I’m frustrated. And yes, I know it’s insane to be frustrated because it’s only been 8 days, but yet I am frustrated. Here’s the reason why, there is no middle ground with learning to breathe in the water – you either do it, or you don’t. It’s not like running where you can run for a short distance or run slowly and eventually you work your way up to a lot of fast miles. It’s not the same with breathing, it’s all or nothing!
And I know I should be happy with the small accomplishments I’ve made. Hell, the fact that I’ve been in the pool, 4 out of the past 8 days is crazy! Today my swim lesson was cancelled yet I got out of a nice warm bed at 4:30am and went to the Y and practiced on my own. I “moved” in the water for .5 miles nonstop! Woot! That is the distance the swim portion of my triathlon is, so that’s my benchmark for distance while training. I did a 1/4 mile on my front only kicking while I hung on to the kick board. Then I flipped over for the final 1/4 mile for my “panic/safety” stroke.
And what did I learn during my solo time in the pool? I learned I still can’t breathe! I tried. I tried blowing bubbles while on the kick board. I did “okay” for the first few laps and then I stopped. I realized I was really laboring in my breathing and I decided to just concentrate on my kicking and not try to breathe. I also learned that swimming on my back makes me a bit seasick. Seriously! I was SHOCKED! And this is in a pool… with no waves… not even another person in the lap pool with me. Just me. And I was making myself seasick. Yikes! What the hell am I going to do when I am in open water? Do I need to take Dramamine?! Seriously, do I?
I also realized that it takes A LONG time to swim a 1/2 mile. It took me almost 40 minutes. For comparison sake, an Ironman competitor needs to swim a 1/2 in about 26 minutes in order to make the cutoff time. (Brian swims the Chicago Tri 1/2 swim in 16+ minutes.) So yes, I’m slow! But that’s okay, that’s not what bothers me, what bothers me is my lack of being able to breathe.
I know I have to stop being so hard on myself and thinking about the negatives – but hello, do you not know me at all? That’s what I do! But seriously, it’s really discouraging when I haven’t made any progress at the most important thing I need to learn. And as I said earlier, it’s all or nothing. I realized it’s much easier to learn to run, bike, do yoga… basically everything else. Because you can actually run without being good at it. You can bike without being able to conquer hills. You can do yoga without being a master yogi and being able to do the scorpion during your first few lessons. But when you are trying to learn to breathe in the water – you are either doing it or you’re not. So I don’t get to see progress being made. I remember when I trained for my first marathon, each “extra” mile that I ran that made that days training run my longest run ever – was something I looked forward to. It was huge. That was a tangible accomplishment. When I went for my first hilly bike ride and I actually got up the hill, that was progress. That was a victory. I could end the workout that day knowing I did good! I accomplished something!
But what do I do when I make NO progress on breathing? How do I stay motivated? Because honestly, it’s only been 4 times in the pool, but I’m already super unmotivated.
People need rewards and need to feel like they have accomplished something and made progress. When no progress is being made, I’m afraid the only other thing that will get made in the future is a lot of excuses. A lot of excuses to stay in bed and skip those pool workouts!
And trust me, I don’t need any more excuses to stay in bed during Wisconsin winters!
Until next time,
Gotta run (swim)