Heading into the race, I've been keen to find a way to put in a little extra time in the pool in order to better "feel" the water, but it's been a little harder to manage that than you might think. Ideally, I'd have swum twice or even three times last week, but that didn't happen, leaving me to both try to catch up on my yardage this week and set myself up for the race in terms of the way I'm "feeling" my stroke.
Ultimately I decided to train hard yesterday and then do very little today, hoping to kind of split the difference between catching up and resting--if three days of rest is really considered resting, anyway. It would have been when I was a teenager, sure, but as a forty-year-old adult? It's kind of an open question.
Anyway, I got in the pool yesterday morning at about 7:00 am and warmed up slowly. I did 200 SKIPS, which gave me fully 1000 yards to wake up in the water and get myself moving. Then I did 8 x 200 freestyle @ 2:50, maybe 80% effort. As a main set, that wasn't too bad, and it had the virtue of being almost exactly the distance we'll be racing on Saturday. I wound up holding the first five under 2:30/100 (1:15/100 pace), but then I started getting tired and fell off the pace for reps six and seven. Number seven was so ugly that I decided to stop and rest for 2:00 in order to give myself time to get my shit back together, which was good because it let me close out the workout on an upbeat note. My last 200 was about 2:25, and that's not bad, all things considered. Granted, I'm not the same swimmer I was when I was nineteen, but I feel good, and yesterday in particular, I felt ready to race.
I got home, fed the kids, watched a little of yesterday's Stage, and then took the kids to this week's summer camp--Star Factory singing camp. Then it was time to catch the train into Manhattan. The train was fine, but the ride from the station into the office was hot, and the Park was full of tourists on bikes, which is not exactly the same as when it's full of regular NYC bike commuters and road riders. The regular folks tend to ride quickly and predictably, and if they run the occasional red light, at least you can almost always see it coming. Bike tourists, meanwhile, seem to know no rules and have very little in the way of situational awareness on the road. Honestly, they behave more like traffic cones than fellow riders, save that traffic cones don't suddenly change direction for no discernible reason. I survived, which is a victory, I suppose.
Work was fine, but yesterday's commute home was legitimately terrifying. I left the office at about 7:45 pm, and while there weren't that many cars on the road, the ones there were drove with a kind of lead-footed oblivion that can make riders into street pizza. On top of that, the road was full of bikes, which is fine, but fully half of them were riding the wrong way in the bike lanes, which is terrifying when you consider how small the bike lanes are in the first place and the fact that the bike lanes are surrounded by cars, so it's not like you can just swerve carelessly out of the way of an errant wrong-way rider.
Not fun. Again, I survived, but it felt like it was real work just dodging all the assholes out there.
Today's morning swim wasn't quite as good as yesterday's, but I only swam an easy thousand yards, so it may well be that I just didn't give myself time to get all the way into it. Regardless, I'm ready to give my shoulders and lats a rest now in front of Saturday's race. Meanwhile, I've still got a day of wacky, off-hour bike commuting ahead of me, and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't dreading it a little, especially the evening portion. I guess the key is to take it slow and be both patient and alert.
We'll see how it goes.