Twelve weeks in and being jolted awake by a squawking alarm clock at 4:45 hasn't gotten any easier. A little less jarring, but not any easier.
Today was swim class number 12 and what did The Coach have in store for us? A time trial. But not right off the bat. First there was a warm up swim and then some kicking work. Throw in some breathing and a couple of all out sprints and we were quickly up to 900 yards.
Then it was time to rest. And grab a drink of water. And prepare ourselves for the 900 yard time trial, just over a half mile.
We lined up, two swimmers to a lane and got ready to swim.
Honestly, I haven't been doing a lot of long, extended swims lately. I think my max has been somewhere in the neighborhood of 600 yards during swim class and even that has included a few short rest breaks. Honestly I think the last time I did a straight half-mile swim was in July at the Trek Women's Triathlon.
But today I just wanted to swim continuously. No breaks. Just swim one length of the pool, hit the wall and turn around. Repeat for 36 lengths.
The clock hit zero and we were off. Knowing I had 900 yards in front of me, I didn't want to take off too quickly. I set out at a nice comfortable pace. Was swimming stroke for stroke with the girl in the lane with me. After a couple of lengths, she paused. I kept swimming. I wasn't really keeping track of time, but I did manage to glance at the clock when I hit 450 yards - 10 minutes, 35 seconds. Not too bad. About what I was expecting.
I kept swimming. And I could tell I was starting to get a little tired in the last 200 yards or so and really would have loved to take a break. But I didn't. I refused to stop. And even managed a bit of a "sprint" over the last 25 yards.
I ended up hitting the wall in 21 minutes, 40 seconds.
Not the fastest - that belonged to the girl who clocked 17 minutes flat - but not the slowest either. In fact, I came in before three other girls. One was the girl swimming next to me, but the other two? Completely took me by surprise.
As I was walking off the pool deck on my way to the hot tub (hey, I earned it), I was talking to The Coach. He asked me how I felt the time trial went. I told him not bad it was about what I was expected. He asked me if I thought I could have pushed myself harder. Probably. And he said that's the next step. To push a little bit harder, swim a little bit faster and make it all a little bit more painful.
Because a little bit of pain is good. Makes you know you're working hard.
Guess that means the next few weeks in the pool will be a bit painful. Because I want to shave some seconds off of that time. And time trial number 2? It's already been scheduled for Dec. 21.