Washington Post reporter Paul Tenorio will train with a swim club over the next few months and chronicle his journey as he attempts to transform from regular guy/sports reporter to competitive swimmer — everything from his waistline to his best times.
Now, click here.
Now that we have that out of the way, I want you all to close your eyes and imagine finishing a warm-up of five 100s, five 75s, five 50s and five 25s, alternating kicking and swimming. As you work your tired legs through a kick-only lap, imagine looking up and seeing your coach standing on the side of the pool. Now imagine him singing that song to you.
Welcome to my life.
Really, though, Curl-Burke Coach Jeff King — my guru, savior and coach — has proven one thing to me: He knows how to give a struggling swimmer a lift.
As I worked through my warm-up this morning operating on a mere three hours of sleep (more on that later), Jeff stood at the end of the pool and serenaded me with his version of Baby Beluga. No, he wasn’t calling me fat (I don’t think). It’s just that I was moving pretty slowly. It made the final 15 yards that much more enjoyable, and overall, he seems to know just the right time for a pick-me-up whenever I feel like I have lost those last remaining ounces of self-motivation. That’s just good coaching, and THAT is what I have been missing since the last time I stepped on a practice field with Northwestern in the spring of 2004.
Today marks my one-week point with this swim project. I have some updated numbers for you, all except my 50- and 100-freestyle times. Those will come on Thursday, and they should look faster if only because I’ll be swimming yards and not meters this time. I win! I win!
You’ll have to wait to the end of today’s blog to get those numbers, though.
I felt as though this morning was the first true test of Paul’s Real Life vs. Paul’s Swim Project. As a journalist, I knew there were going to be many days where I worked an assignment the night before practice, and thus ended up with a lot less sleep than when I crawl into bed at 9 p.m. on an uneventful evening pre-practice days.
Last night was the first of those days. Sunday, I was in New Jersey for the USA-Mexico Gold Cup final soccer game. You can read my account of the game here, but what you won’t read about there is the terrible drive home. I got out of the Meadowlands at about 7 p.m., but immediately hit traffic on the NJ Turnpike. To make matters worse, I drove straight into a huge storm that turned the sky a dark, dark gray. Needless to say, I didn’t get out of Jersey until about 10 p.m. I started to worry that if the traffic didn’t ease up I wouldn’t get home till around 2 a.m., and I was contemplating two options: getting a hotel room somewhere along the way home, or pulling an all-nighter.
Luckily, the commute eased up and I ended up arriving home at 12:30 a.m. and getting a solid three hours of sleep before heading to practice.
I had been unable to get into a pool this weekend and so Jeff promised to bring me along slowly and after the aformentioned warm-up, I did three sets of 6×25 swims with paddles, partnered with 200 butterfly kick on my back (with fins).
The butterfly kick was a crucial abdominal workout, and most importantly, a ton of cardio work. As I work more and get my heart rate up, though, I need to learn to keep my discipline. I could feel my breath control slacking the more tired I got, and it’s one of the major things Jeff pointed out in the workout.
After practice, Jeff asked me what my reaction would have been if he had told me to do the 200 fly kick last Monday. I shook my head. “Exactly,” he said. “You would’ve been like, ‘This guy is nuts.’ So don’t lose sight of how far you have come.”
I know I still have a long way to go to continue building my swimming fitness, including working on my stroke and breathing as well as my flip turn. But I feel like I am making steady progress, and I am pleased with how far I have come.
Now, if I could just move faster with my kick-only…maybe I wouldn’t so much resemble a Beluga whale and perhaps something more sleek and quick — a Dolphin perhaps? I am now called “Marine Mammal” by one editor anyway.
Finally, I just want to say I certainly appreciate all the emails and comments of support, and it’s also great to see so many people relating to this journey. That was one of my major goals entering things. So I ask that you all keep on commenting and keep this as interactive as possible. Maybe we can even figure out a way to do some video stuff or a Q&A of some sort.
Here are the newest numbers, compared with last week’s starters:
July 20: Weight- 193, Waistline- 36, BMI- 27.6, Body Fat Percentage- 17.7
July 27: Weight- 189, Waistline- 36, BMI- 27.1, Body Fat Percentage- 16.6
I’m happy about the four pounds and the drop in BF%. Hopefully if I stay true to this diet (I love carbs, too, darnit!) and keep working hard, the numbers will continue to show improvement.