Friday, August 06, 2010


Yesterday I did something that made me feel really good. Twice.

No, you pervert. Get your mind out of the gutter.

Back in April I bought a road bike. I had been enjoying the spring weather on my goofy hybrid (it really is goofy... it looks like this:)

One sunny day, I was huffing and puffing it up a big hill when this older guy on a road bike cruised by me effortlessly.
"I gotta get me one of those!" I gasped.
"You really do. It makes all the difference in the world."
That was all it took. A few days later, my impulsive ass was at the bike shop and I was on my way to this:

After several glorious rides (and much prodding from my IronMan triathlete pal, Dan) I registered for my first sprint distance triathlon. The only problem? I didn't really know how to swim.

I grew up in a lake community. I vividly remember having my first swim lesson when I was around five years old. The instructor told me to lay on my stomach and we were going to practice the "dead man's float." That lesson was also my last. I remember crying in the car about how much I hated it, and so my mom didn't really push me to continue. My swim career was short-lived.

Flash forward about 25 years. I signed up at the Y to take some adult swim lessons. They were very helpful. I learned some very basic strokes and gained confidence in the water. I think I was the star of the class! Then again, my colleagues were two Chinese women who refused to put their faces in the water, and an old Indian man in a Speedo.

Here I am - five years later - and I am determined to become a proficient swimmer. Last month I signed back up at the Y and began swimming about three times per week. It was hard as hell in the beginning. I could barely go two laps of freestyle without gasping for breath and feeling like my heart was going to explode. How can this be so hard for someone who runs marathons?

My awesome cousins, who live on a local lake, hooked me up with one of their neighbors - a feisty little fireplug of a girl! A law student and former competitive swimmer, Amie enthusiastically agreed to coach me. The first time we met up was at my cousin's house. I think they had forewarned her about my ability, because she showed up with one of those pool noodles.

At the pool, I had increased my freestyle distance to about 100 yds before switching to breaststroke for a couple laps. This past weekend, Amie encouraged me to try and swim freestyle as far as I could. She said I'd never get stronger if I didn't push myself to go farther, and I'd never know how far I could go if I didn't let myself try.

Wise words.

Had I not tried, I never would've realized that I am able to swim the full 1/4 mile of freestyle. Yesterday I did it twice. And that felt amazing. I think I might kick this triathlon's ass.

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