Speedy got sick of hearing me complain about swimming and agreed to come to the pool to coach me. He went without his goggles (or at least left them in the locker room) and even wore board shorts. Now, him totally not participating in order to coach me is a big deal. For instance, he's a good surfer, and once tried to teach me how to surf. We both went out on boards, and he taught me how to paddle and balance on the board, and so on. After we got the very basics down, every time a good wave came, he'd say "Oh, here's a good one, try to get this!" and I'd think, "but HOW?" Meanwhile, he'd be 30 feet in front of me already, having caught said good wave and riding it in. He'd paddle back and say something along the lines of "You'll get the next one." Meanwhile, I had no idea how to stand up on the board or even just how to catch the wave. Needless to say, I didn't learn how to surf that day. Or ever. So, he really took one for the team today by going to the pool for the sole purpose of helping me improve. And I think that's awesome.
I have been getting frustrated with my swimming lately. I've been feeling like I can't get any glide, and as soon as I try to go fast I lose all semblance of control and form. Or, at least, that's how I feel. Over dinner last night, Speedy, who swam in high school and knows more about this than I do, explained to me that there are two main types of strokes: the first is long and gliding, and the second is shorter with a higher turnover. Men, he explained, tend to use a longer stroke, while women have a higher turnover. Sounds like a good enough explanation to me. He thought maybe what was making me so frustrated was that I was trying to use one type when I should be using the other. So off to the pool today.
Turns out he was right. What I thought was all hell breaking loose in the pool when I tried to go fast was just a higher turnover with a shorter stroke length, which is totally acceptable and in his opinion, probably better for open-water swimming anyway. He gave me some great advice, for instance, my catch was not as efficient as it could be, and showed me how to improve. He even took some video of me swimming, and when we got home he showed me what he thought I was doing well and what should change.
He also told me that my times, which I was freaking out over because I felt so crappy, were really not all that bad. Yesterday I broke 1:30 for 100 (twice), and my 50 times were also fine, but I got so caught up in the general frustration that I totally lost sight of that. And today he had me do some sprint 25s, and two were in the 18.xx range. I wonder if I can keep that up for a 50; I'd smash my goal of breaking 40 seconds. Unlikely, but it's nice to imagine.
So all that helped bring me down from the height of frustration, where I had been hanging out for a while. Also, the weather here has been amazing and not like November at all. I had a great 4-mile run on Friday, and I'm really psyched that I keep extending the distance I can run. Yes, I said psyched.