Memorial Day. A day of observance, that instead, for many, has become the traditional start of summer. While I display my poppies with pride on Memorial Day, my long course meters (LCM) summer usually begins earlier. This day any other year? I’d already be well into long course training with LCM National goals set.
Things are a little different this Memorial Day though. That’s because the past year has been different. Foremost, following major surgery last summer, my training focus has simply been “build back.” And, I planned in advance to go to Short Course (SC) Nationals this past April instead of LCM Nationals in August.
Don’t get me wrong—outdoor LCM remains my beloved venue (far more than SCY or Short Course Meters [SCM]. Especially after missing last year’s season. You’ll have to peel me off the deck on closing day this summer.)
But, opting for SC Nationals was a good “big meet” choice for me right now. First, there was my “wild card” status. I was unsure of my condition, and my SCY times were sketchy (I don’t swim SCY much because I don’t like SCY much…) Being a wild card was a relaxing competition re-entry. As I told my mom right before leaving, this time by just being on the blocks, I had already “won.” Second, San Antonio offered several of my fave meet conditions—outside, new pool, hot climate.
Luckily, the “mix it up while coming back” approach worked for me—I had a lot of fun and surprised myself per times. I didn’t walk away with that “best races, ever!” feeling, but that’s one of the key reasons why I still swim—always room to improve, learn and challenge myself. Best of all, I didn’t face my annual week-long post-LCM season depression upon return—this time I had the entire season to look forward to!
So far the only downside to swapping out SCY for LCM Nats is approaching summer without pre-set goals. And I need goals. (Yes, I know it says a lot about my personality that I can’t just “swim to swim.”)
It’s taken a few weeks of unfocused swims with post-Nationals heightened awareness of where improvement needs to occur. But I’ve got a plan that interests and motivates me: I’ll spend the summer the breaking bad habits and working on weaknesses. Not only will this give me something to track (how I love to log data and assess!) but if all goes well, I’ll end up a stronger “over-all” swimmer.
Next week: What’s on my bad habits and weaknesses list, how I’ll approach the remedies, and how I’ll track progress.