Sunday, May 07, 2006

In the Swim

Not content with having done a marathon, I now have a hankering to have a go at a triathlon, swimming and cycling having been my exercises of choice before I took off on this crazy running thing. I had this rather naive notion it might be easier then running 26 miles.

I should say here, that though I am an enthusiastic swimmer, and usually manage 40-50 lengths at a time, I am more then somewhat lacking in technique. My crawl is non-existent, backstroke just about passable, butterfly (don't even go there) and my breaststroke is the best of a bad bunch. I recently went swimming with a friend who is pretty accomplished in the swimming department, and she laughingly observed that apparently I don't kick my legs at all during breaststroke.

Having spent more years then I care to remember poolside watching the sprogs learning to swim, it has occurred to me of late that once they get properly going (which after years and years of anguish no1 is finally about to do), they are all going to be miles better then their mum. Being of a somewhat competitive bent, I of course, Can't Have That, so had decided that I should learn how to do it properly.

Which is how I found myself the other week by the side of the pool enrolling for a triathlon class. Given that I am fairly fit, and can swim a reasonable distance, I didn't think I would be a complete no-hoper... at least I was in a better shape then I was when I was marathon training - or so I thought.

I knew I was in trouble when the chap asked me how far I could swim. I can do forty lengths, I said proudly. There was a pause. A significant pause, and I realised I was expected to say something else. That's breaststroke, I added. The significant pause led to a significant look, and my dreams of swimming glory disintegrated in front of me. We don't do breaststroke, he said.

And so it was, dear reader, that I was confined to the beginner's lane, doing drills which consisted of lying on my side, in the water, with my arms by my side, kicking my legs while I rolled my head back and forth in and out of the water in one fluid motion. As if. It is a wonder that I didn't drown. I am going to be soooo much more sympathetic to the children when I watch their pathetic efforts at crawl.

Luckily, my trainer appears to be a man of infinite patience,, and he put up with my feeble attempts to potter up and down the pool trying not to look like a drunk porpoise. I've had worse, he announced cheerfully at one point (though I suspect he's just saying that), and at another telling me that I'll be like the other two in my lane in a month. How long have you been coming, I asked one of them. Eight months, was the not very heartwarming reply. Oh dear. Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear.

How did it go? Spouse wanted to know when I got back. Knackering, dispiriting, humiliating.... how many more negatives can I get in a single response? However, I know now the title of my next book, should I purse this triathlon thing further... It'll be called Up the Hill Backwards: Diary of a Triathlon Mum. You heard it here first....


Lisa said...

Awesome! I'm hoping to do a tri in a few years time, so I'll be following your journey. :)

Jane Henry said...

Yikes! Lisa, my journey is in very embryonic stages and after that humiliation, am in some doubt!! But I would love to have a go!
Am very envious of your ten minute and under miles. I'm lucky at the moment if I get eleven!