I signed up to do the Women’s Triathlon in February. I’ve never done a triathlon – I’ve often said “I only run for the bus” which would be half right, but I know that I haven’t gone and swum laps in 17 years. Until last Sunday.
I think it was around the Tuesday before our wedding (by the way, yes we got married), I decided to sign up for the Women’s Triathlon. I had contemplated it sometime last winter, and thought that I’d do the Short Course triathlon, but I realised that the swim leg would be the most intimidating part of it, so I decided to sign up for the enticer triathlon instead, as the swim is an ocean swim of only 150 metres. (Bike is 5km, and run is 1.5km).
Jeremy and I went to the local pool on Sunday to do my first laps. I signed up for the triathlon training course when I signed up for the triathlon, but I feel like I should do some preparatory work so I don’t drown during my first training course swim practice session – it’s being held at a pool that I’m fairly sure is 50m long. The local pool is only 25m, and that is ideal for me. It’s shallow all the way too, so when I’m so tired I nearly swallow water I can just stop and stand up and not freak out.
I swam 200 metres of freestyle, and it was exhausting. A few weeks ago Jeremy and I rode back from Mandurah, he rode 170km and I did 100km (he rode down too, plus did the Shelley loop afterwards), and I was fine; not too tired. 200m of swimming and my lungs were inflating and deflating at great speed. Recovery was fine, but the effort involved for such a short distance was surprising.
A friend at work is a regular 2km swimmer, and she said that my swim fitness should come fairly soon. We tested it out last night at the same pool, and I did 150 metres of freestyle and 100 metres of breaststroke, so I’m getting further. Less exhausted at each end, and a couple of times I just touched the wall and headed off again. I can’t remember how to do tumble turns that well, and considering the pool is only 0.9m deep that might not be a great move to do if I flail. Generally I breathe every second stroke, on my left, but one stretch I settled into a familiar rhythm of every four strokes, until I remembered that I hadn’t swam laps regularly for 17 years and bang! I was out of breath.
My goal is to be able to swim 150 metres freestyle without stopping, in the local pool before I go to the triathlon training course. If I am still breathing every second stroke and only being able to breathe on my left I will be still happy. I may go to a longer pool closer to January (when the course starts) to see how I go in a 50 metre pool. I have faint memories of one very hot summer sometime after graduating high school going to Fremantle pool and spectacularly failing to swim laps because I couldn’t get to the other end without stopping to catch my breath.
So this is my challenge. I work better when I have a goal, even if it is just a competitive distance total of 6.65km. I’m still trying to work out my goal for the triathlon itself, which might be as simple as “I want to finish, and I don’t want to be last.” I might go as far as not wanting to be last in my age group, but at the moment let’s just aim for finishing.