“Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life
as by the obstacles which he has overcome.”
-Booker T. Washington
Today I entered uncharted territory: I started swim lessons. This was a HUGE step for me, and the final piece in my triathlon training journey. I had intentionally saved swimming for last because I knew it would be the most difficult for me. I was so nervous about the class starting that I literally got no sleep. I was up every hour on the hour and just lied awake most of the night. I was afraid that my total lack of experience would be an issue and that the swim instructor or other class members would be impatient and mean. What I found when I arrived was quite the opposite!
The swim coach assured me that I would not be the only person foreign to lap swimming (as well as swim caps, goggles, etc), and although that was a total lie and I was the ONLY inexperienced person in the class, things still went remarkably well. The first half of the class I tried to get the hang of putting my face in the water and breathing properly, but I was really struggling- despite the best efforts of the coach to help me. I just couldn’t get the hang of the rhythm, and found I didn’t have enough time to get air in before putting my face back in the water. I ultimately figured I could either spend my class time working on the breathing or attempt to do the work out . It seemed more helpful to focus on the workout and practice proper breathing on my own time.
Once I did give up on putting my face in the water, I was actually able to keep up with the rest of the “slow” group. I was pleasantly surprised at just how many laps I was able to swim with fairly minimal rest in between. The other swimmers were not bothered by my total newbiness, and that was a huge comfort. In fact, they were all very supportive, assuring me it would get easier and that I was in the right place. One swimmer even offered to work with me on the breathing outside of class, which was a super kind gesture. Even the life guard introduced himself and offered support….which made me wonder just how badly I looked like I was struggling. I later found out that he was the one who had taught the swimmer who offered to help me how to breath properly a few years earlier. It appeared I was not the only person picking up swimming as an adult after all.
Maybe it was the fact that I was so much younger than everyone else that caused everyone to take me under their wing; however, I’m noticing that people at the YMCA are like that. It’s like a little community there with everyone on a first name basis, which is probably why new people stick out like a sore thumb to them. It’s comforting to be in such a warm, friendly environment when taking on something as anxiety provoking (for me) as swimming. There is just something about putting my face in the water that makes me tense up and hyperventilate! Yet, I think if I am going to overcome that anxiety and get the hang of swimming properly that the other swimmers are right about me being in the right place.
Being in that pool today, I was pleasantly surprised with myself. Of course, I was not thrilled about being unable to conquer the breathing, but I was excited that I was able to swim so many laps. More than that, I was keeping up with people who have a lot more experience at swimming than I do. Given that I have almost 8 months before the half ironman, I
think hope I should be in good shape.
In other riveting news, I also started spin classes today! It was super fun too! Adam and I went together, but I don’t think he was quite as enthusiastic as I was. In fact, I noticed I was the only person smiling through the entire workout, which I don’t completely understand… Doesn’t everyone love endorphins? 😉 By the end of the class, I had covered over 23 miles which is kind of ridiculous even for a bike. That’s sub 3 minute miles! Plus, that was on top of my hour of swimming (no rest for the weary there!), 4 mile run (on the dreadmill at 9 min pace), and full leg workout with the trainer. I think it’s safe to say that I am going to be very sore and hungry tomorrow! Don’t worry, I did at least take a nap in between my leg workout and the spinning. 🙂
Tomorrow it’s back to work, but I am hoping to get out early enough to catch the next swim class afterward… that is if I am still able to move by tomorrow… Hopefully I will get some decent rest tonight. If nothing else, at least I get to sleep until 4:30 instead of getting up at 4 for the pool!