After a full year of doing exactly nothing athletic – I barely swam, and I trained BJJ maybe once every month – I decided in the spring of this year to sign up for the US Masters Swimming 10k National Championships. I needed something to break the inertia, and there’s nothing like a big race to get me moving again.
And hey, no biggie, right? I can whip my flabby ass into shape in time to swim 6.2 miles at the end of August.
To that end, I have been focusing almost entirely on swimming and am on hiatus from BJJ until September. I have discovered that I am ridiculously impatient about how long it takes me to get back into fighting shape. I made some maybe not entirely realistic goals for myself regarding how fast I would go in that 10k, all while not having swum more than 3,000 meters in a practice since…well, probably the ‘90s.
My first real test came at the Steelman 5k swim, a choppy lake race that totally trashed my arms. I came in at a time that, if I split evenly, would just about meet my goal time for the 10k. I placed second in my age group, but I was toast, and I know realistically that I wouldn’t be able to hold that pace for another 5k.
Then, I did a training swim in a 50m pool . I came within 300 meters of meeting my goal of swimming 10,000 meters in 2.5 hours. I would have finished the last 300 if they hadn’t started switching the lane lines from long course to short course. It was just too much for me to start dolphin diving between them. Once again, arms were toast, this time extra crispy.
We’re now coming in to the final stretch of getting ready for this thing. I have Masters Nationals (of the pool sort) this week, and the 10k is the following weekend. I’m hoping I can find some speed in the pool and still be able to crank it out for hours in a lake a week later.
But whatever the result, it’s good to be back.