If anyone other than my Grandpa is following along with the training calendar I posted a couple of weeks ago (unlikely) you will know that this morning’s session was to be a one kilometre swim. And for once, I was able to actually stick to the plan – and a 1km swim is exactly what I did.
The idea behind the 1km swim is that I have a 1km swimming race a week tomorrow (Saturday 12th March) and I just wanted to have the confidence of swimming that distance comfortably in the pool, to assist me in maintaining a positive mental state in the race. Because I have pooped my pants a couple of times, thinking about the 1km swim with sharks and jellyfish and seaweed and thrashing arms and legs that is only a week away.
The problem with this swimming race is that there’s no biking and running afterwards. So everyone there is going to be all about the swim. They’re probably all going to be really good swimmers. I am not a really good swimmer. I am not even a good swimmer. Heck, I am barely even a swimmer.
I don’t mind coming last – I am fully prepared for that experience. The point of entering the race was not to do well, but to get an additional opportunity to swim in a frantic pack in the ocean. Last place will be a success for me – what worries me is that I won’t even finish. One thousand metres in the ocean? I reckon in waves and things that is going to take me about half an hour – a big ask for this ex-electrocuted starfish.
So I turned up to the pool, ready for some slow and steady confidence-boosting swimming. The last few sessions I have done have concentrated on drills and skills, trying to be more relaxed in the water and just breathing. These sessions have included getting Felicity the Float out of hiding, trying some one-armed swimming, practicing bilateral breathing, etc. I stole all of these ideas from my latest Triathlon magazine so I’m pretty sure they’re legitimate and hopefully turning me into an excellent swimmer.
First things first, Coach Kirk was standing at reception and he asked me if I was going for a swim – although I guess it wasn’t really a question because I was clearly dressed in a swimming costume with a towel draped over my shoulder.
‘Yes’ I said, ‘I’ve got to do a kilometre this morning because in a week tomorrow I have a 1km race.’
‘A race!’ Kirk exclaimed.
‘You are an inspiration, Lauren.’
I laughed nervously and thought, well how awkward. I am an inspiration to the man who has taught me just about everything I know in the pool. The man who, when Shane and I stood and watched him at the Christmas Swim Squad night, as he joined in the relay for fun, blew us both away with his epic power and speed through the water.
Literally, Shane and I watched him dive into the pool when it was his turn, and possibly Shane blinked and missed it but we both turned to each other afterwards with wide eyes and open mouths, absolutely speechless.
So, an inspiration. This obviously meant I had to do a perfect kilometre swim, in superb time and with a smooth stroke. No problem, my ego said. Big problem, countered my brain.
Let me break it down (like with the running)
I started with a 100m warm-up. Well actually, I didn’t mean to start with a warm-up because there is a high chance I wont do much of a warm-up at the race, but after a hundred metres I thought ‘f*ck this sh*t’ and had to stop. Then I pretended the first 100m had only been a warm-up.
So, second time lucky I thought. I reset my stopwatch, pressed ‘start’ and pushed off from the wall.
The first lap was not too bad: I thought nice thoughts about what a good swimmer I am and what a nice stroke I was doing. I know from previous experience that telling myself lies like these help immensely with my swimming.
The second 100 metres was a different story. I had to do 10 laps, and I was only on the second. And it was hard work, it was boring, I wasn’t going to make a whole kilometre so I might as well just stop now. Plus my swimming cap was starting to pop off my head
On the third lap, I got overtaken twice by the dude in the lane next to me. I tried to kick my legs extra hard to make some annoying splashes or something for him – because how dare he be such a show-off? Of all the lanes to pick, he had to swim next to me. Some people have no class.
I realised when I finished that the dude was wearing flippers on his feet, but at the time the fury I felt drove me on until lap four, which is when I started counting down. Only 6 more laps to go, nearly half way. You got this. 4 laps down. Easy does it. Think good things.
On lap 5, the realisation that I was only half way through nearly broke me. I’d been swimming for about 7 and a half hours at that point, and all I could think was ‘in the ocean this is going to feel 4 times worse. What have I signed up for?’
Mid way through lap 6, my nose felt a bit blocked. I pondered the notion of inventing waterproof tissues for swimmers, and what it would take to patent such an idea. I’m working on it – so don’t even think about stealing this new invention, friends.
Laps 7, 8 and 9 were all about just hitting the magic 1km mark and looking down to see an awesome time. I knew I’d done well; I could feel my arms were tired and I had really pushed myself. I’d not had to stop for a breather, or to push my cap back on (even though it was clearly coming off) and I knew I was going to be thrilled with a new PB.
On lap 10 I pulled as hard as I could through the water, swallowing mouthfuls as I took in extra air and gave it all I had. I imagined the seconds I was shaving off my best time. No, not the seconds, the minutes! The minutes I was saving, as I powered through the water.
Eventually I spotted the end of the black line ahead, and didn’t even take a breath for the last few strokes (saving even more minutes!) and tapped the wall to finish.
Immediately, I grabbed the ledge, pushed my goggles off my face and looked down at my watch.
It was possibly a world record.
I raced home to take a photo, and also ran down to show my Grandpa. He was very proud, I think his exact words were ‘That is too good to be true!!’.
Hopefully Kirk will also be inspired, when I tell him next week. I reckon I might be his new star student.
In the meantime, I might buy myself a new stopwatch, just to make sure it’s accurate.