I got my lazy behind to the gym, with the realization that I had completely ruled out learning how to do the crawl before August 4th.  I will be doing this tri with the breast stroke.  I’m not out to win it, just finish, so my stroke really doesn’t matter.  Multiple friends provided tips on how to do the breast stroke more effectively.  For example, apparently your body should be as vertical as possible.  It should not go through the water, like mine, at an angle that creates drag. 

I shoved ear plugs in my ears because I hate getting water in my ears—that neurosis stems from multiple ear infections as a kid.

Within a half a lap I came to the realization that I had never, in my entire life, attempted to swim hard.  I had only ever gone swimming recreationally.  Even if I raced anyone it was to the other side of an above ground pool—less than half a lap at the gym pool.  Three laps in I was dying.  Literally, I thought, I’m only in four feet of water and I could drown here.  Because of the ear plugs I could hear my heart racing at double decibels.  My face was getting hot and throbbing.  This was torture.  I didn’t know why anyone ever swam or had any cause to swim.  Is this was Michael Phelps feels like or is it easy for him?  Will this get easier?

Trying to do the breast stroke better only made it worse and zapped all my energy.  I’m sure it’s easier once you get the hang of it, but I don’t have time to acquire the proper muscle memory, so I’ll be doing the breast stroke, Maggie Downie Style—a little out of time and at an angle. 

I started to realize why people suggest I try swimming in open water.  Every turn I tapped the side of the pool and it was a moment of security—one I will not get on race day.  I tried to push off as little as possible since there will be nothing to push off with on race day.

I finished in under 25-minutes, defeated, exhausted and wondering how loud my panting sounded to everyone else in the pool.  Why did I sign up for this?  I never wanted to do this again.  I didn’t even want to do the tri now.  Swimming sucks.

Do I feel the same way, the next day?  Check out the blog tomorrow to find out…