Monday, October 11, 2010

A story about swimming.

I'm doing a triathlon this Saturday.  Before you start going and getting all impressed, it's so short it will probably take you longer to have a shower and get dressed, than it will take me to do the event. It's a teeeny event, targeted at "women of all shapes and sizes".  I've got an image of bigger, old girls, laughing, waving to the camera and wearing lots of pink and raising lots of money for a fabulous cause.  At least that's what I'm hoping.
I fell into this trap in March when I did another triathlon.  I was thinking - fun event, bigger, older girls, lots of pink, smiling, laughing and "having fun" stuff.  Except it wasn't.  These were some hard core, veteran triathletes. Honest to god, there was a woman there wearing one of those aerodynamic helmets that they wear in the olympics.  The fact she looked ridiculous was immaterial.  Fact was she was taking it seriously enough that she thought she needed to wear it.  
I only now feel that I can talk about the trauma of the swim.
My friend Sue and I were watching the swim stage of the event before ours.  We watched the poor sods at the back struggling out of the water and Sue said "the only thing I don't want to do is be the last one out of the water, the rest I don't care about".  I agreed.
Can you see where this is going?

Time for our event.  It's a deepwater start.  I didn't really know what that meant or would feel like until my turn.  We were grouped by swim caps into age groups and were fired off in age order.  I was wearing the 'old girls" cap and as luck would have it, got myself pushed into the last group in the water.  just me (thinking I'm fit and fabulous) and some older, bigger, smiling, girls, waving at the cameras. "No problemo", I thought as I dogpaddled in the deep weedy water waiting for the gun to sound.  My guts were churning, I think I may have done a wee in the water , my breathing started doing odd things.  The gun sounded, and we were off, my first gulp of weedy water and realisation that I could see nothing under water apart from weedy, murk.  I freaked.  I watched the feet of the bigger, older, smiling girls disappearing in the distance.  FARK!  It was happening.  There was just me (ok, I was now floating on my back), and the concerned looking support crew on kayaks paddling close to me.  I WAS GOING TO BE THE LAST ONE OUT OF THE WATER.
I had a sudden realisation.  I needed to swim.  I'd forgotten that part.  I started swimming and saw another set of feet in the distance.  I caught up with the feet.  Then I swear, those feet and I had an almighty battle to the end.  There was so much at stake.  Neither those feet nor I wanted to be the last one out.  It was neck and neck.  I think I made it although she may have just pipped me.

So I'm back for more.  Another triathlon, another swim.  And I've only been doing a smidge of training.  Not one thing has changed.  Everyone passes me in the pool, old people, kids, people with only one limb, people aqua jogging.  Everyone.  And I know the life guard at the local pool is watching this all happen.  I feel his eyes and his pity.  I've just got a new pair of tri pants with one of those chamois kanga pad thingees built in so I can ride more (ahem) comfortably.  I needed to try them in the pool the other day.  I must have looked like the business, the pants, the top, the goggles, the cycle helmet for the ride I was going to do afterwards (during which I got attacked by a magpie, but that will have to be another story!). I only looked the part until I got in the water.
What is wrong with me?  Heavy bones perhaps?
So tonight I'm going to google 'how to swim" and maybe watch a few clips on You Tube.  Failing that, it might be time for a private lesson.  All before Saturday 7.30am.
And this weekend is not boding well.  My race swim start is based on my registration number.  And as I'm a last minute entry, I'm like 1493 out of the field of 1500.  Surely history is not going to repeat itself?
I'll keep you posted.  And if you hear nothing about this until next April, you'll know.


  1. Sister, Did you ever go to swim club at the Tepid Pool in Invercargill ???
    Well, I did and the " Tepid Pool " was just great in the middle of a Southland winter. I can swim reasonably well ( in a pool anyway ) & it's because I swam my 50 or 100 yards as fast as possibly could so I could bloody get out ! ( Mum probably didn't make you do it since you were the
    " arty " daughter .... )

  2. Oh, I can remember being mind numbingly bored while you did your lessons, big question was though...,how did we get there and how did we get home? At least you didn't have to suffer art lessons at the art gallery's school holiday programme by yourself like I did, I have nightmares about making balinese shadow puppets and being traumatised by loneliness.

  3. All the best for the weekend Lisa... I will be cheering you on from the facebook sidelines!!