I've been taking some good advice and taking it a little more slowly. Each workout I've been doing feels like higher quality. Last night, I jumped in the pool for a workout. I felt strong and solid. I swam for an hour, which is 15 minutes longer for me, and I could have gone longer! Total workout was 2000 meters, also a bit longer than normal.
I started with a nice warm-up: alternating breast stroke, free, and back--1 lap each--3 sets. Then I did a solid, endurance pace set of 500 meters free. Following this, I worked on my stroke length by counting the number of strokes to swim a length. Down breathing on the right, back breathing on the left. 1st lap, just observe, 2nd lap take off 1 stroke, 3rd lap, take off another stroke. Rest 1 minute and repeat for a total of 3x. I only count the number of times my "breathing" arm (right when breathing right, left when breathing left) enters the water. It was 10.5 the first lap, 10 the 2nd, and I got it down to 9 or 8.5 by the end. Very happy. (25m pool). I then worked on a speed a bit, one of my major limiters. I can go forever but I have a hard time going fast. Again, I swam in sets of 150m (I like 3's; can you tell?), timing the amount it took me to complete the entire 3 laps. First lap, normal pace, 2nd lap a little faster, 3rd lap, all out (descending set). I rested and repeated for a total of 3x. I was definitely getting tired because each set was slightly slower than the last. However, even the slowest (last) set was faster than it's been in the past! Normally, it would take me 3 minutes to swim 150m. Yesterday, I swam the first set in 2:47, the 2nd in 2:50, and the 3rd in 2:56. Even though each set should have been the same or faster, at least I've shaved off time!
I got out feeling refreshed, ate a large dinner and slept like a baby. I'm not too sore...yet...which I take as a good sign.