I normally head out to my swim class with Melinda who is a friend of ours, as we trade off driving there early each Monday and Wednesday. She used to do the same thing with my wife before she was pregnant and I then took her spot. Having someone depending upon you to pick them up or conversely, knowing that someone is coming to get you at 6AM tends to be an effective motivator to actually show up to the class. Last night Melinda called and said that because her oldest son broke his arm and would have to have it pinned, she would be missing the class. Hmmm, I could sleep in...that would be nice.
Usually it has been me that has missed the class due to bronchitis or something. So it was sort of a test to see if I would really get my butt out of bed. And I did, but not without arguing with myself from about 5:30 until 6:00 AM about whether I was going to go or not.
Anyway, today I get there and start to warm up. I still hang in the slower of the two lanes our class has reserved at the pool even though there are two guys in the fast lane that had either the exact same 500 time or were a second or two slower than my time. However, there is a woman in the slow lane who also had the exact same time as I and the other was only 5 seconds slower so I don't feel particularly pressured to move over, mainly because there is no way I can keep up with the others in that other lane and I suspect that the faster pace would kill me--or at least cause me to black out for lack of oxygen.
Brian, the coach, calls out the order for both lanes and I am first in our lane. Dang it. The others in my lane are all as fast as or within 5 seconds in a 500 so basically get to draft behind me the whole time. I am admittedly bitter, even though it is silly. I don't mind being first, but I do mind having 2 behind me, right on my tail. The fact that they get to do the same work out but easier because they get to draft just sort of bugs me for some reason. It is like being made to ride at the front on a group ride the entire time. When it is with others who are beginners or if it happened to be DTP, that would be one thing When they are all of the same ability that is another. I makes me feel like they get to cheat a bit off of my effort. Admittedly, were the positions reversed I would have no problem doing the drafting, so I should just shut up about it (but I won't). Even though I can't feel them physically, I can mentally feel them coming up on me every lap. I am sure it is good for me to be pushed. But I still hate it. I worked on just trying to stay smooth and not rushing my stroke despite the fact that I felt rushed much of the time. When I start trying to swim faster my stroke starts to fall apart and I get sloppy. For the first 8 50's we had to do them in 1:10. That is easy. Then we were paced at 1:05 for 6 50's. A little harder, but not too bad. Then a minute rest, after which we did 4 50's at 60 second pace, which starts to hurt. Anyway, the 4 50's were followed by 2 50's at 55 seconds each. By now, including the warm up I have swam about 1200 yards and I am starting to tire. I am not used to the swimming load after swimming only twice during the past 5 weeks. I did each one in about 50-52 seconds but it hurt. After this we swam 25's to recover at a 35 second pace. This felt super easy after all that.
The faster lane had to do this workout as well, just everything was 5 seconds faster. When the workout was done, those two guys in the faster lane that had a near identical 500 time to me were complaining about have to swim at a faster pace than us. In jest, I egged them on saying that they have all been in the class for at least 6 months more than I and a year longer than the other two in my lane, thus they should be faster and be able to handle it. One of them didn't like that, and the other laughed and agreed that he should be able to do it and that it is good for him.
Of course, I should listen to my own words. I could always try to do the faster pace they they are doing even if I don't swap lanes. There isn't really any rule against doing it. Perhaps I will try to do half the workouts at the faster pace, alternating our pace and their pace. It might help and it might get those chicks off my butt so they aren't drafting me. And how knows, maybe I will get faster.