I put in just over 3 miles in the water last week. This is my highest mileage total for swimming since, well… ever. Yes, this was a conscious effort on my part to put the focus on swimming last week and keep the focus on swimming and biking for the next two weeks leading up to Nationals. But it still feels kind of cool to see that mileage number go up. The good thing is that they are quality miles. I am not just going to the pool/lake and swimming. I am focusing on specific things like technique, mechanics and body positioning. My goal is to shave a minute off of my time for the swim at nationals. It will still be slow, but maybe at least it will give me SOME chance of hanging in for the ride/run.
Yesterday we went out to Finger Lakes for a (cool weather!) swim. The air temperature was about 70 degrees with a 10-15mph wind. The water temperature was about 74. Definitely wetsuit weather! The swim was fast for me (1100 yards in 22 minutes) and mostly uneventful except for a near panic attack when I saw the bottom at one point. The water is MUCH clearer now and even though I was in the right spot in the lake, there is a point that sticks out a little futher under water than I realized it did, so when I saw bottom and plants, I thought I was way off line and about to crash into shore! It took me sighting several extra times to confirm that I was OK and that I just hadn’t been able to see that far down before. Saw a big bass on the ledge though! Once I calmed down I was fine and the rest of the swim was nice. I almost didn’t want to get out of the water because it was warm.
Then I went on a short bike ride, since I had my bike in the car, with a couple of other people and the only thing notable about it was that my knee didn’t hurt! Raising my seat back up did the trick. I was very worried about having done some serious damage to my knee because I had what felt like one of “those” aches (you know, the ones that mean you screwed something up?) in my knee after my last bike ride (a hill ride on a poorly fitting bike… not good). It felt so good, in fact, that I decided to run 3 miles after the ride. Kind of a slow mo triathlon (with a LOOONNNG swim and a short bike… heh).
Hit the pool this morning and really concentrated on body position and feeling where the water was hitting my body when I was doing things right. It used to be that I could barely feel my shoulders out of the water when I swam. But since I have been focusing on body position I can now feel the water hitting at about the top of the small of my back. I know this doesn’t sound like much, but the more “on plane” I can swim, the faster I will eventually be. And for now it also means that at least I won’t fatigue so easily since I am drafting my body and legs more behind my shoulders rather than dragging them through the water like an anchor. There is definitely much less effort to achieve the same speed this way. Now I just need to keep perfecting it and build my stroke so that it is stronger and more efficient.