One of the first things new triathletes start worrying about is surviving the swim.  Once they figure out they can actually survive it, they want to get faster.

I was thinking of this tonight as I did the first open water mile swim of the season.  I should have done it long before now, as my race is a mere 4 weeks away; but between a crazy schedule, bad weather, and a general “you can’t make me” feeling, I just haven’t.

So I showed up tonight for our group swim, chanting my mantra:

“Nice and easy.  So slow you’re never out of breath.”

If I could talk underwater (and I almost do, as I hum for the entire mile to get myself to breathe out…) you could have had a nice conversation with me – that’s how slow I was going.  In running parlance, it’s a LSD – long, slow, distance swim, which I did tonight.

I’d feel better about that if it wasn’t SOOOOO slow.  For my mile, I could have watched almost en entire episode of The Closer – with most of the commercials (55:38).  Now, to be fair, there was a significant chop in the water tonight.  Some folks didn’t even make it through the swim.  And it was a bit cold.  And I almost flashed a guy when my bathingsuit got a little too drag-er-ific for my liking.  But I never once put my feet down to stand, and I didn’t stop. 

So, as I see it, the upside is this:  come August 30, I know without a doubt that I will confidently, without panic, complete the 1KM swim in the Chicago Triathlon. 

The downside is this:  I’m not sure if I should be trying harder.

The thing is, I’ve gotten so used to the fact that I can’t push myself right now, because I am so overweight, that I would just like to finish this year – just finish – and that would be enough.  But on nights like tonight, I’m torn between wanting to finish, and wanting to do much better….

As always, I know that the answer is somewhere in the middle.  I can’t push myself to swim at a “race pace” during all of my training – I’ll never make it, and that’s not what training is desgined for.  But on race day, I think I need to not be afraid to push myself just a little harder, too.   Because I have to believe that this body, which took me through 13 miles on Sunday, has more to offer than a 55 minute mile.

Well, as I’m back on the wagon, tomorrow’s bike ride dawns early, so I’m off to bed.  Sleep well!

See you on the path –

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