So in keeping with my goal to overcome my fear of water, (see posted entitled 'Deep Waters') I've begun swimming in the mornings. Kent's gym gave a offer to sign up for free with a monthly fee of $30. I signed on and have been "swimming laps" in the 25m pool at 5:30 in the mornings everyday except the weekends for the last 3 weeks.
The quotation marks around "swimming laps" is because the first few days was spent just trying to finish a single lane without gasping for breath and having to roll over on my back to get to the end. I have since gained a greater reverence for the professional/team swimmer. They must have lungs the size of a whale's! I cannot imagine how they can swim that long without feeling like they're going to explode! I must admit I felt rather sheepish that I was so out of breath after all, I'd been running 3-4 miles regularly for months now. But then I began to notice that every time I hit the halfway mark (noted by some rungs leading out of the pool) I'd start to panic a little. It was the deepest part of the pool and psychologically gave me a little anxiety. I re mediated that by wrapping a noodle around my waist so I 'knew' I couldn't sink (not that I could really drown in 5 feet of water anyhow ... but you know, trick the brain ....) and tried again. This time I could go there and back 3 times before I was panting like a dog in the midday heat of Arizona. Aha! Success, I do have SOME lung capacity!
After a few days of using the noodle, I tried again without. I did it! But this time I discovered another problem. I'd tense part way through and despite the blubber in my behind, my back end would drop and I'd be dragging it with my arms through the water. A great waste of energy I must say. I thought I was imagining this until a woman coaching a team watched me do a lap and tactfully asked how long I'd been swimming. She smiled and then gave me a few helpful tips about pushing my face and shoulders down into the water which would raise my rear end. I did this and came up sputtering ... to much akin to the panic trigger. I went back to using the noodle again in the hopes of my body slowly acclimating to the idea of keeping my butt up!
It's working .... at least I think so. No one has really watched me do a lap yet, but I can make it there and back without sounding like I have emphysema so I must be doing it better, or stronger or have better lung capacity or all of the above. I have also acquired a few items along the way - goggles, swim cap and a racer back swimsuit. I must admit I feel rather intimidated donning all these items, it makes me look like I know what I'm doing when I'm sure I resemble a cat trying to take a bath rather than a fish at sea. But it's helped and slowly I'm getting so I rather enjoy the water.
I LOVE the goggles and it help to alleviate some of the fear I was having. The swimsuit leaves me feeling incredibly exposed and indecent because the back is SO low, but my arms and body move more freely. Hopefully the cap will save my one vanity and my hair won't be a frizzy mess by the time this is all done.
So all this leads to my latest and craziest project. I've decided I'd like to participate in a sprint triathlon. It may not seem it but it was incredibly hard to write that. It took me many weeks before I could even tell someone and has a lot to do with the fear of failure made public. But hey, I also have the chance of success made public so that is that! I've been mulling it over in my mind for a few months now and I'm aiming to do the triathlon in the Tempe Town lakes over the mother's day weekend. That give me a few months to get over my water issues (I will be swimming in water 15-16 feet deep) and hopefully get a bike to ride. I owe my inspirations to Maria Bingham who planted the idea of a triathlon and to Amy Tenny and Kassie Kelly who showed me that a busy mom can do such a thing. So thanks to you gals for your amazing examples. Heres to taking fears and making them stepping stones! (or cliffs to jump off of depending on how you look at it!)