On Monday, I thought I'd see how well I was conditioned for the biking portion of the triathlon. I didn't do too bad, but I have been practicing. Today, I thought I would venture out and try the swimming. As for how I did with that, you be the judge.
I started off by purchasing a swim cap and some goggles. One of the things I hate about swimming (I know, I used the word "hate" and still think I am going to try for the triathlon) is my long hair getting all wet and full of chlorine. The cap would make this experience much better. I picked blue, my favorite color, for luck.
I have never taken official swim lessons. I don't know a single stroke, except the Don't Sink and I still have to hold my nose with my fingers when I jump into the water. I've never liked the water and definitely have never felt comfortable bobbing around in it. Perhaps these issues are why I am feeling the strong desire to conquer my fear of water and do this race. I'm sure everyone goes from no swimming experience to triathlon in a little over a year...
Orem Fitness Center was my desired location this morning. I hadn't been in over ten years and I remembered that it had a decent sized pool. On my drive over, I was really wishing I wasn't going alone. When I got there, everything was changed around. I paused to gather my bearings, walked into the locker room and ran right into a naked old lady, the first of three on my journey. Yup. That's the other reason I don't like swimming. There's walls and walls of stalls with doors, but no one seems to care.
My locker was chosen inside the stall so I could do all my changing completely obscure. And as soon as my socks came off I remembered another reason. Bare feet touching the cold, wet locker room floor, swimming in other peoples' foot water! Um, yeah...skin crawling. Germs clinging.
Have you ever tried to put on a swim cap? I hadn't and I felt like a complete idiot trying to get it to work. I pulled it over my ponytail and ended up with a lop-sided tumor bulging off the side of my cap. I tried again, but the thickness of my hair was making it nearly impossible. I struggled for five minutes before I finally pulled real hard and snapped it on, hair whisping out all over. I was grateful for the goggles that helped hold the cap on. Together the two helped me look the part and I semi-confidently walked into the pool room. My goal was to time myself and see how long I could swim without stopping. You know, check my endurance. I jumped in the water and started the timer.
One lap across the distance of the pool was all it took for my lungs to collapse. Three measly minutes of kicking and arm waving. The confidence I had gained from the goggles had just warn off, but I paid $3.50 to get in and I didn't want to waste my money. So, I took a small rest and headed back down the length of the pool, on my back.
About half-way down, I was stopped by a leathery-looking, old man with a saggy tattoo on his left shoulder. He smiled at me and I tried to focus on him through my foggy goggles. He said, "Lady, you should try kicking with your legs and not your knees, you'll go faster." I laughed inwardly and thanked him for the tip, and at the same time stupidly admitted I didn't know what I was doing (dumb, dumb girl! As if that wasn't completely obvious already.) He took that opportunity to encourage me to take deep breaths and fill my whole body full of air, even my capillaries. I'd float better, he said. Again I thanked him and kicked with my legs all the way back to lonely safety. I couldn't help but wonder if my whole swimming person shouted out novice to everyone in the pool. Maybe I should've worn a sign!
With each pass, my legs hurt and I felt more and more awkward trying to use my legs and not my knees. Not to mention, every time I went by I got a "thumbs up" from my coach, who was sitting in the jacuzzi with four other old men. I wondered if Coach happened to catch me when I choked on pool water and sputtered for my last breath of air.
Twenty-five minutes. I had given up a non-stop swim early on, but I wanted to at least get in thirty minutes. If only my goggles weren't so foggy. It was driving me crazy. I should have asked Coach on my last lap what to do about them. I took them off to investigate. And wouldn't you know it...I figured out the problem all on my own. I had forgotten to take the little clear vinyl covering off the fronts of my eyeballs! The ones that clearly state, "please remove before use". Oh, how I wished there was someone there to laugh with me and not at me. I had already talked to four different people thus far.
On my last lap across the pool, I was splashed with hot water from the jacuzzi. I think this was the third time I'd been splashed, but I couldn't be sure. From the amount of water that hit me, this time must have come from all four men pulling their efforts. I stood up and stopped. I got a double thumbs-up from Coach, "You're doin' real good out there. Lookin' better!"
Thanks. I'm done. Humiliated and DONE!
I walked into the locker room, barely missing another naked woman, and went to take my cap off, if indeed that sucker would come off. As I stood in the mirror looking at my miserable self, I stretched the cap off my head. Water gushed out and poured down my head and all over my body. What the...!
My eyes hadn't recovered from viewing naked, sagging breasts, my nostrils could do nothing but smell chlorine, my feet were being infested by microscopic stranger-foot-germs and my hair was soaked through with pool water!
Maybe I'll try for a DUATHLON. Anybody?