I have come to the conclusion that I just should not ever race while swimming. I just need to swim. There is a difference. When I am trying to race or not get passed by someone I get all anxious. By breathing goes to hell and I start flipping out for some reason. I came to this truism today during swim class.
I have been doing great swimming recently. I have gotten either as fast or faster than the fellow in my lane that has been faster than me this term. [We have two lanes and 4 to 5 swimmers in each lane. I am in the slower of the two groups and I am the 2nd fastest of the 5 of us.] I have been comfortable letting him lead, because he has the fastest 500 time (that was about 3 weeks ago) out of our group. However, he has recently missed some classes, and my stroke has recently gotten better. He realized this too and suggested I go first. Fine, whatever. No biggie. At least not for awhile. Then I realize that I am going faster than what I should be swimming for the workout we are doing. So I slow it down. He starts 10 seconds back of me at each interval and he never came close to catching up, yet I have to race every time for some freaking reason. I am doing 50's in 50 seconds and so forth. For class I usually like to keep them just under a minute so that I don't go anaerobic during the later laps. 5 of 10 seconds faster at that length is a big deal. And the thing is I don't have to swim that fast to keep him off me.
Anyway, during the middle of the workout we are supposed to be doing a couple of 150 yard lengths, each one at 2:20 or so, including rests. During the first one I flip out and have a mini-panic attack. I had started thinking negative thoughts about swimming in open water. I was feeling tired and so I was thinking thoughts along the lines of,"if I am tired already, how am I going to survive the open water swim where I won't have a wall to hold on to like in the pool for 30+ minutes?" My breathing became accelerated and when I was done with that 150 length I told the guy to go ahead and start ahead of me. I started 10 seconds after him and I decided that I didn't care how slow I went I was just going to swim the lengths at moderately easy pace.
Wow, what a difference it made.
I was swimming at good pace--sub 1 minute 50's-- but my stroke was more relaxed. My breathing was calm. I wasn't that much slower, but my mental perspective was changed. I was just swimming. Not that swimming is my favorite thing to do. In fact, of the three parts to a triathlon it is by far my least favorite. I think it is because I still feel like I might die while doing it. But there are times when the water and I have at least a cordial relationship. I need to practice zen or something, because if I feel I have to race in the water, soon it is all over. I flip out. I must be mentally weak or something.
Oh and the guy I let pass me--he wasn't swimming faster then me. I would start to catch him on every interval. What a spaz I am.
I ran on the treadmill today. I am trying to avoid injuring further my meniscus so I am doing as I am told: running only on the straight and flats. For this reason, treadmills are the way to go. I started off running at about a 5.7 to 5.9 mph pace. I would occasionally bump it up to 6.2 to 6.4 mph followed by dropping it down to 5.5 mph to get me heart rate down. After about 30 minutes I noticed that my HR was not going back down much. Crap. "What the heck is up with this", I thought. I learned from last year that training at too high a HR is bad, or at least not good for training for a tri. I just started dropping the pace until I got it down to an acceptable area. At the end of my planned run--6.7 miles--I was only able to run at a 5.2 mph pace without going above my target HR. Weird. Maybe I was tired from the swim class, or just worn out generally.