A Day in the Life: Laura Smith, Day 5

DENVILLE, New Jersey, February 24. IN the fifth entry in her "A Day in the Life" series on SwimmingWorldMagazine.com, New Jersey Masters swimmer Laura Smith write about self-awareness in training and a pair of her training partners.

Friday, February 23, 2007, Day 5
I sat down at my computer tonight determined to be positive and upbeat, but I have a feeling I am about to fall short of my own expectations. I firmly believe in the power of positive thinking, but sometimes it's just hard to pull yourself up, stop feeling sorry for yourself, and stop taking everything so seriously, including preparation for a small, local Masters swim meet.

I swam this morning, and it was a little hard getting out of bed. There was lots of talking involved in today's workout, as my two training partners, Larry "The Parsippany Piranha" and John "Let's Build America" (last names withheld to protect them) were in my lane. I dragged Larry and John kicking and screaming into training for this meet, and we usually swim together three or four times a week. They aren't really fond of my distance-based workouts, and I hate their sprint workouts, so we're a good training group.

There were many days since September 06 when I got to the pool for two reasons: 1) I write the workouts; and 2) I can't deal with the e-mail abuse from them when I skip a workout. Back in the fall, I would give them a run for it on most sets, but as they got in better shape, they began to leave me behind. It was not a coincidence that on days when they really kicked me up and down the pool, I wrote a workout for next time like 1×1000 and 2 x 500, all negative splits, just to have a set I could win. Thank you for the fun and the friendship over the past few months, guys – it will be fun swimming on two relays with you both.

Warm up:
200 swim free / 200 kick with fins / 200 IM drill with fins
4 x 50 drill free, :10 rest between each
200 "social kick" with a board

Main Set
200 swim free, perfect stroke
4 x 50 descend free on 1:00
4 x 25 breakouts on :30
100 cool down

Since I can't seem to do much less yardage or else I'd practically be standing still, I made the decision this morning to skip tomorrow (Saturday morning). I don't mean to always reference "back in the day", but typically, I would never skip a day in a taper. Even if it was just 1000 yards of stretch out, I'd get to the pool. Since I haven't tapered in seven years, I am not exactly sure what is going to work for me this time. So, I did a body and mind inventory and decided that rest would just be best at this point.

Doing these "body checks" has been a tough thing to get used to. I am only 36, but 36 is significantly different than 26 or 16. Not only am I not nearly as fast as I used to be, but my recovery from hard workouts takes substantially longer. When I do hard workouts on Friday (typically a sprint workout), Saturday (usually 5,000 yards or over), Sunday (about 4,000 yards of IM based training), I can barely move on Monday mornings. I am known to fall asleep on the couch at 7:30 p.m. on many nights of the week. I am in no way "old", but there are clearly signs that my body has aged and that I need to do a better job of incorporating cross training and/or more recovery into my training week.

I left work a little early today and used a gift certificate for a 60-minute massage at the Short Hills Hilton Hotel spa. I've had the gift certificate since 2001. How sad is it that it took me six years to cash in a gift certificate for a massage, especially when the Hotel is only 20 minutes from my office? I prefer a deep tissue massage, but this was a certificate for a lighter, kinder Swedish type.. I fell sound asleep on the table, and the therapist had to wake me up. I don't get massages nearly as often as I should (really, who does?), but I always get one before a meet. She didn't want to mess around with my shoulder, and I kind of had to agree with her. I am a little sore now, even with the light pressure, and I am drinking a lot of water to help my body out.

So, it's off to put the kids to bed, and I think I'll be putting myself to bed right after them!

Keep swimming,

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