Saturday, June 28, 2008

The Deep Water

This blog may come off more as a psychiatrist session, but here it goes.

It all started back in first or second grade when, after only two sessions, I didn't want to continue with a swimming camp the high school pool. My parents, nice folk that they are, didn't make me go back. So, I had never been in water deeper than a backyard swimming pool (4 ft or so) nor had waded deeper in a lake or an ocean deeper than my head.

Fast forward to 9th grade gym class. I was having a great year with volleyball and basketball and the sorts when we got the 9 weeks for swimming. Uh oh, what about the deep end of the pool? I was pretty nervous, but do I ask to get out of swimming because I was scared of the deep end? Do I risk the embarrassment at the high school for the next few years that I'm the sissy who wouldn't go in the deep end? No, so I treaded the water and swam in the deep end for the first time. It wasn't pretty and my heart was beating a million times a minute, but I did it.

Fast forward to being around Beth. In college, when she was injured, she would to the pool and aqua jog--in the deep water. Oh no! Do I admit to her that I'm not comfortable in the deep water? No, I go in and aqua jog with her, but hang really close to the edge of the pool so that I can grab on if I get in to any trouble.

I started swimming with Beth this past fall in the mornings at the YMCA and had overcome most of my pool issues. I'm now swimming laps comfortably (yet slow) for the past few months. So, now that I may begin to try some triathlons, I need to get comfortable in open water. Uh oh--swimming for 10-30 minutes in water where I can't touch the ground? Sounds scary.

I began the new "therapy" program back in May when Beth was competing at the Black Bear Triathlon. The day before the race, I got in the lake with her and swam some "laps" in the roped off area in about 5-6ft of water. Not a big accomplishment, but a start to getting the feel for swimming in a lake.

Today, I took my big step forward. Beth had a 1 mile swimming race at Moraine State Park today and I used the opportunity during warm-up time to get in a little swimming since this is the same lake I'll be competing in for my first triathlon in two weeks. So, out I go into the water, my heart is beating and I'm breathing fast as I get into deeper water, sighting the first buoy 400 yd from the shore. I get out a little further and then start to get nervous, so I turn back and swim to the shore. Total elapsed time--2 or 3 minutes. Not too impressive if I'm going to do triathlons.

Okay, I got the feel for it, time to do it again and try to get out a little further. I do it and am out there for 4 or 5 minutes returning to the shore. I then am feeling a little better and go out for a third time, get beyond the lillipads (about 20 yds out) and tell myself to get into a rhythm and counted off 40 strokes with my left arm. There we go--I did it!! Total time on the third foray about 5 or 6 minutes. So, I feel a little better about heading into the "uncharted waters" for my first triathlon in two weeks.

After the swim, Beth had a 3.5 hour bike ride, so I needed to kill time. Again since it was at the site of my upcoming race, I decided to do some "advanced scouting" as they say in the baseball business. I started out riding out towards the exit of the park with Beth and then turned around and focused my efforts on the layout of the course. I rode hard and tried to think how I wanted to attack the rolling hills with my gears. I came back to meet Beth and Kim (who had done the 2 mile swim in the morning race) and they were going to head out on a 2.5 hour ride (Beth had done an hour while Kim was finishing the race).

They leave and I get back to my scouting. I rode the course a second time, but much easier since I had already put an hour in on the bike. Then, I got off the bike and did a quick transition and went busting out to run the run course. I went 10 minutes hard, 10 minutes jogging and finished with 10 minutes hard. I have a good feel now of what parts to attack as I'm finishing the race.

So, in summary, here's the workouts for the day:
Approx. 15 minutes of open water swimming
1.5 hr of biking
30 minute run
15 minutes of swimming at the north shore beach inside the ropes (had more time to kill for Beth to get back)
20 minute nap in the car (still waiting for Beth to get back)
30 minute run with Beth
3pm lunch at Panera Bread.

In other news, Beth's birthday gift to me was tickets to tomorrow's Pirates game against the Tampa Bay Rays. The seats are in the "All You Can Eat" Section, and I'm looking forward to getting back some of those Calories lost today with all the training. I'm just hoping for good weather. I think it's rained here every day this week and they're calling for more rain tomorrow. But, you can still eat even if it's wet out, right? Maybe the game will get started, but get rained out in the 3rd or 4th inning, so I'll get to turn in my tickets for a future game of all you can eat seats as well. That's almost like double dipping! Oh boy, I can taste the hamburgers, hot dogs, popcorn, nachos, peanuts, ice cream sandwiches, and coke already. I can't wait!!!!

I'll give some details about the seats and the state of the Pirates over the next week.

Finally, it's going to be an interesting week for me as I'll be flying solo. On Monday, Beth's heading to Chicago to train with a few other of her triathlon blogging friends Elizabeth, Ness, and Jen Harrison. It should be a good experience for her. Roxy the dog and I will have to hold down the fort in the mean time. I may go with my dad up to DuBois, PA to Treasure Lake where my grandparents built a true log cabin. It's a pretty neat site. The grandparents lived in it for about 10-15 years, but moved back home about two years ago since they were getting older and it was so far away from everyone.


Jennifer Harrison said...

Hey O...first, huge kudos to you on working hard on your open water fear. Seriously...ALOT of athletes are afraid of the open water (I call it the JAWS syndrome), but you are doing so great! Have fun being a bachelor next week as we entertain Beth! :) And her 5 bags of frozen veggies. Don't tell Beth...but I have NEVER iced anything in my entire life that I can recall...some college basketball boo boos but nothing in my TRI LIFE????!. She will just love me. Weird, eh? Anyway, ENJOY the Pirates (go Cubs!) game tomorrow! Jen H.

Beth said...

I am so proud of you for getting in that water! You had quite a look of fear on your face at first - but you did it!!! Watch out Butler YMCA triathlon!!

PS You may not have to eat all week while I'm gone after the All You Can Eat seats today!!

Kim said...

I have to admit, I did prod Beth for a little information on the bike about how you were feeling about the swim & the open water part! She was so encouraging and it was nice to hear the recap from your side as well. You are doing it the right way, a little at a time. Once you do that race, you will forever be fine in open water! At least that's what I think! Thanks again for your help with yesterday O. You're the best husband of training partner a girl could want. Off to long run!

Maijaleena said...

You are much more prepared for your first tri than I was--and mine was the Wildflower Olympic Triathlon. You are going to do great.