Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Back in the Water

            I would first like to say that I do not have a background in swimming.  Growing up, I would swim just for fun with my family, but I basically learned how to swim about a year and a half ago. Despite having gotten a lot faster in the water, I don't know if I'll ever be able to see myself as an actual swimmer, just because I do not have a swim team background.  Anyway, my swim focus training block during pregnancy resulted in significant time drops from where I was previously.  I was excited to see where I’d be at after having her.  I mean, I should be faster when no longer pregnant, right?  I must say, those were some easy time drops after delivery, and it made it even more exciting to get back in the water!  I was back swimming 16 days post-delivery.  The Y offers mini-care, but she needed to be 6 weeks in order for me to take her there while I swam, so... she slept in her carseat at the end of my swim lane for those first weeks.  I just had to time it out with her naps.  The great thing about newborns is that they sleep a lot.  Her schedule also seemed to be more predictable at that time (unlike nowadays). 
            I swam hard all the way to the end of pregnancy, swimming even the day before I delivered.  I kept up with my 10x100 on 1:30, though it was definitely tough hitting that interval, often only leaving me with a couple of seconds between each of them.  I had also worked up to 8x200 on 3:10, and that was my first swim set back in the water.  I figured if I stayed to 200 yards or less at a time, then I would be popping up to check on her frequently enough.  Since I also worked at the pool, the lifeguards already knew me, and that made it less stressful to try to attempt my swims with her there.  Completing 8x200 had been tough enough before, but I quickly increased to nine, and then ten.  My fastest average of the set was about 2:52 while pregnant, but after about a month of being back in the water, my fastest was now 2:47 for a set of 10.
            Within a couple weeks, I also increased my 10x100 on 1:30 set to 15x100.  My first day back with that set I only did 10, but my average dropped by 4.5 seconds!  I have since dropped my interval time to 1:25, which is as tough as 1:30 used to be.  I redid my 7x300 on 5 minutes test set, dropping 1:05 on my accumulated time.  I recently redid my 1,000 yard time trial, and dropped 51 seconds from that time.  My FAPA 100’s on 2:10 had been averaging 1:16-1:17, and now I have gotten down to an average of 1:13 (that being my best, I should say).  Anything and everything that I have been swimming has dropped in time. 
My overall volume has dropped significantly compared to my training block of course, but I have been keeping it around 8,000 yards/week with just 3 swims/week.  I am very glad that I did the swim focus while pregnant, and it has been really exciting to see what I’m capable of since then!  Pregnancy was the perfect time and opportunity (and since it was the off-season) to really focus on the swim.  I would encourage all women to take advantage of this time.  Keep swimming!  Again and again, I have looked back at those focused months of swimming and been incredibly thankful for them.

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