So, my workout for today (okay, really for yesterday, but that's a whole other story) called for a 4000 yard swim. And unless you're that dude who swam the Amazon River, or maybe the people who swim the English Channel (you get the point), that's a long swim. And don't get me started about it being the middle of the week and this swim happening in the morning.
I made sure I was in the pool as quickly as possible after it opened at 5 a.m. For a turtle like me, 4000 yards can almost be timed on a calendar, and work starts at 7:30. I jumped right into the warmup and then got to do some interesting "open water mass start" practice.
Somewhere in the middle of the main set (lots of 300s), I realized I was probably going to be late for work. As I went into the final 300 yard sets, the "probably" was no longer important. I was definitely going to be late.
So, you're 3800 yards into a 4000 yard set and realize there's zero hope of making it to work on time. What do you do? Somehow, in my warped head, it made perfect sense to use that opportunity to add a few hundred extra yards onto the workout, with an extra 224 yards being the target. Sort of like a guy I knew in the Navy who realized he wasn't going to make it for morning muster. So, he went and had breakfast, did a bit of shopping at the Exchange, and stopped for gas. After all, if you're going to be late, you may as well get some mileage out of it. Me, I just decide to swim a few hundred yards more than the already insanely long swim I'm doing.
I added an extra 100 yards to the final main set interval of 300 yards, and 200 yards to the cool down. I figured that would put me at "4300" yards. That's in quotes because our pool is actually 24.44 yards long (72 lengths to a mile). So 172 lengths is something less than 4300 yards.
Apparently, it's 96 yards short of 4300 yards. If you do the math, you'll see that means I swam 4204 yards. Exactly 20 yards short of the IM swim. You won't believe the number of people who stopped by to ask why I was pounding my head on my desk. One length of the pool. ONE! After swimming 172 lengths, it is maddening to find I missed the goal by one length of the pool. Have I mentioned before that I'm pretty lousy at math when minor things like breathing take up most my concentration.
So, I have now completed 99.2% of the Ironman swim. I have previously completed just over 100% of the Ironman bike and just over 100% of the Ironman run. I feel confident I can get the other 20 yards done. Now, all I have to do is string the three of them together in under 17 hours and all will be well.
Somehow, when put that way, it seems daunting. I think I'll look at it in smaller chunks. It's easier that way.