The best part of a three day weekend for me is being able to sleep past 5:00 AM one extra day. This morning I was up by 7:30 and ready to swim. Last week a guy I occasionally share a lane with at the pool offered a few pointers. The last time he did in December he helped me correct my right arm from crossing over and it saved me several seconds right away. When I saw on Friday that he was waiting for me to take a break, I listened to what he had to say. He noticed my kick is crossing over a bit rather than a flutter up and down. We watched a few other people swim and he showed me the technique I should follow. I tried it for the last 400 meters of my swim and I did notice an improvement. This morning I swam 2,000 meters and focused on a straighter kick. The workout was a 700 meter warm up followed by two 500 meter pyramids (building from 25 to 100 meters and back down). Between the pyramids I pulled 200 meters and cooled down with 100 meters. In the past I have been swimming pyramids on sendoffs of 2:15, today I upped it to 2:10. Right away I noticed I was taking one or two fewer strokes with a better kick. All of my 100’s I came in on 2:03. I was not pushing hard, this is a taper week I kept reminding myself. After my swim I was very happy with my pace but noticed when I walked my hip flexers and quads were feeling the strain. Just like when I had a sore rotator cuff when I corrected my stroke, I could feel the difference in my legs.
I took advantage of the beautiful weather and a day off and read in the sun for a bit. I make sure to wear a 30 SPF sun screen and a visor, but this is one of my guilty pleasures. The warm, sunny days are fleeting and I don’t want to miss the time I have to soak in the sun. Later in the afternoon I headed out for a ride – only 24 miles but on my oh so familiar hills. I was concerned that my legs might feel it from the swim this morning, but I made it through fine. The only odd part of my ride was 12 miles in, with the sun shining and only a few white clouds in the sky, it started to rain. I even stopped to see where it was coming from and if I should cut the ride short. It was the oddest thing, light rain, bright sun, and no rain clouds to be seen. As quickly as it came, it passed so I continued on my ride. Returning home I saw the darker storm clouds in the west and was glad to be home before any big storms came through.
Today was an example of how the little things do make a difference. A little change in my kick is helping my pace (and strengthening my legs), a little rain almost changed my course, and a little rest on Labor Day helped me relax and appreciate the day. While there are so many big things – hills, challenges, concerns – that can crowd the picture, the little things should not be overlooked. One little thing just might make a big thing (1.2 mile swim) seem not so big after all.