The past week I’ve really gotten out of my comfort zone.
I know a fair number of triathletes. While I certainly don’t aspire to do a triathlon, I am curious about swimming. Not open water swim, just pool swimming.
Mind you, I do know how to swim. Thanks to my parents my sister and I had swim lessons for many summers when we were kids. I can get from point A to point B. What I can’t do is swim really well, or fast. There is really no reason for me to do so but I would like to swim as a means of cross training and to build some upper body strength.
I have a friend who is participating in the Trek Across Maine with me. As a fundraising event, she decided to hold a swim clinic. She is an avid swimmer that also used to teach swimming. Anyone wanting to participate in the 2-hour clinic was asked to make a donation to her Trek Across Maine. So, a good cause and something I wanted to learn how to do.
I have not been swimming in over 10 years. I thought, “Piece of cake. I can do this.” Just like riding a bike. But I was surprised at how freaked out I was. I mean I was really uncomfortable. Even though we went through some instructions and worked some drills, I focused mainly on the basics and just getting comfortable in the water.
By the end of the class I was thoroughly pooped. Swimming is HARD! Much harder than I anticipated. And when I would swim a lap, I couldn’t make it all the way to the end without stopping. Partly I think it was because I’d lose my rhythm. That other part was because I just wasn’t used to it. (See above – swimming is HARD!)
I have signed up for several Time Trials this year. I decided early on this was going to be more of a focus this year. I convinced my husband to by me a snazzy time trial helmet for Christmas.
Recently my friend, Marianne, gave me her aerobars. She used them last year to win the Maine Time Trial Series. Perhaps they will bring me a little luck!
With my first time trial only a few weeks away it was time to get out and practice on them. That took a bit getting used to. I felt so unstable. I also felt like I was veering more to the left than keeping a straight line. After several miles I finally became accustomed to the positioning and well as keeping my upper body relaxed. I do this in my normal position on the bike but not in a aero position. If I tightened my upper body even a little I could tell the difference and felt how unstable I became. So it was important for me to focus on being relaxed.
During my practice session I wasn’t focused on speed, but more on positioning and the feel of the aerobars. Later on in the ride, when I became more comfortable, I was able to pull up my speed a bit, hit bumps that I was afraid to ride over initially, and also tackle a few descents in the aero position. (But nothing too long, my route was pretty flat, luckily.)
It was good to get out of my comfort zone with these new experiences. Now I just have to continue to do a little bit of both so that they become comfortable to me.