Thursday, June 6, 2012
I left my swim class feeling optimistic on Tuesday, and I walked into the natatorium today feeling the same way. After we swam for a quick warm up, our instructor gave us our first assignment. We would be swimming a 12-minute swim to see where we are. At the end of the month, we'll do another one to see how far we've come. My assumption is this is like the beloved Magic Mile. Oh, how I love the Magic Mile. (Not!) If I would have thought of this before hand, I may have been more prepared for what was to come.
It was my turn to go, so I took off for my first lap trying to remember everything I learned on Tuesday. At first everything was going well. On about my 4th lap, 100 yards, I started getting a little winded. I took a quick break at the end of the pool to clear out my goggles, and I took off again. But this time my goggles weren't sealed completely and water got in them. I tried to ignore it, but it's a really weird sensation when you're flipping your head to the side to take a breath and the water is sloshing around in them. So I eventually stopped mid-lane to empty them out. This happened several times, by the way. Once I got back around lap 6, I was tired. She told me to swim on my back to catch my breath. So I did, but then I was using my legs too much, and it didn't help. Erin passed me up a couple of times. A couple of times I waited for Kelly to get to the side to let her go ahead of me because I knew she would pass me up. I tried a breast stroke for one lap, but it was futile. It didn't matter what stroke I used because I was tired.
I watched my classmates gliding effortlessly through the water. And I was done. We still had five more minutes to go, and I didn't want to do them. I was a mess. This was only 12 minutes. IN A POOL!!! I can't swim 12 minutes in a pool and I am supposed to put myself out in a lake? At the Mother's Day tri, I heard the winds were so bad and the water was so choppy. How can I handle those conditions with water that I'm afraid of if I can't handle the pool!!
I stayed by the side for longer than my pause. I didn't want to swim any more, and I felt like crying.
I couldn't let the tears come; I didn't want them, and I couldn't sit there for five minutes either. I took a deep breath, and I heard my voice. I pushed off the edge and took off again, trying my best to follow all of my new rules. Right, left, right, breathe, right, left, right, breathe, cup your hands, bend your elbows, right, left, right. I pushed and I pushed until at last our time was out. I've never felt myself sweat in the water, but I know today I was.
When all was said and done, I had swam a little over 325 yards. Kelly had swam 425, and the other two ladies swam 475. I was careful not to speak for a moment, even to Kelly, because I was afraid of not being able to control the tears. Eventually I did speak, but my instructor encouraged me and reminded me that this was just a test. The end of the month will be better.
I was shaken. I really just wanted to climb out of the pool and go home. But instead she handed me flippers to put on my feet. And she gave us paddle boards. So for the next 150 yards, we swam with flippers with our heads above the water. Well, at least my head was above the water. Once I got the hang of them, it was kind of fun. We swam some more using the buoys between our legs so we wouldn't use our legs. Although Kelly's face showed disdain for the buoy, I didn't mind, because I got to practice my breathing more.
I think that was about it for class. But maybe I've blocked the rest from my mind. I tend to do that with stressful or awful memories.
I know I need practice. I know this, but I'm worried. I know how to tread, but tonight I felt like I was drowning and like I was in way over my head.
I don't like that feeling.