I am a creature of habit. I like comfort, I don't like new, unfamiliar things. Three years ago, I learned to swim in order to do triathlons. It was the scariest thing I've ever put myself through. It was the hardest thing I've ever had to learn. Last year, I did an Ironman Triathlon - swam 2.4 miles. I was scared to death before the event, but during the actual swim, I was calm and relaxed. It was a very comfortable hour and 40 minute swim and I felt great.
I was slow. I am a slow swimmer and I am okay with that. This summer was the first time I have been able to approach the swim portion of a triathlon without major anxiety. I finally hit my stride.
All that happiness and comfort ended today. We plan to do another Iron distance triathlon next year and I want to be a better swimmer. I want to be a faster, more efficient swimmer. Over the past year, I have really worked on my running and improved my times tremendously. Now for the swim.
Trevor is a very good swimmer. He is confident and fast. Today we went to the pond and he coached me on my swim. I know he was nervous about this because I don't like to be told what to do. I get mean and angry when I am challenged.
I had decided that I was going to remain calm and really work to learn a better stroke. You see - I breath every stroke, always to the right side. I've been lucky that in all my events that has been okay. I know it is just a matter of time until I am in a swim where breathing to the right isn't possible due to water conditions or other swimmers and then I am screwed. I want to learn to bilateral breath every 3rd stroke.
Today was the most challenging swim I had since my first swim lesson. It was hard. I was angry. What made me the most angry was that when I did the new stroke correctly, I could feel how much more efficiently and quickly I moved through the water. When I went back to my old stroke, I felt like I was standing still. So what used to be comfortable was now uncomfortable and what I was trying to learn was also uncomfortable. I couldn't get the breathing rhythm down. I was holding my breath at the end of the stroke and my heart rate was sky rocketing. I had to stop alot. Trevor is such a good coach - so patient. I wanted to yell at him and I think at one point I told him I wanted a divorce. I kept telling myself that I needed to stick with it and it would eventually get easier, probably not today, but eventually.
I told Trevor that I hated it because it was hard. He reminded me of something I already know - the hard is where the progress is made. I do know that is true, but I had gotten into such a nice groove where I could swim forever at my slow and comfortable pace. I feel like I am starting all over again...and really...I am.
We finished up our swim and I was exhausted. I can't wait to practice and see improvement. I like learning new things once they are learned...I look forward to being at that point, because right now its just hard!! Stay tuned...