I swim on a small team (Madison Titans) with 4 regulars and a couple others that can't make the morning workout. On Saturdays and occasional weekdays, I drop by HSA in Huntsville for a swim in the big pool.
Alabama State Games
I've been training for the Alabama State games for the last month or so. This is a fun meet that I do mostly because I get to swim on the same team as my kids. The events are all fairly short 50, 100, 200 free +100s of each stroke and a 200 IM. It's not what I typically go for but the 200 free and 200 IM are worth trying without swimming a 1650 first. Training for this has been great. I've been shooting for a sub-2:00 in the 200 free for a while and it looked like I would get it this time around. A couple weeks ago, I swam a 2:10 in practice and had a 1:59 broken 200 free at the beginning of taper.
Sadly, I sabotaged all my efforts in several different ways. First, I officiated two late away meets last week and ended up spending way too much time on my feet. I didn't rest and it didn't help my taper any. Second, I agreed to apprentice stroke and turn judge at the games. They sanctioned this meet with USAS this year so I got an opportunity to squeeze in another session and get closer to full certification. I don't think it hurt much at the beginning of the meet but 4 hours standing up didn't help my later events. Third, I didn't warm up enough. That's partially because of a meeting for excuse #2. I really need a solid 1500 yards to get going and only did about 500 for this meet. Fourth, I gained too much weight. I typically gain a few pounds during taper topping out at around 188-190. Yesterday, I weighed 196. Fifth, I just didn't feel very good Saturday. A quick bathroom break before my 100 fly seemed to improve things for me but prior to that, I just didn't feel great before any of my races. Finally, I went on vacation just prior to taper. I did swim quite a bit on vacation but my intensity levels dropped and I wasn't focused on sprinting any.
With all my excuses out of the way, here's the bad, bad and ugly:
200 Free - Seed time: 2:03.04, Meet time: 2:05.67
Splits: 28.55, 31.49, 32.72, 32.91
No sugar coating this disaster. I was on pace after 100 yards but just fell apart. No energy left and I ended up coasting home.
50 Free - Seed time: 25.97, Meet time: 26.40
This really wasn't too terrible but I should be faster than that. During practice, I did a 26 unshaved.
200 IM - Seed time: 2:21.75, Meet time: 2:22.99
Splits: 30.53, 40.59, 39.97, 31.90
This wasn't too bad either and while it was slower than last year, it was faster than I swam earlier this year in Auburn. My breaststroke split was pretty bad for me though.
100 Breast - Seed time: 1:09.53. Meet time: 1:12.51
Splits: 34.75, 37.76
This swim felt great but it was way off my time from last year. When I touched the wall, I thought I might have set a personal best but the clock disagreed.
100 Fly - Seed time: 1:05.02, Meet time: 1:05.94
Splits: 30.61, 35.33
Looks like I went out a bit fast but overall this was one of my better races. And I really didn't train for it at all.
100 Free - Seed time: 56.89, Meet time: 59.31
Splits: 28.62, 30.69At this point, I was resigned to having a poor meet and I was so tired anything under 1:00 was going to be a "victory".
Since nobody else signed up in my age group this year all races were uncontested and I'm a repeating 6-time Alabama State Champion. Next year, I'll either take my taper a little more seriously and not officiate or just forget the taper and swim it tired. But I'm not going through the trouble of shaving just to stink it up again.
Next Month: Top ten watch... will my 1650 time make the preliminary listing this year? Or, will a missing pool measurement or unlisted event result knock me out? Stay tuned!
Updated June 23rd, 2014 at 01:25 PM by pmccoy
Welcome readers from Sunnyside Beach, Florida. If you don't know where this insignificant half mile strip of beach is, think just west of Panama City Beach. Aside from a few thunderstorms Monday and Tuesday, it has been great all week! Training-wise, this has been a poor time for a vacation. I'm swimming in the Alabama State games in a little over two weeks. They only really offer shorter events and I'll be swimming the 50/100/200 Free, 100 Breast, 100 Fly and 200 IM. Here are my vacation training options:
- Rest and blow off training. It's a vacation and who really needs to train for sprint events anyway?
- Drop $8 per day on the local pool in order to get a proper solo workout - there are no masters workouts in Panama City anymore .
- Train in the ocean... it's free!
I took the free option and it has been worth it! Well, not for training but for cool stuff to see.
Monday, the waves were pretty rough. Thunderstorms just south of us in the gulf were driving 3-5 foot waves. It was great for body surfing so I stuck with that. The body surfing was mostly kick work. I tried to take 2-3 good speed strokes to get going but after that I just dolphin kicked to stay with the wave. For a challenge, I started trying to ride waves on my back. That turned out to be quite a bit of fun and was a decent workout for my abs. Later, I walked east a few hundred yards, swam out past the breakers and swam back down to the beach. By then the wind had really picked up and I was tossed around a lot. Visibility in the water was poor so I didn't see too much.
Tuesday, the waves were calmer but winds/waves were pushing a 2-3 mph east to west current in between the sand bar and the beach. That made getting to the breaking waves a tough task especially for my kids who couldn't keep their feet on the ground all the way out. I decided to swim out past the sandbar and swim east into the waves for a few hundred yards and then swim back. Swimming out was painful and it seemed like it took forever to get anywhere. Sighting in rough water is nothing like sighting on a lake so I ended up taking occasional breaststroke pulls to regain my bearings. Coming back was easier and with the beach on my breathing side, I was able to keep a straighter line.
Wednesday was much better. Winds were still blowing from the SE so I headed east into the wind and waves. This time, I set off for a full mile up the beach. With calmer waves, visibility opened up and I could see a lot more. I was swimming 10-15 yards off the sand bar in 6-8 feet of water. Most of it was barren sea floor. But as I got closer to my turning point, I suddenly saw hundreds of circular brown objects in the sand. I dove down to get a better look and they were sand dollars. Tons of them all over the place. I've been to Panama City Beach many times over the years and I've known they were out there but never found any. Turns out I was just looking in the wrong place! As I swam back, I found more beds of these creatures closer to my family and I took my kids out to let them see. The only problem on this swim was the jellyfish. I never saw one but I ran into their tendrils several times. A couple times, they would get on stuck on the bridge of my nose or caught in my goggle strap. I considered giving it up a couple time but stuck it out. Can't imagine putting up with a lot more that 2 miles of that.
Yesterday was by far the best day. The waves calmed down significantly and the sea life began to come out. As I swam east, schools of fish would go past and my splashing would startle stingrays that scurried off into the depths. There were in fact quite a bit more stingrays than I had ever imagined and I was glad there was 8 feet of water between us. I saw dozens of them as I swam along and there were probably a lot more that chose to remain hidden. On my way back, I encountered a few devil rays playing in the surf and about a 2 foot long sea turtle. My swim ended up being more of a sightseeing trip than a workout! Instead of intervals, I just swam along at a moderate pace until there was something interesting to see.
Only a couple more days left... maybe I'll run into a dolphin today... or a shark (hopefully from a large distance).
Updated June 6th, 2014 at 10:46 AM by pmccoy