Jeff King likes to be different.
No, not like “weird” different. Okay, maybe sometimes that, too. His love of serenading swimmers might inch him toward that category. But what I mean is “different” like: “Oh, you had four 50s on 10 minutes yesterday as a set? Okay, time to try the other side of things today.”
I’ve been with Jeff for just a bit over two months and even I knew what to expect this morning. So after warm-up when Jeff said we’d be doing something different from yesterday’s race set I looked across the faces off those in the lanes next to me.
Everyone knew we were doing distance today, and the sprinters in the pool all sighed. I saw way too many smiling faces, though. One person even said, “Yay.” I’ll never understand those distance swimmers.
The set was six 500s on 7 minutes 15 seconds (except for the distance swimmers, who were going on 6:15).
Okay, this is where I sighed.
I wanted to raise my hand and say, “Hey, Jeff, remember me? Washington Post reporter here. Uh, only a few weeks ago I did 3,000 in a workout for the first time. Hi, yeah. That’s a set of 3,000 after a warm up and on an interval.”
Instead, I just put my fins on and started swimming. Much better way to go, no?
And you know what, after that fourth 500 (and really I was only getting in either 400 or 450 depending on how fast other people were going in the lanes around me or in my lane) I actually felt pretty good, which is nice because at about the midway point during 500 number three I was more on the, “Jeff is trying to get me to quit,” page. Luckily the “stop being a wimp and just swim” part of me won out.
Afterward Jeff emphasized to me that I shouldn’t expect to knock out a set like this, not after two months in a pool after a major hiatus. And again, let me emphasize — even when I was swimming summer league I never did workouts like this. I’d show up and sprint the races with an occasional practice appearance here and there. This is all new to me.
Jeff knows I’m bad at gauging what I should and should not be able to do, though, and that I like to compare myself to the swimmers around me, all of whom are obviously at a higher level. Shoot, I’d probably guess that 90 percent of the people who read this blog are at a higher level. Which makes my whining that much worse.
Anyway, it always feels good to finish a workout and know that you’re continuing to make progress, and that’s how I felt today. Jeff also wanted to make sure I understood that I recognized the progress I’ve made. I might not have knocked out all the 500s, but it wasn’t horrible to go 500, 450, 400, 400, 400, 450 on intervals. I had never done something like that before.
Today was the last day for one of our guest swimmers, Rob Williams, who swims for Macedonia. The plan was to bring donuts, but that didn’t end up happening. He got a mooncake though, which is nice.
It was cool to have Rob swimming with us the last few weeks and hopefully we see him back stateside soon. It really shows the kind of eclectic group you get at Jeff’s workouts — I mean, Macedonian national swimmer, Washington Post reporter, former high school standouts, parents, etc. It has such a welcoming and family feel to it, which is one of the best parts about it.
Now after doing sprint sets and distance sets I have no idea what to expect tomorrow morning. Jeff likes to be different, though, so I suspect he’ll surprise us.
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.