Swimming without Confidence

Training Diary 4 Comments

I loved swimming when I was a kid. In fact, I think I secretly thought I was the next best thing to a mermaid. I say the “next best” only because I had no particular desire to be a permanent water-dweller. I’d figured that Mcvities’ Chocolate Digestives** would get soggy from too much exposure to H2O, so whilst I enjoyed being in the water, I wasn’t prepared to jeopardise my bit of biscuity heaven!

In fact, I have such an affinity with water that I learnt to walk in water. (My parents were on the verge of thinking I had a development issue. They took me on holiday to the Med resigned to the fact that I might never walk, and up I got, and toddled into the sea). I’m still looking to perfect the art of walking on water, but give me a chance. I’m a bit busy drowning in triathlon-land, right now.

And yes, when I say drowning, I had another near-death experience at the pool. And all because I didn’t have any buoyancy aids.

Talking of which, I thought we were going to have a real life cat-astrophe.

Lord Oscarmort, small dog and Lord of all Evil, or possibly Lord of all Sleeps now we’ve moved, because Queensland is just jam-packed with hoodlum cats which makes the outdoors questionable and indoors a better place to rule with a furry iron paw. Anyway, that sentence is getting way too long… We will pause and draw breath…

So, Oscar was out for his nighttime walk with his favourite furry beasts. (Outdoors is safe if you’ve close to big dogs and huminions). And we had walked across the park towards the river bank, (because where we live is ace and within strolling distance of the Brisbane River). The dogs were happily sniffing every single blade of grass in a 20cm diameter. Mmm, delectable. And in the quiet and still of a balmy evening, I turned to see Oscar. Right on the edge of the riverbank, standing looking down like he was about to jump.

I don’t know if he’s depressed that his plans for world domination have been thwarted by the cat-thugs of Bulimba, or whether he’s just inspired by my conversion to triathlon, but he looked, for all the world, like he was going to make a dive for it.

I scolded him that the tide was right in and he wasn’t wearing his armbands or a rubber ring, and I wasn’t satisfied that he’d passed any swimming proficiency tests, so he needed to step away from the river.

And then I remembered that there might be people in the park. People I couldn’t see in the dark. And just because I couldn’t see them didn’t mean they couldn’t hear me. And talking to small ginger cats about – well – talking to small ginger cats… anyway….. I whistled him and we carried on with our walk.

But I digress. This is about my swim, Oscar. My crisis. Not yours!

I arrived at the BIG pool, you know, the FIFTY METRE one, paid for my swim, had my swimsuit half way up round my ankles in the changing cubicle and realised I’d left my bag of swim paraphernalia at home. I couldn’t be arsed to get dressed again, go home, and come back. But the thing is, I found I can swim a whole 50m IF and ONLY IF I have a pull buoy clenched between my thighs.

It seems bizarre that as ample a bottom as mine doesn’t act as a built-in flotation device. You would think it would aid buoyancy. But instead, it acts as a brick. This is less of a problem with breaststroke because it seems to position your legs perfectly for getting plenty of water behind your feet for excellent propulsion. But in freestyle, the butt needs to stay high. (I’m thinking of getting a small flag to attach to the back of my swimming cossie so that it can wave majestically as I dart through the water). Except my flag would be submerged, as my butt and legs all sink like stones.

I can’t tell you if it was tiredness after my first full week of training last week. (I got in 3 runs, 2 rides and 1 swim). Or whether it was purely psychological because I’d told myself I could only swim with the pull buoy. Whichever. I got in the pool and as soon as I started front crawl, I panicked and sank like a stone.

I still got in 1,500m of swimming. Largely breaststroke. And I raced a guy on one lap. (He didn’t know we were racing). But he was doing front crawl – slowly – and I was breaststroking like my life depended on it. AND I TOUCHED FIRST. And that is all.

Then I got out of the pool and was greeted with this horror story.

Goggle eyes_Fotor

Note to self: add new goggles to the ever-expanding list of “things to buy for triathloning”.

And as I drove home, I realised that if I’m not to be relegated to wearing flotation devices in my first triathlon, I’m going to have to get back in the pool and face my fears. (Melissa – I’ll be phoning you).

And I might need some swimming lessons!

** McVitie’s Chocolate Digestives are officially the BEST biscuits in the world. I can say this with some authority, as I have been on an extensive 40+ year taste-testing extravaganza across 3 continents. Well 4 if you count the USA, but they, like South Africa, don’t do biscuits right. Which is probably why they felt the need to give them a different name, cookies, so they have their own separate category and therefore don’t even try to compete. The Aussies, now they do have good biscuits. Arnotts put up a pretty good contest, and probably on a cross-range basis, they come out on top. But at a biscuit by biscuit level, NOTHING beats a McVitie’s Chocolate Digestive. #FACT

Sadly, these views are not sponsored by McVitie’s or Arnotts or any other producer of delicious biscuits. Which is a shame, really.

Also, I think the people at Funkita probably owe me. After all, I very kindly didn’t pose for the goggle-eye picture holding up a #lovefunkita card despite wearing my Funkita swimwear…. Do companies do sponsorship with individuals who promise NEVER to pose in public in their products? It – I – could be a first!!! 😉


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