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Last race of the year — improved my Personal Bests in both the 50 LC Breast and 50 LC Free, and picked up 2 Golds while I was at it :-D Win-win!

I did have a small reservation about competing in a race which was a ‘family event’, and because it was more for family bonding then serious racing, would be dominated by kids and only a handful of adult *leisure* swimmers — most likely parents of the kids. But I decided to sign up to gain more competition experience, and very importantly, to work on my performance anxiety which created some serious problems like poor stroke control and breathlessness. My goals were to go for Gold *and* improve my PBs; it was really more of a race against myself. I certainly felt capable of swimming faster considering that the hiccups from the last meet had most certainly slowed me down.

When the Start List was generated, I was pleasantly surprised, but also relieved, that there would be exactly 3 swimmers each for both my events — we would all be assured of a medal! Ha. Ha. But seriously, there would at least be a proper competition which was what I had hoped for. Interestingly, as with the Masters meet, even events with only one swimmer would have gone ahead. In the interest of time, similarly under-subscribed events in the same stroke and distance would be combined, but medals would be awarded accordingly to the different age groups.

As before, I conducted ‘background checks’ on the women to try and ascertain the level of competition. Heh. Heh. There was a regular biathlete in her early 40s who clocked really fast times in the swimming leg — equivalent pace of 56s per lap for 30 laps, or 1.5 km. Talk about endurance! Another younger woman in her 30s was a former national rower and had also signed up for the 50 LC Butterfly! Wah! I can barely complete half a lap! So much for easy pickings! The last was an ‘unknown’ — you can’t do much with a common name. Shrug. Anyway, she was a No Show.

This time, I swam more comfortably. Afterall, the last meet was just 3 weeks ago and so, I was more prepared. I focused on relaxing during the breaks and telling myself to just swim my best and not worry about how fast the others would go — if they were really fast, I couldn’t out-swim them anyway. And I had bigger problems — myself! The pool also felt less intimidating as the depth profile was similar to my regular training pool. The pool for the Masters meet was deeper and the water felt ‘heavier’ and somehow, more resistant. Shrug.

I felt good during the 50 Breast. It was my first event and I was fresh. I was in more control, though I did notice some lapses — at times forgetting to snap my legs back in completely for the propulsive phase, maintaining a more streamlined glide, and having a tighter in-sweep and shoulder shrug. I knew I had the Gold when I couldn’t see the biathlete in my peripheral. I finished in 46.02s with a comfortable 7.4s lead, and 1.24s faster than 3 weeks ago — oh, the difference of having goggles that stay on. Laugh. Thank you, Speedo Fastskin Elite! Heh. The Mirror version is uber cool, by the way!

The 50 Free started about 90 minutes later — but I still felt fatigued. As I climbed onto the starting block, the power pack felt empty and I lost some confidence there :-/ I guess the ‘light’ swim the day before was not such a good idea (note to self).

From the start, it was a close race with the Iron Woman who swam a strong race. I started to fade halfway and lost a lot of power in my kick, but I stretched out and managed to touch the wall first, a mere 0.17s faster in 34.81s. Phew! This was a 28s improvement since the Masters. The ex-national rower was less than 10s behind the both of us. I was bemused to read her laments on Facebook about competing against ‘pros’ at a family event. (But it is still a race, yes?) While she was pleased that she could still manage a respectable time at 36, she was amazed that “ladies in their 40s” were finishing at 34s. Heh. Strut.

So, that’s a nice wrap to the year, and I’ll be swimming — just a little — less for the rest of the year so I can practise more yoga and build on my flexibility.

In the meantime, there’s a lot to work on, and not just the physical aspect.

Mentally, there’s my performance anxiety and confidence issues. During the last 2 meets, I had allowed myself to pull back instead of giving my all during critical moments; giving in too quickly to fatigue instead of pushing myself over that mere 5-10 m stretch to the wall; backing down from a head-to-head instead of issuing a strong challenge.

I’m convinced that I’m capable of improving my PBs, and perhaps, I might also find the time to train for the 50 Fly? ;-)

Indeed, I’m already planning for 4 possible races in 2014, including the PS Star, PA CG, SNG (a biennial event that started in 2012) and Masters. Information is sparse but I’ve done some online research and talked to people.

I’m enjoying myself a lot, actually :-) Haven’t felt this passionate, and sustained over an extended period, about something.

Feeling excited :-D


Written by The Intimate Stranger

November 21st, 2013 at 9:49 pm

Posted in i am arian

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