Needless to say, when I walked into the (extremely nice pool, especially for a high school) pool, I immediately turned to Moose and said, “Great practice pool. I wonder where the real pool is? And the NBC cameras?” as I looked around for Bob Costas.
Er, OK, so my nerves, which had been one nudge away from hysterics for days leading up to Friday, sorta dissipated a bit when I realized the pool I was staring at was indeed the meet pool. It looked, well, like any other pool. In fact, I kind of thought it looked (shh…) a little small and not very intimidating at all.
Cool, I can do this.
|The pool DID NOT look like this much, except for the water part.|
Every other year, they offer the 1650 (mile) as part of the meet, and since I've been told no one (i.e. real swimmers) ever wants to do that distance, it was fairly easy to register. I’d hoped to score 8th in my AG – and add one (yes, one) point to my team’s overall tally of just under twenty thousand or so points (these people can swim!).
There were 10 women in my AG.
I didn't have a plan, per se, other than to not go off the blocks (I didn't feel the need to lose my goggles on my first-ever event. See the part above about not being real), and just swim as hard as I could for as long as I could. I did a practice mile with my swim team a few months ago on our training trip to Florida, and had that time to beat in the back of my head.
The time my swim coach suggested as my seed time was several minutes faster than I swam in Florida. I totally thought she was, ahem, high as a kite when she suggested the time, but she's been to this rodeo before and I haven't, so there ya go. End of story.
As I was nervously standing around waiting for my heat to start, I met the other woman in my lane (we were swimming two per lane, staggered by 15 seconds or so, each staying on our respective sides). She told me this was her first swim meet and she had no idea what time she'd swim, and I thought, "great! We're newbies together!"
But I should've known better.
She was wearing a speed suit (hint #1).
She clarified...this was her first meet since high school, but she used to swim competitively. I decided then and there to just ignore her, and it was a wise choice, because she lapped me twice and was on her way to dinner by the time I finished. Newbie my ass.
|Lane mate looked like this. No joke.|
I found the numbers my counter stuck in the water for each lap amusing. I still suck off the wall. I still swim "short." I swim with my eyes closed a lot. The pool was hot. The time went by really fast. It was nice to have clean water and a black line to follow and no shopping carts, diesel fuel, trees or dead fish to swim through, and sharing a lane with one other person is a luxury compared to trying to cram 2200 of us into a tiny space.
I ended up swimming a 26:26:08! Over 2:30 minutes faster than I swam in Florida and faster than my seed time to boot! And while I ended up 9th and scoring a point by :13 seconds (damn it!), this is the fastest I've swam, so how can I be disappointed?!
AND to make it even better, I swam Saturday - 200m relay (free) - and my team was 4th (woo hoo!), and I successfully went off the blocks, which seriously feels Bad.Ass. if you do it right.
THEN, someone on my team didn't show up for the 500, so I subbed in for that, went off the blocks, didn't lose my goggles, swam my ass off and ended up scoring 7th in my AG (7:44).
At the end of the day, I scored two points for my team (plus 10 for the relay) and had a ridiculous amount of fun.
And, an update of sorts:
Since the meet is over and I really am flying free, I'm determined to lose the self-pity 15 pounds I've gained since my last Ironman and get into good shape. I'm inspired by Michelle and loosely basing my workouts on what she does. It obviously works for her and seems really sensible and doable, so thanks, Michelle!
Today I ran 3 miles fairly hard - no watch or HR monitor, because I don't have to! :-) Then I went to our basement, "The Balboa Gym" to lift. As suggested by my swim coach, I'm mostly focusing on the muscles along the back side of my body, plus core and legs.
With stretching and my general pissing around shenanigans to get out the door, it took me about 1:15 total, which is perfect!
Here's an update picture of my leg, after today's run. As you can see, my left calf is not swollen at all, and it actually looks smaller to me than my right. It's been 6.5 months since surgery, and I'm finally (finally) mostly pain-free, numb free (from the cut saphenous nerve) and with the least amount of swelling in years. Years.