April 07, 2007

I Don't Get Butterflies

Completing a tough swim workout is like eating a big Chinese meal. You'll be so overly-satiated when it's done that your entire body will hurt. Yet two hours later it's like it never happened.

This morning's swim was just like a mega-Chinese meal, complete with shrimp fried rice, orange chicken, lo mein noodles, szechuan beef and a healthy dollop of won ton soup to wash it all down and leave barely enough room for the fortune cookie. Though you somehow manage to eat two of them anyway.

That's how the swim workout felt. It was jam packed with 100 yard sprints and 50 yard sprints and so little rest that every 10 second moment of peace I had to recover was spent panting and swearing and wondering if my lo-mein arms would fall off into the won ton pool.

I kinda lost count of my splits for the 100s and most of the 50s because the rest time was so short my watch wouldn't register the lap times. However, I was able to clock in a few of them and guestimate the others and, I gotta admit, I was going pretty fast for me. In fact, somewhere around the eighth 100 yard repeat, I hit the wall at a personal record setting 1:24.7. I've never swum 100 yards faster than 1:25. Those .3 seconds were huge for me. They still are. Which is probably why I'm telling you about it.

Of course, Michael Phelps just swam the 200 meter butterfly in 1:52.


I told my mother about Michael Phelps' 200 meter butterfly time and compared it to my 100 yard freestyle time to try to explain to her how friggin fast that kid swims.

Well you're not too far off his time, she said.

Yeah, I don't think you get it, ma. You see, he's going twice as fast as me all the while swimming a stroke that's supposed to be a lot slower.

She looked at me with a bit of confusion. Or maybe it was lack of caring. Like a good mother, she'd rather believe I was the world record holder. Still, I wanted to get my point across...

I pointed to the other end of the room. It's like if Michael Phelps and I both raced to the other side of this room, I explained. It's only 15 feet, it only takes 2 seconds to get there, and he'd still beat me by at least 1 second. He's that fast, the little so-and-so.

Of course, today I heard that Michael Phelps swims 8 to 10 miles per day. Every day. That's crazy. No wonder he's so fast. I suppose if I started swimming 8 to 10 miles per day that I could swim the 200 meter butterfly in....um...... uh.....in....... well, I couldn't. Butterfly is one of those strokes that is not in my extremely limited swimming repertoire. In fact, whenever my workout calls for a 400 meter IM, I really only do three strokes and toss in a double scoop of freestyle.

After all, when am I going to actually swim the butterfly in a triathlon? The answer is, I'm not. Never. Sure I've been known to do a few breast strokes here and there. And I'm not opposed to flopping on my back if need be in a tiring, stressful moment. But butterfly? Bitch please.

Butterfly is up there with flip-turns. I've refused to learn how to do a flip-turn because swimmers do flip-turns. I'm not a swimmer, I'm a triathlete. Big difference, bucko. Us triathletes, we don't do flip-turns and we definitely don't do butterflies.

Lo mein, though. We like lo mein.


Matt said...

Love your take on Chinese food and swimming. I don't think anyone's ever put it better. I feel ya on the Michael Phelps stuff to. I tried to rationalize it in that they get a diving start which has to help, but alas it can't help that much.

Rachel said...

I'm totally like you. I like swimming but definitely from the triathlete's point of view. Pool swimming is like treadmill running--you do it when you can't get in the open water. I refuse to do flip-turns even though I do "know" how to do them. I do butterfly when forced in masters classes (I need the upper body strength) but begrudgingly.

Robin said...

Hey, congrats on the 100 PR!!!!
And yeah, it's freaky to think how fast someone like Phelps is. But he does have those hands like steamshovels ya know, on the end of 8-foot arms, with this mega-long torso and very little in the legs department. It's like his body came out completely optimized for swimming.

Oh, and some triathletes do do flip turns ;-)

No Wetsuit Girl... overseas! said...

Are you fuh-sheezing me?! You swim SO much faster than me and you won't learn to do a flip turn? Dude, how else are you going to get those YMCA whackos out of your lane? Let me tell you my biggest secret of rec swimming (broken into 2 bits):
A) There is no better way to get a pretentious lane hog out of your lane than to do a flip turn and splash all your splashback in his face and then flip off like it ain't no thang, and B) if that lanhog still doesn't get the hint and is screwing up your workout by trying to race you, then breeze by him because he can't do a flipturn. Also, it's the easiest way to pass old ladies who push off as you're coming into the wall (you just go under 'em).

Flipturns aren't for swimmers, they're for athletes. Open turns are for those who yield the lane. Learn one, and you'll see what I mean!

(I have to say, I disagree with you on fly too. And I'm not even a swimmer, but that's a topic for another time).

I feel you on the other stuff though!

*I comment cuz I love your stuff!

No Wetsuit Girl... overseas! said...

OK, no, stop, wait, really! What's the point of basing your workout on swimmers' 100 (flipturn) splits when you're doing open turns? That's like basing your descending biking splits on a pro-biker's when you're braking to a halt at every hairpin turn on a descent.
Give yourself some credit, man!!! Sheesh, that's GREAT!