4 x 100 @ 1:30 easy
16 x 50 @ :45, every 4th 50 fast
4 x 200 pull @ 2:55
4 x 100 @ 1:20 fast
100 warm down
A guy got in the water with me a little after I started. He was wearing fins, but he was otherwise swimming well, and after a while, I invited him to do my workout. I hadn't realized he'd accepted until we hit the 4 x 200 pull, and he passed me on the first 25. I hit the gas to catch up, and for the next 100, we went stroke for stroke at something like full power. I wasn't entirely sure that I could keep up with a guy wearing fins, but it's so rare that I have the opportunity to race against anyone that I was super-excited to try.
We took it out fast. My first 100 was a 1:06, which is blazing for a 43 guy wearing paddles and a pull buoy. We turned at the halfway mark, and if you've ever raced against me, you will know that this is where I usually put the hammer down, that the psychological blow of having a guy smoke you just as you're starting to feel tired can be devastating. I got a half-bodylength lead off that fourth turn, and when we hit the fifth turn, I hit it hard.
My man cracked like a crystal vase and fell off the interval, refusing afterwards to try any more of that particular workout--or even to look me in the eyes. His face had fallen. He looked totally unmanned. I tried complimenting him, telling him how much I'd enjoyed racing him and that I hadn't been pushed like that in a long time, but he just shook his head and gave me a rueful little smile. He refused to be consoled.
It made me sad.
Look, I'm a good swimmer. The fact that I win a race shouldn't be taken by someone else as proof of anything. I like to race, and for whatever reason, I got a gift from God that made me good at it, especially in the pool. More to the point, I've been back in the water at a reasonably serious level for a little more than five weeks. Though I will never again have the kind of speed I had in college--or even high school--I'm getting faster, literally every day. I kept those 4 x 200 pull all under 2:20; this would have been totally inconceivable as recently as a month ago.
It feels good to be back in the water. It feels good to feel like myself out there.
All of this makes me more apt to race, and I like to win. That doesn't mean that I plan to lord it over random strangers on a Tuesday at the local YMCA. It just means that competition makes us better, and I like to compete. I spend so much time competing in other peoples' best sports that it's a real rush to actually compete in my own.
I don't know why my man stopped trying after less than a full rep. I hope it wasn't because he thought I was laughing at him. Honestly, just knowing he was there made me faster. But I could see in his face that he didn't realize that, and here we are.