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Friday, August 30, 2013

I'm a Terrible Swimmer


I was planning to rag on my bike or talk about my new plan for training, but maybe it is time for a short rant on my swimming.

It isn’t even questionable.  I am a terrible swimmer.  How can someone grow up their entire life with a swimming pool in the backyard and not be able to swim worth a flip?  For the first few weeks I thought I was doing pretty good.  I mean, I didn’t hate it.  I didn’t drown or swallow gallons of water.  Yeah, success.  Then, last Sunday following a miserably hot 6 mile run, I hopped in the pool.

I barely made it 25 meters before I had to bail my spastic freestyle stroke for something I call “The Survivor”.  Half crawl, half dog paddle..head up…breathing air.  Breathing air like humans were created to do by the way.  This was only discouraging because several days earlier I plowed through 250 meters (taking short breaks after each length of the pool) without much trouble.

Maybe the run took it out of me, but I certainly didn’t feel overly fatigued.

This may have been the jumping off point in my previous efforts to become a triathlete.  Though the efforts were extremely brief, a bad day in the pool brings about a tremendous bout of hopelessness.  I know what’s wrong, but I don’t know how to fix it.

Swimming is largely about technique.  That means I need coaching.  Oh, and I’ll need a lot of time because it will take many many tweaks to become a passable swimmer.  This brings about a problem.  I don’t want a coach.  I want to get in the pool and just swim.  It is so frustrating.  Running is simple.  You want to run faster, you do workouts that are fast.  You want to run farther, you do runs that are progressively longer in length.  Swimming can’t be that different…can it?

Yet, I vow not to give up during the month of August (3 days left, I think I can make it).  I have purchased and downloaded some swimming books and DVDs.  I can’t read my way to being a better swimmer, but these have outlined and demonstrated drills that they use with beginning triathletes to get their body position correct and comfortable in the pool.

My original plan was to just go to the pool 2 or 3 times a week and work until I could put together 300 meters without stopping.  Like my running plan…just keep going and adding slowly.  NOPE, not now.  Tonight, I’m going to work on drills for the first 15-20 minutes and then maybe try some laps.  Keep working on the drills for the next few weeks and see if things start to get more natural.  It may not work, but the way I have been doing it will result in me giving up.

Maybe I’ll touch on bike in the next post.

UPDATE:  The drills do make a difference.  Don’t get me wrong, I was still awful.  I didn’t do 15-20 minutes doing only drills.  You look pretty stupid doing these drills so I mixed in some actual laps trying to apply the drills key purpose.  I’m not sure what looks dumber.  Me doing drills or slashing at the water trying to execute freestyle.  I’ve also found I’m better after 15 or 20 minutes.  Things slow down and I slow down.  I’m never too tired (I take a lot of breaks) to take another lap and at the slower pace breathing becomes a little easier.  I just don’t see how I’m going to be able to put together lap after lap without the break (even a quick one) at each end of the pool.  Oh well, I’ll just keep working at it.

Run in Peace, Rest in Grace