You have probably noticed that I keep track of my milestones. Friday marked a year since I began swimming. I’ve written about my fears and qualms about going the pool in earlier posts so I won’t repeat those here. This post is about how far I have come and about the new challenges.
September 2, 2010
Ok, maybe not a day that will live in infamy, but it was a pretty big deal for me. The first time we swam Sam just had me doing water aerobics type things – jumping, running in the pool, kicks hanging onto the side. I could only swim the width of the pool.
Because of the time when I trained we had to carve out a corner of the pool and share with the water aerobics class. (Hence, why I was swimming the widths and not the length.) By the end of September I was swimming/running around 20 laps during my workouts – that would be about 500 yards. This pool felt pretty safe. It’s 3 feetish in the shallow end and around 5 feet in the deep end. (Wouldn’t you think I could tell you exactly at this point?) The point is. I can stand up in the deepest water if I have to.
By October I had decided that I wanted to do a triathlon. I had made the transition to early morning workouts in September and loved being able to swim early in the morning. We continued to schedule workouts in the pool as we could and I swam on my own. In December Sam had me do a practice triathlon which included a 600 yard swim if I recall correctly. I cannot find the workout log right now. I remember thinking that was really, really long and I had a hard time making it. I just found my notes – I swam 600 yards in 28 minutes, a good bit as back stroke. I was pretty happy with that time.
My first triathlon was the Rebel Man Triathlon at Ole Miss. I’ve linked to the post about the race. The pool freaked me out since I had never been in an Olympic size pool up to that point. I’ve gotten over it. The Rebel Man Triathlon is on my calendar for 2012. I will conquer the pool at Ole Miss.
She Does Tri Camp
I wrote several posts after She Does Tri Camp. This was a fantastic experience because not only did I receive great coaching from Krista, David and Brad, I also became friends with several women who continue to support one another. It’s a great group and many of us are reuniting in Baltimore this fall for the Baltimore Half Marathon.
This post is about water though, not running. I think Paige, a fellow camper, captured Brad Rex pretty well in a post on her blog. I also still hear Brad’s voice mixed in with Sam’s voice when I am in the pool. Brad called me the joker in the pool but his patience helped me with getting over the fears I had of deep water. The She Does Tri website has an entry that explains Brad’s philosophy.
After She Does Tri camp and before the open water swims in June, I faced my fears of deep water in the 50 meter pool at the Aquatic Center. I now wish I could swim there more often but the 50 meter pool is not available often.
In June I finished two open water swims – Buster Britton and Callaway Gardens. These were very different experiences since the lake at Oak Mountain is deep and the lake at Callaway Gardens was so shallow that my hands hit the bottom. This weekend I should have competed in my first International Distance triathlon at Callaway Gardens where the swim was around the lake and then straight across in deeper water. The hamstring injury kept me from that, however.
Open water seemed scary but it was not awful. I did not have to stop and hang onto anything at the Buster Britton Tri as I feared I might. I think that Sam and I will continue to assess open water swims until I am stronger and more confident in open water.
Progress and what I have learned
In the past year I have made a lot of progress in the pool. I am no longer totally terrified of swimming into deep water. In fact, swimming in either of the deeper pools at the Aquatic Center is my preference. I now regularly swim 2000 yards or more in a workout and I have made it 1000 yards without stopping. I’m learning to swim 25 yards or more before I breathe. (That fact will freak out a few people I know.) I carry around this bag of swim stuff:
I’ve learned what I am capable of and I know that I can push and achieve more in the pool. My stroke has become stronger and my technique better. Since I injured my hamstring a few weeks ago I have been in the pool almost everyday. I’m seeing tremendous progress because of this. Sam is an excellent and patient teacher and coach. He encourages me and helps me believe that I can do more than I ever imagined.
New challenges and goals
I had to cancel the two triathlons I had scheduled in September and October. I won’t be able to complete the International distance this season. It will have to wait until next season and I am already looking at races and trying to figure out which International distance will be my first. Sam and I are also talking about a Half Ironman and, down the road, an Ironman. I need my head examined but you knew that already.
Last Friday we started a new challenge and kicked up the intensity of my workouts. It wasn’t in the pool this time. Sam put me through a boot camp session. Even though I thought I might throw up for a while, I had fun. (It was my own fault. I should not have eaten fried pickles, which I do not even like, the night before.) I imagine that we will continue to do this kind of workout.
A year ago this week I went off blood pressure medication. This was one of my major goals. My blood pressure is now around 115/70 most weeks. Sometimes the top number is 110. This is far better than the top number being over 140, sometimes even on medication. The only time my blood pressure seems to be elevated now is if I am really rushed or if someone is poking me with a needle. Fortunately I don’t get poked with needles often and I try not to rush either.
I am back to running now. My leg feels better and I am improving my time with each run. I am almost back to my pre-injury pace. I have not been back on my bike since my injury. I am hoping that I will be able to soon.
This fall I have two half marathons and a few 5k and 8k races scheduled. The Baltimore Half will mark a year of running. See what a difference a year can make?