If you’ve been reading along, you know that my grand plan for this fall’s USMS ePostal is to swim the 3K twice for two different age groups,because as I age up towards the end of the window of time allowed for this annual event, I can!
My first attempt (Saturday, October 15) to complete a 3K for my last 45-49 age group swim was a vexing no-go: The outdoor SCY pool was closed due to “mechanical problems,” despite having called just an hour prior to check if open. I immediately headed to another pool, (SCM indoors at my gym), only to find another closure sign. As you can imagine, I was pretty vexed, especially as I had made it an “optimal conditions” week for myself – I wanted to do a PR, so I rested from weights and even had a massage.
Alas, it wasn’t meant to be. I couldn’t think of another pool to try, and, honestly, I didn’t have enough gumption to sort it out that day. So, I went to the gym and got my grrrrr out via weights. In retrospect, the bad air quality (wild fire + crazy high winds) may not have been best conditions for a swim, inside or out, my asthma and allergies had been flaring for days prior.
Attempt number two, on Sunday, October 23, went much better. Foremost, the outdoor pool was open and it was a beautiful day – sunny, clear, no wind, low 70s. I thoroughly enjoyed having my own lane (the widest locally that I’ve found so far, another nice perk). And, the pool entrance fee was my first-ever senior discount; with my birthday just a week away, the young attendant let me in for $2 (the 50+ rate) rather than the regular adult fee of $5.
My goal was to close out 45-49 strong, and hopefully with a PR (break :39). This time I did not get a massage or rest from weights the week prior, so I was pleased to touch at 38:48.23. Mentally, this particular 3K went quickly. My main foci? Rotating all the way on my left to even out my stroke (I breathe only to the left), and work on my turns. I’m excited to report that a few turns actually felt “good.” This is a major breakthrough for me because I’ve built a life-long rep for sticky feet on the block and terrible turns. But I’m not fooled – I still have a lot of work to do (e.g. hit turns consistently, drastically improve my streamline position, pelvic tilt as come off wall, plant feet a bit wider on wall consistently.)
My only fussiness concerned waves and pool temp. The deep end wasn’t set up with lane ropes, which meant I bounced around a bit in the shallow end. Adding to the waves is my ePostal nemesis – no matter when/where I do these, I always, always, always, get some rec guy in the next lane who wants to race. Never mind that I’m doing a straight 3K or 6K and they’re pushing off the wall for random, non-consecutive 25s as I come in…and then when they can’t pass me, they always put on fins, creating more waves…
Then there was the water temperature. I don’t know what it was officially, only “too HOT!” Already overheated by the first 400, I was sorting out the pace I could hold that would be fastest but not put me in the stop-yak-or-pass out-zone. I’ve been called an “intense” swimmer by many, and heck yeah I am, I want to go as hard as I can all the time! Feeling sluggish and brain fizzy while not being able to push as much as I can greatly annoys me.
My next 3K, for my new age group of 50-54, will be an interesting comparison – an indoor SCM pool (I do much better with fresh air). The water temperature should be much cooler (oh please oh please!), but this pool is universally shallow and thus likely to be super-wavy. With my next rest week seven weeks away (I take one week off from weights every 6-8 weeks before starting a new routine), I’ll “swim through” this one too. I wonder who’ll be in the lane next to me with their fins on…