Tuesday, August 23, 2011
You talking to me??
I was completely out of breath, hyperventilating, and my heart rate was out of control. The water was starting to engulf me and my body was sinking. I was overwhelmed with exhaustion, working harder than I ever had before, and completely certain that death was imminent . Finally my hand touched the wall and I stood up. I had just completed my first lap in the pool.
Yes, that was me 14 months ago. I had already signed up for an open water triathlon (two months away) and my first trip to pool was less than successful. I knew how to not sink but I would not say I knew how to swim. Why I signed up for a triathlon when I couldn't swim is anyone's guess, but I am pretty sure stupidity played a big part of it. Giving up was starting to look pretty appealing and I might have done just that if it had not been for a conversion with another swimmer that day. She must have known I needed encouragement (the tears might have been the giveaway). She told me she was there just a year ago herself. Her advice was to take some lessons, keep practicing, and don't give up!
I took the lessons, I practiced diligently, read Total Immersion Swimming, and my triathlon was a huge success (meaning I didn't die). I continued to work on swimming and, although I think I am considerably better than I was, I would not call myself a great swimmer (you can just read this or this to see my problems with swimming). So, I was of course surprised today when I finished my 500 meter swim and the lady in the lane next to me said, "You are a really good swimmer. Can you give me some advice." Um, who was she talking to? I was the only other person there, so it must be me.
I had to get over the shock of someone wanting tips from me on swimming (I did just describe my swimming in the tri as cat like!). I think I was a bit unqualified, but I wanted to give her the same encouragement that I had gotten. I told her that I was there too, that I had to take lessons, I had to learn to breath properly, and I had to learn proper body alignment. She asked if she should just add a lap each time until she got better and I told her no. No, you need to learn to swim properly or you will always feel like you are going to die after one lap. We talked some more and I hope she was encouraged to not give up!!
Sometimes it takes seeing where you started to realize how far you have come. That first day in the pool was so horrible but now swimming (in a pool, not Cherry Creek Reservoir) is, dare I say, enjoyable. So lady at the gym, keep your head up. . .well actually keep it down.