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Of Swimming Bondage

Damn, I love to race!

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by , November 20th, 2017 at 11:41 PM (123 Views)
Euphoric. Blissed out. High on life.

I couldn't sleep on Sunday night after two days and 8 events of racing at the Ron Johnson / Arizona State SCM Championships. I was absolutely wasted physically, my muscles sore, a physical sloth on the couch watching TV with my wife, but my interior world was ablaze with endorphins, just sheer joy at having been able to get up and race hard, over and over again throughout the weekend. No pain. All the gain to my soul.

Damn, I love to race.

Saturday

I started with the 50 breast, my warmup race for the meet. I went too deep on the start, took too long to get up and then spun like a whisk, all legs and arms akimbo and out of control. Though I was nowhere near my 33.39 best from 2013, I was very pleased with the 35.65 on the scoreboard, a marked improvement over the 38.02 from less than two months ago.

My freestyle has been feeling good in workouts lately and I was pretty sure I'd beat the 2:09.88 that I had entered in the 200 free. But, lined up in lane 2 of the second to last heat, what I wanted to do was beat Kurt Dickson's son in lane 1 and a 30-something woman in lane 3. We had a blast of a race, all three of us pretty much turning even throughout the race, with the lead changing here and there. I thought I had saved enough in my legs and my lungs to power through the last 25, but came up short to both of them, one of them at 2:08.10 and then other at 2:08.20. My 2:08.52 still made me smile.

At this point in the program, there was a long break for relays. The sun was going down (the session's warmups had started at noon) and I was feeling pretty tired, happy, but toasty in the arms. The event I was really excited about, the 200 IM, was going off about 6:30pm, but the 100 breast was before. Going into the meet, I was 95% convinced that I would only be able and want to race 2, maybe 3 events per session. I didn't think I had it in me to race both events and had pretty much made my mind up to skip the breaststroke, until Barry Roth, a great guy from Tucson, using an argument of - "It's better to be in the water racing than sitting on the deck" - convinced me to swim. I had plenty of time between the races and so off I went. I made sure not to spin like I did in the 50 and was quite happy with the 1:16.94 that I went, only a little more than 2 seconds slower than my Masters best (1:14.39).

Then, an amazing thing happened. Rather than tiring me out more, swimming the 100 breast acted like a jolt of energy, a second wind. When I got on the blocks for my 200 IM, I was feeling pumped, like it was the first race of the meet. I had been pretty ambitious in my entry time (2:20.89) considering that I had gone 2:30.61 about 7 weeks ago at the Jamina Winston meet in Mesa. The whole race felt pretty strong and I was elated with the 2:23.49 result.

Sunday

My appetizer event was the 100 IM. We have had a surge of 20- and 30-something guys start racing recently, so it's getting harder for us old guys to get into the fast heat in any of the 100s, but I was in a good heat with a few guys in my age group. Based upon my 200 IM being about 7 seconds off my Masters' best, I figured that I should / could be around 1:06.5 (best was 1:02.91). I was probably a bit too relaxed on the fly as I should've gotten further ahead of the guy next to me (who is a better sprint breaststroker) and I then didn't have enough juice on the freestyle leg to make up the lead he created on breast. I beat my expectation, though, at 1:06.30.

I had almost three hours before the 400 IM during which I called my brother and read just about every word (save the inane marriage announcements) in the Sunday New York Times. I probably should've done a little more warming up before the actual race, but I didn't want to tucker myself out. I had been 5:20.24 at the meet at the end of September and had this pipe dream that I could dip under the 5 minute mark. Oh was this one painful! In a John Cougar Hurts So Good kind of a way. I got to the 50 of the fly and thought I was done. I don't ever remember breathing so hard throughout any backstroke in my life. I couldn't do a breaststroke pullout off the first wall and the remaining pushoffs had me feeling like a drowning man coming up for air, for life. I managed to have some legs left on the last 50 and was pleased with the 5:02.05 result. This was the only race I ended up winning outright and I thank Darian Townsend for not swimming it (he lapped me last year!).

At this point, I could have gone home. I had raced enough, but I had also told a few guys who were in the 200 breast that I would 100 percent for sure be there for that, so I couldn't back out. I've only swum this event two other times in short course meters, having gone 2:44.62 back in 2012 and 2:43.35 in 2014. 2014 was the fall season when I was really working on my breaststroke and had been when I recorded my best 100 time. I really had no clue where I'd end up, but, much like on Saturday, I felt rejuvenated on this event. I swam very smooth through the 100 and then aimed to build the last 100. I was shocked to see a 2:43.70 on the scoreboard, damn near a best time!

The final individual event of the day was the 100 free. I don't know why I was entered in a 1:05.05, as my best time 55.92 and I'd even gone a 1:00.29 at altitude a few years back. I tried to imagine what I was thinking and the only thing I came up with was that I had planned to do a 100 fly ... but I didn't really feel like doing a 100 fly, and I definitely didn't feel like doing a 100 free. As I stood behind the blocks, with one heat to go, I was still debating between doing a 100 fly or going a 50 free to a touch and then relaxing. I turned to Lindsey Urbatchka, who was in the heat after me, and asked her to pick one. She was absolutely marvelous and said something to the effect of, "Do neither. Do a 50 fly. It's my favorite event!" And so I did. I LOVED it. It was the perfect way to end the meet. I blasted a 2 breath 28.69, respectably close enough to my 27.62 best from 7 years ago.

What an AWESOME WEEKEND. I cannot wait to race again.

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Updated November 21st, 2017 at 01:20 PM by pwb

Tags: ron johnson
Categories
Masters Swim Meets / Events

Comments

  1. Karl_S's Avatar
    Nice racing and great report. Makes me wanna race.
    Unless I am mistaken that 4IM moves you to the top of the event rankings for this season. Of course a couple of big meets remain before the season closes so there is still time for folks to take a crack at knocking you off the top spot. In recent years usually one or two guys have dipped under 5.
  2. knelson's Avatar
    Nice swimming! Sounds like you are making major progress.
  3. flystorms's Avatar
    I can feel your exuberance in your writeup. Nice work and nice racing!
  4. Sojerz's Avatar
    Nice swims Patrick, especially the 2fr and 4IM. An animal weekend for sure.
  5. JPEnge's Avatar
    Awesome write-up and awesome swimming. I feel the same way about racing/competing.
  6. pwb's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Karl_S
    Nice racing and great report.
    Thanks, Karl.

    Quote Originally Posted by Karl_S
    Makes me wanna race.
    EXCELLENT!

    Quote Originally Posted by Karl_S
    Unless I am mistaken that 4IM moves you to the top of the event rankings for this season. Of course a couple of big meets remain before the season closes so there is still time for folks to take a crack at knocking you off the top spot. In recent years usually one or two guys have dipped under 5.
    I doubt I'll survive in the pole position, but you know I'll be watching Meet Mobile the rest of this month.
  7. pwb's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by knelson
    Nice swimming! Sounds like you are making major progress.
    Thanks, Kirk. I am definitely making progress, but I've still got a long way to go to get back to 2016 'baseline.' After reading Jim Thornton's article on age-based degradation (and the thread of comments), I feel this great sense of urgency to get back into great shape before the grand decline hits me!
  8. pwb's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by flystorms
    I can feel your exuberance in your writeup. Nice work and nice racing!
    Thanks, Kari. It was fun to be able to write a race report, now I'm itching to figure out my next meet.
  9. pwb's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Sojerz
    Nice swims Patrick, especially the 2fr and 4IM. An animal weekend for sure.
    Thanks, Bill. Having grown up swimming in the 80's where the 'animal lane' was all the rage in training, I appreciate the 'animal' comment!
  10. pwb's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by JPEnge
    Awesome write-up and awesome swimming.
    Thanks, Jeff!
    Quote Originally Posted by JPEnge
    I feel the same way about racing/competing.
    Very cool. I still wonder why so many Masters swimmers DON'T love to race, and even don't compete. I pretty much lost every head-to-head race, was way slower than a year ago ... and still loved it.