Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Breathe, Keep Calm & Swim On

That's the mantra on repeat in my head. 

After a week off from swimming, getting in the pool last night was absolutely necessary but also terrifying. I decided to try simulating open water swim conditions. 400M, nonstop without warmup (other than dynamic arm stretches), no walls and sighting drills throughout. Ugh. It was like swimming for the first time. Again. I've said this before, swimming is not like riding a bike at all. 

My breathing pattern was off. No, it was nonexistent. I guess my imagination took the best of me as I was visualizing race day conditions...
1- can't see the bottom, my goggles got foggy and I didn't allow myself a break to fix them...
2- getting to the length end & awkwardly turning sans touching the wall and starting again was draining. I worried about fatiguing in the lake. Which led to eradic breathing and caused me to flip on my back to catch my breath. 
3- The start & stop also broke any kind of rhythm I was even close to attaining which I figured would be much like getting smacked in the head. 

A fantastic training swim, don't cha think? :/

It was the longest 11 minutes ever. And then, I took a break and did it again! It wasn't easier because now I was tired. Swimming for your life has away of sucking the energy out of you, I suppose. It took an extra minute too. 

I really just wanted OUT of the pool by then but I had to get past this craziness. I did another 400 of drills (100k, 150p, 150fs DPS).  Good grief, so much better. And then, I did another 400 straight, with wall and was AMAZED at how fluid my breathing was. WTF? I could have swam forever. Ugh. So frustrating!

In any event, I realize that practice is the only thing that will help me, plus the actual experience of DOING IT. 

I've been repeating this mantra to myself all morning every time the race pops into my head. And then, I get an email from a buddy who just finished Ironman St George, Utah last weekend. He sent some inspirational finisher videos and had this to say about my OWS qualms:

"HI Val!  I hope you will watch the “recap video” below!  It’s soo inspiring and you can see the amazing scenery at Ironman St. George.  It was totally amazing!!!  Maybe you’ll be inspired too and I’ll see ya there next year!  Ha! Man, I LOVED that course!  Soo beautiful.  I found myself just looking around soo much during the race!  Wow.  I'll be back for more next year. 

OMG!  Open water swimming is a different world.  EVERYONE feels just like you do the 1st couple times! EVERYONE!  If you have to float on your back for a bit fine!  If you have to do breast stroke for a while fine.  Who cares!  Just get there early and do a practice swim to calm yourself.  And if someone pisses you off in the swim (likes kicks you in the face!)  just pull their feet REALLY hard. Ha!

I'm Sooo excited for your VAL!!!  You goo!  I can't wait to hear about it!!!"

That coupled with all the articles I've read on the subject since my swim makes me 
feel slightly better. But not sure I'll be joining him so soon. Baby steps. :)

Stay tuned!!

Valerie