WELL, THAT WAS HUMBLING.
My swim class this morning, the first in an eight-week session, didn’t go quite as planned. One hour into the 90-minute workout, both my calves decided they’d had enough and starting cramping. Stretching failed to help, so I hauled myself out of the water, apologized, and headed to the showers.
I mentally ran through the available excuses – tired from Saturday’s run and bike ride, haven’t swum in years, form isn’t up to par yet – but it didn’t make me feel any better. That my body wasn’t at its best didn’t bother me, but rather that I’d quit in the middle of a workout. Both flesh and spirit were unwilling this time, as it were.
The nature of the class didn’t help. I don’t like being cold, and I really don’t like being wet and cold. Getting up before dawn on Sunday isn’t on my “A” list, either. So why did I get up before 6 a.m. to make a 7:00 swim class?
Apparently I needed a new challenge.
After years of being afraid I’d be sucked into the triathlon vortex, I succumbed and signed up for the Running Fit T-rex Tri Series – three summer “sprint” triathlons consisting of a half-mile swim, 20K on the bike, and 5K run. Swimming is the part I’ve trained for the least. But hey, I run ultramarathons and have no problems cycling 100 miles or more in a day. How hard could it be to swim a stupid half mile?
The workout started with a 500 meter warmup (10 trips across the pool and back), followed by some 100 meter sprints and then 500 meters timed. It only took a couple of times across the pool to realize I was in trouble. I was too high in the water above the waist and pulling my head up too much at breathing time, so I was working much harder than I should have. Even so, I improved and was just getting into a smooth rhythm when my calves seized up. (In fairness,, my shoulder began acting up, too, so it was probably just as well I stopped early.)
As a point of reference, the triathlon swim is about 750 meters. But that’s all in open water, and I can currently do only about 100 meters before I have to stop and catch my breath. The solution is to do a lot more swimming. Oh, joy.