Monday, April 12, 2010

Get this thing away from me

Completed my second sprint triathlon yesterday - 400-meter swim, 8-mile bike and 2.5-mile run.
I continue to struggle with the swim.
Last week, my swim coach introduced me to a Tempo Trainer, a small device that's about the size of a peppermint patty, that beeps. The swimmer's goal is to do arm strokes to the tempo of the beeps. We started with one stroke every 1.5 minute, and she encouraged me to move up to every 1.3 seconds. She said that 1.3 will be the slowest I'll use, eventually. The body has memory and becomes conditioned to certain tempos. Right now, mine is conditioned to, oh, I'd say flailing about and making waves. It moves to a beat of a different TT, let's say.
At my swim lesson, I was excited to use the Tempo Trainer. For once, I focused on something other than my strokes and kicks and just moved through the water to the little blip, blip, blip of my Tempo Trainer. In fact, I took fewer breaths using the TT, on one lap taking only two breaths! Go me.
This, I thought, is really going to help me on Sunday at Tri for the Cure.
My three friends - Lori, Debbie and Aubree - and I scouted the site Friday afternoon. Imagine my shock to learn that the pool is a 50-meter pool and not a 25-meter pool, as I have been practicing in. "I can do this," I told myself. "You can do this," my friends said.
Sunday morning, during the pre-race meeting poolside, imagine my shock and horror when, as the host reads the rules of the race, I hear him say, "No swimming on your back."
But that's home, I thought to myself. What am I going to do if I can't go home? I've been swimming for only five months, don't they know that? When I get tired, I roll to my back and kick like mad.
All week, I'd been envisioning myself gliding powerfully through the water. I can swim, you know. I CAN swim.
"171, 3, 2, 1" the guy with the timer told me as I pushed off the wall and started my first lap.
I don't get it. I'm a brilliantly talented swimmer when my swim coach is standing on the side of the pool, and then I turn to a flailing maniac when the whistle blows. When I practice during the week, I'm somewhere between brilliance and mania.
My 400-meter swim took me 17 minutes. My boyfriend and To Be Re friends stood poolside cheering me on. "Are you OK?" they asked me at the end of Lap 4. I nodded yes, but I wanted to tell them to get me the F out of this water.
At the end of the sixth lap, I pulled the Tempo Trainer from under my swim cap, handed it to my boyfriend and said, "Get this thing away from me." The steady blip, blip of the TT became like a nagging voice in my ear singing, "Stroke, Stroke, Faster, Faster, Why-are-you-slowing-down, Zip, Zip, Come-on-come-on, Slowpoke, Slowpoke, Nanny, nanny boo boo ..."
Seventeen minutes. I lost count of how many women passed me in the water.
My cycling was my strongest stint. NO ONE passed me on my bike. NO ONE. I lost count of how many women I passed while riding my beautiful Jamis.
I completed the triathlon in 1:08:52. Not the time I was hoping for, but (1) I finished, (2) I did the swim without rolling onto my back and (3) I finished that f-ing 400 meters.
My goal for 2011 Tri for the Cure is to finish that swim in half the time.

No comments: