I’m (loosely) following a Half Ironman training programme and this week had me doing a time trial for the swim section. This came with more difficulties than you can imagine and it came with a serious threat of a panic attack when I was trying to plan it.
Let me explain.
Problem number 1. I haven’t swam more than 400meters in one go since Edinburgh and even then I had what I call ‘Dip gate’. (They changed the start, I jumped in and ended up only going down and not forward, drank and chocked on half the pool water and basically wanted to die – all within the first 5 seconds of the triathlon starting!). Could I keep going for 1900 meters?
Problem number 2. How do I count 1900 meters? My watch has been playing up so can’t trust it to count the lengths. I can’t count and swim or I will sink and die. Breaking it down to sections will confuse me because, again, I can’t count past 4 before forgetting and ultimately sinking and drowning (spot the theme).
Problem number 3. It’s January, it’s mega busy. I will either end up having to wait and let people past or getting really frustrated having to wait for people to hurry up. And let’s not mention the ‘I’m going to breast stroke in a medium to fast lane but refuse to get my head and hair wet and growl at those who splash me’ people. (Stroke my ass with your arm again and I will grab your foot and throw you out the pool!)
Problem number 4. I hadn’t been too well the few days before so the timing was all off.
Problem number 5. I had no way of getting to the pool as the car had broken down and I was getting the blame for this.
Problem number 6. I didn’t really want to do it.
After realising all I was doing was making excuses I decided to count the lengths in 10’s and check my watch at intervals to keep on track. My mum has been coming swimming so she gave me a lift. I had been a little dizzy, not at deaths door, so I was fit and well enough to do it.
Suck it up buttercup or you won’t even make it to the start line!
I clicked my watch and off I went. There was only 1 other guy in my 25m lane and he was slightly slower and taking rest periods so no problem there. I counted to ten. I got this! Start again, count up to ten. Job done. I checked my watch and it matched up. Things are going great! Another guy jumped in but again it was no issue.
Up to 30, then 35 – half way! Oh no wait. You’re doing 76 lengths. What’s half of 76? 35 isn’t it? No it can’t be. Must be 36. How can it be 36 when you need to do 76? Is it 46?
WHY CANT I DO SIMPLE MATHS?!?
Oh holy …. What length am I on?!?
Right, calm down. You were thinking you were half way when you were on the other side over there so you must be one number up from that so half way is 38 which means you are on 39. But you can’t be on 39 as that’s an odd number and you are heading back to the shallow end – the shallow end is even numbers!
This goes on for what feels like an hour (reality is 30 seconds) until I get to 40 lengths.
Yes! Only 26 to go!
40 plus 26 is not 76 Ella. It starts all over again.
In the end I somehow figure it out and then keep a very close eye on my watch as I count down the last 400 meters.
Hitting the wall at the end I click my watch and take a breather. Despite all the chaos in my head (anyone else hear the voices? No? Just me then) I’ve done pretty well. Not spectacular compared to some but for me, pretty god damn well. I may look more like a sea urchin coming up from the dead than Ariel the mermaid but I feel good about the swim and that’s what counts.
Plus now – I have my base to work on. I have my first time I need to beat. And I have 5 months. A lot can be improved in 5 months. Maybe not the counting issue (I’m sure that’s a medical condition). Or the voices for that matter. But definitely the time.