This is a follow up article to my “I Hate Swimming” article last year. To recap, I got involved in swimming as a necessary evil. It was a part of the triathlon that I committed to do in order to get and stay in shape. I put off swimming until the first triathlon event. I got about 2 yards into the swim and began suffering so much. My arms were not used to pulling my body through the water and did not want me to go any further. I swore after that that I would not do it again … I did.
So I took a class last year to learn how to swim more efficiently, I did an open water mile swim in the Delta, and I completed the .93 mile swim in the Bay as a part of the Treasure Island Triathlon last year. But I still experienced swimming as a necessary evil and I struggled with it.
Well, that all changed this year. I did a 10 week triathlon training program this year. The coach took us out in the Bay several times (with a wetsuit) and I began to enjoy it. I found my ability to swim without stopping increase. Soon I was swimming ½ hour straight. In addition to the Bay swimming I was in the pool at the YMCA 3 times a week … just swimming laps. The training program concluded with another .93 mile swim as a part of a triathlon. I finished that swim without stopping, 6 ½ minutes faster than I thought I would. I was very happy.
After the training program I continued to swim. I was loving it. In addition to swimming in the Bay once a week on my own, I found a Bay swim workout group one night a week. I also continued my 3 days at the YMCA. My weight started dropping fast. In my training last year I lost about 8 lbs. This year, so far, I’ve lost close to 20. I think it’s the swimming. On top of that my upper body is bulking up from the working out. It feels good.
So this year I set the goal to swim from Alcatraz. The leader of the Thursday night swim group holds the world’s record in Alcatraz crossings with 245 at the time of this article. He & I are becoming good friends and it inspired me. I signed up for the Alcatraz Challenge which I completed last Sunday. It took me about an hour to swim from the South East corner of Alcatraz, one and a half miles to Crissy Field. An hour is a lot of swimming without stopping or resting … without an edge of a pool to hold on to every once in a while … just straight swimming. I finished feeling like I had a lot more left in me. Mostly swimming that long just gets boring. I think I could go much further.
Sadly I’ve now been neglecting the biking and running portions of the triathlon. I’m beginning to believe that I may no longer be a triathlete. I may just be a swimmer instead. I still have triathlon goals this year and next. I’m sure this swimming obsession will pass and I will balance out with the other two sports. In the mean time I’m going to go for longer and more challenging distance swims. Stay tuned. In a few weeks I’ll be in Hawaii. I look forward to hooking up with some open water swim groups there in the warm clear waters. I’ll leave my wetsuit at home.