Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Shaving Seconds

I am a Monday, Wednesday, Friday morning swimmer. I love that routine - it works for me, I get three great workouts in and it still leaves time for other activities.

Christine used to bug me a lot during the summer about coming to the pool more often. More mornings a week or even in the evenings. I came out one extra time during the entire twelve weeks. It was good but I really don't want to spend more than three days a week swimming. So I didn't do it again.

On Monday morning, Christine looked me in the eye and said, "you HAVE to come to the pool on Saturday". "This Saturday?" I asked, already thinking about the Medtronic race. "No, the one after - October 13th."

Ok, why?

We're doing time-trials.

Ummmm what?

Apparently, on October 13th, we will be swimming various distances (25m, 50m, 100m etc) as fast as we can and they will be timing us. Don't ask me who they are, I have absolutely no idea. This time trial will give us some sort of baseline on which to work and increase out speed.

I did a quick calendar review in my head. It's the week after the Twin Cities 10-miler and it's the week before the Niagara Falls half marathon. So I should be running 10k. I can squeeze a 10k in at some point during the weekend so...ok. I'll come.


In preparation for our time trials - we swam 50m sprints. Thirty of them. After our 900m warm-up.

One easy and four fast. Each one on a minute and fifteen seconds. Repeat six times.

"I want you to keep up your pace. Swim through the burn. Don't slow down! Your last one needs to be as fast as your first".

My first 25 were all between 47 and 48 seconds. I am a consistent little metronome and proud that, the last time we did this, my times were all about 51 seconds.

"Ok, we have four fast ones left. Céline, I want you to do them in 46 seconds!".

Thankfully I was panting too much to say what I was thinking out loud.

"Go!" she yelled.

I chased Sasha who was in the lane beside me. I chased him hard. I hit the wall and Christine yelled "forty-six seconds exactly!". Woot!

"Do it again!".

I did.

"This time, try forty-five."

I did it in 45.7 seconds.

"Last one everyone! Céline, I want a forty-four."

Damnit! I was already giving it everything I had and had already done 29 of these damn things.

"Sasha, I want you under 37 seconds."


The guy was swimming under forty seconds? Bloody hell. She yelled go and I chased him hard. Normally he pulls ahead by about 12m but I kept right up to him for the first 25 metres. I lost him when he did his impeccable flip turn and I did my clumsy wall turn push routine but I could still see his bubbles and I chased those instead.

"Forty-four!!!!!" Christine yelled.

I have no idea what time Sasha did his in because he was seconds in front of me but I went from 51 seconds in July down to 47 seconds in October and then, despite having already swum 2400m, I dug deep and pulled out a forty-four second swim.

Usually, after a hard workout like that, I need to get out of the pool, shower, change, drive home and have breakfast before I can even begin to realize what a great workout it was. On Monday, as I gasped my way through the last 50m, arms aching and legs flailing, I was smiling.

I. Love. Swimming.

Oh, and next week we're apparently doing 16x100m sprints.


  1. Wow! Way to go! I found myself getting excited for you while reading this! And Holy Shit! You did it!!

  2. ¡You rock the casa!

    Having a baseline is really important for your regular workouts. That reminds me: I need to do a few 200s to get my new paces for the winter. fun

    Enjoy your 16x100s.