…I try so hard, I can’t bite the bullet. Don’t know what it is bout’ that little
pools lovin’, but I like it, I love it, I want some more of it.
Alright enough of McGraw for now.
I begin this way because I have just had an ephifany from the heavens above. I’ve just had one of those “lightbulb over your head” moments that you see in the funny pages. What you ask has just hit me like a lightning bolt? Well sit right down and let me tell you.
As I was solving the worlds problems at my desk (preparing tax returns) it hit me that I really love swimming. I must say that I was on the fence for a while. Way back when (October of 2009) I had just joined the Rochester Area Masters Swimming club. In order to give you a proper background to my swimming career I will give a brief summary. NONE. There, that was quick. In all seriousness I had no formal swimming in my background and no pool swimming whatsoever. Although I grew up on a lake and would make the occasional cross lake swim (lord knows how long that took) I never really “swam”. I played on waverunners, drove motor boats, tubed, water skied, played on wakeboards..just never really “swam”. So with this pedigree I began my swimming career with the RAMS group at the ripe age of 23. I promptly was lapped by swimmers that were as old or older than my grandparents, NO JOKE! I can only imagine what that looked like. I sometimes try to think about how I felt in the water back then since I was considerably slower than I am at the present moment. However, as with all improvements in endurance sports they come over time, you really have to put in the hours to have any return on your investment. This means that I just can’t for the life of me feel the difference in my swimming. I guess the overarching theme is that I feel more comfortable in the water. I mean I can now jump in the water and begin to warm up and know how the swim is going to be just by the first 25 yards, I think its something you develop over time when you know how your breathing is, how your arms feel, etc..its like if you get through the first 50 and your out sufferfest of breathe or just feel like a rock sinking in the water, well you know your in for a. Other times you jump in and you slice through the water like a hot knife through butter. If only I could feel that way for a whole hour at a time, but realistically you can’t. I think the trick becomes maintaining that form that you had when you first jumped in throughout the whole workout. Then even though you are feeling more fatigued and maybe not as smooth you are steel actually slicing through the water with the same efficiency.
So as I began my swimming career I struggled. I struggled actually swimming as well as with the fact that I was so damn slow. Swimming is not something that comes overnight, the real swimmers, the ones that can really light it up have usually been swimming since they were wee little children. Most…but not all. So in the beginning it was a bit discouraging to an ambitious soul as myself to see the people lap you time and time again. Even though I would be giving 110% effort the swimmers would still be effortlessly kicking my butt. I was always amazed. I say that it looked effortless but as I would find out it really never becomes “effortless” their is still a lot of effort being put forth but as you progress you just raise your tolerance level.
During that first year I had a little lull in my swimming since I had to start swimming alone in the early hours due to my work schedule. This meant swimming at 5am in the morning at the local Y before heading back to the audit trail. I was doing most of my workouts on little sleep (literally taking a nap once I got to the Y parking lot before I went in to swim). That was not good and in retrospect I would have probably improved my swimming more by skipping the swim and just sleeping more. None the less I still swam, it wasn’t pretty. I would be doing this alone most of the time and I was just having trouble pushing myself through the workouts. Thankfully I stuck with it and put as much time as I could into it. Finally late April came and tax season was over. I raced in my first IM 70.3 last April at swam a ridiculously slow 1.2 miles of almost 40 minutes. Sure it was in ocean water and wavy…but 40 minutes! That’s a lot of time to give up in a 4 and a half hour event. Luckily when I returned home from Texas the Spring season was in full effect and the open water season was on the horizon. I don’t exactly know how to explain it but the open water changed me. Once I was in the open water, away from all the drills and all the flip turns I began to come into my own. By no means did I start breaking world records but It just felt so nice to be out swimming the open water with no clock on the wall and no lines to follow. It was just swimming by feel and it really felt great. I swam predominantly in the open water for the whole summer. It wasn’t until late June (almost 9 months since I started swimming for real) that I felt I had improved. I think this is typical of running, biking and swimming since improvement comes over a long long time but when it comes and you have a break out session you really “FEEL” it and you can see just how far you’ve come along.
and that is Part 1. I wrote this on Sunday while I was at Starbucks then got lost in the day and never finished it. I just had an impulse to get this out (its now Monday at 4:30pm) so I am going to post what I have so far and hopefully this will motivate me to conclude my thoughts tomorrow or some other day this week!
Hope you enjoy…hope its coherent because honestly I haven’t proof read a darn word of this and I was writing this while on a caffeine induced high at 6:30AM.