Sunday, March 14, 2010

I can't swim

As much as I complain about running and biking and working out, it seems amazing that I would even consider doing a triathlon. But the fact remains that I am considering entering a triathlon in the next year or two.

Now, I would never (let me repeat that), NEVER consider doing an Ironman event. The idea of running a marathon after swimming 2 1/2 miles and biking 112 miles seems more like punishment than achievement. However, there are much more reasonable distances for triathlons, and there are several that take place close to home.

I am intrigued by the Olympic distance (swim 1500m, bike 26mi, run 10k). See if you can follow my reasoning. I would not have any problem biking 26 miles. I started out the season with a 21.63 mile ride with heavy winds and little preparation. I really think this leg would be the easy part for me. With the the ride being as easy as it would be, the run might be a little less taxing, plus if you consider the training involved, I think I could be fully prepared to tackle the final leg of the race.

The real crux of the issue is the fact that I cannot swim. And I am not even for sure that is accurate. I do not know if I can swim. When I was like 5 years old, I swam a few lengths of the swimming pool in order to qualify to swim in the deep end. I remember it being challenging back then, and since that time most of my childhood/young adult years at the pool were spent chasing girls. I never participated on swim teams and I remember working out for a couple of football practices in the pool, but there was no real swimming involved. As parents, we take our children to the pool, but I spend the entire time either in the baby pool or in the bigger pool with a kid latched onto my neck. Every so often I get the chance to swim a few strokes, but with no formal training and no goggles it never really lasts that long. I never seem to figure out how to breathe. My eyes burn from the chlorine. And wrapping my brain around the whole coordination of arm and leg movements seems impossible.

I do consider myself athletic enough to be able to figure it all out, but that would require some practice. That is going to be something that is tough to come by. We have exactly one functioning pool in town right now, and that pool is in a local hotel. You can pay $5 to swim for some predetermined amount of time. However, can I get into the pool at 5am? Who else would be there? And it would require investment in some goggles and new swim trunks. I have heard that a wetsuit certainly levels the playing field because it gives a certain amount of buoyancy in the water, but talk about an investment, those things look like they start at $120.

After all of this investment, how long would it take me to train for a 1500m swim. That is almost a mile! A few months ago, I couldn't walk a mile without getting winded, and now I am talking about swimming one. It just all seems so delusional.

I may be getting ahead of myself. Maybe I should just concentrate on the races and rides I would like to do this year. If I really get amped up about it, maybe I can sign up for the Capital City Biathlon, (all the fun, none of the swimming). It would feel little bit like cheating, and the distances aren't quite what I would like, but at least it is a starting point.

I will have to keep you updated as the story develops.

1 comment:

  1. YOU CAN DO IT BRIAN! I am sure of it! Is there anywhere nearby you can take swimming lessons? I will teach you! If it makes you feel any better, 99% (scientific poll) of the people I talk to about triathlon are most terrified of the swim. The other 1% is me, and I am just scared of Lake Michigan.

    I can't wait to watch you complete your first. Why don't you start with a super sprint??? Think about it...(aka - DO IT!)