Sunday, March 20, 2011

Sunday Recap: NEM Championships

As you can probably guess, Sunday started off with some waffles and other treats at the hotel.  We got packed up and checked out, then headed over to the pool for the final day of competition.  It was funny seeing Lena's reaction to the chlorine - thinking back to seeing her with Emma so many years ago was a real trip.  She still is not a fan of the humid (and stinky) environment at the pool.

I got in a good warm up and then prepared for the 200yard Freestyle.  I was hoping to get under 1:59.00 for the race, and was fortunate to get seeded into lane one (12th overall in my age group) .  I like being there - it is on the far end of the pool, so there are fewer distractions from the people lined up on the deck.  Also, there is a good sight at the rest of the swimmers, if you are able to get ahead.   Knowing that the 200yard Backstroke was to come, but in a while, I decided to go hard for this swim.

I had a good start and felt in control during the first 50, and was able to get out ahead of the pack.  I usually try to build the second 50, but just keep a strong tempo going as I hit the wall at the halfway point.  I then went all out for the third 50, remembering to lengthen my stoke and also settle into a 3-2-3-2 breathing pattern.  I had a slow turn as I started the final 50, but kept swimming hard.  I finished first in the heat with a time of 1:57.19, and took 3rd in the age group!  My splits confirm how I swam - the second 100 was even split, but I could have picked up the pace a tad more on the second fifty.

After a warm down and having Lena and Preston join me on deck to collect the medal and sticker for my paper, we considered what to do next.  I walked with them to the other side of the Anderson Bridge, but decided against walking into Harvard with them as it was a bit windy (again) and my legs were feeling tired from the first swim and the last two days worth of competition.  I wondered back to the pool and vegged out, watching for the best way to incorporate a dolphin kick into the breaststroke pullout, and then warmed up when the 200 Back approached.

I had fun cheering for the Cape Codders that swam before me, and even met up with Dan from the Pittsfield meet (he ended up getting the individual high point award for the men.  My goal for the back was to even split, and I was hoping to go under 2:10.  I had not swum the event in a meet this year, and still was not really feeling like my stroke was where it needs to be, so I figured an even split for the race and strong swim for the final event of the meet was the best way to go.

I started in lane 7, and was a bit worried about being so close to the edge of the pool.  I had a good start (for me) and felt good on the first 50.  I remember working the dolphin kicks off the walls and trying to stay in control  of the race.  I was swimming with the guys in lane 6, and as we came into the halfway point of the race, I was praying that they all went out a lot quicker than me and would soon die off.  That did not happen! haha  I got some encouragement from the Codders on both ends of the pool, and went as fast as possible on the third 50.  I kept chugging, with my arms and legs aching as I started the last 50.  The last turn was horrible, as I came to close into the wall and my legs did not want to push off!  The pain!!!  I was able to get away and finish the race just behind the guy in lane 6, with a time of 2:11.88.

I was hurting after that race, and had a tough time getting out of the water.  I have not been in that much pain in a while, and even cried a bit in the warm down pool.  Who says I am not sensitive?  haha  I took a shower and checked the scores table before heading up to the bleachers.  I was supper surprised with the final placing - I took first for my age group!  I could hardly believe it!  The family and everyone in the stands were excited too!

After a stop in the bathroom and then a drink from the concession stand, we made our way over to the Business School and loaded into the car for the ride home.  The long weekend was over, and it felt good to swim at Harvard again.  The pool is so fast, and I love spending time in Boston.  I think that the everyone had a good time - I know that Emma and Madison took in almost all of the sights, and Lena and Preston had some exciting adventures in the city.  It was great to see Pat, too!

Next year I will be at the top of the age group, and I am thinking of swimming more events during the weekend.  I know that God has helped me to swim as fast as I have been with limited training (in comparison with my high school days), but I was sure beat after such a long meet!  I plan to learn more about tapering and also making sure to be more consistent with training this year, and might even attempt to travel to Nationals depending on how busy our lives are next year.  For now, I'll just keep having fun with swimming ...

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Don't Be Like Mike

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Thankful that God has granted me a second chance (quite a few, actually) through my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I love the Lord, my family, and enjoy endless laps of swimming and circles on a motorcycle. Follow Jesus.