Thursday, December 6, 2012

Fast girls have better times

That title was emblazoned on a couple of my high school swimming teammates shirts' and at the time I had no idea what it meant. Of course fast girl have better times! Duh! I get it now (fast ~= wild/easy), don't worry, but back then I was blissfully innocent. Or I had a poor vocabulary, whichever.

So there's fast girls.. and then there's me. Nick and I were at the pool the other day and I was chugging along (500 free moderate/steady (9:15), then 50 breast slow, 50 free fast (1:55), 50 slow, 50 fast, 50 slow all times 3 plus a cool down = very tired me). I was chugging along during one of the 500's and feeling confident. Although I sometimes drag my feet getting to the pool, once I'm in the water I'm usually happy. I noticed some folks in the lane next to me getting ready to get in. One was a younger woman, probably late teens/early 20's, who was definitely built like a swimmer. She had pretty, toned, broad shoulders. Plus she was wearing a swim cap and only if you're hardcore do you do that. Or that's what I tell myself, since I wear one. A middle-aged guy was with her, probably her dad. I saw them a few times because they were dawdling on the deck waiting for lanes to open up so I had time to make all these totally superficial judgments about them.

When swimmer girl and her dad get in the water I notice that she's speedy. Way speedy. I would be even with her on one breath, and she would be a full body length ahead of me then next time I breathed. I saw pretty quickly (ha) that I would not be able to do any impromptu, only-one-of-us-knows-we're-racing races (like when you "compete" with the guy next to you on the treadmill. Yes, I have the maturity and self-control of a 14 year old boy). Since she was unattainable, I focused on her dad...and he was fairly fast too! He was doing 50 or 100 repeats, not longer, slow stuff like I was doing, so it was hard to judge but during a few of our race lengths I definitely had to push it to keep up.

I've never considered myself "fast" (neither the traveling quickly meaning nor the easy meaning). I was a decent swimmer in high school and I've been throwing in some sprints during my swim workouts to get at least a little extra speed in case I ever decide to do another triathlon. On the running side, I've always been s-l-o-w. For a fit, young woman, I've been average or below average (I was 115th out of 376 women 25-29 at the Richmond Marathon. Meh) (my recent second place in my age group in a local 5K = fluke of a small-town race). So having a reminder that my sprint swimming pace is other peoples' training pace was.. unpleasant. I want to be a faster swimmer just for my own satisfaction. I guess I'll keep on working on sprints and form and maybe pick up some pace.

As for running, I would definitely like to keep whittling away the 5K time and this week, for the first time ever, I actually thought about what it would take to get a Boston Qualifying marathon time, aside from a miracle. With this weekend's 5K in mind, my treadmill workout last night was 0.1 @ 6.0, 0.23 @ 8.0 x 10 (3.33 miles, 27:30 total) plus cooldown. That's a total of 2.33 miles at 7:30 min/mile pace, and it felt ok. I have no idea what my legs will do this weekend but hopefully some of that quickness will resurface (as if it wasn't already ridiculously obvious, I have no idea how to train to get faster in a 5K).

Boston Qualifying for 2014 (although it would more likely be 2015 or beyond) = 03:35:00 for a woman my age. That's 8:12 min/mile. That's over 1 min/mile faster than the recent marathon, but after my epic 40some minute marathon improvement this year, I have hope that there's more improvement to come.

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