Tuesday, July 17, 2012

UMBC Summer Swim series: race report

The problem with life throwing massive and stressful curveballs after ironman is that you end up posting 50 race reports in a row, despite three weeks actually passing between the races.  Sorry about that.  Allison and I had talked in the spring about jumping in some swimming events post-ironman, especially since they are incredibly cheap as compared to running races.  Late last week, we both signed up for a master's swim meet up in Maryland.  Our entrance fee paid for us to swim in up to three events, so I blindly signed up for all the ones labeled "free" and hit register.


I swim in a 25-yard pool (short course yards) and this meet was taking place in a 50-meter pool (long course meters).  I sort of half-heartedly thought about trying to get to Wilson to swim in a 50 meter pool before the race, but on Friday morning I was way too hungover tired from my week to make the trip.  We also had to estimate our times during registration, which resulted in the following thought process.  100M free: people say to add 10% to your yards time.  The best 100Y free I've done in a short course pool has been 1:16, but that's been mid-workout so I'll just round it down to 1:25.  200M free: I remember doing 200M repeats in April in the 25M pool when I was visiting Sonja and vaguely recall they were 3:0x somewhere, so I'll estimate 3:05.  400M free: 3:05x2 + 10 seconds (which was the ambiguous amount of time I decided a 200-to-400 would extrapolate) = 6:20.  Not even close to logical, but I was signed up and ready to go.


I think it was Friday evening of last week when the highly stressful events of the previous 21 days began to catch up with me.  I was thrilled to wake up to a flurry of text messages at 5am Saturday morning canceling a ride I had planned on crashing with my girls and went back to sleep for another four hours.  I spent the whole day hanging out with my parents, yawning and eating piles of cheese and carbs and calamari and beer.  The poet and I were easily in bed rather early and slept the clock around until 8am the next morning, when a thrashing puppy with a cone-head woke me up.  I decided to wear my ironman shirt for the 50th day in a row so everyone would understand why I came in last.
The drive up to UMBC was quick, and I was thrilled to discover from Allison that their mascot is the golden retriever.
After very little wandering about the building trying to figure out how to get outside to the pool, we did a few lazy laps for a warm-up and then I got to try diving off the blocks for the first time ever.  My goggles stayed firmly on my face so I did it once more for luck and then called it good.  
The 200M free was the first event of the day, and as I was lining up, I told the woman holding the stopwatch not to be mad if I was a lot slower than my projected time because I had no idea what I was doing.  There was a lot of whistling and beeping and yelling and then I saw everyone else dive into the water and went.  I don't think a 200M race really needs recap, I felt like I was swimming incredibly slowly but then it was over.  Allison beat me by almost a full length of the pool but we took 1-2 in our age group so I guess that's something to be excited about.  I don't often see "2" next to my name when there are more than 2 people in my division (and there is NO WAY these splits are correct).  And now that I look at this, I realize that the stopwatch person told me I did a 3:03.something.  Oh well.
After the 200M race, there was a lot of time to sit around and watch the other races, which ran the gamut from impressive (the fast 200M butterfly heat) to fascinating (the 70+ men who did the 200M IM).  Allison knows more than one stroke, so I got to cheer her on as she trashed the shit out of everyone in her heat in the 100M breaststroke.
The 200M race results were posted before I did the 100M, so despite the fact that I am certain there is no way I swam a 1:17 for half of my 200, I decided while halfway through the first 50 that maybe I had magical swimming endurance from ironman and could swim a 1:16 100M.  Go Katie go!


Sadly, life doesn't work that way so I had to be content with my 1:23:33 (please note that I have absolutely NO IDEA what any of these times mean because a) I never swim meters and b) I don't really care).  My goggles fell off when I dove in so I swam the whole thing with one eye closed and one eye opening every few seconds to make sure I wasn't going to swim into the wall.
The slow heat of the 400 freestyle was combined with the 400 IM heat so we got to watch some more 70+ year old men race IM and I'm not being snarky at all when I say it was awesome.  I hope that when I am 76 years old, I'm still in the pool cranking out some fly (this assumes I will learn fly by then).  
In an incredibly hilarious twist of swim fate, Allison and I picked the same random time for the 400 free (she swam in college and routinely beats the shit out of me in the pool) so we ended up on the blocks side-by-side.  The only thing I knew NOT to do in the 400 was try and go with her at the beginning of the race.  Instead, I kept an eye on the woman to my other side, who was ahead of me for the first 200 and then I slowly overtook her in the back half.  After swimming such shorts events, the 400 feels like it lasts forever (says the ironman) and I was just happy to land at the wall.  I had the same "WHY IS IT SO FAR" reaction that I did to 140.6 when I texted my results to Sonja.
But we had a good time, and I swam hard enough to convince myself (and Allison) that we deserved a post-race Qdoba stop.  I still don't really understand all of the timing and heats and seeds and crap that goes on in a swim meet, or how to race at all, but both times every time I have done one I have had a really good time, plus I paid my outrageous USMS membership fee this year so I feel like I am getting my money's worth by doing these little events.  


I also think it's probably time to suck it up and join a master's group because I would like to get faster at some point in my life, but I'm lazy and don't like to drive further than the .65 miles away from my house that I do to swim at LA Fitness.  So we'll see about that.  How was your weekend?

22 comments:

  1. There's a swim meet at Hains Point this Sunday. Registration is still open. Take down that 400 free time.

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    1. Registration is closed! Boo.

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    2. It closed Wednesday morning, but my team is running it and I can get you in, if you want to do it.

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  2. I know nothing about swimming but it sounds like you did well. :) Having a good time is what's important when times mean literally nothing to you, right?

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  3. I am just impressed you are entering swim meets.

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  4. I say we start our own little group at LA. You in? Also - you WILL be swimming the 400 IM next year :)

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  5. You totally crack me up! I've only done a masters swim meet once, but I've watched my brothers and sisters race enough to have an idea how it all works (and my dad is even a swim official now). It's totally impressive to watch all the older people who totally kick my ass in the pool. And it's good to break out of our triathlete shells every now and then and try something different. Well done!

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  6. First of all swim meet sounds fun! Second, I need to start masters too...

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  7. You stop tempting back into these swim meets dammit! They look soooo fun! Congrats on kicking major arse!!! You my friend are a swimmer.

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  8. I'm so impressed! Swim meets totally intimidate me (and I was on the swim team in High School). Good for you!

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  9. I can't even think about swimming in a pool without getting the willies - water in my ears, water in my nose, itchy chlorine eyes - you are totally badass and a serious inspiration. I think I'll stick to practicing my backfloat in a hot bath tub until further notice..

    And thank you THANK YOU for such awesome IM race recaps. I looked forward to reading each installment all week. I'm so proud of you and I don't even know you.

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  10. Just wait until we do some meets this winter and the times actually mean SOMETHING! Or not. :)

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  11. Hats off to you for swimming this! I've always been afraid to do a master's meet figuring I'd get my ass handed to me. And your time was great for a 50-meter pool!

    BTW--are you doing Rockville Twilighter?

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    1. No! Running in the heat is stupid.

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  12. That's so fun! I heart you guys. Also, did you know that the 25 meter fly was my race back when I was super little and on the swim team?

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  13. How fun! Congrats on the great times!I was a swimmer in high school so this is bringing back some old memories. Still not convincing me to get back in the pool yet...if you can think of a way to convince me to swim again despite having 0 triathlons on my race calendar, I'll buy you a beer (that requires you to also come to San Diego for me to buy you the beer).

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  14. Can you please teach me how to swim?

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  15. Nice work!

    Swimming fast over short distances does not agree with me so I doubt I will ever do something crazy like this. And I sure as heck am not going to do any fly-ing.

    Is this the beginning of the end of the post Ironman celebration???

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  16. A 70 year old man swimming the 400im. I cannot even imagine that is seriously awesome. Great job on your races, they all seem great to me. Eh-you could have raced everything yesterday and the blogging world would never know the distance. ;)

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