May 6, 2009

Good Days and Bad Days

While I'm never joyously leaping out of bed at 5 a.m., this morning was particularly tough. I briefly considered going back to sleep and swimming after work. Then I thought maybe I'd sleep another hour, bike and then swim after work. But I knew I needed to get up. I had a 500 yard time trial to do and after work is too risky. So I dragged myself out of bed and headed into the city.

Swimming is really perplexing. Some days it's great and other days I feel like a rock. As I walked down the stairs to the pool I just knew today was a rock day. I felt ok on the first few hundred of the warm up, but it went downhill from there. The last two minutes were at my projected time trial intensity and I struggled to speed up at all. After a one-minute rest I started the 500 and gave it my best. My heart was pounding and my arms were tired after just 100. I could tell I was much slower than recent anaerobic swims but I literally couldn't go any faster. At one point my arms and legs got tingly and I felt dizzy. I had no energy.

I'm less disappointed by the swim overall than I am by the comparison to my previous time trial in February. I somehow managed my fastest swim ever at 1:41/100 for the 500 yards. I've struggled to reach that pace again, but have managed on recent anaerobic intervals, granted they were only 100 yards. Today's average was 1:49/100, not even in my current anaerobic zone. Even after the TT I never really got into a groove and ended up slower than normal.

I have no idea why this happened. I definitely felt a little off today and it never really improved. I planned an hour or so on the bike after work and started feeling awful on the train ride home so I skipped it. I decided to relax and go to bed early, hoping to feel better tomorrow.

Distance - 500 yard time trial
Time - 9:03

Distance - 1,500 yards
Time - 29:53


  1. You're going to have bad days, Kristin, that's just the nature of the beast. But you'll bounce back - just keep reminding yourself of how much progress you've already made this year. And, no doubt, there's more to come.

  2. Not that I'm a pro swimmer or anything. But there are two explanations, take your pick.
    1) Swimming is very technical. If you're tired, you're sloppy. Tiny fractions of less energy mean lots less speed, and subtle changes in body position have a dramatic impact on speed.
    2) The water knows when you're in a good mood. It cooperates by sliding past your body, and simultaneously gives your hands something to grip. When you aren't feeling good, the water is hot, sticky, and somehow it makes the pool much longer.

    I try not to get down when I swim slower than normal. I console myself by thinking I probably put more effort in on the slow days, and it will pay off later. Hang in there.



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