At the end of practice today, I swam 25s in the shallow end of the pool by myself focusing on different types of technique. After each 25, I kinda stood and just thought about how I’d like to open this blog.
I had a lot of different ideas, things I’d like to say and memories from my past experiences I thought I could compare to how I felt this morning. But when I finished up with the 12 laps, I headed to talk to my Coach Jeff King.
Here’s the thing about a good coach: They can always tell how one of their athletes are feeling, and usually they can save us from ourselves.
Jeff did that today.
I honestly felt pretty down on myself in today’s workout. I’m not sure what put me in that mood, whether I was just tired or whether the frustration boiled over. I felt like I had failed because I wasn’t able to do the workout the right way.
Jeff knew what I was feeling. And I wasn’t doing a very good job of disguising it on my face as he talked to me about the practice and told me that I shouldn’t be disappointed.
The workout was all about breath control. It was a good amount of distance, too. And for most of it, I tried to go without fins because I didn’t want to make my ankle worse.
After a warm up of 16 100s, eight swim and eight kick — of which I think I got six swim and five kick done before Jeff called everyone up out of the pool — we started the set.
Here’s how it broke down:
100 swim, breathing every two strokes
(4) 50s – easy, building, fast, easy
150 swim, breathing every three
(4) 50s (same)
200 swim, every four
250 swim, every five
300 swim, every six
350 swim, every seven
My frustration stems from two points: I got too tired beginning with the 200 swim and barely could make it through. And that I felt like I just didn’t go in with the right attitude.
This was a completely new challenge for me. It felt a bit overwhelming. And as I struggled to breathe every five consistently on the 250 I just started to feel defeated. Like I was letting Jeff down, letting myself down.
When I hit the 300, I got through only 100 with my pull buoy before I had to stop and put fins on. I wasn’t going to get it done any other way. I finished the 200 and had to modify the breathing.
That only made me feel worse.
In the end, Jeff told me a lot of people didn’t get through with the actual breathing he had laid out. And he told me that this was new for me and that I had done a good job. But I just felt so frustrated at how much I had labored.
I want to be able to get through these workouts like every other swimmer around me.
For the most part I’ve shelved a lot of the emotions I was feeling as I went through those 12 25s at the end of practice. I talked with another swimmer/C-B Coach, Zack (not sure if it’s spelled Zach or Zack) and he was very supportive. I listened to what Jeff had to say.
I’m not sure if I’ve completely accepted that I did a good job this morning. I still feel like I’ve got to push through and do more. But it’s over and I have to listen to what Jeff said. I’m not even sure whether he’ll be happy with the somewhat still negative-slanting tone to this post.
I’m just going to try to take this weekend to recuperate mentally before coming back positive again on Monday. And I’ll try to earn the bracelet I was given today for making five workouts in a week. Usually, swimmers must attend six to get the bracelet. It’s a number I hope to hit at some point. We’ll see.
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.