Friday, June 8, 2012

Triathlon Swim Class

Tuesday, June 6

I went to my first triathlon swim class.  I am really nervous about the swim portion of the tri for so many reasons. 
1.       It’s an open water swim.  I really do not like non-chlorinated swimming areas.
2.       I am not an efficient swimmer, and I don’t know how to breath properly.
3.       I don’t like the fact that I hear you get kicked in the face quite often because there are so many swimmers swimming around.
4.       The transition from bike to run was hard enough.  I can’t imagine adding swimming before all of that.
This is why I’m in class.  I was the first one there, and I asked where I should go.  The kiosk guy (who didn’t even know there was a tri class before I said anything) didn’t know who my instructor would be and said to go to lane 1.
I went to lane 1.  Lanes 2 through 10 were being used by a swim team.  Then I saw this guy putting down some equipment.  So I asked him, “Are you teaching the tri class?”
He looked at me like I was crazy.  He said, “What?”
“Are you teaching the tri swim class?”
“Uh.  No.  This lane is for master class swimmers,” he said still looking at me like I had lost my mind.
“Ok.  They said go to lane 1 and you are at lane 1, so I thought I’d ask,” I said and walked away.  Geez!  Like I’m not already so out of my element and he’s all “Uh. This is for masters!”  Whatever!
I felt better after Kelly got there.  We went into the activity pool to get wet and get our swim caps on and waited for our instructor.  Finally she came out.  There were five of us all together, including one woman who does not want to do a tri but just wants to improve her swimming. 
First our instructor (I forgot her name) had us swim across the pool (25 ft) and back to see where we were.  The five of us had two lanes, so Kelly took off first and I followed behind her.    As soon as we got back to the side, I could tell she was going to call me out for something.  She said we looked pretty good, but a couple of us had to work on our breathing. 
Next up was a swimming with this floater between our legs so that we would be forced to use our arms, and she looked at me and said something to me about breathing.  I told her I didn’t know how to do that, I never learned, and my tendency is to lift my head.  I know this.  So she had me practice this by giving me a paddle board and I had to swim with my arms out in front of me on this board, and I would practice turning my head and taking breaths while swimming.    We did this for 100 feet. 
After that, she had us do the floater-between-our-leg thing for another 100 feet.  I felt like I was getting a hang of the breathing thing, but I was still short of breath.  But I think it’s more of a learning to swim breath thing.  Kind of like how I had to figure out how to breath while running.  Now I have to build up the cardiovascular endurance of this activity and figure it out.  So I felt better about that, but then she said my hands were open rather than being cupped to help move myself through the water.  I would have to work on that too.  And this is something I know, because I remind my little one to do this all the time.
Next up was freestyle swimming.  As I made my way down the pool, she was waiting for me on the other side to tell me I was still opening my hands.  I told her, “ I know, but I’m still freaking out about the breathing thing and trying not to lift my head, and then I remember the hands, and I’m trying to remember it all, but it’s so much to remember, so I’m still just trying to figure it all out!”  She laughed with me and said she would try not to give me too hard of a time for a couple of weeks.  I told her she could give me hell and I’d be working on it.   The next length of the pool, I made it to the other side proud that I had not lifted my head, I had cupped my hands, and I remembered to move my arms the way she had said.  Kelly was there, and I asked her, “Was she watching?  Because I was totally cupping my hands!”  I don’t know if she was or not, but I told her about my accomplishment when she came back to the side. 
Next she talked about the breast stroke, because this is a good stroke to use if we get tired or are out of breath in the tri.  After demonstrating the proper form, we got to try it.  I’ve been doing the breast stroke wrong for a long time.  Like forever!  I always moved my arms and legs in the same motion, like a frog.  But your arms and legs are supposed to be opposite.  I would swim, swim, swim, and then I would realize that I was synchronizing the movements.  So I would stop where I was and start again.  Then before I even made it the 25 feet, I was synchronizing again.  It took some getting used to, and even when I was doing it properly, I wasn’t doing it properly.  That one is going to take some practice.  And I really feel like it’s an inefficient swim.  It seemed like a lot of energy used,  and I felt like I was barely moving.    But maybe I’m just doing it wrong. 
The last thing we did was a five lap cool down.  Just an easy swim any way we wanted for five laps.  This is when my legs started cramping.  I would just stop and try to tread water and move my leg around until it stopped.  I wasn’t scared, but rather I couldn’t stop laughing. 
Finally class was over.  When it was all said and done, we had swam a total of about 500 yards.  Not too bad.  I think the Tri Girl Tri is only 300 yards.  But it is in a lake.  (shudder!)
I fell asleep pretty easily, but I was awoken at 3 am with horrible shoulder pain.  Shoulder pain in the area in front by your bones that surround your neck; what are those?  The clavicle bones?   That’s where I was hurting.  I was so sore, and I couldn’t get back to sleep.  I also know we have no pain meds in the house.  Instead I opted for this all-natural Icy Hot kind of stuff that my mom got me.  It’s very strong, and unlike Icy Hot, you can feel it working for a couple of days.  You can literally feel this burning sensation coming from the inside of your body.  It’s really good, and it has helped a lot with sore running muscles.  So I put it on my neck bones and shoulders, and I lay back down.  But then I realized I had gotten it on my actual neck, because all of a sudden my neck was on fire.  Then I had to get up and get a wet towel to kind of wipe it off of my neck.  That was better. 
I tried again to go back to sleep, but even though the lotion was working, I was still in quite a bit of pain.  So got up AGAIN and went downstairs to see if there was anything that would help.  I was even willing to take a cold medicine as long as it had some ibuprofen or something in it.  Then I found a prescription from a dental appointment for 800 mg ibuprofen!  Praise the Lord!  I took one, and went to lay down one last time in hopes of falling asleep.  Sleep finally came back about 4:30 by the time it was all said and done. 
I had to get up at 5:30.
Needless to say, I did not get up and go to the gym before work.  But I will be back there on Thursday for more spin and swim torture.  

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