Pain, Ruminations Thereon
by, April 2nd, 2009 at 10:49 PM (2656 Views)
To my fellow stalkers of CreamPuff, the following will come as no surprise from the forum threads:
Posted by CreamPuff: So the 1000 was passable with a 10:32. Negative splitted with a 5:17 and 5:15 the 2nd 500. Swam my usual with zero kick of any kind. Had a lovely race with the boys and came in 2nd overall (I think I was around 3rd for most of the race). Lost 1st by 0.5 seconds. Was told I looked very smooth.
500 was the 2nd day with with el boys. Contrary to Glider's nice comment, the 500 was dreadful. Since seeing my 200 FR at 1:57 with zero kick two weeks ago, I've since been working on swimming with a 6 beat kick @ practices; however, it's only been 2 weeks. Coach and I agreed to not try kicking on the 1000 (too difficult at this point), but we agreed that I'd SDK and kick off every turn for the 500. Although I did make that goal, I was too tired to do the actual swim part and I added 3 seconds to my time of 5:11 - LOL! So, I'm going to stick with my kick and see if it can improve in a season or two or three or four. . . I think I got 5th overall on the 500 although it felt like last place after the 1000.
Not sure whether the adjective "passable" was false modesty or if CP, AKA, Kristina Ulveling can actually be blase about such times. I made inquiries:
From Jim Thornton: 1 Ulveling, Kristina 36 Swim Atlanta-GA 5:12.00 5:14.48
1 Ulveling, Kristina 36 Swim Atlanta-GA 10:34.00 10:32.73
If you doubled you 500, you would have swim 10:28.86.
Just amazing swims.
It seems to me that the SDKs on the 500 probably hurt you more than helped you.
Possibly, with practice, this will switch around, but I gotta say that SDKs really use up a lot of oxygen and energy and keep you under water a lot longer than you would otherwise stay.
For a distance swim, I don't know if the extra speed is worth it.
Anyhow, extremely impressive swims, despite the self-described "passable" rating.
My question for you is simple: how much does it hurt? When you are swimming the 1000, are you in pain? Do you find yourself saying, "When will this end?"
Or does it feel relatively good and smooth throughout?
I tend to suffer during distance events, and I don't know if this is the right approach...
The truth is, I am almost always in a great deal of discomfort when I swim distance events in such a way as to get a decent time. I wish it weren't so, but it seems to be unavoidable: unless there is pain, I rarely get a very good time.
from CreamPuff: Jim, the 1000 and 1650 are of minimal discomfort for me. I've been told I have too much left at the end at these races. In retrospect, I did not work that 1000 enough. But there's always next time!!! I am CreamPuff, remember? If I were truly tough I'd be called HammerTime. But be consoled in that the 200 and 500 do burn - and now I cry if I actually add in kick. Great points on the walls and SDK Jim - I agree with you and I think it will take some time to find out what works for me. I only took 1 good SDK and then went into flutter kick past the flags for each turn. Rather painful 20x particularly when you usually do it 0 times in a race.
In speaking with one of the top 14&Us in the nation this weekend (she goes 10:00 in the 1000), she was saying that it really hurts and is "pretty much an all out sprint." I'm definitely chewing on that thought. . . I may have to try A LOT harder next time. So good news - you are right on par with the 14&U girls!!! I wish I was. Sheesh.
Whether or not trying A LOT harder next time will help Kristina's time remains to be seen. I don't mean this in a snide way. I just don't know when gluttony for too much pain becomes self-defeating and ends up hurting performance.
Have you ever noticed how the truly great swimmers of the world, Phelps, Coughlan, Janet Evans, etc. etc. ad nauseam, never look particularly tired after setting their latest world record? It's like they can bound out of the water like newly hatched grasshoppers testing out their elastic legs.
I mean, it's a cliche, I know, but the best swimmers do look effortless. And I know that it probably doesn't feel effortless on their part. But when was the last time that we saw an Olympic great, or a CreamPuff, for that matter, be so spent at the end of a race that they have trouble beaching themselves on the pool deck, and once having done so (perhaps with the assistance of a ladder, or in a worse case, a couple life guards, or in the worst case, a hoist and coroner) proceded to lose their stomach contents.
Though my best times have almost always involved a great deal of pain, so, alas, have many of my worst times--where I have died so prematurely that finishing, say, the 1650 becomes highly problematic by the 250 yard mark. Or when my arms turned to tungsten on the last 50 of a 200 and I feared sinking to the bottom where a not up-to-code suction drain would make fast work of the gelatin leaking out of my every exhausted orifice.
It's one thing to suffer for glory's rewards. It's another to suffer only to get a horrible, horrible time because you suffered too much and couldn't finish strong, or, perhaps, at all.
The one final muddle factor here: once in a blue moon, I will get very near to a personal best and it all just feels wonderful, almost like CreamPuff's description of minimal discomfort. What the hell is going on with this? And why isn't it the norm, not some weirdly bizarre exception that sometimes in retrospect I begin to doubt even happened at all?
Okay. So here is my question, one that I think hits any swimmer hoping to swim his or her best at a given event, particularly if such even is 200 or longer: pain, how much (if any) should you tolerate, and at what point in the race can you afford to allow it to overtake you?
I mean, I know it's a mistake to do a drop dead, all out sprint on the first 100 of an hour swim.
And it's also a mistake to lallygag in luxurious stretching ease till 59 minutes and 45 seconds of said hour swim have expired, then really pick it up.
But somewhere between these extremes, there has got to be a rule of reasonable thumb.
I need this rule by tomorrow.
I am swimming this weekend, beginning with a 1000 first thing Saturday morning, and I don't feel like I am in any kind of distance shape at all.
I would like to do "passable" times in the true (as opposed to CreamPuffic) sense of the word. I would like to avoid the experience embodied by the picture gallery below.
If you have any suggestions, I would greatly appreciate them before I leave tomorrow for my rendezvous with pain--the old familiar aquatic equivalents of the saw, inquistion chair, and Spanish donkey, respectively.