Wednesday, April 19, 2017

January 2017 - USMS 1-hour ePostal 2017 and Other Goal Progress

I didn't waste much time getting started on my 2017 goals. To reach my yardage goal the plan is to swim roughly 6 days a week on average. That will be a bit of a jump from 2016, but not too much that I'll injure myself doing it since I gradually increased my yardage toward the end of 2016. The only hiccup in that plan came in the first week of the year when a winter storm kept pool facilities closed for an entire weekend. I had already taken New Year's Day off since Chris and I went to Myrtle for the night. I had also taken that following Wednesday off, probably because of work. As a result, I missed 4 of the first 8 days of the year, however that wasn't necessarily a bad thing. I plan to keep track of my yardage in My Fitness Log on the USMS website. It also keeps track of my progress toward my goal. As you probably guessed, I was behind for the first month. No worries, plenty of time to catch up. After that first weekend I only missed 4 days the rest of the month, which were designated rest days. By the end of January I had swum 91,400 yards (or 51.93 miles). I had also gotten back on track according to my FLOG since the goal yardage for the end of January to be able to get to 1M yards by the end of the year was 48.26 miles. Status of Goal #3 - on track!

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Feeling motivated to go after my 500 Free goal time and work toward completing the Postal Swimathlon League (I'll explain in a bit), I signed up for a few "local" meets, maxing out events in all of them. On the 15th I signed up for the Dixie Zone Championships, which RAM hosted on April 7th and 8th. On the 20th I signed up for the Frank Clark meet in Greensboro on February 26th and the Coastal Masters meet in Bolivia, NC on March 4th.

Events for Frank Clark: 1000 Free, 200 IM, 200 Free, 100 Back, and 50 Breast.
Events for Coastal Masters: 500 Free, 50 Free, 100 IM, 100 Free, and 25's of each stroke (total 8 events) and two mixed relays.
Events (originally) signed up for Dixie Zones: Day1 - 1650 Free, 1000 Free, 100 Fly, 400 IM, 200 Breast. Day 2 - 50 Fly, 50 Back, 100 Breast, 200 Fly, and 500 Free. I also made myself available for all the relays. I opted out of the relays and switched a few events as the meet got closer. I will review those in a later post.

Now, the Postal Swimathlon League is a competition done in quarterly intervals. Quarter 1 (Jan-Mar) is the "Sprint" Distance events; 50s of each stroke and the 100 IM. Quarter 2 (Apr-Jun) is the "Middle" Distance events; 100s of each stroke and the 200 IM. Quarter 3 (Jul-Sep) is the "Long" Distance events; 200s of each stroke and the 400 IM. Quarter 4 (Oct-Dec) is the chance to improve your time on any of the events you want. At the end of the year your final times for each distance and then cumulatively are added up. It's more something to do for fun and to attempt every event as some point throughout the year than anything else. I figured "why not?" This also factored in to my decision to change a few of my events for Zones.

Lastly, but certainly not least, I did the first ePostal of the year. The postal I missed in 2016. The 1-hour ePostal. It's simple, swim as far as you can in an hour. I set a goal of 4400 yards. I ended up with 4375 yards. Here's how it went down. I got with Harry and decided on a date, we chose the 31st of January. Location, Optimist pool in North Raleigh. Optimist was set up SCY, width-wise. I swim at Optimist regularly so I thought it would be good. I'm not all about excuses, so although this will sound like one, it's not, it's just an explanation. The pool in the middle was warm, like really warm. At the walls, cool. Not something I would have expected to have an issue with, but I realized pretty quick that pushing to both go somewhat fast and do so for an hour straight that it was one. I was at 2250 yards around the half-way point and was making good progress. However, after about 2500 yards or so going back and forth through the different temperatures was starting to make me nauseous. I was quickly losing my motivation to go fast or to even finish the postal. I kept pushing, just telling myself that any additional yardage is better than none. 3600 to 4000 yards was the worst. I really almost stopped it was that bad. My splits reflected as much and I'm sure Harry could tell something was up at that point. Kept pushing. I was able to pick up the pace for the last 5 min or so and had never been so happy to get to a wall as I was when that clock hit 60 min. I was bummed to fall short of my goal but I was glad I got it done. It was my first attempt at the 1-hour postal, so I will just have to do better next year. Progress toward Goal #1 - on track!

Now for the results of the postal, which will impact Goal #2. top 10 in each AG get points for the National Championship races, including postals. I had to wait until just recently to get the results of my postal. 4375 yards landed me in 14th place in my AG. 4400 yards would have tied me at 10th. You can see how not getting a single point would bother me, and it did for a bit, but in the end it's a starting point and fuels my motivation going forward for the rest of the National Championship races this year. So, no points from the 1-hour ePostal and thus no significant progress toward Goal #2. My next chance for points will be in the Swim Around Lido Key.

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