I refuse to be conquered by the water. I will swim confidently. Damn it. That was my mentality when I arrived at the pool the day after my lake fiasco last week. I was thinking about the pool the way a fighter might consider his or her opponent in the ring. I was mentally shaking my fist at the lap lanes as I walked out of the locker room. That's it, I'm doing this. No more warm ups, Total Immersion drills, counting strokes, taking yoga breaths at the wall......nope, just get in and swim, and don't stop. Okay, stop eventually, but not before 45 minutes was up at least. Guess what? It happened.
Okay, I confess, I cheated a bit. I used a pull buoy for the whole swim. (Which is just more proof of how intimidated I am by swimming.) My kick is such that it is hindering me more than helping me anyway, so I used arms only for 30 straight minutes, at which point cramps I had been fighting in my toes, feet and finally calves got the best of me and I decided it was time to get out. I was thrilled though, that I didn't feel tired or out of breath the entire swim, so I dubbed it a success and made a mental note to arrive at the pool hydrated next time.
Fast forward to the following Tuesday, back a the lake. I didn't want to use that same old shorty wetsuit that I had been so miserable in last week, and I didn't have time on short notice to pick up a rental. But I really needed to get back in the lake, so, in an apparent attempt to sabotage myself, I decided to us my husband's old surfing wetsuit (he's six foot two, I"m five five and a half). If nothing else I provided everybody with some comic relief.
This time I stayed closer to shore and did loops around the pilings. I didn't feel too streamlined, but I did feel buoyant, which boosted my confidence. Still, it was COLD and I was ready to get out after about 650 yards.
Wednesday morning I went back to the pool and resolved myself to swim 1500 straight with no pull buoy and no rest breaks. I did a short warm-up then started off, counting wall tags to make sure I swam the whole distance. Lo and behold, I DID IT! I got into a good rhythm with my breathing and just kept going, taking one short break to swish my goggles in the water since they were fogging up. On my last wall tag I looked at my watch: 37 minutes! That's a respectable time, I thought, a capable time. I even had the energy to speed up for the last 100 yards. I got out of the pool thinking: bring on the half iron man!
Now, to see if I could feel this good in the cold, open water of the lake in May.
Thursday morning, back at the lake. I had a new wetsuit this time. A full suit, but sleeveless and it fit me. Perhaps my subconscious is trying to tell me something though, because just as I arrived at the lake I realized I had forgotten my cap and goggles! Crap. Elisa saved the day by producing some kid goggles out of her son's swim bag. The cap I could do without.
I felt better this time and I liked the sleeveless wetsuit. My arms had easy, full range of motion. Still, it was cold. Brr. The wind and a few raindrops were present, and also a few rays of sun. I managed about 700 yards of good freestyle and headed in to shore feeling more confident than the last time, but knowing that the more times I get in the lake before the Blue Lake Triathlon on June 6th, the better.
I'm heading back out tomorrow to tackle the lake yet again. Wetsuit, check. Goggles, check. Swim cap, check. Booties, check. Gloves, check. This time I'm going to try to stay warm and swim a full mile.
I'll let you know how it goes.