Here’s a quick update about yesterday’s race: I’m a bit sore.
Was it the lack of arch support in my spikes? The dehydration? Maybe the exertion of running three miles before digging deep to find a kick that helped me pass five or six people in the last tenth of a mile? (I forgot to put that into my “Snap out of it! You should feel good about your race” calculus last night.) Who knows for sure? Not me. Whatever the cause, it’s here—slight, but here.
When I got out of bed today, my first thought was (as always) “OMG, it’s early!” The second was that I’m glad today is a swimming day instead of a running day. There was the aforementioned (mild) soreness, and also I knew I wasn’t going to run after work, since we have a customer visiting from 6:15 to 8:15.
When I realized on Friday that I was going to work later, I decided that I would also go to work later. This presented me with an opportunity: swim extra long. Most Monday, Wednesday, and/or Friday mornings, I swim for about thirty to forty minutes, starting at 5:45. Despite my early departure, the pool is open until 7:15. The longest that I had ever swam before was back when Lisa and I would swim for an hour on Saturday afternoons, but that was a while ago. I decided to see how far I could swim in an hour and a half.
Actually, my goal was to see if I could swim two miles. I had swam about 1.25 miles before, but most of my swims are about a mile. One day at the reservoir, somebody sprang the idea of swimming an extra mile, doubling our normal route. I really wanted to take them up on the offer, but I wasn’t ready. Physically I knew I could probably do it, but I was worried about the diabetes part. I didn’t have extra snacks with me—though I usually carry a gel or two in the ankle of my wetsuit—and I didn’t know what my blood sugar was going to do on a swim that long. I declined; September came around; it got colder, darker, and rainier; and I thought my chances were gone until next summer. Then today came along!
I was also going to use this swim to see what happens to my blood sugar on long swims. I brought a small chamois towel to dry my hands and my “exercise” meter with me onto the pool deck, along with a bottle of water. (Swimming is thirsty business.) A half hour earlier I had turned my pump down to 0% and eaten an obscenely large banana. At the time, my BG was 121. (Yay!) Half an hour in, Lisa had to leave to go to work. I took a break, gave her a goodbye smooch, drank some water, and tested: 161. (Yay!) Another half hour later, at around 1.25 miles, I tested again: 115. (A bit of a drop, but . . . Yay!) Finally, at 7:15 I stopped, looked around, saw that I was the last person in the pool, and tested: 120. (Woo-fucking-hoo!) When you take out the time when I was testing, I swam 2 miles in 1:21. And I did it all while rocking the happy BGs.
What a difference a day makes!
I’m still not a very graceful or efficient swimmer. I’ve swallowed my pride and started doing a few drills from the Total Immersion system, and I can start to feel a few changes coming on. In particular, I’m trying to be more of a “front quadrant” swimmer. Instead of being a whirligig-like wind-up swimmer with windmilling arms, I should try to keep one hand out in front of me longer. Lengthening out my body should help keep me streamlined and tilted correctly in the water, and I can already feel it starting to change where my power is coming from, as it moves from just my shoulders to include my core. It’s slow going, making these changes. I’m glad I have the rest of the winter to work on my form.