Seem kinda drastic? Yea, it probably does. Kinda crazy? Yea, that too, probably. But I knew it was the only thing that could motivate me right back into the pool…more than once a month. And it has…just like it did over 15 years ago when I registered for a sprint triathlon.
In my younger, single days, just before I met my husband, I did a couple of sprint triathlons. It was the beginning of a bucket list of sorts. There were things I wanted to try simply because they were there…and I hadn’t tried them yet. Besides, I knew that when it came to running and biking, my interest span was very, very short. I used to love biking. Did a couple of centuries, in fact. And learned to not enjoy biking as much as I did. I always hated running – the means to an end. That is, I ran because I had to get in shape for this or that sport. But running for the sake of running? Nope, not me. Though I knew that I wanted to run a marathon someday (and I did so, many years later), I didn’t have that inner love of running that “real” runners seem to have. Running has always and continues to be a means to an end for me. And now with my new hips…I have a medical reason not to (yea!). And swimming? Well, I’m getting to that….
So, the sprint triathlons. I really, really enjoyed them 15 years ago. Except for the swims. My youthful mentality said, how hard could swimming 1/2 mile really be? I knew how to swim. I just needed to build yardage. So, I bought a book on doing triathlons. I followed the workouts outlined in there. I did as the book said I would – I survived the swim. Survived being the operative word, of course. I was very slow and I knew it. I just wanted to finish it and get on with the legs I knew how to do. Later, someone suggested taking a masters swimming class – I was too intimidated. So, I bought a book on swimming techniques and worked on some of the drills in there. While the book helped my confidence, it didn’t really help my technique largely because I didn’t understand most of what they were saying. Catch up drill? Fingertip drag? Huh? Swimming has its own lingo and it’s one of those sports that requires someone to watch and teach you. But before I could really get into swimming, my interest in triathlons died away. It was a new thing then. I tried it. I had fun. But I had no desire to continue. The time required to train for a triathlon was waaaaaaaaaaaaay too much in my opinion. But it did one big thing for me then…it got me going again. Physically.
As much as I hated running, I was motivated to do some 5k’s and 10k’s. Just to do them. I was even motivated to do some duathlons, though I never did. But I did enjoy biking again and went on long rides. And swimming? Well, it stayed in the back of my mind as something I needed to really learn how to do. Several years later, my curiosity had gotten the best of me – what if I took a swim class and had someone critique and change my technique to swim more efficiently? Hmmm… So, I swallowed my fear and my pride and joined a Masters swim class. I was happy to find out that the Masters swim coach was amazing – friendly, supportive and an ex-nationally ranked swimmer. He broke down my stroke, changed my technique, gave me some drills, pushed me to complete the masters swim workouts and completely changed my attitude about swimming. Yes, I could indeed do a 3,500 yard swim workout…and survive…and enjoy it.
So, this is where I find myself today. Last year, I replaced both of my hips. Now, I’m ready to challenge myself again. To pick up where my active mentality left off. With a little help from a couple of friends of mine who are going to do the run and bike portions, I signed up for the Silicon Valley Sprint Triathlon on June 23rd. Pounding on my hips and plantar fasciitis prevent me from doing the run part of this upcoming sprint triathlon (or any other triathlon) and I can’t say that I’m bummed about that. Likewise, my interest in doing this triathlon was really focused on getting back in the pool. So, I’m happy to have another friend do the bike route.
Just like 15 years ago, I may or may not get hooked on triathlons. But I’ve already accomplished what signing up for this triathlon was meant to do. I’m back in the pool (even in the rain) at least twice per week (if not more), taking yoga once (or twice) a week. Embarrassment or the prospect of drowning have proven far better motivators for me than the ever present need to lose weight or be healthier goals. Those goals will be attained as I train to swim in this triathlon. And that is a pretty good deal.
An original post to It’s Never Easy But It’s Always Fun blog.