View Full Version : First swim meet and then some...

June 15th, 2005, 01:10 PM
...running. My day yesterday included two Senior Games swimming events and a 5k race (and to make it a 3-sport day, a party after the 5k...) ;)

Want to thank you for the advice/encouragement of this masters swimming newbie! And so I offer this (warning--long!) account of yesterday's fun 'n' games.

Bare Bones version w/ times

It started with having my goggles knocked off my head as I started the 50 freestyle.

Fortunately, things improved from there! I kept on swimming, finished a 50 free, then took the bait and tried a 100 free. In the evening, along with members of my running group, I ran a 5k race. Heck, it was only 90 degrees and probably 90 bazillion percent humidity, so why wouldn't we run a race! ;)

50 freestyle, 51 seconds which (tho for many here slow) is a personal best for me
100 freestyle...not so sure about this one...timer said 2:01 at the end, and my bf confirms this, but the officials recorded 2:24.
5k race (run): 28:12...running this conservatively b/c of the weather and b/c I have a 5-mile race on Friday.

Now, the long and meandering version:

Part the first, Swimming--In Which the Author's Goggles are Knocked Off:

I was looking for a low-key way to try swimming in a competition, and since I'm 54, I meet the minimum age requirement (50) for the Senior Games (sobering, huh?). Since the event seems not to have been heavily publicized, I had the feeling the ex-Olympic ringers wouldn't show up, and they didn't, although a 76 year old woman kicked my butt in the 100. Still, as the only member of the 50-54 age group in both my events, I won gold against tough competition--me, myself, and I ("me" and "myself" giving me a tough battle but I held them off!

But I'm jumping ahead of myself.

I walked over to my local h.s. where the swimming events were being held, thinking the walk would be a nice warm-up, arrived early, warmed up, signed up, practiced some dives--off the deck...I was still a bit queasy about the block, not that anything would have happened to me...but the thing wobbled when I stepped onto it, and so I decided I'd hold off that experience until I was more confident. Still, I felt comfortable enough w/ going off the deck to decide on that for the 50 free. After the men took their turn (and looked very impressive), it was time for us females to "strut our stuff." There were two of us, the other lady being in her 70s, which could mean anything from--casual swimmer to ex-coach about to kill me, so I focused on my own race.

I take my dive at the start and promptly felt my goggles dislodge as I hit the water. Oh well, nothing for it but to keep on going, do my best--as our coach always writes on the workout sheet, "do the best that you can do...don't worry about what others are doing." I am not thinking about the lady in the other lane, whatever her speed might be. I'm thinking about trying to keep some kind of pace with goggles flapping around my neck. Still, things seem to be going decently. I make the turn, head back, breathing harder, relying more on the kick...when is that wall going to get here?? I thought this was a sprint!!

But yes, I do reach the wall, and as ppl reminded me before the swim started, hit the black square that you need to hit to record your time--and not sure I hit it, did so again. Looked and to my horror saw 1:07! Dang, how'd I go so slow?? But fortunately, I learned that the real time, the one the timers actually recorded, was 51.22, my best 50 so far!! What a relief, since I definitely had put the hurt on to swim that race. (Next goal: sub-50!) I don't actually know how my companion did timewise. She was behind me, and I cheered for her when she came in.

Anyway, here I was, having skipped the morning workout b/c of the race...and needed a bit more...as I sometimes say at my running workouts...I was just getting warmed up! So as it happened, a 100 freestyle was starting to gear up. Okay, then why not! Doesn't cost extra and won't kill me.

Not wanting to chance losing my goggles again, I started in the water. In the next lane was a lady of 76 who was having none of starting in the water (not the same lady as in the 50). She took the block...and did not lose her goggles...and beat me. I'd started out at the effort I usually reserve for 50s, which might have been premature. A little. By the last 25, I was definitely praying for that wall to get closer. This time, I made sure not to re-touch the wall after the first touch. When I looked on the board, my time said 2:01, and that's what my bf saw as well (he'd come to watch). But the time they told me I got was 2:24. If the 2:01 is right, it's a personal best. I somehow doubt it's a 2:24, b/c bf told me the other lady had come to the wall just a second or two before me and that he too saw 2:01 on my lane.

But no matter what the time, it was a very interesting experience and gave me a sense of what I need to work on (hitting the black square quickly--and ONLY ONCE...keeping goggles on...). Meanwhile, I beat my toughest opponents: me, myself, and I--the ones who say, "What are you doing in a swimming race! Are you kidding? You're fish food! Your goggles came off! You're totally toast!" Trash talkin' like that...but they didn't keep me from racing and having some fun and trying something new!

Part the Second, Running... In Which the Author Gets Soaked Again And Again Wins Award

This time, the soaking was due to high heat and humidity such that our running coach sent out a concerned e-mail telling us to be careful. The race made me almost as wet as I was in the pool! Due to heat and aforementioned upcoming 5-miler, I kept things conservative, but am pleased that what was a hard effort in normal weather back in April is a conservative effort in hot weather now. And the coolest thing that my running group was raking in awards--either overall or age group medals, including yours truly, who was second in W 50-59 (now, mind, I didn't check to see if I was second of two, but there I was with another medal and I'm one to enjoy these little gifts and not ask too many questions)! A nice touch afterward were fans that blew water on ppl, as well as lots of fruit and cold drinks!

Then, some of us convened for a party at the home of one of the ppl in my running group and celebrated the awards with beer, great food, and nice company! Gotta love a day like that and be thankful for it--and I'm grateful for the health and (at least right now) the time to do these things!

June 15th, 2005, 01:59 PM
Dear FMIF!

Just love the story of your first meet! Thanks for writing it all out... it's lovely to see you loving your new-found sport.

I appreciated this phrase:

"Gotta love a day like that and be thankful for it--and I'm grateful for the health and (at least right now) the time to do these things!"

That's how I feel too - so very very grateful!


June 16th, 2005, 12:55 AM
What a great day--and your attitude is perfect. As a 51 year old who just started swimming a couple of years ago, I can still totally identify! My perfect swimming day on Sunday was meeting friends for a swim in Lake Washington (water temp was 60 degrees, so we had the opposite temperature problem from you). We swam for 30 minutes, in choppy, windy conditions, so it felt like a real workout. Afterward we all went out for lattes and mochas and sat outside in the sun chatting about our summer open water swimming plans.

That adrenaline jolt you get when you jump in and the cold takes your breath away for a moment just makes you feel really alive, and the company and hot drinks afterward make you feel really content.

Congrats on your first swim meet, and good luck with the run!

June 16th, 2005, 06:03 AM
Thanks, ladies!

Mary, when I think of so many ppl my age having health problems and afraid even to begin an exercise program, I know I'm very lucky! Sometimes if I start being too critical of myself in a workout for instance, thinking "why aren't my times any faster?" I remember that there are a lot of ppl who wish they were healthy enough to do what I'm doing.

Rebecca, that swim sounds glorious! I have gone swimming in Maine and NH in water like that...not for as long as you lasted, mainly to jump in after a hot hike--did it ever feel good...but yes, took the breath away! My intro to cold water came in a Maine Outward Bound course. First thing was a short swimming test the first day...to determine whether in fact we could swim and to give us a feel for what the water was like. !!!!! Then we'd take daily runs and jump from a pier about twelve feet above the water. Interestingly, for someone terrified of deep water as a kid, that was my favorite part of the course! To fly out over the water and feel it wrap its cold fingers around me--and emerge with the feeling that I could face anything if I could face that! One day, the instructor asked if anyone wanted to do it again. I immediately volunteered. The others thought I was nuts. ;)