Sunday, January 14, 2007

There is Light... the end of the tunnel. Some hours it's a faint glimmer, other hours it's bright and shining. Perspective is a wonderful thing. Let's just say that my meds seem to have moderated (translation = I no longer have fleeting thoughts of hurling myself in front of a bus) AND I have the most excellent, loving, supportive, loving, caring, (have I said loving?) friends and family on this planet. I've spent very little time alone this past week because my support system has rallied. It feels pretty incredible to know that I'm not alone. And that all I had to do was ask for some help.

And now for the big news: I'VE GOT MY SWIM ON!!!

US Masters Swimming does a "Postal Event" every January - no you don't "go postal" (thank goodness for me) but you do swim for exactly 60 minutes and someone records for you how far you swam. AND, the cool thing is they have to write down your times every 50 yards so you have a great record of your splits over the whole hour. THEN you send them in (via the POSTAL SERVICE) to USMS and you get to see how you rate as an endurance swimmer against thousands of other swimmers in the country and in the world! Pretty cool eh? The only catch is that you have to be a USMS Member and you have to swim during the month of January.

Well, I'm heading to Las Vegas again on Thursday so that left only yesterday to get my swim it was do or die. I chose do!

Here are some highlights that prove that I'm making forward progress each day I show up at the pool to swim with my teammates. Keep in mind I'm not any lighter or any more fit than I was a year ago...I feel that 99% of my improvements are due to better technique...

Last year's distance in 1 hour: 3303 yards
Yesterday's distance in 1 hour: 3470 yards (that's 167 yards further!)

at 200 yards: 3:12...which is my 200 PR
at 400 yards: 6:34, also a PR for 400 yards
at 15 minutes: 900 yards...the furthest I've ever gone in 15 minutes based on monthly timed 15 minute events. Previous PR was 865 yards.

at 1500 yards: 25:24, also a PR for 1500 yards, by almost 1 whole minute

at 1750 yards (1 mile is 1760 yards): totally on track for a 30 min. mile!

at 2150 yards (1.2 miles is 2112 yards): on track for around a 36 min. half iron swim - add in the wetsuit and I'll be rockin'!

Average pace for 50 yards was incredibly consistent. For the first third, I held a :50, then slipped to :51-:52 and finished the last third at an average of :52-:53. There was one :54 but nothing slower than that...

Average pace for 100 yards therefore was 1:45 or less with at least a third of the hour holding a 1:40. The fastest 100 was 1:33.

To see these numbers is AMAZING for me because I felt like I picked a pace at the beginning that I could hold for an hour and wasn't killing myself and likely wasn't above 75% of my HR. In a race situation, I think I could step it up to 80% without too much trouble and gain some extra distance.

SO, to be at this level in January is HUGELY motivating for the season to come. Since the swim has certainly become my strength in triathlon thus far, I need to really focus on my bike and run...but I feel sure that with 2-3 days of pool time each week, I can maintain or improve my swim without too much trouble. COOL.

BRING.IT.ON. Heading to the gym and the treadmill in a's gray with snow and intermittent rain...blech. I'll lose myself in my tunes...

Hope you're all getting 2007 off to a good start!! Train hard...


Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're awesome! Congrats on the swim and on the big improvements: that is all very cool, and does indeed bode well! Our team is doing this event, too, and I am trying to decide whether I have one hour of continuous freestyle in me. We'll see, but your post inspires me.

2:26 PM GMT-5

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Way to go with the swim Spence! Things sound like they are improving for you. Hopefully you will be able to drink up some sun in Vegas.

4:04 PM GMT-5

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow. Now those are some swim times - speedy, consistent - color me impressed.

4:49 PM GMT-5

Blogger Joe B said...

Awesome swimming. Now cut back to 2x a week at most (even 1 would be fine) and focus on your running and biking. Gaining a minute or two (at most) in the swim is nothing compared to the 1 mpm you can gain running and biking....

Joe B. (who wishes he could swim that fast).

7:26 PM GMT-5


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