Today was the day shit got real in regards to my training for the Tri. I met with Coach Craig this morning. He’s the trainer I worked with for the Fall 50. He knows me and knows how to work with my issues. And when I say issues, I mean my mental hurdles, not physical ones, but he obviously knows my physical limitations too. But for me, I need someone who can help me get out of my own head. I feel like meeting up with Coach Craig is like the Cavalry coming to the rescue. If he can’t save me from drowning, then oh lord, I’m in trouble.
I’m not going to recap the entire 1-hour session (omg, he had me do so much stuff and I thought the damn thing would never end – 60 minutes in the pool is way too long) but I’ll give you some of the highlights.
- I actually did worse breathing today during my first two test-laps than I had done the previous 1.5 weeks. I was so bummed, because I wanted to impress Craig, but I had to stop a few times to breathe because I freaked out. Ugh.
- But Craig said he was actually impressed and that I was farther along than he thought.
- He had a check list of things he was watching for and grading me on when I did my test laps. He wouldn’t show me the list because he knew I’d focus on the items he was watching for compared to just being natural. Which I would have done. And it’s an example of how he knows me so well!
- Craig was impressed with my kicking. He said runners almost always kick incorrectly and kick from their knees (which is what I thought I was doing) but he said I kick from my hip (which is correct). He actually graded me a B+ in kicking and he said most people he works with he grades a D. So here’s to being above the curve on this one!
- Apparently when I’m floating, my arm placement out in front of me is spot on. I can’t really get too excited about this because I’m holding a kick board. But both Craig and Brian said that my straight arms in front of me while I do that isn’t normal and most people have bent elbows. I chalk this up to my old cheerleading days. I had many years of “straight arms” drilled into my head. Some things I apparently just don’t forget.
- Craig also said my flexibility is helping me more than I realize. He said I have a better range of motion in my shoulders than most people and this too is good and will be pretty important when I start doing strokes. Craig said, “you are extremely flexible… for someone your age…” and then I didn’t hear what he said after that because I was too focused on the fact that he implied that I’m old. Oh man Craig, you could have just stopped at “extremely flexible”, did you really need to throw in the “for your age” comment? And yes, this is what women hear when you say something like that – so men, be warned! I think I will grade you an F for that one!
- He had me do laps without the kick board and instead use two individual handheld little floaty things. I’m sure they have a name but I don’t know what it is. They don’t provide as much support as a kick board – which was the point – so it was definitely harder.
- But it wasn’t as hard as when he took away all floating devices from me and just had me float and kick with my arms in front of me. I didn’t get very far before I stopped because I felt like I was sinking. He assured me I wasn’t sinking. I said, “well, I sure feel like I’m sinking”.
- So I did it again and again I stopped. He told me that I’m not sinking. But I think the reason I felt like I was sinking is because I didn’t have the kick board to keep me “higher” on the surface of the water and in turn I couldn’t get my head out of the water enough to breathe. So instead of getting a nice inhale I gulped and then I swallowed water. And then I stopped and told him I was sinking and he said I wasn’t. See the pattern?? Thankfully we didn’t do too many of those.
- He had me do a few lengths on my back. Again he said he was impressed at my kick and my straight arms (except when my arms go into the water – which I still keep straight, but apparently is a big no-no). He thought I was really strong on my back. Which I said, “of course, because it’s the only thing I’d do as a kid because I wouldn’t put my face in the water!
- He had me do some drills kicking against the wall, some with flippers and some without.
- I had to do some bobs in the water, just breathing in and out.
- He also ended the session with the both of us looking into a mirror and he was showing me the arm stroke movements he wants me to practice.
He’s going to send me a list of drills I need to work on, which I guess is good but I still don’t have the breathing down. I feel like I need to learn that first. Honestly I couldn’t care less if my elbow is bent in the water or if I’m kicking correctly – if I can’t breathe. If I can’t breathe, I’ll never have the opportunity to work on the other issues. I was going to tell him this but I figured I’d try not to be negative during my first session. I’ll wait until the second one for that! 🙂
But I’m guessing he knows my negativity and self-doubt are coming. As I said earlier, he knows me. At one point during the session he said to me, “I’m going to explain to you what to do next, then I’m going to explain why it’s important and then you’re going to soak it all in like a sponge, go home and think about it and over-analyze it”! Ha! I actually laughed out loud. Some people might have been offended by that comment – but not me. He nailed! That is exactly what I do and exactly what I will do! But I have to trust he knows what he’s doing. Not only does he do this for a living but he helped me cross the Fall 50 finish line and there were definitely times I didn’t think that was possible.
So here’s hoping he can work his magic again because if Craig can’t make me a swimmer – than no one can!
Until next time,
Gotta run (or swim)