Wednesday, November 16, 2011

swim-phobia

Since marathon training is over (hopefully for an extended period of time), I am spending the next two weeks in recovery mode. It's a nice place to be. Run as little or as much as you want to, because there is nothing looming. Eat too much, because that's obviously the best way to regain your strength. Sleep like a log, because all of the pre-race jitters are gone.

Well, maybe that last one's a lie, because two nights ago, I woke up in a panic.

I had a race nightmare.

A nightmare about a race that is 20 weeks from now.

A freaking swim-fail nightmare.

As you may recall, I am not the best swimmer (OK, I've never trained a day in my life). My strongest stroke is breaststroke and even that is weak. In the past, I barely survived the swim portion of the triathlons I have raced. Seriously, I usually finish the swim in the bottom 5 of my age group. Thankfully, "the Quads" know how to represent on the bike and the run.

Anyway, back to this nightmare. I was in Texas (where my 70.3 is) and I was prepping for the race. We were about a week out from the event. For some reason, I remember everyone saying that it was next weekend. I had all my gear in place, but then it occurred to me ...

I never signed up for a pool membership. And with less than a week to go, I had yet to do a single swim workout. I was screwed.

I woke up in a cold sweat. No lie.

You can fake a sprint. But you can't fake a half Ironman. It's a 1.2 mile swim. And I'm pretty sure floaties are discouraged.

Can you say swim-phobia, anyone?

24 comments:

Amber said...

I'm always the slowest swimmer in my training group. I always make it but I'm one of the last out of the water....I've just accepted it...but that doesn't mean I don't keep trying! :)

Karen said...

ha ha, yeah, it sounds like you might be a little nervous about the swim deep down somewhere... Just put in the training time and don't skimp on it because it isn't your favorite. Just like running, it gets easier the more you practice. You will be great!

Kurt @ Becoming An Ironman said...

That sure is a long time out to already be having nightmares about it. But understandable all the same.

This just means that it's time to get in the pool!

Courtney said...

I totally have swim phobia!

MCM Mama said...

And this would be why I'll never do a triathlon, especially a long one. ;o)

(Just) Trying is for Little Girls said...

This story terrifies me. It's the kind of dream I would have if I was crazy enough to do a HI. Luckily, I'm not that crazy, yet.

Deb said...

Might be time to bite the bullet and train for the swim this time. :) Then the nightmares can go away.

Erica said...

I'm signed up for Iron-girl in August....i too am already in panic mode about the silly swim!!! You can do it T .....maybe if you used dora floaties....they would at least think it was cute :)

jkDraeger said...

I actually saw a super cute suit in the clearance section while looking for running gear and I have been craving a good swim ever since. I haven't swam seriously since high school and the closest pool is an hour away and is just not practical with the kids so no tri's in my near future :( So go swim for me!

Robin said...

Do not let the swim intimidate you. You'll be fine! No matter how you swim it, you'll get through it. Just keep moving and before you know it, you'll be on your bike. Positive thoughts! www.dashingdiva.net.

giraffy said...

A tri coach I took some swim lessons with told me the MOST IMPORTANT part of the swim, is just learning to be an efficient swimmer - expend the least amount of energy possible to get through the distance. You'll never make or break your race on the swim, but by conserving your energy, you'll more than make up for it in the bike and run.

I don't know that that helps anything, but it's all I know about tri swimming ;).

Erin said...

I am a pretty experienced swimmer, swam on the team in college though I was slow so never won anything, was a lifeguard and taught swimming all through undergrad and grad school.

During my last year of grad school I had two private sessions with a swim coach. I swear to God, it helped SO MUCH.

If you can swing it, a coach might really help you with the swim portion. Some simple form changes and tips he gave me helped me so much - and I got faster. It's all about form and efficiency, just like running, as it turns out!

ltlindian said...

for me the actual fear is not the swimming itself, but the OWS. My first and only OWS was a complete failure. I had a mini-panic attack when I couldn't see the bottom, and the water was all mucky. Then there were weeds and hot and cold spots. I lasted about 1/4 mile. It's a fear I need to conquer if I'm going to do a distance longer than a sprint.

Hopefully, for you, it's just a nightmare.

runningforthree said...

I think the swim portion is the only thing keeping me from signing up for a tri. I would need some for real lessons and I just don't have time for that. I will do one eventually, but I'm a little scared!

momof3 @ Neurosis of the Stay at Home Marathoner said...

*shaking head in confusion* But the swim is the 2nd best part of a TRI. I mean seriously. The RUN is the best part, and then the swim, and then there's the other part with the thingy and the wheels, and the stress associated with the wheels and junk...

Relax. I bet you we could find you a great swim coach at the drop of a hat.................. or at the very least, someone who will swim with you ANY DAY you WANT.

Jen @ Run for Anna said...

The fact that swimming is even involved is the reason I will never participate in a triathlon. :)

Meredith said...

No floaties?? Crap. Guess I'm out. T, I have zero doubt that just as you rock running, you will rock the half Ironman too. You're amazing like that :)

Shellyrm ~ just a country runner said...

The extent of my water abilities:

~ wave hopping at the beach
~ pool swimming with the kiddos
~ leg cooling in the creek (after trail races)
That pretty much is just staying afloat-ability.

I am of no help. You are one crazy brave girl...1.2 swim...yeah, is the in miles? Yep you are crazy brave.

ajh said...

I"m sorry for you but happy for me. You can fake a sprint???? That is the best news I have heard in a long time!

enthusiasticrunner.com said...

I totally have swim-phobia! I basically just try not to drown during the swim portion of a triathlon....seriously. Then crush it on the bike and run!

Running Ricig said...

I totally have swim phobia and I've had it ever since swim lessons as a kid.

Alex said...

My biggest recommendation is to go find open water BEFORE your half. I know its November-so it will need to be once it warms up.

I don't remember seeing a post on if you've swam in open water.

You can train 7 days a week in a pool-open water is a COMPLETELY different animal.

I've had MORE than one friend DNF at first open water triathlons-swam right back to shore.

Another swam kyack to kyack (really should have been DQ b/c you aren't supposed to touch the 'boat')

Get in swim shape over the winter but definately go find some open water-Don't attempt swimming by yourself, always have someone with you for safety sake.

Either go to an open water swim clinic, an open water race or with your posse

Alex said...

And you can always e-mail me a video of you swimming and I can give you some pointers. =)

Alex said...

Also-on beginnertriathlete.com there are training forums so you can connect with other athletes AND read past race reports.

The race reports will inspire you (but dont let them overwhelm you) and help you 'visualize' the race.

My first half ironman was harder than completing the full. Although physically I was in really good shape I lacked mental strength.

I was so used to training WITH people (particularily on the bike). I mentally fell apart and cried through the last windy 15 miles of the bike and wished i'd pop my tire or get a broken spoke. lol.

Sorry for writing you a novel! So excited for you to start on your 1/2 iron journey!