Friday, February 1, 2008

Swim slow to go fast...

My entire focus lately has been swimming-swimming-swimming... I am starting to love it too.

Wednesday at 101 (the learn to swim class I am taking), Coach Steve finally got my stroke to make sense. I could really feel myself pull water, I was sore in new muscles that I never used in my arms, and I felt like a "real" swimmer. BUT I was going really slow. I wasn't even on send offs.

It was more like 4 laps here and then 2 laps here, then do 8 laps. In our 101 some people are so new to swimming we aren't even to the vocabulary of swimming yet, like a 100 or 50 or a 200, so we do laps. Take your time, no clock, no send off, just swim correctly.

This is a good place for me. Nobody to race, nobody to keep up with, I am actually the fastest without trying, my competitive side goes out the window and I humbly learn and take in the new stroke as a 25 or "lap" takes me 30 seconds rather then 14 or 16.

Now, back to Wednesday evening. Masters-cut throat, race your neighbor, hang onto Mike's feet, go-go-go! Mike is first, I am second, we are doing a couple 200's building them. 2:30 easy on the first one, 2:18 on the second, and about to start the number 3 and I hear this loud voice from a soft spoken Coach Steve, "What are you doing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" I tell him I am building. He says, "WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!" Meaning tell him the truth, so I tell him I was trying to keep up with Mike. He then moves me to the back of the lane (truth be told I am starting to tear up and my goggles are filling with tears). He then says, "What about that awesome stroke we developed this morning at 101? What happened to that? Is that what you plan to do at a race? Throw everything out the window? That old stroke does not work for you, it hasn't made you faster, your new stroke will help you but you have to commit".

So, I am now at the back of the lane. I am NOT supposed to keep up, worry about the send offs, build, sprint, pace, I am to do that new stroke and do it every time I am in the pool. Commit. Part of me is about to cry like a big baby for having to work so darn hard and get so frustrated, and the other part reminds me how lucky I am to have him care so much about me and my swimming.

Okay, now to this morning. 800 warm up. I was reminded to DO THE NEW STROKE! I still jump in lane one (our masters is crowded with 8 lanes full of people. lane 1 is the faster folks and lane 8 is the 101 swimmers, so you place yourself accordingly within the 8 lanes by your speed). I have to drag my finger tips ALL 800, Krista laps me, Mike turns over to do backstroke and tickle my toes letting me know I am going SLOW. But I do my "new stroke". Now, to our main set. 25 x100 on 1:20. YES! This is my ultimate favorite set, we rarely do this and Steve calls it my iron girl set. I just love it!

Lane one on 1:20 and lane 2 on 1:30 and he lets me know I can move over and maybe should move over so I can not get carried away and throw my new stroke out... Me=stubborn=NO! So, I stay and decide I will commit to that new stroke even though it takes so long!

I make the first 5 on 1:08 and it feels so easy. Steve is jumping and cheering. Then 5-10, still holding form and I feel pretty good. Number 12 I get to the wall and he lets me know I am starting to lose form and that I can just make send-off, no need to have all the rest, so I try for a 1:12-1:15 pace and I now can tell my old stoke is coming back. He stops me for a 50 and I sit on the wall hearing how this is what happens in a race. I get weak or tired and now I have to commit more that anything to hold this new stroke. I go. I am committing. It hurts. I am frustrated. I want to race with Mike and Krista and swim 1:05's with them but I am dragging butt with this new stroke. I start to get all frustrated and Steve stops me a 50 again... he tells me 2 words. "I'm Proud". Then I keep going, I keep telling myself that over and over.

In my mind I am so competitive and I know that to get faster I will first be slower. I don't like swimming in the back. I dislike swimming in lane 2-8, I love the people in those lanes, BUT I admire the fish in lane 1 and I want to swim like them...

So, Friday, another workout with the new stroke. It is slowly but surely coming along. And if you want to know the end of the 25 x100... I never did get to sprint the last 100 with my new stroke, I had to get out and get Kainoa so Jim could go to work. Don't worry though, I will finish tonight, by myself...

And, here is a little quote I feel fits "perfectly" with my swimming frustrations:

"Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results'"
Albert Einstein

I know you have seen the quote on a dozen websites, blogs, locker room walls. Today, this was posted on my brain. Every season I cannot do the same old stroke and think I will get faster, SO I am committing to the new one.


Blogger Pedergraham said...

Way to go Bree. You WILL get there. Steve sounds so awesome.

February 1, 2008 at 9:01 AM

Blogger Speed Racer said...

Kudos! That takes some serious will power to stick to a cleaner stroke in Masters practice. I've heard of that going slower to go faster, but I'm skeptical. I'll let you be my guinea pig, let us all know how it works out for you.

February 1, 2008 at 9:24 AM

Blogger Katie Weaver-Jongerius said...

Awesome job Bree! It will take some time but it will also pay off in the long run. Soon enough Mike and Krista will be trying to keep up with you!!!

February 1, 2008 at 9:31 AM

Blogger Beth said...

I can so identify with this!! I want to just get in and SWIM and not worry about all the other stuff - even though if I really focused on the "other stuff" it would eventually make me faster. It's HARD!! But it will sooooo pay off for you - keep it up Bree! And once you get that stroke down you will be leading that fast lane with everyone on YOUR toes!!

February 1, 2008 at 10:01 AM

Blogger Eileen said...

Woohoo! Awesome job on sticking with the plan and great job to Steve for making you back off. That is always the worst part, but REALLY the best part as this will make you faster in the long run. Can't wait for Coach to see my stroke ;-)


February 1, 2008 at 10:25 AM

Blogger Marit Chrislock-Lauterbach said...

You know... whenever I "clean my closet" the house is always a mess before everything is neat, orderly, and put away. As a former rower - where technique was everything - I've gotta say that what you are doing is tremendous. It takes a lot of guts to slow dow and perfect the technique. In a few months/weeks from now, it'll be different. YOu'll be leading lane 1 and people will be swimming on your toes. Hang in there - it'll pay dividends in the end! (Nice quote :)

February 1, 2008 at 11:14 AM

Blogger Kellye Mills said...

Nice work Bree! I read somewhere about being a January champion. Meaning that all of the people competing this time of year in the pool, bike, or run may be winning right now. But come summer, when it really counts, you'll see who's winning then.

So, be in the back right now. Perfect your technique, and then come Race time...You'll end up being the REAL champion!

February 1, 2008 at 11:37 AM

Blogger Mel said...

Think of BABY STEPS.....think of a baby just starting to is done in trying...frustration....cry....steady...further the little shits are so fast their mothers have a hard time catching them....ARE ya with me Bree :) it is ALL done in baby steps!!!! Keep going!!!!

February 1, 2008 at 3:58 PM

Blogger Jessi said...

Thank you, Bree. I am going through exactly the same thing as I work on my stroke this winter, and it's nice to hear I'm not the only one who's struggling with going slow before I go fast.

February 1, 2008 at 7:21 PM

Blogger Jen in Budapest said...

I want a coach that makes me cry! I need someone to kick my butt so I can feel the love.

February 1, 2008 at 10:21 PM

Blogger Billy said...

I feel your pain. I've been swimming for 45 years and now am trying to improve on my stroke. Talk about old habits being ingrained. Swimming has always been zone out time, now I have to concentrate. Love your blog.

February 2, 2008 at 7:04 AM

Blogger shawn and tracy said...

Bree I am so in the same boat as you.Trying to learn the actual technique behind swimming, in an attempt to actually have a chance to catch some fast feet in a race. Well actually I could never hang in your lane 1 I would be closer to 4-5. Keep it up and reminding me that it is worth it :)

February 2, 2008 at 12:44 PM

Blogger Marni said...

Keep up the great work!!!

February 2, 2008 at 1:58 PM

Blogger ShirleyPerly said...

I'm proud of you too! Keep your eye on the big prize.

February 2, 2008 at 2:32 PM

Blogger Emmalee said...

I just looked at your website. Looks good! Very professional and high tech.

February 2, 2008 at 2:59 PM

Anonymous Alicia Parr said...

Patience. It will come. Someday soon you're new and improved stroke will feel so natural that you'll wonder how you ever made it across the pool with your old, inefficient stroke.

I admire your fight in the water. With my swimming background, I skate by on efficiency, reasonably good form & pure laziness. How little effort can I get away with and still stay near the front? Preferably trailing someone else's feet. And this is during races. Shame on me.

February 3, 2008 at 7:37 AM


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