The “prep” for my second 3K was of course a bit different from that of my first 3K three weeks prior because you can never have the exact same conditions every race. The biggest changes included being sick the week before and a change in venue, an indoor SCM rec pool.
Yes, I was panicked about the sick thing because I was running out of entry time (11/15 was the last day you could swim either the 3K or 6K this year). But now that I’m officially 50, I’ve entered a mid-life “time’s ticking” mood, so I really wanted to do double age group 3Ks this year. And, in retrospect, not swimming or lifting since the Saturday before race-day Saturday allowed me to rest a lot, sick or not, which I think worked in my favor.
I was also uneasy about the venue because I’d yet to try to do a postal in this pool. I did call ahead to ask for a lane (permission granted), but still, you never know with rec pools… Luckily, day of, I snagged the end lane closest to the windows (fresh air! Natural light!) A masters practice was in progress, but somehow end wall + practice + universally shallow pool did not equal “crazy waves.” And, for once, nobody in an adjacent lane put on fins to race me. My only issue? Water temperature, which was super hot, as in “overheating when jumping in to warm up.” I knew I was in for a long swim, but maybe I’ve built some tolerance from the super hot water we’ve been practicing in since switching to SCY indoors last month. Despite the water temp, it was still one of my best ePostal conditions.
To take my mind off how hot I was, I focused on my stroke and turns. I thought about how all of my swimmy friends would want me to finish no matter what pace I held, and how I wanted to enter twice this fall because my next opportunity to do so wouldn’t be for another five years. And, after being out of the water for a week, reverting to “just happy to be swimming” helped me stay on track.
My race day take-aways? 1) I absolutely have to find another pool for ePostals as the few I’ve tried locally are waaaaay too hot. I may have head further out (Minden? Carson? Sacramento?) next time. 2) While my wall approach and spin are greatly improved, my streamline position off walls still needs a lot of work.
Having a self-challenge for this fall’s ePostal was motivating and fun; I’m already contemplating how to mix it up next fall. I’m certain that readers have done very cool self-challenges in the past – I’d love to hear those ideas (especially as for now, all I can think of is “one 3K and 6K swim each within same age group.”) In the meantime, I’ll hunt for cooler pools.