, but this time I didn't respond. You've heard the expression, "You can stick a fork in me"?

I  was done.

Now I am going to back off. I pushed it farther and closer to the event than ever before because Cagri gave me the green light to do so, and I was insecure about my fitness. I don't think I can put anything in the tank between now and then. Maybe I can do a little for my legs, but the swimming muscles are set. I will try to get fresh without de-training and thus swim a bit more next week than I did last year. Also, I am tired, not just my muscles but all of me. I want to go to bed and sleep a week. I plan to meet John at the pool tonight, but the volume will drop, and I will do some kick sets and easy stuff.