A couple days ago, my dad told me that THE stroke for my first tri should be the sidestroke. He explained why and why it worked well for him back in the day (mainly, you keep your head above water so you don't panic and you don't use up all of your energy).
So after spending hours yesterday studying both videos of the sidestroke and the Total Immersion video that Jess recommended, I felt like I would be ready to try some stuff out today.
Then I woke up. I had NO desire to go to the pool. I woke up late, ate a leisurely breakfast, and was watching tv and finding every reason not to go. After talking to Amanda about some of the reasons why it didn't make sense to go, I realized what I was doing - I was talking myself out of it. I was logicing my way out of something I needed to do Also, after some encouragement from Jess, I realized that she was right. I WOULD feel good afterwards, I just needed to get there first. So the good angel (or masochistic one) won out, I sucked it up, and took off. I got to the pool with about 45 minutes left of adult swim time, quickly changed, and got in.
First of all, I got a lane to myself. I took this as a very good sign. Secondly, they were playing 50s music and it put me in a good mood. I did a couple of warm up laps, varying strokes and just trying to get the blood flowing. I quickly found out that the guy in the lane next to me was an INTENSE swimmer - I nicknamed him Splashy McSplasheron. The waves he created and the splashes when his hands hit the water were incredible. I tried to ignore him and I started to experiment with the sidestroke.
At first, I'm pretty sure I looked like a drowning possum. I couldn't get everything to work correctly, and I was starting to stress that I'm just NOT coordinated enough for this stroke (which would really be no surprise to anyone who knows me). I reverted to my elementary school teacher knowledge, and viewed my body as a Simple Machine. If I just get this going that way, when the legs scissor, and I move this hand here, I'll achieve propulsion. Once I started to view my body as a wooden machine connected at the joints, amazingly, I had success. It was AWESOME. On Wednesday, if you recall, I had to stop frequently for breaks and just felt disconnected. Today, I could go 6+ laps without stopping for a break and I realized the true brilliance of the sidestroke. I had power and relative speed, but most importantly, I didn't get tired.
Additionally, I got my first taste of real tri swimming with Mr. Splasherson next door. I swallowed a LOT of water because of him, and I never panicked or stopped. For that, I'm actually really proud of myself.
Once I was finished with about 700 yards (read: 250 more than I did on Wednesday), I felt totally pumped. I realized that THIS is why people get so into swimming - this feeling. I wanted to continue the feeling, so I changed, sped to the gym, and banged out 13 miles on the bike in about 32 minutes. By the time this was done, my legs were hurting but I felt good. Honestly, I felt like a badass - and that's always fun.
My only issue now is the fact that I haven't run since... maybe Thanksgiving? Between my cold and getting SO focused on swimming and biking, it's kind of been left by the wayside. I need to get back to it tomorrow. I miss it.
Also, while my tri is in May, I decided I should do a duathlon before then. I think it would be a good way to get my feet wet with the multisport events, and I can determine how my training is going. There's one in March in Brooklyn, NY and I think it would be a good idea. I'm getting excited about another race sooner than May, because May feels WAY too far off.
Ok, one last thing. Magnet bracelets. I am officially and truly a believer, and I want everyone else to be one, too. Try them out. You really won't regret it.