Monday, April 26, 2010

The Pool

Where to start, one year ago.... This was seriously one of the most humiliating and humbling points in my life. I started swimming and had to stop and rest after each length. I probably swam five or six lengths then went home dejected. I repeated this three or four times and seriously contemplated quitting. It's humbling to have an old lady in the lane next to you, clicking off laps seemingly forever while I struggle to do one lap. Well, I didn't quit, but I did get a coach. I joked before I saw her that she would probably recommend biathlons for me. She didn't do that, but she did point out about 20 things I was doing wrong and told me that if I stuck with it for three or four months, I would be able to swim in a triathlon. Three or four months? You have to be kidding me. It shouldn't take that long. It turns out she was optimistic :-(. It actually took closer to six months. Anyway, here is how I did it. My coach had me get some dumb bells and do three sets of 12 curls, military presses, and tricep exercises several times per week. She said not to rush the sets, count two on the up motion and four on the down motion. Nice and slow to really work the muscles. Having never lifted, I didn't have any upper body strength. She also had me switch from swimming trunks you wear to the beach to jammers. That's right, besides being humbled by old people clicking off laps, I get to be humiliated. A middle aged, overweight, pasty white guy who can't swim is wearing jammers and goggles. I tried to sneak peaks at the life guards to see if they were snickering at me. I never caught them, but I swear they were :-). Anyway, I kept at it. I went to the pool two or three times a week and did 100's or 200's until I was tired. I also started using a pull buoy. It allowed me to swim more level and longer distances without stopping. At this point, I swam faster with the buoy than without. After a couple months, I started doing 400's but couldn't go much further until one day in October when I didn't feel too bad after 400, I just kept going. I ended up doing 1000 yards straight that night and a mile straight two nights later. What a huge breakthrough! Now it's time for a sprint, except the season ended a month earlier. Oh well, at least I didn't quit. So in October last year I started bike shopping.

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