Hughes Blog
Thoughts on Software Development, Project Management, Parenting, and Running.
Saturday, January 19, 2008
The One Hour Postal Swim
As promised, Mary insisted that we do the 1 hour Postal Swim, which is a US Masters Swimming event, where you swim for an hour and log how much distance you were able to attain. USMS compiles the results as part of the National Long Distance Championships. Or something like that.

Anyway, I am off to France next week, and I figured I'd better do my swim before I left, as who knows what kind of condition I'll be in when I return. Unfortunately, Tom was traveling on business this week, so he will need to do the event next week when I am out. Sheesh! And that left Mary to time me and Bob. BTW, Bob was not very pleased by this turn of events, preferring to procrastinate the swim for as long as possible. But in the end it was decided that Bob and I would swim at precisely 11:45 on Thursday Jan 17.

For my part, I figured, what the hell no big deal. I really had no expectations going in. And in spite of not really swimming for longer than five minutes without a break, I was pretty sure I could swim for an hour without encountering any of the usual long distance swimming hazards like drowning and so forth.

Initially when Mary suggested that we do the event, some how I got the idea that I could hold 90 second/100 yard pace which works out to a 4000 yard swim. I determined that 4000 yards would almost assure me of being in top 100 (which is not as impressive as it sounds since that is like the top half) of my age group. But then when I attempted something simple like 25x100 Meters in 1:40 on 2:00 - I was totally splattered. As such, I had got that idea out of my head, and I was just going to swim and see what happened.

The Postal Swim is contested in Yards. We spend most of our time training in 25 Meter pools at the esteemed Lifetime Fitness Centers in Dallas and Garland. It is perfectly OK to do the swim in Meters and then convert your entry to Yards. BUT the swim maniacs were hell bent on doing the event at the Loos Natatorium, which is currently configured for 25 yards swim. For my part I had been working on pacing in the meter pools and really I had NO IDEA what that would be like in yards. I guess I could have done the math, but I was too lazy. So the plan was to start swimming and then zero in on the correct pace.

And so that is exactly what I did. And I quickly realized that I seemed to be pretty comfortable doing 90 seconds per 100 yards. But that was not before almost missing the event completely.

Thursday morning was hell at work. Since I work with a bunch of guys in France my mornings tend to start early and be jammed with calls all morning long. I had gotten through all of my morning calls by 10:30, when one of my guys lobbed a last minute call that we had with the account manager for a huge important customer. The call was scheduled for 11am. This had bad news written all over it. If I did not leave my office by 11:15 I was going to miss warmups. And of course the call extended to 11:35, which meant that I would not make it to the pool until after the appointed hour.

The good news is that Bob was more than happy to procrastinate and was waiting patiently when I made my arrival. I asked Mary if I could do a couple of warmup laps and she was cool with that. I hit the pool and it was FREEZING! Lifetime keeps the pool temps jacked up, which is really not that good, and so it shocking to swim in an appropriately maintained pool. It the end it was really great swimming in the nice cool pool. Then the second weird thing was the possition of the bulkhead. It was just after the drop off to the diving well and the marks on the bottom of the pool were really hard to see. I missed three turns in a row trying to figure it out. But not wanting to keep Mary and Bob waiting any longer, I figured I was zeroing in on the mark. So we started.

And like I said, I was watching the clock and quickly settled into something like a 90/100 pace. My stroke was long and smooth and I was counting laps as best as I could. I had forgotten that a 90 pace was 4000 yards - I had put that goal out of mind. I was really thinking about getting to 3000 and then seeing where I was at. When I got to 2000 and I was still holding approximately 90/100 pace, I forced myself to do the math and it was then that I realized that I had a good shot at 4000. At this point I really got focused on the clock and in fact tried to push a bit harder to hold pace. I noticed I was falling off the pace a bit on the third 1000, but I managed to get it back on the last 1000. I got to 4000 (by my count) and Mary had not stopped me yet. I pushed for another 100 and then I saw that Bob was done. I completed my lap and Mary shouted at me to stop.

3975. I could not believe it - I was short. I knew it was going to be close, and indeed it was.

My first 1000 was 14:59 - perfect. The Second was 15:16. The Third was 15:10. And my last 1000 was 15:03. And so I lost one lap on the middle two 1000s. So close. (The complete Split Sheet is here.)

There is no doubt in my mind that I can do 4000.

Stats:
Fastest 50 - the first one in 39.
Slowest 50 - the eighth one in 49.
Most were between 44 and 46, extremely consistent.

Records:
3800 Meters, my longest swim ever, eclipsing the 3600 I did on Dec 20.
3600 Meters without a break. I think the previous record was 2000 or maybe 2500.

All in all, I was really pleased with the swim and in the end it was way more fun than I thought it was going to be!

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All views expressed in this post and on this blog are my own. None of my comments should be construed to represent the views of others including and not limited to: BMC Software Inc., Corel Corporation, Dun and Bradstreet and AC Nielsen. Copyright Chris Hughes 2004-2012