Monday, March 2, 2009

One Month in the Pool

Today I missed my scheduled swim workout. It wasn't my fault. It snowed, the entire state panicked (Oh, please, let me go north soon. They have real snowplows there.) and the YMCA was closed. It's really not a big deal. I can swim tomorrow. I'm just sorry I have to wait.

But why am I so anxious to swim? I only started swimming laps one month ago today. During the past four weeks I've had eight sessions in the pool. Could I be totally hooked on swimming already?

Other than the swimming lessons I had when I was a kid, my swimming had been all recreational. Summers were divided between the lake and the ocean, so swimming was necessary if we were going to join in the fun. My brother, sister and I all learned to swim the same way - we fell off the boat and dog paddled until someone grabbed us. After some lessons, we could swim to shore. The only experience I'd had swimming laps in a pool was keeping a high-school friend company while she practiced for life guard training. Lately, swimming has meant a short swim in the lake to cool down on a hot day, followed by an hour or two floating in an inner tube. I started triathlon training knowing I could swim, but now I have to be able to SWIM. No inner tubes allowed on race day.

The first morning I went to the pool I stood at the side for awhile, just watching. All the lanes were full, and everyone looked like they knew what they were doing. I was totally intimidated. I finally chose the outside lane that had stairs going down into it. The stairs came in handy. I hid behind them to give my lane-mate the opportunity to pass me, which he did just about every lap, even when he was using a kickboard.

That first day I swam for twelve minutes. After twelve minutes I could barely lift myself out of the pool. I remembered how to do freestyle. I didn't remember swimming being so hard.

Each workout got better, and I got less sore afterward. I worked my swim time up to 24 minutes, and bounced right out of the pool when I was done. By the end of the month I started looking forward to getting up at 5 a.m. to go to the pool. Last week I even ventured into another lane - one without a place to hide!

I'm happy with what I accomplished in February, which was my first month on my sprint-distance training plan. I feel like becoming a triathlete is within my grasp. In my mind, I am already there. Now my body is catching up, and it feels really good. I know I have more work to do, but I am ready to do it.

I really missed my swim this morning. I can't wait for tomorrow.
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