Friday, March 6, 2009

200 Free Finals and Mental Poise

This-afternoon was a restless afternoon. I was really satisfied and happy about my morning swim of the 200 free. I ate lunch and took a nap...rather I tried to take a nap. I fell asleep for about thirty minutes and then tossed and turned for about another thirty. The sports psychologist I often talk to who works for the US Olympic Committee told me it is better to get up and do something else that's productive rather than staying in bed while you toss and turn your time away. So I got up, made myself a PB&J sandwich, a protein shake and a banana. I turned the tv on and stretched for a good 45 minutes. I felt good going into finals and was interested to see what I could go.

Warm-up felt even better than this morning. My stroke felt long and powerful my speed felt like it was more readily available than this morning as well. Let me clarify something...when I talk about feeling powerful and having speed I speak in relative terms. On a scale of 1-10, 1 being the worst ever, 10 being how I felt at the 2008 Olympic Trials. Three weeks ago when I was in Missouri I was about a 3. During my warm-up tonight I felt like a 6 or 6.5. The reason I sound so excited is because this is the first time in a long time I feel like my body is showing signs of life. I distinctly remember finishing one of my build 50's tonight and coming into the wall and literally made a growling yell. I was ready to go. I knew I was feeling good and after having a great morning swim I was excited to get the chance at going a best time.

The race came and I was suddenly in the water swimming the first 50. I felt really smooth going out. My body felt as though it was a little bit plowing through the water more than I would like it to but that is partly this point of the season. As I rest more all the little intricacies of my stroke seem to press out to perfection like a well starched shirt! I flipped at the 100 at 52. Peter Vanderkaay was a few tenths ahead of me. I could already start to feel some tightness going into the 100 wall. I tried to maintain my long stroke and was working at building the third 50 while increasing my legs. As I approached the third turn my body was starting to hurt. I came off the wall and could tell I was still ahead of the guy next to me. As I headed for home each stroke I took I could feel my arms getting heavier and heavier. My kick was blasting and my quads felt like they were about to explode. There is actually a part of me that likes this...a part of me that enjoys this because I know it's these times, it's these parts of races when I will beat most or all of my competitors. I mentally prepare myself to be ready for the pain so that when it happens my mind is in such a calm state of serenity that there isn't an ounce of my energy or focus that is wasted. Everyone can do this, everyone can get to this point, it's just a matter of practice and mentally staying focused. I ended up getting second and going 1:49.63. This was a pretty good swim. My third best time best is 1:49.08. I was looking for something better...likely story. I was out at a good pace at the 100 but I died coming home. This is to be expected for the place I am in the season...I don't have to like it though.

Tomorrow is going to be great. The 100 free. Without a doubt this is my favorite race of all time. I'll update ya'll after the prelims tomorrow morning!


J said...

I love the description "like a well starched shirt"! Your usage of imagery in this blog really makes the reader comprehend swimming. Rock on in the pool!

Isa said...

Glad you're doing great!!
I had some problems while swimming this week.
Good luck with the 100!!

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