For the past couple of years, I have been participating in the USMS Postal Challenges. The objective of the One Hour Postal in January is to swim as far as possible in one hour in any pool you choose that is 25 yards or longer. Some people do the One Hour Postal event for competition, while others do it for fitness. To gauge my level of fitness is my primary reason for participating. Additionally, the team also earns points for participation so coach always urges us to take part. Throughout 2009, I had been in a training slump. Brought on my injury and possible burn-out, I wasn't able to run much last year. I know this has affected my swimming. I was curious to know just how much.
Before I go into detail about yesterday's swim, I'll recap quickly the previous Postal Challenges I have participated in years past.
Nov 2008 - 3000m - 57:36
Jan 2009 - 1 hour - 3160 yards
Nov 2009 - 3000m - 57.29.99
Going into the swim today, I was feeling very comfortable. I just wanted to swim. My goal, of course, was to exceed 3000m. I had hit that mark in under an hour in November (3000m Postal Challenge) - I felt confidant that I could do it again.
I swam the second heat - recording splits and timing for my swim partner, Scott. He, too, had hopes of exceed 3000m. He started out strong and though his pacing was solid... it was just a little too slow. In the end, he hit 2975m when the horn sounded.
Foreshadowing what would happen to me. I started out strong - my first 100 split was 1:41 (50 and 51 sec each 50m). Faster than what I generally swim during the repeat 100s that we swim regularly on Fridays. For the next 300m, I was solid at about 58 sec per 50m. From that point on, however, my pace slowly declines. Solid 1:00 splits for the next 500m then I slipped to 1:04 which is where I stayed for most of the swim. Urgh! At the horn, I was just a smidge shy of 2900m which equates to 3171.478 yards. Slightly farther than last year. I'm okay with that.
When I swam it last year - we were at the coast so I swam the event in my home town pool nearly at sea level. This was an older pool and was constructed at the more common 25 yards. I feel very strongly that the pool length and the elevation played a big part in my performance. Next year, I may very well make plans to be on the coast again.
Next month, the Tualatin Hills Barracudas is hosting a February Fitness Challenge. An annual postal fitness swimming event held during the month of February to promote fitness through swimming by encouraging individuals to swim regularly and track the results during a one month period. I'm already tracking my swimming meters for Go the Distance. I am now wondering if I couldn't swim at least 500m each day ?? A 28 day swimming streak? Probably too overzealous.