Diving in… literally.
Ever since my trainer put the words “you” and “triathlon” in the same sentence I feel like it crosses my mind at least once a day. I think about it, I talk about it, I read about it, and I think about it some more. I tell myself “Are you INSANE? What makes you think you can actually do this?“. Then I tell myself “You realize that you will be the epitome of a bad ass after this, right?” It’s a raging war inside my head. So needless to say I was both excited and nervous to actually take the first step in my training… a triathlon swim class.
Training really began with the search for a swim suit. Why do athletic bathing suits have to be THE most unattractive combination of nylon and spandex ever? I totally thought that my first bathing suit experience 50 pounds lighter would be a little more enjoyable than this. But after realizing that function trumps flattery in this scenario I left the sporting goods store with a suit, goggles and a swim cap… bring it, swim class!
The countdown to class was like a ticking bomb in my nervous system. I had to force myself to finish my dinner before I headed to the pool. (Wait- isn’t the #1 rule that you are supposed to wait an hour after eating to swim? I’m already setting myself up for failure!). Sure I can”swim”- If you mean casually float around a pool or play a competitive game of Marco Polo. But laps back and forth? Not my thing.
By some magic twist of fate, my triathlon/swim class buddy (who has been there- done that when it comes to triathlons) and I were directed to the wrong pool, therefore missing our first class. I of course, took this as a sign from the swim gods that I had another night free from the water. Swim buddy however, suggested we take advantage of the pool’s free swim time and get in a few laps. Damn.
I timidly jumped into the pool, put on my googles (No swim cap yet, one thing at a time here)…and pushed off. I was shocked when I made it to the other side of the pool. (Have I mentioned yet that the triathlon swim is like EIGHTEEN laps in the pool?) It certainly wasn’t graceful, and I was gasping for air as I grabbed onto the wall- but I did it.
As we went back and forth it took all of my strength and concentration to not freak out and sink when my feet couldn’t touch anymore. (And is it even physically possible to sweat while you’re swimming? Because I’m pretty sure I was.) But with each lap I chalked up a small victory point for Kathleen. This is learning to run, the aquatic version. In my mind I was back on the pathway at the beach, 50 pounds heavier, priding myself on running two light poles without stopping. It was hard, it took a lot of work, but the pride I felt when I collapsed into bed later that night sparked a little glimmer of hope within me. If this is anything like running, I know that with a few weeks or months of practice will make a lap in the pool seem like a piece of cake.