Fast Twitch -- More thoughts at the start of Week 4

I was thinking more about the meet this weekend.

Paul Smith said he was surprised that I swam so well at the meet despite my hard training. I agree with him 100 percent, especially given some of the sprint sets I've been doing. There are two reasons I can attribute to my times:
1) I took it fairly easy on Thursday and Friday, though not enough to say that I rested a lot for the meet. Instead of doing the planned sprint workout for Friday, I did a 45-minute aerobic workout.

2) I love to compete. That's the only reason I am in masters swimming. Yes, yes, I'm staying fit and healthy, yada, yada, yada, but I am not one of those people who can get up in the morning and go to workout because it will make me a fitter person. I swim to compete, and even when I am dog tired, the juices that flow when I dive in take over and I forget about the fatigue from the week's sets. For the first year after I retired from elite swimming, I splashed around at a fitness club's pool, doing at 2,000 yards three days a week, "just to stay in shape." But that got boring because I had no goal, no real purpose. I couldn't say, "If I swim harder, I'll lose five pounds in six weeks." I would rather say, "If I train hard, I mught win this particular race at the end of the season." When I found out that masters swimming had meets, I was on board and have been glad to stay here.

Someone asked me if I thought of giving up my job and trying to make a comeback. Absolutely not. Even if Speedo paid me $1 million, I wouldn't do it. That train has sailed, as Austin Powers once said, and I'm not sad to see it go. But the competitive fire will always be here, and I'm glad to have an outlet for it. The fact that there are about four or five masters meets in Arizona each year irks me, but it was the same in Colorado, and even worse in New Mexico, where a coach tried to put on a meet that turned out to be an intrasquad meet that finished in an hour. Since the majority of masters swimmers are in it purely for fitness or are triathletes who wouldn't be caught dead racing in a concrete hole, there's little chance that there will be more.

Because I love competing, it's not difficult for me to get my mind prepared for racing, though I talked my body into swimming that 100 back yesterday because my arms were like jelly. In-season meets are perfect for mental preparation, so when it is time for the taper meet, you can almost literally swim on autopilot because your subconscious is ready to take over when the lactate kicks in, and the race will be a lot more fun than you expected.

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