I hadn’t intended for it to be a long swim, I had my gear (togs!) with me at work and was going ‘for a wee mooch’ on my way home as I have to drive past it anyway.
When I got there at 2:15pm, the boards said that half the lanes closed at 3:30pm for swim lessons. The trouble was, the half that didn’t close had goons, kids and the like in them. The deep end beyond the bulk head was empty. Deep end it is then. I’ll just have to see what I can squeeze in before I get booted out.
So I set off swimming. I didn’t have a watch but I did remember the contact lenses so for a change I could read the clock. There was no one but me in the lane. Beautiful relaxing steady swim. Plenty of time to de-stress and think of nothing. Perfect.
This long swim is kind of becoming routine for me now. It’s no longer a gauntlet, I’m not thinking gosh when’s it over, I just chill, swim, relax. I can easily manage it and more, I don’t get fatigued and, unless I’m really pushing the pace, I really have found my marathon ‘ironman shuffle’ pace in the pool. I no longer need liquids half way round, I don’t club out like my skeleton has deserted me, like I did at the start. It’s just nice.
At 3:29pm I stopped and looked at the lap counter. 1 hour exactly and 116 laps. I was going to just get out at this point but I thought ah, what the heck, and went to the other end to look for a lane. When you’ve done 100, another 36 is neither here nor there.
Slow lane was the only one free. I got in hoping to hell no one joined me before I had completed my remaining 36 lengths. I wasn’t really paying much attention to anyone else. My focus was now how fast could I get these 36 done in.
The guy in the medium lane next door would do a flailing length every now and again, to see if he could beat me. I just carried on, much faster than him, without changing pace.
Then I noticed a woman about three lanes over. She was just a body length behind me, catching me very very slightly.
26 to go. Ah, I can do the sprint finish from here, no problem! I lengthened out my stroke to put some distance between us. Nope. She was just clinging on and I wasn’t gaining ground. I quickened up my turns, it was still only marginal. 20 to go.
Time for stage 2. I changed my breathing so that I was breathing every two instead of three and chose to breathe to the other side so I couldn’t see her. She wasn’t stopping, and she was still pushing the pace. Blimey, for all I know she most have no idea what I am doing over here! But that’s ok, she’s MY motivation!
This meant I could push the pace more, to threshold. 16 to go.
Now it was time for focus.
I kept the stroke long and strong, increased the pull and the leg kick. I could see her when I turned. After 4 I was pulling out a bit of a gap at last. But I still had 12.
Those last 12 were an average lap pace higher than the whole of the rest of the set, and the very last lap was only a second or two off my 200m sprint pace. But by the time I finished I had a half a length on her! Job done!
Overall 3.8km time? Faster than usual by about 1.5 minutes. Nice work Mel, and thanks to that lady, whoever you were, for the motivation.
So, I have much more in the tank than I thought then, eh? Hmmmm