For starters, this was the first weekend of my Adult Swim Improvement class. I set out at the first of this year to tackle a triathlon and obviously swimming is one of the key components of marking that goal off my list. Little did I know, but everything I do in my swimming stroke is incorrect. This class was like a nightmare I used to have in college where I got everything wrong on my final and failed a class. I couldn't do anything right! I sank like a rock. My stroke is tense, my breathing is erratic, my hips don't move when I kick, my feet stick out sideways when I kick, I don't dig deep enough with my stroke, and I can't tread water to save my life. All in all, it was a complete disaster. Talk about a huge shot to the confidence. I really don't know what I expected, but I was shocked I could do so many things wrong. I knew going into it that swimming was a weak sport for me. I never took swimming lessons as a kid and I never really have used swimming as a workout. I went in a complete rookie and it definitely showed. My hope now is to keep working and just try to get better.
Swim class started with a brief introduction by the instructor and then we each introduced ourselves with our swimming history. Obviously, I admitted that swimming was new to me and I was a complete rookie. My goals are big, but my base is small. I admitted that eventually I wanted to do a triathlon and one other girl in the class was on the same path. The big difference, she was a good swimmer!
We started the class by swimming a half length of the pool so the instructor could examine our stroke and get an idea of what to expect. I didn't get a ton of negative feedback on this one aspect, but as the class progressed, the more and more critical the instructor became of my technique. Don't get me wrong here, the guy was super nice about it and even joked with me because he could tell that I knew I was really bad too. I think a sense of humor will definitely be required for me to get better and listen to the criticism and advice along the way. As we got further along in the class, we did drill after drill focusing on proper body alignment in the water, catch-up freestyle stroke, proper kick, breathing techniques, and a little one-on-one advice on putting it all together. All-in-all I thought the class was very productive, but it was also very discouraging. I really wasn't aware of just how bad I was compared to where I need to be to do a triathlon. It was definitely a very humbling experience and something I needed to get a reality check and examine where I am and where I need to be. As a result, I believe I will be pushing back my triathlon goals until later in the year after I get a chance to work on my swimming more and get more comfortable in the water. I just don't think I can show the improvement necessary to jump that quickly into triathlon training. My goal is still there, it will just have to be a little further down the road.
After swimming, I decided it was time to get serious about bike shopping. Regardless of my swimming ineptness, I still plan on buying my road bike within the next few weeks. Biking is something I can pick up relatively easy and add it to my workouts to compliment my running. There are also several duathlons in the area where I can combine these two disciplines and eventually make the transition to triathlons.
Yesterday I visited two bike shops recommended by my sports doc. He told me they are always trying to make deals so if I could get in a bidding war between the two, I could probably get a really good deal. Both shops showed great potential and I spotted several bikes that fit my criteria. I am going to do some more research today and then start narrowing down my choices after what I learned during the hunt yesterday. I do have one or two more shops that I want to visit over the next week or two, but I will eventually probably end up at Wheeler Dealer where they offer all employees of my company a 15% discount on bikes and accessories. That's a pretty significant discount when you are talking about buying a road bike. They are not cheap!
It was a productive Saturday and one that puts me in a better position to understand the task ahead of me. I have a lot of hard work ahead and I am excited to accept the challenge. A triathlon will be a huge undertaking, but no one ever said it would be easy.
By the way, the doc gave me clearance to start adding running back into my workouts. The road will be my friend again soon! Now if I can just keep up the good habit of stretching combined with strength and cross-training. Have a great Sunday!