Day 135 – 149

Posted: June 4, 2012 in May
Tags: , , ,

I’ve really, really struggled of late. There is just nothing happening for me in the swimming department. I know that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting the same results but in most physical endeavours if you keep doing things, ie practising, you eventually get better at them. For the past couple of weeks I’ve ben going to the pool five times a week and been making absolutely no improvement. I know I should have just called Mark (my swim coach) and arranged a session, but my stupid pride didn’t want me to go see him after six weeks since the last session and not be one bit better. So I kept on putting it off and putting it off and just having worse and worse sessions in the pool which was eroding what little confidence I did have.

I know that swimming is a primarily physical endeavour but I know some of my problems are mental rather than physical. I get halfway through a length at the pool and some switch just flicks and I stop – my stroke wasn’t right, my breathing wasn’t right, my noseclip was falling off, there was water in my goggles, there was an ‘R’ in the month. For whatever reason, every single time, I would stop at the halfway point. Trying to figure out what was going wrong, focussing on what was going wrong, paralysis by analysis, increasing frustration, I’m getting nowhere with this, I’m going home.

Day after day after day.

Every day then I’d look at the logistics for TriAthy and just grow more and more disconsolate. I’d long ago given up hope of doing the Double Olympic or Olymic but six weeks ago had decided on trying to get myself ready to do the sprint – 750m swim, 20km cycle, 5km run. 750m swim, that’s 30 lengths of a pool and I could (just about) do 50m, and then need five minutes to recover. There’s realistically no way that I could go from 50m to 750m in two weeks considering my rate of improvement is about 5m a month. I had pretty much given up hope of doing anything and mailed my wife to say so. The only thing stopping me pulling out altogether was letting down all the people who’d helped and supported me:

– my wife and two boys* who’ve come to races to support me, never complain about the time I spend training, the multiple bikes in the house, the fussy diet and eating.

– McLoughlins Cycles who agreed to sponsor me this year, making an exception for a (real) amateur such as myself, based on a number of things I said I was going to do, one of those being TriAthy.

– Mark (swim coach). As well as the numerous group sessions, I’ve met with Mark for quite a few individual sessions, during which I’ve always come away noticably better than I was at the start of the session. The problem has always been I then go away to swim by myself, undoing all the good work that gets done in these sessions, and don’t go back to him until things get desperate.

– everyone who reads, or has read this blog. I’m not sure anyone wants to read about a prospective triathlete who doesn’t quite manage to ever do a triathlon, regardless of how fantastic his music selections are, or how interesting (or not) they find the ocassional glimpses into his neurotic psyche.

At this point in time it feels like I’m failing, and about to do it quite publicly.



* Just to clarify, my boys complain like hell about our new, ‘healthy’ diet, always maintain that they preferred me when I was fat and Son no. 1 will get out of going to any race he possibly can.

  1. bgddyjim says:

    Simple things first – and this is going to suck to read, but it is what it is. Don’t quit – not on account of an Olympic – that distance is gravy (half Ironman, now you’re talking some work). Swimming is easy, take it from a fish – if you’re struggling that much (and improving that little) you’ve got some kind of “I’m a rock so I’ll sink like one” disconnect going on and you have to get on top of that. You swim like your chest is on a surf board – plane on the water, don’t swim underneath it because that’s too much damned work. Call your swim coach and get that stuff figured out – you’ve worked too damn hard to let a little thing like swimming get in your way.

    Good luck brother.

    • try366 says:

      Cheers Jim, I appreciate that. Oh and I’m definitely not giving up, no sir. I just need (lots more) work, that’s all. That and leave my brain at the side of the pool for sessions. That should help.

      • bgddyjim says:

        Right, sorry about that, I was a couple of days behind. My buddy Pete is a Brit too, and swims exactly like you – never seen a fella work so hard to go so slow. I actually stayed with him for our first Olympic on the swim to make sure he didn’t drown. He’s making quite a bit of progress after understanding that moving through water is a lot tougher than through air… Good luck in getting that sorted.

      • try366 says:

        No worries Jim (though I’m Irish, not British). You weren’t really behind, I just tend to post in spurts and I’m usually playing catch up. I’ll get there eventually, with the posting and the swimming.

        Thanks again.

      • bgddyjim says:

        The “cheers” threw me off. I’m part Irish (mom’s side), so chuck on the shoulder to you. Sorry about that.

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