Faster would be nice.

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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