My background in swimming is pretty nonexistent. I remember swimming in gym class and being scared I would drown. My friends can attest that anytime we played water polo I threatened their lives if they dunked me.
When I made the decision to do triathlons, the first thing out of my Mom’s mouth was, “but, you don’t know how to swim”…and for the most part she was right. So I joined the Capital District Triathlon Club where on Tuesday nights they had training night where you could do an open water swim up, bike 20 miles then run a 5K. The first time I showed up with my friend Tara, I skipped out on the swim and just did the bike and run. The second week – I finally got in the water. Oh my gosh – that was the longest 40 something minutes of my life for a half mile! I had signed up for my first half ironman distance triathlon for the Fall of that year and I think I swam maybe 5 or 6 times before the race. Adding to that, the week before the race I had to buy a wetsuit since the water was going to be so cold and I had never swam in one before. I think the wetsuit was the only thing that got me through that 1.2 mile swim! The only reason my Mom came to watch the race was to make sure I got out of the water and didn’t drown! Thanks Mom!
So fall, winter and spring went by and guess how many times I got in the pool to train? Zero! Summer came and I joined CDTC and BTC triathlon clubs again where I got to swim open water twice a week with my trusty wetsuit and called it swim training!
When I made the move down to North Carolina – the triathlon club scene was completely different from where I lived before and I knew I was going to have to actually swim in a pool for the first time since middle school gym class. The added motivation from signing up for IMLP helped because I knew to swim 2.4 miles was no easy task for me!
Even with IMLP on the dock – I wouldn’t say my swim training was the best and I still wasn’t comfortable in the water. I think my longest workout was 4,000 yards at one time before Placid and to be honest some days I would get in and swimming 100 yards in a row was tough. Luckily, I was able to get in Mirror Lake a week before the race and swim the 2.4 mile course to make sure I could do it. After being down 20 minutes after the swim to my competitors in my age group on race day – even if I am a strong biker and runner I knew my swimming needed to improve if I had any plans to be competitive and get to where I want to be.
Training for Cozumel – my swimming picked up a bit but still wasn’t ideal since the only time I could swim with my schedule was at 8:30 pm on my own. That brings me to where I am today – working with Hillary and getting a new job has already drastically changed my swim and where it will be in the next couple of months. Things that have helped….
1. I can swim in the mornings when my motivation is the highest!
2. Having a coach write you swim workouts and having you report times – everyone wants to impress their coach! And in case you haven’t heard – she loves 100 X 100 workouts and by god if she tells me to do it I’ve better be able to do it!
3. Masters! I had always been scared and intimidated to go to a Masters swim before but after doing Hillary’s workouts and getting in the water as much as I am – I finally have the confidence to get there and even lead my lane if I can. Now I just need to make sure I am moving up lanes and pushing myself!
4. Kona – I need to swim faster – not necessarily because of time lost but for positioning during the race. I need to get out of the water with bikers that are more around my level so I actually have people to work with instead of saying “on your left” or “slow swimmer coming through” all the time during the race.
So after being called out by James for not having any swimming goals – I guess my answer to him is that since my training was pretty non-existent before January 1 – it is tough for me to see where I can be with sufficient work and training…so I guess my only goal is to complete every workout given to me and push myself to get uncomfortable while in the water and see where it leads!