I woke up at 4:30 Sunday morning in a bit of a panic about this triathlon… wondering if I can really do it. A friend of mine said to me at one point that he thought training for a triathlon would be both physically and mentally challenging.
mentally challenging… crap, I didn’t consider that.
He was right.
My panic-stricken-early-Sunday-morning-wake-up-call was proof of the fact that I wasn’t very mentally prepared. Yesterday afternoon the same friend who initially brought up the mental stuff sent me an email pep-talk after I told him of my panic issues. He reminded me that the trick is to keep moving, don’t let the thoughts in your head mess with you. Remember all of the tough things you have already gotten through, because you kept moving. Draw on that strength and keep moving.
I felt better and stronger as I went into my night of training.
Scene: Swim clinic.
First, I had to swim 7 x 50.
A 50 is one lap of the pool, each lap is two lengths. So, there-and-back again.
There are seven separate drills we use for training. I had to do one length of the drill and swim back for each of the seven 50s.
with a quick break, long enough for the coach to tell me the next drill.
So, like, 10-15 seconds.
Next, I had to swim a 500. That’s 10 laps, or 20 lengths of the pool.
With no rest.
Oh, and Noel (the coach) said and “you have to do some of those breathing on your left”.
I have issues… like, almost drowning issues, with breathing on my left.
For some reason, on the left I swallow water… Noel says “water is good”…
I was looking for pity, not sarcasm.
Here is the deal with this and why it is so important to bilateral breathe. When I am in the ocean swimming a mile the day of the triathlon, if the current, swimmers or some other issues are making it impossible for me to breathe on my right side, then my choice is:
Breathe on the left… or die.
Kinda don’t want to die.
I did it, and I am feeling more comfortable with it. I don’t feel comfortable switching back and forth each stroke yet. But, I can breathe on each side now.
Back to last night.
As I am swimming my final length of the 500, I’m thinking Noel’s going to tell me to start my 200 cool down… that’s 4 more laps (or 8 more lengths) to cool down… are you kidding me… Swim 4 more laps?
Wait, it gets better…
I get to the edge of the pool and Bill (he’s another coach, but he is also participating in the event. Some coaches stay on land, and others are coach/participants. But don’t knock Noel for staying on land, he is training for an Ironman.) is still in the water in the lane next to me. Noel is standing up on the pool deck…
Noel: “okay, now you have to swim down as fast and hard as you can, then swim back relaxed.”
I looked at Bill, look back at Noel
Me: “are you kidding?”
Bill and Noel *laughing*
Noel: “No, now go, you only get a 15 second rest.”
Me: “can I stop at the other end and puke?”
Noel: *laughing* “no! you have to swim right back, there is no stopping for anything on the other end. But you can puke right here when you get back” he points at the edge of the pool where the drain is.
I swim my hardest.
I get back.
Noel: “Great! Now you have to do that three more times.”
Noel: *laughing* “yes, now go, your 15 seconds are up”
Bill and Noel *laughing* “GO! GO! GO!”
Bill: *smiling* “you’re not panting.”
Me: *panting**smiling back* “shut up.”
Bill: *laughing*, because he can, because he is done swimming.
my 15 seconds are up.
Bill and Noel: “GO!”
I rest 15 seconds.
Noel: “okay, now you get to do your cool down… swim a 200, at relaxed pace.”
Me: quietly, as I set to push off… “I don’t see how more swimming is a good idea right now.”
Bill and Noel: they hear me. *laughing*
Me: I pull back from my push-off “can I do some of this 200 on my side?” (this is one of the swim drills)
Noel: “yes, for cool down, you can do drills.”
But I didn’t. Just knowing I could was enough and made me not want to.
I swim 200 more meters… 4 more laps… 8 more lengths.
Some of it I even did breathing on my left.
I told Bill and Noel about my early Sunday morning panic. Noel said he is not worried about me in the least. He said I have no reason to worry. I will be fine.
Let’s do the math:
Warm-up: 100 meters (2 laps, 4 lengths) – I forgot to even tell you about the warm-up.
Drills: 350 meters (7 laps, 14 lengths)
500: It speaks for itself, 500 meters (10 laps, 20 lengths)
Kick-my-ass-make-me-want-to-puke speed drills: 4 x 50 meters = 200 meters (4 laps, 8 lengths)
Cool down: 200 meters (4 laps, 8 lengths)
TOTAL: 1350 meters, 27 laps (33 is a mile) 54 lengths.
TOTAL TIME: 1 hour… I did all of that in one hour!! Hooray to me!
And, I didn’t puke.
But, I did need to sit in the locker room and eat my power bar and drink my pomegranate/blueberry juice and wait for the room to stop spinning and rocking and knocking about.
What I have learned is: the most important tools in training for a triathlon are friends and family to support and encourage you and coaches to tell you that you will be fine.
I have both.
I am doing this triathlon to raise money to fight cancer. Click this link to donate.