Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Pardon me while I obsess

About my swimming ability again.

I admit, I envy Kahuna's andTrisaratop's "I am a swimmer" abilities.

Let's face it, the only swimming race I ever won was the sprint up the matriarch's tubes. That I was the gold medalist in the zygote olympics really isn't saying much for the other chaps in the pool. Although, that gold medal is my fall back position if I'm ever in the midst of a truly bad day.

I wasn't always such a loser- I did win that one race.

As we all know, fate has a sense of irony. I embarked on my illustrious swimming metier as a "Dolphin" in the pools of southern California. It's possible that branding the entry level swimmers as dolphins was overly optimistic, in particular on my part, but Californians have a right to be optimistic in their young swimmers for two reasons: essentially every back yard in California comes equipped with a pool and, a sizeable portion of the world's greatest swimmers hale from the Golden State. A dolphin I was not, and the closest I came to water was standing in the puddle of my tears that formed at mom's feet. I endured several more attempts at lessons until my parents were satisfied that I wouldn't drown near water, but by that time we had moved to Colorado where the chances of drowing in the vast sea of arid foothills and mountains was slim. My swimming motivation was piqued by the prospect of membership at the neighborhood pool. The privilege to go to the pool without adult supervision required the ability to swim 25 yards, all at once, alone. Gulp. But the pool held the allure of friends from school, summer freedom and a $0.25 slushie machine. So, I thrashed my way through 25 yards, and by means of daily practice actually became a decent tadpole. Colorado isn't nearly so optimistic in their swimmers.

At some point in my young adult life a seed called triathlon was sown into my fertile soul, but it would be 20 years before that soil was ready to culitvate. The genesis of my passion for multisport remains a mystery to me as I quite literally awoke one morning very early in '05 smitten with the idea of becoming a triathlete. So enticed was I by multisport that come hell and high water I was going to learn to swim. In spite of all my previously failed attempts at swimming laps, even resorting to the use of a mask and snorkle (I inferred to the life guard that I was practicing for some exotic vacation I was going to take) I just couldn't cross that breathing in the water hurdle. It once again took the allure of freedom, friends and $0.99 gel packs to get me to thrash my way to 25 yards.

Then with practice 25 yards became 400 yards which became 3300 yards which will become Ironman.

I had a bad swim last night. My arms were sluggish and I couldn't seem to get them to speed up. My workout:

600 w/u 100 free 50 kick w/out a board followed by 200 drill of choice (This took me 20 minutes-jump in, swim to other end for kickboard, fins, pull buoy, swim back this 50 doesn't count-ear plugs-naw, half way down the lane-hey dopey, remember you are trying to keep water out of your ears because you're tired of the ocean sound at night-go back get ear plugs in-defog goggles. Swim the 150, stop to breathe because you are still digesting the bean soft taco from lunch. Swim another 150, contemplating what the drills would be-forget the other 300 w/u let's just go to drills- hello-does 70.3 in June mean anything to you? Finish 300 w/u go to drills.

2X 500 race pace + :30 First 250 5:00 minutes. That would not be a real great race pace-better pick it up a little
Second 250 4:50 ok a little better- more so because I remembered the mega weight lifting session I embarked on Saturday. My muscles are always aerobically sluggish after a weight session-

Second 500 (decided to do it as a pull) 10:45 with a n/s on second 250
8X100 There is no way I'm going to get in the prescribed 3250 and get to work on time and I'm swimming poorly so it's time to wrap this up and call it a 2200 day instead.

So, I did alternating 50 and 100 sprints until I got to 2200 yards. By this time Trihubby had unbeknownst to me joined the Tribe in the pool, so he helped me practice flip turns. I've gotten to the point where I can do them decently, I just need to get over my inhibition and work them into my swimming vocabulary. So, I left the pool yesterday acutely aware that I am not a swimmer-yet.

In my evangelical attempts to recruit folks to the sport of triathlon I often hear the rebuff, "oh, I'd do a tri but I really can't swim."

Face it folks, if a dolphin can learn to swim, so can you.


Steven said...

I tri, and I can swim, but I cannot swim fast. Nor will I ever. I'm stuck at 1:20-1:25 IM swims forever I'm pretty sure.
But it's all in perspective, right? I wouldn't trade my sub-6'ish IM bike nor my 3:40'ish IM run for a 1:10'ish swim.
Just put in the laps and the rest will take care of itself.

tarheeltri said...

If I couldn't swim, I probably wouldn't have the nerve to be a triathlete. I wish I had the same motivation as you (whatever yours is) to overcome a hurdle like that just for a race! But like Steven said, it's all perspective.

Spence said...

Hang in there Trimama, it will come. I had a similar day on Sunday - sometimes you just can't focus and the worry of having to get in the distance takes over your ability to think about "right this second." The fact that your so dedicated to making it happen assures that it will - I have total confidence you will become that dolphin. Any progress on finding a stroke clinic or taking a few technique classes? Could make all the difference....

Fe-lady said...

You are a swimmer...maybe a swimmer in training, but a swimmer none-the-less. Like Steven said..get THROUGH the swim comfortably and then you can hammer at what I bet you are best at-the bike-and cruise on the run!
Personally, I would quit the obsessive timing of the 250s and 500s...it just adds to your stress level. Get in and swim a straight 1000 for a "warm up" and then decide what interval stuff you wantto do/ Like BOLDER said...get the 1000 below 20:00 (or I guess it was 19:00)! And please have some FUN in your workouts!

Cliff said...

Dolphin can swim..but can they bike or run? :)

I did tri and I couldn't swim either. Breastroke is not swimming.. :)...but it got me to the finish line.

Bridget said...

You just posted about swimming 220 yards. Are you kidding me? That's what a swimmer does! When I have any workout over 2000 yards I am exhausted and unbelievably proud of myself. You are writing about 3000 yard workouts, which sound just amazing to me. Give yourself some more credit.

Btw, I would be rich if I deposited a dollar every time someone told me that can't do a triathlon because they can't swim. -Even my husband uses that lame excuse.

Chris said...

Give me a hollar if you want to try and setup another swim clinic. Hopefully, the schedules will work out a little better this time around?

Not sure about spinning yet this weekend. I should really find a proper trainer to spin on for doing spin classes. Maybe I'll see if I can find someone's to borrow? Are you and/or trihubby going?

Bolder said...

keep workin' the problem.

we are all in this together!

plus, you had one swim race to win in your life -- and you kicked ass and took names!!

TriSaraTops said...

2200 yards is an off-day???? Trimama, you ARE A SWIMMER. That is amazing and you should be very proud. I am so impressed and inspired with your journey into triathlon! I'm honored you mentioned me here, but I can assure you my IM swim will NOT be fast. It's all about feeling comfortable--or at least that's what I keep telling myself. hee hee :) Way to get out there and do what not many even think of trying.