In swimming there are essentially three seasons: the short-course yards season which runs roughly from January to April, the long-course meters season which runs from May to August, and the short-course meters season, which runs from September to December. Usually I have so much run/bike training on my docket that training for a swim peak in any one of these seasons is simply out of the question. But now... ah... I was swimming well, it was only October, and because training for IMLP didn't really start until January, I could allow myself to peak for a few events at the BU short-course meters championship in December. Sweet! I LOVE projects like this!
But then....right after I had made my plan and signed up for several fall meets, I got the word that working super hard was pretty much not allowed until my blood work came back normal. I felt much like one does when she hits the Molasses Swamp in Candyland and has to wait until the correct color is drawn before she can move again. So much for that plan!
The question became-- do I can the meets, or swim in them anyway? The P.R.s would now surely be few, if any. Still, swimming in these meets would allow me to socialize with my Maine swimmer friends (read, ALINA), and would give me an excuse to fully hand-over parenting duty to my loving spouse for a day here and there.
What's not to like?
So, on Sunday morning, I headed to Maine to swim in a short-course meters meet at Riverton Pool in Portland.
While I was gone, my kids did this:
They also went to the Harvard Museum of Natural History for a Harry Potter scavenger hunt. Apparently Noah kept calling it the Hardwood University... to which Andy explained that it was only Hardwood University to the undergrads....
(Well, I thought it was funny, anyway... )
One thing you can say about Andy--when he has Daddy Duty for the day he does it right. Lucky kids...
At this point I'm sure you are wondering if I will ever actually write about the damn swim meet.
But first, one more little story. I took Andy's car to the meet. When I'm in the car I listen to books on audio (big shock there, I know), but I had left the book I was listening to in my car. Oh, I was so bummed when I realized this... Five hours in the car with NO BOOK! I desperately searched the car for something... there had to be something! And then I found it, shoved into the console: The Return of Depression Economics by Paul Krugman.
The question: How desperate was I?
The answer: Really, really desperate.
And you know something--it was really good! I hadn't realized I might be even slightly interested in anything Econ, but really--it's history, analysis and modeling.
Why hadn't I tapped into this field before?
Okay okay. ENOUGH! The meet! Really, I am getting there!
I met Alina for a nice, big, breakfast before the meet at the Port Hole in Portland. YUMMMMM.
When we got to the meet, I was still stuffed, and during warm up I could feel the lobster/chevre cheese omelet I had had slowly making its way back up from my stomach. Oh boy....
The first event was the 800 meter free relay. I had been recruited for this. I wanted to race IM, back and fly, and really didn't want to waste my precious energy on anything freestyle. But there was a New England record to be broken... and was I going to cow out of that? Understand that there are not many meters pools around (at least in the New England), and so swimming in a meters meet is unusual. Add to this that the 800 meter relay in not a usual event... and well... the New England record that stood was, let us say, not too too hard to beat.
I swam with Alina and two other Maine Masters swimmers--Julie and Cheryl. They all swam faster than me, but together we totally crushed the record. I also swam a PR, personally. This would be because I have never actually swum 200 meters competitively, though--only yards! Still, a PR is a PR, right?
Here is a picture of our New England Record-Breaking Team!
Alina, Mary, Julie and Cheryl
Up next: the 200 IM. I love love the 200 IM! The problem I have with it is only that my fly/back combo is far far stronger than my breast/free combo. It kinda sucks to take the race out really well, and then lose it on the back end. Anyway, there were two heats and I was in the second. In my heat was Mike Schmidt. Mike Schmidt can swim a 400 meter free in 4:15. Are you calibrated as to how freaking fast that is? If not, I will simply say that he holds National AG records all over the place--that should help you to understand what I was swimming next to. My goal was to have him NOT LAP ME.
My first hundred felt great. I was seeded last in my heat, but I was far ahead of Julie, who was swimming next to me. Yahoo! But then, alas, came the breaststroke. I lost my lead--and then really really lost it during the free.I finished in 3:05, which in yards would be about a 2:45. Not too bad, but not fantastic for me either. Add to that yes, Mike Schmidt did lap me. Rats.
Still, I love that event.
Next up was the 50 back. Backstroke is by far my best stroke, except for the starts. You are no longer allowed to curl your toes over the gutter when pushing off for a start, and let me tell you, this makes starting very hard. I did a back-flop that was just--well, not pretty. Still, I swam well for me, finishing in 39 seconds, which is about a 35 in yards. Not a PR at all, but not terrible either.
I was pooped after the back. I had swum two hard 200s and the 50, and remember, I had been very restricted in my training leading up to the meet, so I wasn't exactly in tiptop shape here. My last event was the 100 fly. I wasn't sure I even wanted to start it.
But I did. Because really... I love the fly--even if that last length sucks sucks sucks. I swam it in 1:26, which is about a 1:17, again a far cry from any PR, but well, I finished it and I didn't drown on the last length, and that's an accomplishment!
Alina and I had a great time catching up. It's hard that we spend all summer together, and then only get sporadic weekends for the rest of the year.