06 November 2005

After swim reflections

Thanks to Jon who let me participate in Chocolate Friday on the Chocolate Runner's Blog! What a fun idea!

Today, I was utterly exhausted. I felt I had plenty of sleep last night, but my body felt completely fatigued. I think I must have landed on my throat for one of the dives because it feels a little swollen today. I’ve had a little bit of a runny nose (transudate), but it doesn’t feel like a cold, I just feel run down. I had no idea sprinting in a few events could take such a toll on my body!

When I train with cross-fit, run sprints, or swimming, I workout at a high intensity for a much greater duration and for more repeats than during a swim meet. But, I guess it’s the same for any other competition, you learn what your body needs and goes through on race day, which is always different from training!

  • Friday night, I had a big plate of spaghetti (I seldom eat grains or pasta, but I knew it was important to store some up!).
  • Saturday morning, I didn’t feel very hungry at all, but I knew I needed to get some fuel in my body to last through the afternoon. So, I didn’t finish my bowl of granola with soy milk, but I managed a banana and a couple cups of green / ginseng / peppermint tea. I also had a vitamin / fiber shake. Late morning, I had a slice of cinnamon / raisin sprouted grains bread with flaxseed oil peanut butter.
  • Saturday morning, I also made about 15 trips to the bathroom to dispel something terrible in my digestive system that had been haunting me since Friday. I took activated charcoal to make things more stagnant and manageable for racing!
  • Just before leaving for warm-ups, my left shoulder was killing me. I don’t think it’s actually my shoulder (although without radiographs, I really don’t know the issue) but I suspect ligamentous adhesions from a ski accident a few years ago, or hypermobile ribs along my serratus anterior muscle. Anyway, my shoulder area was sore, and it radiated down my arm. I don’t ever use topical creams for such conditions, but I was desperate, so I slapped on some Tiger balm and hoped I could find someone who could adjust A-P thoracics, ribs, or shoulder when I got to the pool.
  • I’ve learned from competing in triathlons that pre-stretching and swimming warm-ups in the pool is bad for middle - long distance swimming. At least for me with race day nerves and heightened cortisol levels, I tend to get lactic acid built up sooner than during the race. However, since I was doing sprints, I did a little reading and picked the brains of a few veterans on what I should do pre-race. Since my shoulder was already killing me, I did a few lengths to just feel comfortable with form and to try to gently stretch out the muscles.
  • By 1140, even though I was surrounded by ~50 chiropractic students, no one could actually adjust me to get anything to move, or they didn’t feel comfortable adjusting me on picnic table benches. So, I went to the sports chiropractic tent where they were treating injuries and had an actual adjusting table. A student and a faculty DC helped clear a few thoracics and ribs which helped some. The posterior rib that was causing me the most grief was too stubborn to move (thanks to some built up trigger point muscle spasm!)
  • I headed back to the pool where there was a lot more waiting around since they wanted to reassign the heats to 8 lanes instead of 6 to make things move along faster. In the end, I think it became wasted effort since we were at 6 lanes all day.
  • First event was the 200 medley relay. As of yesterday, I was swimming the breast stroke leg for one of the teams, race day it changed to freestyle anchor, which is by far my best stroke. So, we gave it our all for the team and the school, but we didn’t place. But, I felt very strong and comfortable in the water. In Friday’s practice, I was diving too shallow and sometimes too deep on my starts. At the meet, I was able to correct it enough to have consistently shallow and long dives. I imagine I can get even better at this with more practice, if we can get the Y to let us use the blocks more regularly!
  • After the first event, I had a L-O-N-G break until my next event, the 50 free. There were 3 heats for this event. As far as I know, I kept up with my heat fairly well. I didn’t get my goal time of 30 s (that time placed 3rd overall), but I did PR with a 33 s! The winning time was an astounding 26 s by Palmer Florida’s very own Rhonda!!
  • The 3rd set of events went by very quickly—too quickly! I had loads of time between the first relay and the 50 free to get hydrated, relaxed, and refueled with banana and ½ a greens/vitamin bar. But the next 2 events were disastrous. I did the 50 breast and really trailed in my heat. I pulled as hard and fast as I could, but I only recently learned the legal stroke with pull-out. So, I’m sure I’m missing some advantageous stroke details that could have really helped. After that sprint, I had that familiar lactic acid feel in my arms and legs, and I was utterly thirsty. But, my next race was in 1 – 2 minutes, so I didn’t have any time to run over to snag any water. By that time of day, my quart of water was almost completely empty anyway.
  • So, I got on the blocks for the 100 free still feeling sore and thirsty, but hoping to have a decent race. I wanted to have a strong and efficient stroke for the first 50, and then hard sprint the final 50. The first 50 was fine, but by the end of 75, I just slowed down, everything in my body locked up, and I was hurting so bad. At this point, I just wanted to finish, which meant I didn’t even have the energy to muscle through the final flip-turn, and I just sloshed back to the wall. I stayed in the water 30-45 seconds after finishing just trying to muster up the energy to climb out of the pool. I remember getting out of the pool and remaining hunched over on the deck. I think a couple of teammates checked on me and all I could do was say that I hurt and that I was really thirsty.
  • Next, I somehow made my way back to my stuff on the side of the pool and just sank down into the lawn chair. At this point, I think 3 or 4 people checked on me and tried to give me gatorade. I think that’s what messed me up pretty bad in the first place. Before the 50 breast race, I had a swig of gatorade which was way to sweet and concentrated and made me feel even more thirsty. I just wanted water! I think Dr. Dishwoman made me lie down and drink a bottle of Aquafina. Melissa offered to massage out the cramps or lactic acid build-up causing pain in my legs and arms which was primarily centered in my quads, a little in my hamstrings, and then my triceps and biceps. The entire time I felt like puking, and if I would only puke, then I would feel so much better. After 10-15 minutes of water and massage, I felt coherent enough to drive home. Some teammates said that the color had returned to my face (always a good thing).
  • The rest of the night I felt terrible. I drank peppermint tea to soothe my stomach and digestive tract. Around 3 pm, I ate a little spaghetti to get something substantial in my system. I tried to relax but I couldn’t even take a nap, even though my body hurt and I was so fatigued.
  • At 5:45, we left for the award’s ceremony and BBQ. I hoped some protein would help, but I just ended up with a stomach ache until late into the night.
  • Today, my guts feel better, but my core muscles are a little sore. Steve keeps making me laugh, at which point I hold my ribs because they hurt. He laughs and tells me he’s giving me a work out. Gee thanks! Like I didn’t get enough of one yesterday!

Competing in a swim meet was on my list of things I want to do in my lifetime. Now that I’ve done it, I want to do it again! At least now I know more of the swimmers at our school, and I can train with some very accomplished athletes! But, the Y’s closing down the pool for a month for re-paving. So, it’s back to cross-fit and running for workouts. I think I’ll start missing the swimming soon enough!

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