Wednesday, 14 July 2010

That pesky 400

If you've been keeping up with my bloggy antics over the last month or two, you'll know that one of my five current goals is to swim 400m. This is the distance required for a large number of sprint (short) distance triathlons and really the minimum you need to be able to do if you want to be entering races.

A few weeks ago I got to the point where it was indeed physically possible. The glorious setting of the lake helped me on my way and I triumphantly cruised around like a majestic dolphin enjoying my new found swimming ability. Well, ok, not so much a dolphin.. maybe a small penguin or something - but a step up nonetheless.

However, physically being able to swim 400m and swimming it in a race setting against other people are two entirely different beasts and with less than two weeks(!) until my first triathlon I was getting a bit edgy.

A pool session on Monday evening helped. The brilliantly helpful and encouraging Nicky (and other half of top motivational couple "Nicky and Leo") gave me some new drills to practise and I definitely felt like I was more on track to becoming the streamlined torpedo I was absolutely not born to be.

So, this morning I did the session I had been dreading. I wanted to swim my 400 in the pool, without stopping, and to see what my time was. Easy? It should be, but I seem to have some sort of psychological block to extended swimming in the pool. It could be the constant stopping and starting, and losing the rhythm. It could be the breast-stroking masses and OAPs menacingly blocking my way. Or it could be than I just need to man up and push a bit harder.

10 lengths went by, that was the longest so far I had ever swam constantly in the pool. I was going to make it. I hit 16 and was almost too afraid to look at the stopwatch. When it comes to 400m I just want to be able to do it in a triathlon and to not be so slow that it's embarrassing. Originally I thought 16 minutes would be a good time to do, 1 minute per length - that's on the verge of embarassing but achievable.

Having been focussing on the swimming and putting some training in I was now thinking 12 minutes could be a goer. This is the time I was hoping I had just achieved, even if it was a teeny bit over, that would be ok.

I glanced down... 11:09! Huuuurrrrahh! I was so chuffed I decided to swim it again and bizarrely, I got exactly 11:09 the second time too, so it wasn't even a fluke.

I now have a proper 400m time, and one to beat at that. Time for a new goal methinks...

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