As I've slowly conditioned myself to swim longer distances in between stops at the wall from half a lap to a full 25 yards to 50 yards and now to 100 yards, I thought it would be nice to time myself for a new distance. 100 yards.
I was about 400 yards into my swim, looking at 8 laneline abacus markers next to me and thought, "now is the time." I took some extra time to gather myself and prepare for my impending asphyxiatingly horrible death and then pushed off from the wall.
I knew I had to pace myself and make sure I took enough breaths in the first two laps so I settled on a 2-2-3-3 pattern and concentrated on long strokes. As I got near the wall, I knew I had to do something better than usual but settled for my usual pull myself up, grab some air, and get back under water awkward turn. My trick for doing it faster was to not spend any time looking around to see who was impressed by my 25 yard sprint or fixing my bedraggled hair.
Anyway, at the 50 mark, I still felt OK since I hadn't really pushed myself but I couldn't quite tell from the clock what my split was. I kept the same breathing pattern for the third lap, thinking that I could hammer it on the last lap and not breathe as much. Well, on that I was wrong, by the time I was heading back on my last lap I had to do a 2-2-2-2-2 pattern, I was DYING. I did hold it together to not breathe for the last 10 yards and pulled into the wall, ripped off my goggles and looked at the clock.
It was NOT what I was expecting. I was pretty sure I'd be somewhere around two minutes. When I saw the big red hand on the 40, I thought there is no way I did that in 2:40 and there is no way I did it in 1:40 but one of the two had to be right (I'm good at math that way). It turns out I exceeded my expectations by about 20 seconds.
So, as I got closer to Chopstick on the 50 free, I now have a new goal, 23 more seconds to catch up to her on the 100 free. Maybe we can both do our first 200 frees at the same time!