Is it just me or does hearing the word "test" cause extreme anxiety that overwhelms the system? As soon as that four letter word drops from your mouth and immediate signal is sent to the ears and it rattles through your brain. As your brain processes whether this is a flight or fight scenario the rest of your body just freezes up. Your eyes go cross eyed and you begin to sweat....like you just ate the spiciest food imaginable.....ok maybe, just maybe I'm exaggerating a little BUT! you have to admit, at one point or another there has been one test that really stresses you out. In fact I feel like I was in a constant state of stress throughout high school, from AP tests to ACT, it was never ending. Being honest though, I drew flowers all over my AP Biology test, that was the least stressful test I took (sorry Michele if you're reading this haha).
Anyways! This past week my coach had me do a swim test for threshold time. I knew it was coming up, and heck, after working with Steph for over a year now I knew exactly what it was like. She had me do, I think, at least two last year when I was training for Racine. I looked through my old training logs to see if I could find my times, but no such luck. Either they were rinsed away, because I would bring my book on deck even though I wrote in marker, or I didn't write them down. So I figure that, even though I just got back into consistent swimming last month I should have a pretty decent time having been swimming for a while. The pressure was on.
So on top of the swim test I also had a bike ride and a lift/core I wanted to get in. This is where I knew I hadn't changed much since high school, the procrastinator in me decided, "Lets do those first", even though it was going to wear me out....good plan Sam. The logic in my head though went something like, once I finish those though I can just give it my all. But the stress for this test wasn't stemmed from, "did I study enough? Do I know it all" because the reality is there really isn't a way to "fail" this test. It's kind of like the concept that you get at least a 1 on your AP test if you put your name on it. But unlike most tests, you can't just fill in C.
C is for competitive. As I train more my competitive edge grows. And since I train on my own for the most part I take any chance I get to put it to use. Most times this happens on the lake path when I'm out running, or trying to pass anyone I come in contact with, but this time it came in the form of this test. So I grabbed my bag and drove to the gym. As I walked out on deck, (and believe me I got there early this time, people at my gym get unruly about lanes....at 6pm on a Thursday night!) I scanned the open lanes and found the "ideal" one and made it mine.
After a nice aerobic warm up I was ready to roll. Also, I should add that I brought a sticky note and a pen out on deck, which made me feel kind of funny, but kind of like Steph always says, "Whatever it takes to get it done". So I was off! 10 x 100 all out: The first four sets were between 1 second of each other: 1:34, 1:35, 1:34, 1:35. I want to say I was ok with this but I also knew I had more in me and wanted to push past this. So I dropped a few seconds in the next few sets: 1:32, 1:32 and then my fastest time, 1:31. I was happy to see that number, especially on the 7th set of 100. Only 3 left, I told myself, and ideally I wanted to drop into the 1:20s (1:29 or 1:28 even) but I even more than that I wanted to hold my 1:31 time. Sets 8-10 I came in at 1:33, 1:32, 1:32 respectively. Not bad. I got out of the pool feeling good about those times, and like I had passed my test. And the pressure, like that was gone...and I rewarded myself with a pita pocket :)
Until the next test, I have a good threshold and also something to work towards for my next test. Better start studying now :)