Today’s Schedule: Short Course Meters Swim Meet
Last night, before I went to bed I packed my swim bag for today’s meet, I dug out my race suit, a warm-up suit, 2 caps, 2 goggles, my favourite Swimming Hole towel and some snuggly sweats and sweat shirt to wear in between events. This morning I am adding food and lots of it, I hate to race hungry.
There are a pack of us making the 1 hour 15 minute drive to the meet, I am riding down with 3 of my team mates, Tricia, Paula and Cynthia, at 7:30am we are on the road. We arrive in good time to slide into the pool for warmups at 9:00am, I go about stretching it out with some Freestyle
4 x 50’s of 25 Drill/ 25 Swim
4 x 50’s Building Speed, focus accelerating into the wall
8 x 25’s of Sprint down fast/ swim back ez
After a 1000 Warm Up I am out of the water and into the shower, off with the warm up suit and into my race suit,” shouldn’t take to long to change”, I think to myself….. ahhh wrong, it takes me quite some time to wrestle into my race suit, I am tugging and pulling to get the thing on, Cynthia is waiting with me in the locker room, she is all ready changed and ready to go, ” Cynthia, I’m going to be a while, you go ahead”, I say to her still struggling to get the suit over my new abdominal padding. I have been adding body fat over the last 12 months, the challenge to consume enough fuel for my training and a little extra to allow my body to store the unused fuel as fat for added insulation and an energy source for future swims.
Just how much stored fat did I utilize while swimming the In Search of Memphre Marathon?
I was interested to find out, but first let’s look at a some background information….
Carbohydrate ingestion before and during can enhance performance, it can fuel athletes who must sustain a high functional power for long periods of time and enhances muscular endurance. Blood glucose also serves as the primary fuel source for the brain and central nervous system, the central nervous system helps control mood, focus and the contraction of muscles just to name a few, if blood glucose runs low during intense exercise this will result in a depressed function of the central nervous system, which means mental and muscle function will become impaired. ( Source: Performance Nutrition, Applying the Science of Nutrient Timing, Krista Austin, Phd, CSCS/ Bob Seebohar, MS, RD, CSSD, CSCS)
Take in carbohydrates, seems like a ” No Brainer” right?
Although carbohydrates are very important, the body cannot depend on them to provide all the energy needed, it’s impossible to replenish all the carbohydrate stores that are expended, so what happens next? The body uses stored fat as a fuel source.
The oxidation of fat during exercise is dependent on:
~the body’s ability to use fat as a fuel source
~ and the rate of carbohydrate consumption.
During extended periods of swimming there is switch from carbohydrates to fat as the major fuel source, each individual is different but for many this is after 7-8 hours of swimming, for many swimmers this is called ” the darkest hour”, when moods can darken and focus diminish.
I knew I would burn through some of my fat stores during the 25 Mile swim, I was curious to know just how much? My plan was to feed every 30 minutes on 300mls of Maxim Carbo Drink, hot feeds to help me combat the cold lake water, along with some treats of Jelly Babies here and there along the way.
Just how much fat?
Body Fat Pre Swim = 18.70 % / 27 lbs of Body Fat
Body Fat Post Swim = 14.58% / 19lbs of Body Fat
I dropped over 4% body fat in 15.5 hours and lost just under 8lbs of fat , that’s 28,000 calories, WOW.
Do I lose Body Fat? YES, essentially I used 22% my body’s stored fat for fuel.
Back to the Swim Meet…..
Back to the swim meet, I manage to fold myself into my snug race suit, I have decided to set realisitc goal times for today’s swims, based on my last 4 weeks of training, my times in the pool have been slower than this time last year, with that in mind here are my goal times for today’s events:
400 Free Today’s Goal Time 5:25
In 2010 I swam a 5:05 .91, over the last few weeks a 5:35 has been a mission
100 Free Goal Time 1:14
In 2010 my time was a 1:10.39, best time in the last few weeks a 1:16
50 Free Goal Time 34 seconds
Well I haven’t raced a 50 Free in a while, Marathon to a Dive and dash, should be interesting!
So let’s see how things pan out, first up is the 400 Free, the starter sounds the whistle and instructs us to step up on the block, I am in the final heat of the event with the swimmers with the fastest seed times, it is a mixed heat of both men and women, there is another female swimmer in the heat with me Kaye-Lani, she has a faster seed time than me, a 5:01, she is a great competitor, I have enjoyed racing with her in the past and I am sure today will be now exception, we are in lanes next to each other, up on the blocks I hear ” Take your marks” from the starter, I latch my hands onto the starting block, everything is engaged ready to power off the block as soon as the starter’s ” beep” sounds, “Beeeeeep”, I react and explode off the block, tight streamline through the air and then slice into the water holding my streamline, before I know it I am at the first wall, my heart is pounding, my stroke rate high, Kaye-Lani is a body length or more ahead of me, “relax and pull strong, make each stroke count”, I tell myself and with that my stroke lengthens out, I can feel my self starting to gain speed and ground with each stroke, by the 200 we are side by side, it feels strange to be interrupting my long strokes will a wall every 25 meters, how strange, when I swam the Lake Memphremagog event is was one 25 mile length, here I am now hitting a wall every 18 or 19 seconds, instinct seems to take over, I start digging deeper with each pull, 100 meters to go and I begin to pull away, 75 meters to go, time to put the pedal down and build to the finish, the last 25 is everything I’ve got, BAM my hand punches the touch pad, I look at the clock, my time 5:05.64, I reach over the shake Kaye-Lani’s hand.
I slide into the warm up and cool down lanes to stretch out before my next event, “where did that come from, guess I rediscovered my speed”, I think to myself as I swim, or perhaps it was there all along and I just had to dig deep for it.
Onto the next swim…..
100 Free, my goal time a 1:14, my swim time a 1:10.23, again faster than a year ago
And now the 50 Free….
As I am making my way over to the blocks, a few of my fellow swimmers comment ” Are YOU racing the 50 Free? Isn’t that a bit short for you? Well I get the giggles, I very rarely sprint 50’s, this will be fun,” lets see if I can beat my 50 split from my 400 Free?”, I say to myself. As I am lining up I get tips on how many breaths to take during the race, ” here is what you do, one breath before the wall on the first 25 and if you need it one breath on the way back, that’s it”, says Mike who is a sprinter and a few heats after me in the fastest heat.
I climb up on the block, ” Wow 50 meters, a start, then down and back, here goes” , the starter sounds and I am off, stroking as fast as I can, I feel like I am in the spin cycle in a washing machine, not pretty! I am 12.5 meters down the pool, OK this feels good with no air I can do this, I start approaching the wall, it is less than 10 meters away, I take my breath, I picture a goldfish mouthing for air, I gasp sucking it in then put my head back down and stroke, “boy that air was so good, perhaps just another breath before the wall”, I convince myself that another breath is a good idea, I breath again, and again, I hit the wall and push off for my last 25 meters, ” OK, Mike said if you need a breath on the last 25 take it”, I replay the words in my head as I take a few more breaths, it is like a sale on air, I reach the wall heaving, my time 34.42 seconds, how fast was the first 50 in my 400 Free 35.39 seconds, and how many breaths did I end up taking, um….5.
What’s the sign of a true distance swimmer? When your first 50 of a distance event is almost the same as your all out 50 Free Splash and Dash….Guilty!
My last swim is the 800 Free, my Goal time 10:55, I swam it in 10 minutes, 33.40 seconds, setting a Pool Record. I beat my goal times in all my events today and rediscovered my speed, along with 4 first place finishes, I am pleased.
What fun today, it was fun to swim and visit with the other swimmers and a great chance to work on finding my speed, next up a 1000 meter cool down and back home, what’s coming up tomorrow? A double swim, pool swim in the morning and outdoors for a cold lake swim in the afternoon, how cold? I’ll keep you posted.
Closing thought: ” To do less than your best is to sacrifice the gift”
– Steve Prefontaine