One of my big goals for 2013 was to race and compete at USMS Nationals in the 1650 in Indianapolis. I was excited Nationals was in the Midwest and within driving distance.
It was refreshing to compete in a National event that was not Triathlon. Traveling with a backpack and goggles? Count me in!
The Masters team that I swim with had nearly 15 athletes competing this year and it was fun to be in Indy with a group of dedicated and passionate swimmers!
The girls in my Lane at Masters are super. We refer to ourselves as LANE 8 is GREAT (hey, whatever works). These girls can SWIM and I am along for the ride. They make the 7:30-9;00 PM workouts that much easier for me (I am a passionate 6am swimmer)!
The 1650 at the infamous IUPUI pool in Indianapolis was on Thursday – MID DAY! So, Krista and I drove down together on Wednesday night so we could check in and warm up properly on Thursday morning. It was nice to travel with Krista. She is my age and has 3 little girls. And, I think I met someone that talks MORE than me? IMPOSSIBLE I thought. I was wrong!
Krista and I (thankfully) were in the same heat of the 1650. Seeded by time and mixed genders. Except the 400 IM and 1000 Free, every other event at Nationals is HEAD to head age group racing – AWESOME really.
I was nervous for the 1650. Like, REALLY nervous. I knew I had just swam an “OK” time for myself at the State Championships 2 weeks ago. But, because of the swim taper, some workouts and ANOTHER swim rest cycle, I felt flat. I knew I could swim about the same time I did at State (20:3x). But, I really REALLY wanted to faster. (I mean, of course, right?). Krista and I were ranked 1-2 for Nationals and it was our race to lose. I knew my work was cut out for me with Krista. Frankly, she is faster than me now…and beat me at State as well. But, anything can happen, right?
Finally our 1650 was up on the blocks…I was so nervous my back start leg was shaking. Once I dove in – I felt pretty good. Went out in 6:04 for the 500 Free and just felt strong but not like I was swimming downhill. Damn! The water felt a little thick to me (just an expression meaning, I felt slow!). I was working way harder than I should have been for the pace I was going. AND every card (in the 1650 we have counters b/c it is 65 laps!!!) I was like, “that is it!” HA HA. I did not feel good. DAMN DAMN. So, at that point I just had to gut it out. Head down, rip my lats apart, pull hard, kick and turn well. I could see Krista really pull ahead of me and I was trying so hard, but I was maxed out. That was all I had.
I touched the wall and looked up at the board. Fearful that my time was going to REALLY SUCK. And, it was slower than I wanted and far off my PR (20 seconds) but it was only a few seconds off my State time and for feeling so awful, I will take it. After everyone was done swimming (ALL DAY) the final results had Krista 1st and me 2nd! I was so happy for Krista because she has improved a TON in the last couple of years and she has worked so hard. And for teammates to go 1-2 was a special treat for sure.
I was not disappointed at all. I did my best. I got 2nd at Nationals and Krista is just faster. Plain and simple really. Here we are with our medals:
The next day I swam the 400 IM and 200 Free and then headed back home. I could not stay and swim all the events I wanted to because I wanted to get home on Friday night because of the kid’s soccer games, my Mom’s Birthday and Mother’s Day Brunch with my mom. I just needed to be home. AND I had big workouts to do this weekend. In fact, I got home on Friday night from Indy and turned around and was on my bike by 6am Saturday morning for a 70 mile ride + 4 mile T run…
My 400 IM and 200 Free went fine. I PRd both of them, which made me happy. The heats of the 200 Free were the 40-44 AG together and it was fast. The gal that won went 1:56! AND swimming head to head with these girls kept things super honest! I was working so hard in that 200 Free to minimize that gap, I was tasting blood.
I left Indy completely exhausted and never wanting to see the pool again! It was a great experience to witness some AMAZING swimming. One guy went 22 seconds in the 50 back. I mean, just crazy fast swimmers. It was awesome.
A few years ago I could not really string together a proper fly or breaststroke to compete. I could always swim Free and did meets but ONLY Free. I got over myself a few years ago and needed a new challenge. I was bored in the pool. So, I said I would do the 400 IM in a meet…I worked really hard at it. My lanemates helped me a ton (REAL IMers) and there I was competing at the Nationals at the 400 IM (I got 11th at Nationals). I GOT over my fear and did it. And, that in itself, is a huge accomplishment.
AND then, next year, I promised I would do the 100 fly and 200 Fly…and I will.
Thanks to Cheryl Stine for coming up from Bloomington to count the 1650 for me. Cheryl is a phenomenal swimmer and I was certain she would be freaked out at my swimming (turns, walls, etc) but she was a good sport and a GOOD counter, so thank you, Cheryl! Good to see you!
And, that ends the Masters season for me. Now onto Open water and Triathlon season – FINALLY!