Happy Tuesday!! So my last over dramatic post ended with a 40 mile bike ride and some miles with very questionable form and if you think I was nervous about that new challenge the whole swimming part of this Ironman left me even more anxious. Yes I swam as a child and can hold my own jumping in the ocean to cool off between tanning sessions on the beach but anything that requires a one-piece, swimming cap, and goggles has always been in a category titled “serious swimmer” to me.
While I was nervous to go for a bike ride I also didn’t have to communicate with anyone to do it and could pick up and leave whenever I wanted or if I made a fool out of myself. But going to a real pool meant there would be people around and worse than that “pool rules”. Now anyone that knows me knows I am a rule follower. I am the girl who told on herself to her parents when she had a party in high school and feel bad in bootcamp when I lose count because I don’t want to cheat. What if I broke the rules of the pool or the gym?
The entire day I kept thinking of new questions (Do I wear flip flops from the locker room to the pool?, Is there a way to put a swim cap on backwards etc) which only caused more anxiety. This escalated so far that one of my co-workers asked me “Aren’t you suppose to be the therapist here?” In the end we came up with a plan. I was to leave after work, go to the pool and just get in. I only had to get in and then decide if I wanted to swim or not. Baby steps…
I got to the gym, took the tags off of my entire bag of stuff that was clearly brand new, and then walked to the pool. Like a miracle there was no one in any of the lanes. This made me feel better but I also had no one to look at to follow. Not to mention it was freezing outside and the last thing I wanted to do was get in water that was anything less then the nice whirlpool that was calling my name directly next to the pool. Eventually I put my feet in and sat for a good five minutes before I got in and started swimming.
I started to do laps and even after going back to the pool a few times I still have no idea what they look like or what they are suppose to look like. After what seemed like a good amount of them I looked at my watch and it told me I had been swimming for SEVEN minutes. SEVEN. It also took me a good 20 laps to get my googles to a place where they were not leaking water in my eyes. Every lap I did I turned around (did not push off because I won’t have that during the Ironman) and told myself just one more. And as silly as it sounds when I started to tell myself I had done more then I was suppose to do and could get out I just repeated to myself “Just Keep Swimming” and it worked.
I swam for 30 minutes. At first I tried keeping track of laps but then focused more on not drowning which I felt was more important at this point in training. After getting out I was SO proud of myself that I seriously wanted to run up to everyone in the gym and tell them what I had just done. Not because I made athletic strides but because I forced myself out of my comfort zone and succeeded. I let myself sit in the whirlpool for a about ten minutes (which now had multiple people in it) before I realized I could probably take off my swimming cap and goggles and that my whirlpool mates were probably slightly confused at the look I was going for. After a shower I treated myself to take out and some reading to close out the night.
The swimming portion of this race will by far be the most difficult part for me but it is something I am ready to work at and will have the Cape to swim in in the summer. I have been back to the pool a couple of times and am trying to increase my time in the pool little by little. Once I feel comfortable in the water for an extended period of time I will work on perfecting my stroke. One of my fellow bootcampers today told me about a program they used for their first Ironman that helped them out a lot so I am thinking about checking that out.
Whether it is an actual pool or something in life I urge you all to just keep swimming through something that is troubling you or worrying you. And of course be patient and always celebrate the small victories! 🙂