This week I had an experience and I’m still trying to figure out if it was good or bad. In hindsight, I enjoyed it, but I’m not sure I felt that way at the time. As many of you know, my coach Hillary loves the “birthday swim”, which usually consists of 10,000 (meters or yards). The swim comes in many different forms, most popular being 100 x 100, but also 50×200, or a personal favorite, 1000 + 6×1500. What I’ve learned over the last 5 years is that she will find any reason to celebrate, which is why I’m not at all surprised to see my birthday swim show up 4 months late on 4th of July, or as I also call it, America’s Birthday Swim. Hillary also took this opportunity to care about my personal life, making this husband/wife bonding, and assigned the same workout to Nate.
I was actually excited to hit our outdoor pool on the 4th since I figured that’s where most people were headed and it would make me feel like a normal person hanging out with other normal people doing typical 4th stuff. I guess it slipped my mind that in fact my craziness would be on full display for a solid 3 hours. And that’s exactly how it went, every person we knew stopped to say hello and quickly commented on how many water bottles we had, or how much food we brought, or why were loading up on sunblock. We just laughed it off like that’s what we always do.
The pool was so packed that after our embarrassing hellos, we quickly got started to make sure we kept our lanes. Now we had more trouble, Nate was DRAGGING. I was lapping him in warmup which is never a good sign when you have a thousand more laps to go! I was getting very annoyed, how dare he not keep up when I needed him for this?? So I made the kind and caring decision to leave him and go at it alone. I believe my exact words were, “you’re on your own”. I have to admit, I was pissed, and I got through half of the main set feeling irritated every time he floated by. That’s a lot of laps to feel grumpy. I was also starting to fade and struggling with the intervals. Just as I was about to give into the fatigue and let myself slack a little bit, I pushed off the wall at the same time as Nate, we were swimming side by side AND fast! What’s going on? We hit the wall and it was the quickest interval yet. I thought it was a fluke and just pretended he wasn’t there, but then we did it again. According to Nate, all he needed was a 6000 warmup. We finished the set absolutely flying, the fastest I’ve ever finished such a long set. I was on top of the world and couldn’t wipe the smile off my face.
Our 10k America’s Birthday Swim was definitely one to remember. I spent part of the time embarrassed, part of the time annoyed, but I finished excited about training and swimming fast. Now looking back on the swim, all I think about is how great it was and how much I love swimming, so I guess it really is just about how you finish.