Monday, 7 March 2016

Friday Night Swimming

Friday evening, the end of a long week. All I really wanted to do after finishing my work at the gym is to go home, have dinner and curl up in bed with a book. Especially as my 6:30pm cancelled at short notice so I have an hour to hang around before going to swim training. As I sit in the gym, all be it with a cup of tea, I feel the motivation ebbing away so I get in the car and drive over to Reading to  sit in the car park for half an hour and call my mum. I reason that the nearer I get to the pool, the more likely I am to do it.
It was only the third time I'd joined the Thames Valley Triathletes swim training session, and only the second in recent weeks. And I'm yet to get to the point where I stop trying to make excuses not to go; I swam last night, my arms ache, I’ll be late, they will have their maximum number of 15 already, I’ll make a fool of myself, I should have had a snack, my housemate will have used all the hot water by the time I get back and I'll have to have a cold shower (I dislike showering at the pool)… all ridiculous and unfounded.

But ultimately what gets me there, signed in and peeling the second ticket out of my booklet of swim session cards is the thought that it will be so much harder to swim the 2.5km for Sport Relief if I don’t go. I don’t want to fail and I know that great things happen at the edge of your comfort zone. I reassure myself that everyone was a beginner once. 
The pool is colder this week but the welcome is even warmer than before. I'm starting to recognise people, learn a few names, find my place in the pack. Lyn, our coach explains some terms on the warm up sheet for me (long dog?) and I find I'm not the only one who didn't know. My arms feel heavy after a 1750m swim the night before but somehow I get through everything, fighting the drowning feeling on the catch up drill. I'm the only one in my lane who seems happier with bilateral breathing than single side and I take huge comfort from Lyn telling me that I'm doing really well. When I get home I find hot water, a light dinner and notice the definition my arms are starting to develop. 

I only started my training 3 and a half weeks ago, swimming once or twice a week at the local pool to build up distance and the proportion of lengths I do with front crawl, and now attending the swim training sessions to improve my technique. This is in addition to my usual exercise regime of 2-3 runs, a yoga class and a HIIT or Boxing workout. It’s been hard work, and frustrating at times when the pool is busy, or I have to go late at night because of work, but I’m starting to feel as though I can do this; I’m not the slowest in the slow lane on club training nights and I’ve swum further in the pool in one session than ever before. I think I'm beginning to look forward to the Swimathon!

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