Monday, June 9, 2008

No Wall to Hit

It's funny, but one of the "official" ways in which I know summer has truly arrived in Pensacola, Florida, is that the UWF Aquatic Center now has Long Course Meters at their morning lap swim session. (Somewhere in Chicago, Jen Harrison let out a giant whoop!)

This morning, as I adjusted my goggles, ready to jump in and begin my swim at precisely 6:30 am, the guy next to me commented, "That certainly looks a long way down, doesen't it?"

I grinned in spite of myself, and (to my utter amazement) proclaimed, "Yes it does, but then again, a marathon seems impossibly long, but we do them anyway..."

And then I took off, so all that was left were bubbles from my kick and gear at the end of my lane.

I don't know where that came from, because I'm not one to make snarky comments. But I coulden't help myself. My Swimming Neighboor seemed so gloomy about the idea of 3 L-O-N-G months of Long Course Meters - and all I wanted to get across was be grateful that you have the opportunity to swim, as not everyone does...

I don't think it came out quite like that... but my neighbor gave me a wide berth (we ended up sharing a lane with a third gentleman) every time I came in for a flip turn. So that was nice.

But as I was swimming along, I could feel the differene between Long Course Meters and Short Course Yards.

For one, I was slower. Much slower. Emphasis on the much.

And because I was swimming slower, I felt myself slowing down.

Does this make sense?

But as I swam along, I realized the reason why I was slowing down, was because I was out of my comfort zone. I was swimming, but not the Short Course Yards like I'm so used to; where every 20 seconds (or thereabouts), I can count on hitting a wall, flipping, and pushing off.

For Long Course Meters, it can be as many as 45 seconds (or more!) before that big black end-of-the-lane stripe appears. More than double, if you get my drift. And for someone unsure of herself or what time she should be swimming, this can be kind of scary.

And then, I thought about open water swimming last year: how fast I felt swimming Short Course Yards, and then wondering how in the world can I swim so slow out in the open? Again, I'm sure it has more to do with unfamiliarity and being out of my comfort zones than anything else.

But that's really what life is about; embraching new challenges, grasping new opportunities as they arise, and propelling ourselves forward. Last year I chickened out at Long Course Meters when I saw how slow my times were, so I stuck it out with Short Course Yards. And I don't think I improved nearly as much as I could have.

Note the word: could.

This year is already very different. Extremely different...

I've already gone WAY out of my comfort zone - beyond where I thought possible. So why not add to my new experiences and give this a try as well? What have I got to loose?

A wall every 20 seconds?

Well, if that's all, then I'll take it. Flip turns, as they are, make me dizzy enough. And that's one thing about Short Course Yards I won't miss - the post-swim disorientation. So there you have it. I'm out of my comfort zone and not hitting a wall. How about that for a change?


rr said...

Yea for LCM! I have only swam SCY once, and all that turning drove me nuts. I am stinky at flipturns.. way to embrace the change, by the end of summer you're going to be freaked out with how short scy feels..

BreeWee said...

Oh man you are going to be so fast after the LCM! There aren't walls in open water races... this is incredible training!

Way to embrace it, I would freak cause my pool is only meters 1x a year! GOOD going Marit!

Anonymous said...

OH YEAH baby! I love LCM...too bad I would have to sell my twins to find a LCM pool here near me. ENJOY! Jen H. :)

Cy said...

I'm in the middle of trying to find a LCM pool for this weekends 4x800. Yup slower indeed, but now we just have to work a little harder to make up for it.

Have fun-Long course if great :-)

Anonymous said...

I've ever even seen a LCM pool!! See how out of the loop I am here in the sticks?! Sniff, sniff...


Amalie said...

Well written article.