Help! I can’t swim and I’m going to do a tri!

I finally got my act together and went to the pool Friday. I’d like to say that I swam but really it was more of an attempt.

OK, yes, I can swim. But, not very well. And, it has been made clear to me that I have no swimming endurance. Or, because I was born premature, my lungs never fully developed and that is the reason why after nearly every stroke, I felt like I needed to gasp for air. (Oh, good clean, air!)

My family belonged to the neighborhood swim (and tennis) club ever since I was a little kid. That is where I spent most of my summers, just going to the pool. I was jumping off the diving board — may it rest in peace. Apparently diving boards are a safety hazard now. I was just hanging out with my friends. I was playing on the jungle gym. I was going to the ice cream social. I was playing pool basketball. I definitely was not swimming laps.

My family still has membership to the swim club — we are alum status now for being members for 20 plus years or whatever — so I still have access to the pool.

I forced my friend Mo to go with me. She’s a pretty strong swimmer and does laps several mornings a week. I needed her to 1. Re-teach me how to swim efficiently. 2. Teach me lap swim etiquette. (Now I know what “splitting the lane means!) 3. Make sure I didn’t drown? Those lifeguards look like they are 16! I don’t think they would be able to save me should something bad happen …

I was winded after one lap. Yes, after one lap of freestyle, I was tired. Mo asked me what part of my body was the most tired. I responded with “everything.” Besides my legs though, it was my lungs. I need to really work on my swimming. I am doing a sprint triathlon in mid-August. The length of the swim portion is a half mile, which is equivalent to 35 laps at the pool. Thirty-fives laps! I can only do one before I have to touch the wall!

Humans were born to run. That’s why I am a runner. You just put one foot in front of the other, and go. It’s really as simple as that. Swimming is not like that. We were not designed to keep our heads under water for an extended period of time! And, it’s not that my swimming form is that bad, my problem is that I slightly start freaking out in my head when I am under water.

As soon as I started getting “close” to the other side of the pool in my laps, I would think, “Ah, I can’t breathe! All these bubbles! What is happening?” And then that last quarter of the lap seems like forever.

If I knew I would freak out this much while swimming, I don’t think I ever would have signed up for a triathlon. I have nine short weeks to get myself to not freak out in the water and to get my lungs in check.

I’m nervous.

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2 thoughts on “Help! I can’t swim and I’m going to do a tri!

  1. Pingback: From pool to lake « Quarter-life victory

  2. Pingback: Injured runner: Learning how to swim yet again – Ready, set, KO!

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