A matter of perception and perseverance

I’m likin’ the new WordPress interface!

I went to the pool this morning just to see how the crowd was and ended up in my own lane.  Kind cool when you consider the fact that there are only 3 lap swim lanes!

Even though this is only my 3rd time in the water, my endurance is already starting to improve a bit.  Today I was able to do 6 X 50, 1 X 75 and 4 X 25 which is both longer per exercise and longer total distance.  Granted, I still can’t swim 100 yards at a time yet, but it is at least encouraging when I consider that at the beginning of this week I couldn’t swim more than 25 yards without taking a break.

This also got me to thinking back to when I started running again in 2006.  I couldn’t run more than 2 miles without walking and I hurt so bad during and after that I thought I would never be able to even get to a 5K distance.  And thing that I kept telling myself was to stick with it.  Persistence, not improvement or weight loss or anything else, was what really kept me going.  If nothing else, the determination and effort kept me going.  And it worked!

Another thing I remember is a conversation with a friend who was a personal trainer shortly before I left California.  She said that basically you need to do something consistently for at least 1 month to make it a habit.  So in that first month of running again, when it hurt and I was depressed and frustrated, I kept telling myself to just stay at it for a month.  And sure enough, by the time I got to the end of that month, it didn’t hurt as much, I was a little faster and could go a little farther.  I’m hoping the same will happen with swimming.  Only I am willing to give it a bit more time than that.  If I can stay with a 3 day a week schedule for swimming until my first triathlon in early May I should be fine.  Our local club does organized open water swims all spring and summer as well and I may jump in on those once I get more comfortable with all this.

It’s been a long time since I have tried a sport for the first time.  The list of sports I have participated in is very long and varies from traditional (baseball, football) to extreme (downhill mountain biking, rugby) and from team (roller hockey, rugby) to individual (tennis, golf, running) so I thought I had pretty much covered them all.  I really had never considered swimming or triathlon because they involved participating in an environment that, by its very presence, can kill you.  Even if something went disastrously wrong at 50 mph+ on my mountain bike, I always thought I had a chance to save it and if I got too tired, I could just walk off course.  If I got tired in the water, I just sank.  Did’nt make me much of a fan.

But even though I still don’t LIKE it yet, there were a couple of laps today where it all kind of came together.  My breathing worked and it felt easy.  When I got to the end of the lap I wasn’t breathing hard.  I didn’t feel panicked.  It was only for a lap or two I can at least take some encouragement from it as I look to the future.  That and I had a pretty funny conversation with some very experienced triathletes at the end of our Thursday morning run.  When I mentioned to them that I didn’t like to swim yet, 4 of the 5 of them stated that they STILL didn’t like the swim, even after several hundred triathlons between them.  Most said they just survived the swim so they could kick @$$ on the bike and run.  I like that attitude…

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