Lately, circumstances have been standing in the way of my training, and I am not sure it is going to get any better in the foreseeable future. The Viking Experiment just may come to an end if something doesn't change.
First, summer is just plain busy. I was looking forward to the summer practice schedule getting into full swing because I knew that I could get more swims in but it didn’t work out that way. I typically swim the warm up and one USRPT set with my team before getting out of the water to coach the rest of the practice. The deal from day one though, was that if my swimming became perceived as a negative for my team I would stop. After over a year of swimming with the kids I had my first parent complaint about it, so that part of my swimming comeback is officially over. If I am going to keep training, I will have to fit it into the nooks and cranny’s between duties. That is pretty darn hard for a teacher/HS coach/USA coach and administrator whose in-water groups tend to overlap for 12-15 hours straight every day. I still hold fast to the rule that my swimming will not take away from my family time, so that leaves me very little options. I plan to plug away the best I can, but I am not sure this is an obstacle I can overcome. My swims have been reduced to usually less than twenty minutes each and have become fewer and further between. Also struggling to get more than five hours of sleep at night which certainly doesn't help.
Second, I have less racing opportunities this summer, and this is the first summer in a while that I have ever found a way to take a real vacation! Trust me, I am not disappointed that I will be able to get out of town for a week this year. My family and I desperately need the break… but it means that I will be out of training for 10 days straight until about 8 days before sectionals. Again, that’s okay… I have nothing on the line. I will have fun racing anyway and I still think I will swim faster than last year. It’s not like I would be training much if I were staying home anyway, right? Most of my target sets have been lagging lately, and my push times after USRPT sets haven’t been great either, but once in a while I bust out a gem like the 2:44 LCM 200 breast last Thursday evening. I have never been that fast in practice before, especially in a brief with hair on my legs and no dive. I think that swimming fast at sectionals will be more of a matter of being “race ready” than “in shape” this year. Also, I feel like my Viking Method for some reason helps hold the de-training effect off for longer.
The thing that might redeem my summer?... I plan to swim at the Futures meet at Purdue in early August. That gives me a few extra weeks to get on top of it before the summer comes to a close. I am considering not even shaving for sectionals and putting all of my eggs in one basket for Futures. We’ll see how this evolves.
This is the bonus and curse of being an adult athlete. I have nothing at stake except my pride, and I honestly don’t have that much pride invested. My goal is to enjoy my swimming. Of course, I enjoy it more when I see improvement, but if there is a bigger picture here, it is that I want the kids to see that swimming doesn’t have to be a chore. This is truly a lifetime sport and it is meant to be fun, and not enough of us live that example. Of course, it is hard to keep that in perspective as a self-improvement junkie who still thinks he has a lifetime best in him, but I will manage the best I can.