Monday, December 06, 2010

The water and the bike.

Since the race, some of you have asked what might be my next steps. Well, I know I want to run the half marathon again next November. And in 2012, I want to do a triathlon.

The triathlon is a HUGE goal. Mainly because I can hardly swim or bike.

When I was young, I had an accident in the pool that left me scared of deep water. Actually it was a phobic fear of deep water. As such, even though I loved water and playing in pools, I never learned to swim.

This changed when I went on my first cruise in my early thirties. My friends all went snorkeling at a beautiful Carribean island. I put on my life jacket and snorkel mask and waded into the ocean with them. And had an anxiety attack the moment I got to 4 1/2 feet of water. My friends all swam away from me while I was stuck, frozen in fear.

I came back from that trip pissed at myself. I immediately found a swim class for adults who had water fears. That class was fantastic. The folks in the class with me were all terrified of different things. Some people couldn't put their face in the water. Some couldn't let go of the side of the pool. Some were afraid of deep water like me. Our patient coach got us all swimming by the end of class but mostly we simply learned how to move in the water (front crawl and backstroke) rather than really learn great swimming form.

Freeing yourself of a deep fear is very liberating. I started lap swimming at my local gym that year. And the next summer, I took another cruise with my friends and went snorkeling in the ocean.

But that fear remains. I always have to breathe through it when I first get in the water. The more I swim, the easier it gets. But the anxiety is always there. I've started lap swimming again. But I kind of suck at it. I can only front crawl one lap. Then I backstroke one lap. (I love the backstroke; it's my favorite way to swim). I can do this combo for over 45 minutes. But when I try to crawl more than one lap, I freak out a bit.

Luckily, my sweet wife has granted me some swim lessons as a Christmas gift. I'll meet one-on-one with a coach who will help me work on proper form and teach me how to really swim. I want to learn to swim properly. I want that base of knowledge. I want to learn how to do a lap-swimmers flip. I want to be able to crawl 2 laps, then 4 and so on until I can crawl a mile. Then I want to learn to swim in the ocean.

A very tall order indeed!

This is a picture from April 2006. This is when I FIRST learned to bike. I never learned as a child. Instead, Karen taught me. And for a few months, I actually cycled a little bit. There was a fantastic biking trail close to our house where we would bike together.

My most memorable moment was trying to cross a bridge. Now mind you, this bridge was on the biking path and was at least 9 feet wide. Just looking at it made me freak out. I crashed right into the side of the bridge. Fortunately I was going at a snail's pace and didn't hurt myself too much. I have to say that any time I went biking, I felt like a complete idiot.

A few months after I learned to ride, I got pregnant. And I haven't really been on the bike since. Our one trip biking to the ocean made me sweat buckets.

So as you can imagine, I have a long way to go. First I need to learn to bike without screaming and coming to a grinding halt when a car passes me. I need to learn to gain lots and lots of confidence because right now I feel like a complete spaz. I need to learn to bike on a sidewalk and in the road. Then I'll need to learn to bike some distance. And then some speed. And learn to bike with others. At some point, I'll probably have to get a faster bike than my little granny bike.

I have a long, long way to go.

John Bingham wrote:
However fit you are today, a year from now you will be either more or less fit. The choice is up to you. and

As I set new goals, conquered new fears and overcame new doubts, I became a new person.

So, a triathlon in 2012!

I'm terrified.

I'm excited.


Mallory said...

Awesome goals, Wendy! You can do it!!

Michaela said...

You can do it!! And you'll love it.

Phoenix said...

OMG... I can totally relate to this. My cousin tried to drown me as a child and since I've had a debilitating fear where water is concerned. I hate it covering my face or going out further than neck high, which really isn't deep when you're 5'2". I wish you luck with prepping for the triathlon.

Lissa said...

The thing I am most impressed about is the bravery to learn something new and be okay sucking at it for a while. Kudos to you and a lesson for perfectionist me! xo lissa

Melissa said...

Congrats on the half marathon Wendy! Wow you did great! I just did my first triathlon last month... so I know you can do it!! ;) My time wasn't great at all, but the most important part is (A) showing up and (B) finishing! YOU CAN DO IT!! ;)

Louise said...

You will rock this just like the half marathon! Before you know it, you will be clipping in and out of the pedals with your snazzy cycling shoes. Flip turns are easy once you get the hang of them.

There will be a few humiliating moments in the pool where your butt is sticking straight out of the water but once you've accepted that will happen, you will be halfway there!

Good luck, I know you can do it!

Holly B. said...

How exciting--those sound like great goals! You're an inspiration!

Clare said...

Congrats on your new challenge - sure you'll make it!

Just a comment ont he use of the word 'spaz'. Not sure if it's the same in US but in the UK it's a derogatory term which makes me feel uncomfortable. Don't want ot be down on your achievements, what you're doing is awesome but I find the use of the term insulting.

Wendy and Karen said...

Thanks to everyone for your great comments!

Clare, thanks for the notice on the word "spaz". I certainly don't want to offed anyone in my writing. So thanks for bringing this to my attention. Cheers!

Stacey said...

That's awesome that you set goals and we all know that you'll accomplish them. :)

Elin said...

You are fantastic and an inspiration!
You set goals for yourself and you reach them!
I have no doubt you will do a triathalon because you are motivated and you have conquered your fears and stuck with things when they are tough.
I really admire you :O)
with love,
Elin x