Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Watch Your Wheaties Box, Phelps

Last night, I rocked a 20-minute half mile in the pool during our group swim. Actually, let me qualify "rocked" by noting that I have no idea if that time is fast or not. What I do know is our coach said "Swim for 20 minutes. A half mile is 33 laps." So when I successfully completed 33.5 laps in that time, I decided this was cause for celebration, cookies, and a new blog entry.

This is a particularly momentous achievement for me since swimming has never been one of my favorite activities. I didn't learn to properly swim until I was about 9, and up until about two years ago, I was that weirdo holding my nose when jumping in the water. At summer camp I managed to avoid swimming as much as possible, and believe it or not, there aren't all that many moments in life that call for swimming skills beyond the doggie paddle.

And yet for some reason in 2008 I thought it was a good idea to train myself for a triathlon. The first time I got in the pool with my training buddy, she laughed at my absurd swim form (every time I took a breath I would pop my head straight out of the water facing forward). The swim during the tri was the longest swim of my life. As you may recall from my first post, I came out of the lake looking like this:

For days and days I kept telling everyone how "OMG I totally thought I was going to DIE on the swim" and "Swimming is stupid!" and "I'm hungry from this triathlon, please give me cookies." Mmmm cookies.

Anyway, it would seem completely logical then that a year later I would decide not only to take on another triathlon but to do one where the swim is almost 3 times as long. Sweet. For the past three months sheer fear has driven me to the NYC rec center pools twice a week, braving sticky locker-room floors, frigid water temps, and fellow swimmers who consider their ability to doggie paddle a reason to be in the "fast" lane. As I've worked to improve my technique I've swallowed and inhaled pool water that contained many things worse than chlorine, questioned various popping noises in my shoulders, rocked some sweet goggle marks for the better part of an hour post-swim, and bravely donned the most unflattering of swimsuits (seriously, Speedo? Seriously?).

After last night, I'm willing to say it's been worth it. Next stop: Olympics!

Feel free to congratulate me on my achievement with a donation here:


1 comment:

vicki Klein said...

Alyssa- I thought you ALWAYS passed your deep water test! I'm shocked :)