So I have gone back and forth with a goal to do the sprint triathlon in my town in August. I thought of it last year but didn't do it. Now I have plenty of time and this, too, was discussed over Christmas dinner with the cousins.
We had some awesome laughs over how they write your age on you fifty times and how people on $6000 bikes ride by you at three times your speed etc. my cousin and his wife did one and loved it. They had an open water swim. I can't say that would be number one on my list, especially the alligator waters they were in, but they also tell of how they've heard pool swims are crowded and rough too. Maybe I should just ask to go last. Haha. Anyone reading this with tri insight please chime in.
There are six cousins: we've all run 5Ks. Some 13.1, some 26.2, now one and his wife a sprint tri. I love that we are all active like that. It's something fun to being to the table (literally) when we all get together a few times a year.
There's one part of the triathlon that I don't do regularly. Swim. I love swimming. When I was a kid I took swimming lessons beginning at age two and took until they couldn't teach me anymore (several years). My cousins, brother and I all took lessons privately in small classes and were all well taught. The one thing I NEVER mastered was the dive. Nope. Can't dive. My reflexes send my head up in a split second consistently creating awesome "belly flops". Haha. But I could tread water for hours, could swim a million different strokes, I COULD do the lifesaver dive (it's feet first)
A forever issue with my swimming was that I hate water in the nose so I also hold it. I've been working on that and have gotten pretty good at blowing bubbles out my nose to keep me from looking like a drowning crazy person.
So to the gym and swimming laps. A whole different beast. Seriously. Something about swimming a lap makes you feel as though you could drown if you don't pop up and stop halfway for air. I have trouble actually breathing on the breath stroke. Go figure.
So I went to the gym on Thursday and swam a little. I always do some pool exercises that a previous trainer taught me that are pretty killer between "lap attempts". Thursday I was doing a lap attempt and was attempting to breath on like every fourth stroke. This caused the panic jump-up-to-breath-I-just-got-water-up-my-nose-lack-of-rhythm issue. Couldn't get it. So I grabbed my kick board and did leg laps (hold the board out in front and only do legs kicks or frog kicks down the pool and back) they really get your heart rate going and work your legs like crazy with no knee impact. I highly recommend them.
Anyhow an old guy probably in his 70s was the only other swimmer and he was in the next lane. I was frog kicking and suddenly found myself racing him to the end of the pool where he beat me in a photo finish. Haha. Sad day. Not only could he swim laps at more than twice my age but I couldn't even beat him swimming while I frog kicked with a kick board. Haha (probably unrealistic considering he had a two arm advantage. But still)
So Saturday rolls around and I'm back in the pool. I began with my leg exercises and watched as a guy, likely younger than me, swam laps in the next lane. When he took a rest I bothered him to ask if he takes a breath on each stroke on his breath side. He confirmed that's what I was seeing him do and said he was a new swimmer getting ready to join the Air Force and his swimming buddy helped him by telling him to do that. So I gave it a whirl. All the difference in the world! It gave me a rhythm and with a regular breathing cycle in and out on each stroke I was not feeling the panic "need air" feeling. Now that rhythm wasn't perfect and I still have to stop twice across the pool (this is a large pool) but it is better and is now something I can practice and improve on. The guy next to me noticed my smoother rhythm too. I was greatful for his help.
So there is a tinny tiny light shining at the end of the learning to swim laps tunnel but it's there. I was also excited that 30 - 40 min in the pool burned 307 calories. Yay!!!! Btw I did flip over for one lap doing the back stroke thinking it wouldn't be so bad because breathing isn't the big issue there and oh my stars it's quite the workout that back stroke!!!
So my goal is to be making no more than one stop across the pool by the end of this week and no stops by the end of the next week. That will be so nice to be able to push off on all my starts. Starting in the middle stinks. Haha.