Jeff King is kicking my butt.
There’s no other way around it. He knows it, and I know it.
I mean, honestly, it was the next logical step in the workouts. He had integrated me back into the pool, and now it was time to really start pushing me. Get me tired and see how I respond. Try things I’ve never tried before. Make me really earn that post-workout satisfaction.
I had never done a straight 200-meter swim since I started this adventure (though I had kicked one, once). Today, I did it twice. With six 25 kicks mixed in between. I thought I was going to die.
The funny thing is, overall I probably swam less when it comes to total yardage. But the workout itself was way more intense.
Of course, all that in pool stuff came after our “warm-up” on the other side of the pool. Jogging laps, doing step-ups on the bench, and of course the fun task of swimming underwater across the 10-meter long deep end with reps of shoulder lifts and triceps dips in between.
My arms were gassed before I even swam a lap.
I can barely remember how the swimming started. I know there were a few 50s of butterfly kick on my back. There must have been some swimming in between.
The 200s were done with fins and paddles on, then followed by the kicks — which was an adjustment from the intended eight 25s of swim. Jeff must have seen the look on my face when I came out after the first 200.
Practice ended with a hard 100 swim and another 50 butterfly kick on my back.
I really felt like I was being pushed to the limit today, and wondered whether I was going to be able to complete the assignment. I think that’s really the FIRST time I felt that way. So, even though I was frustrated that my form completely dropped off the face of the earth (both in strokes and turns) the more tired I got, there was some sense of encouragement that I had actually finished.
And as an athlete I know that those last laps where I felt like my arms were going to fall off and my lungs were going to explode, was where the real improvement would come from. My muscles were burning and I was working hard. And the next time I do it, it’ll be a little bit easier.
I’m sore. I’m tired. I’m motivated to get better.
This is just the start of my most intense week yet. The plan is for me to be in the pool all five days this week before Jeff goes on vacation and I do some workouts on my own. I’m sure I’ll be pretty gassed by Friday, but I want badly to see improvement and I know that not only the intensity of the workouts, but also the frequency needed to be increased at some point.
I’m down eight pounds since the start, down more than two percentage points of body fat and I want to see the same drops in my time.
It definitely is more challenging coming out to work every day. I was a tad late to Redskins Park today, but got out to the field after the stretching and before the main drills. Tomorrow I’m going to try another route that should be faster.
And hopefully my 200s are faster tomorrow, too.
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.