Tuesday, June 20, 2006

All Wet, Again!

Monday. Rest day. Or, Monday, go back to the lake that kicked your butt, yesterday, and show it who's boss. Hey, I'm hard-headed, and I can always rest when I'm dead.

The Tri-Foxes scheduled another swim at the High Cliff course, last night. After a mile swim Saturday and the fun and excitement of the first 1/4 mile open water swim on Sunday, Mrs. Pol was bemused when I mentioned possibly going back for another session. "Isn't Monday a rest day." She's getting too good at this, changing my schedule around didn't even faze her. "Well, yeah, but I really need the practice. And this has lots of people. I'm less likely to drown." She didn't see the humor, but adjusted dinner plans, allowing me to go.

So, it was off to the lake. Given the state of the water on Sunday, I was hoping for conditions to be a bit calmer. God, as I've mentioned many times in the past, has a wicked sense of humor. He also has a habit of throwing at us exactly what we need (whether we realize it, or not). Sunday, the "rough" water consisted primarily of swells and a bit of chop. Last night, the swells were considerably larger, and waves were regularly breaking, even out where we were swimming.

Using some of the comments from everyone here, and a few from members of the tri-club, I set out on the short course. It was immediately apparent that the water conditions were going to make things more challenging. I tried a bit of breathing every stroke, and found that uncomfortable. Tri-Mama indicated that takes some getting used to, so I will continue to drill with it when in open water. I also worked on some siting drills, trying different suggestions. One was to take an extended stroke every 4th stroke, and throw a quick look toward the bouy. This was quite effective at nearly drowning me. Okay, try the breast stroke every so many cycles. This was better, though it was difficult to get back to the forward crawl (comfort thing, not skill). So, I will drill with that, in the pool. I have to get comfortable breaking form, and going right back into it.

Apparently, I also need a lot of work on swimming in a straight line (read "learn to breath bilaterally"). Despite the warning that the conditions would push us towards the shoreline, I quickly found myself heading out to sea. Everything I've ever seen indicates that bilateral breathing can really help resolve this challenge.

Most important about yesterday's swim was overcoming the anxiety that Sunday's swim generated. The "claustrophobia" of being unable to see, the waves breaking over my head while trying to breath, and the inability to get into a rhythm all had me worked up. Last night, while admitting this is a huge weakness, I got back into the water and showed that while I might be slowed down and frustrated, I would not be cowed. In fact, after swimming the first horrible 1/4 mile, a group of use went back and swam a second lap. The second 440 yards took just over 9 minutes. And that's about average, for me.

The lake has just got to learn that I don't have to be fast. I just have to stay afloat, and I win.


Deb said...

I am so frightened of the swim....gotta get beyond that. BTW, you're right about my Sunday bike pace. It was 3:15 total (after Starbucks stop!) so pace was much closer to 16.5...thanks for mentioning that!

Veeg said...

Hee! "Out to sea." In the 'bago? Maybe "out to Oshkosh." ;)

Repetition, repetition, repetition. You're doing GREAT!

greyhound said...

Land animal + aquatic environment = discomfort.

Discomfort + repetition = adaptation.

Iron Pol said...

Okay, Veeg is correct. The odds of my getting too far "out to sea" are sort of limited. However, being anywhere near the middle of Lake Winnebago qualifies as far enough from land to be "out to sea."

Greyhound, good point. That probably hits the nail on the head for this situation. Thanks.