Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Building Endurance

This morning’s 60 minute bike ride turned into 85 minutes, thanks to 20+ mph headwind. It’s nice to have the trade winds back, but it would sure be more convenient if they would wait until 8:30 a.m. or so to pick up like that. I just kept telling myself, “It could be just like this on race day, so keep going.” I need to keep building my endurance. And despite the longer than usual ride, I kept my appointment with the pool at lunch today.

A little back-story: I have never been a good swimmer. Recently, I emailed a local swim coach and, when she asked me to describe my ability I told her, “Advanced dog paddle.” I can stay afloat, get myself to the other side of the pool, snorkel for hours, but I never really learned how to swim “correctly.” A lot of it has to do with the fact that I don’t like putting my face in the water.

My mom took me to the obligatory swimming lessons when I was a kid. You remember me, don’t you? The one they couldn’t keep IN the pool – I got out and ran to my mom whenever the coach turned her back. They disentangled me and plopped me right back in the water until the next time she turned her back, and so on.

I managed to learn something, however, since I passed the class, although that final test was a doozie. You had to jump off both the low diving board and the HIGH diving board to pass. The low dive was fine, but I climbed the high dive, crept out to the end of the board and decided I was not going to jump. My return path to the ground was blocked by my remaining classmates, all who were climbing the ladder one after the other. All lined up, impatiently waiting for me to take my turn. After what felt like about an hour, but probably only amounted to 2-3 minutes, the lifeguard came up the ladder and jumped with me. Pass.

Which brings me to today. I realized as I entertained the thought of entering a triathlon that I was going to have to improve my swimming. From everything I’ve read, it appears that I am not alone, either. I found someone who is giving me lessons once a week, but I need practice days too, which is what took me to the pool today.

I’ve been going to the same pool for lessons and practice for a couple of weeks now. I am lucky in that it is right across the street from my work – convenient for lunch time swims. It is never crowded and, best of all, its FREE! As I hacked my way through the water, practicing mostly on breathing and kicking – my assignments for the week – I realized my legs were very tired from the long ride this morning. I just kept telling myself, “I am building endurance,” and kept going. As I left the water, one of the lifeguards came up and told me that I was making progress. I sure appreciated her unsolicited comments…it made my day!

My intention for these lessons and practice is to learn to swim easily and fast enough to finish the 1500m under the time allowed. If I can pass one swimmer along the way, even better!

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