Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Big Littles Weekend

Last weekend was a crazy one...

I have to admit that Little Districts (our state qualifying tournament) is one of my least favorite tournaments of the year. Every year, I am pleasantly surprised by who qualified and saddened by the tearful faces of kids who didn't. This year was no exception. To be quite honest, the tournament ran rather smoothly. Despite having to host, most of the debaters I coach had a pretty good tournament, and they represented our school well. There were a couple of surprises of kids who did not qualify, and I genuinely felt bad for those students.

In the end, Copley got 2 PF teams and 2 LDers to state along with one student in oratorical. Not necessarily our best showing, but not bad either. Along with the state qualifiers, I earned my diamond coaching award, which comes with my 1,500th coaching point. Apparently, when a woman my age who has been dating the same guy for quite a while says, "I got my diamond," the first thing even other coaches think isn't about coaching... Sadly, even my own mother thought I had gotten engaged when she heard the news, sorry mom, not happening anytime soon that is for sure.

There are so many things I want to say here that I cannot air publicly. My VP at work once said, "You either get better, or you get worse, there is no staying the same." I think that this tournament and students' reactions to it illustrate that statement perfectly. My first national qualifier did not qualify to state as a sophomore. I sat next to him crying on the bus ride home, and I don't think anything drove him to succeed more than that feeling of not making it. I think of my senior this year who didn't qualify as a sophomore, and he and his partner worked so hard over the next couple of weeks that they backdoored at Bigs to make it to state. (Note: we have had a total of 3 students do that ever so it's not as easy as it sounds). I guess my point is that lessons need to be learned, and while there are plenty of excuses for why a kid doesn't qualify (bad judges, tough draw, etc), each student has a choice to get better or to get worse.

With that said, I fell asleep early Saturday night as I prepared myself for the big swim: 100 x 100's. I was super nervous about this swim this year as 1) I took about a month off from working out and 2) I found myself pretty tired after two miles of swimming so how was I possibly going to swim nearly 6????

Last year, SO and I trained for this swim by doing 100 after 100 after 100 for months. Then, when we got to the pool, we decided to double our normal 500 warmup. When we finished the 1,000 warmup, we looked at each other and decided, rather than doing 90 more 100's, we would just do 9 more 1,000's, which worked out very well for us. We finished in almost exactly 3 hours.

This year, we elected to use the same strategy, although we actually spent sometime training for the 1,000 reps. Over the last month, I have been getting progressively faster as I was pretty slow when I first started back after the surgery, but not nearly as fast SO has been. The two other people in our lane were willing to go along with the 1,000's so we were all set, except....

The lead guy in our lane was fast! We'll call him yellow cap guy. I mean, he tailed off after about 4,000, but the fist 4,000 he lapped us once if not twice per rep, and we aren't slow! I think there was only one rep where he didn't lap us, and that is because SO made a conscious effort to draft off of him.

Yellow Cap Guy was also rightly frustrated by the tendency to get pelted in the head or hand...most likely by me. To my defense, the lanes were very narrow, but when I watched the video of the challenge, it was pretty obvious I swim with my elbows out and ready to fire. Even though there was only three seconds of me on the video, still so dreadful to watch! How am I so fast yet so awful at swimming?

Yellow Cap Guy's frustration with the slow pokes in his lane forced him to cut laps in the middle rather than wait for us to get to a wall to let him pass. In order to pass people, he would get near the end, and as whoever was approaching the wall, he would just turn around and start swimming. It was a little weird, and I think he was doing extra laps to compensate for the yardage he was losing, but his extra laps threw off our count, causing us to do a few more laps than the 200, which felt unnecessary given the quantity we signed up for.

I was so drafting off SO for nearly 4 or 5 of the reps, I mean right on his feet. It's a good thing he's not ticklish because I was poking at his feet for hours! The 4th person in our lane, and a long time friend of SO's, even mentioned to me that she was surprised he wasn't annoyed with me being right on top of him. I kind of feel like it was cheating because it was significantly easier drafting off of him, but I knew I couldn't really go any faster than him so I didn't try to pass him, he could have held up at a wall and let me pass, and had the situation been reversed, he would have done the exact same thing to me.

We didn't really take that many breaks, and we finished about 5 minutes faster than last year. I am not going to lie, I am pretty happy with swimming 200 laps or 10,000 yards in less than 3 hours, but I think I was most grateful for 3 hours away from my phone in a world where the only thing I was focusing on was the number of laps completed in the set I was doing.

I think it's in It's Not About the Bike, but Lance Armstrong talks about questions he always gets asked, one of them being, "what do you think about for all of those hours you are cycling." To which he responds, "it might sound stupid, but I am thinking about cycling." I guess what I enjoyed most about the event this year was "thinking about swimming."

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