I decided that before I officially registered for my first triathlon I needed to make sure I could handle the swim portion. On Tuesday night I was anxious to get it over with. I wanted to wait until the pool at the gym wouldn’t be so busy so at 8:00 pm I decided to give it a go.
The good news: I didn’t drown.
The bad news: There is work to be done.
The good news: I still have plenty of time (I hope) to be ready to tackle the swim by race day in August.
Here is the deal, I can swim. I just don’t have the breathing concept down. I swam 8 laps pretty much in a row. I did take some “breather” breaks because at points I was gasping for air. I swam an additional 4 laps with the kick board and then finished with 2 more laps. 16 laps total. The lap conversion chart on the wall at the pool said that 18 laps was a ½ mile. If my math is right, I believe I swam more than I would need to swim for my triathlon. Although the 4 laps with the kickboard probably shouldn’t count.
Later that night my friend Adrienne gave me so great breathing advice that I was excited to apply. I found when I was swimming by mid lap I was completely breathless and had a nose full of water. This was because I was breathing through my mouth which you aren’t supposed to do. She told me to watch my hand as it comes out of the water on whatever side I am breathing on. As my hand comes of the water, start breathing and when my hand reenters the water face goes back in. It made perfect sense to me.
I took Wednesday off from swimming, but went back to the pool last night (Thursday). To say it went a million times better than Tuesday is an understatement! I got to the pool a little before 8:30 to see that all of the lanes were full. Crap! I have to share a lane?! Some of the people appeared to be “serious” swimmers so I didn’t want to try and share a lane with them. There was one creeper guy kind of floating around and doggy paddling so I hopped into his lane. I secretly hoped that he would just leave, but he hung around for about another 15 minutes.
I started off with the kickboard to work on applying Adrienne’s breathing advice. I completed 8 laps just practicing watching my hand, breathing through my nose etc. By the end of 8 laps I was feeling pretty confident so I ditched the kickboard.
I ended up swimming an additional 12 laps (slowly) practicing my breathing. Each lap got easier and things just started clicking. I even felt like I was swimming at a fairly good clip (for me). I am by no means a wonderful swimmer, but I started to feel more comfortable and I know that with everything- practice makes perfect.
The triathlon I have my eye on is August 3rd. That is 5 weeks from this weekend. My plan is to hit the pool at least 2 times a week and swim for 30-40 minutes. My co-worker’s parents live on the lake where the triathlon will be held and she has offered to let me swim from their dock on the weekends. I would love to get in at least 2 OWS before 8/3 so I will be taking her up on that offer.
Swimming will be the weakest discipline for me, but I feel a million times more confident about it then I did 5 days ago. To say that I am freaking excited for my first triathlon is an understatement. I am ecstatic about it. I haven’t been this excited about a race in a long time!!!!
What have you learned that has made you a better swimmer?
What is your favorite discipline in the triathlon?