I’m training for a triathalon. If you know me, you know this because I pretty much wont shut the fuck up about it. I’m fairly nervous about it,  but I’m also excited. I’m not worried about the run, which will be hard, no question, but manageable. I’m not even going to bother to train for the bike ride, apart from making sure I run through all the events together. The swimming however…

I am not a super-strong swimmer, and this event is in open water. It’ll be cold, and there will be a couple hundred other people in the water at the same time. I’m pretty anxious about the shock of the temperature as well as the likelihood of getting smacked in the head by a stray elbow.

And though swimming in the pool isn’t really going to mimic the experience very well, I have little choice when any waterways out-of-doors are running water temperatures that would induce hypothermia faster than you can say it.

I got in the pool last week for the first time this season. I was pretty worried I’d be rusty; uncomfortable and out of breath, but I decided to swim slower than usual and see if that helped at all. Trying to pace myself is something I struggle with. The default seems to be full steam ahead until all steam exhausted. Turns out, this can be a less than efficient way to get where you want to go. A more measured approach, though foreign to me, seems much more likely to help me achieve the results I’m after, which in this case are all about finishing, not about finishing fast.

I must also admit to running into another problem. Once I get into the groove set my breathing rhythm and stroke length, I find swimming kinda boring Laps are repetitive. On a treadmill when I’m running, I can listen to a podcast or music, but until someone invents waterproof headphones, I’m on my own, entertainment wise.

All that being said, my first swim was much easier than I anticipated. I wasn’t out of breath or uncomfortable. I forced myself to swim more slowly than is my tendency, and it seems to extend the number of laps I could complete comfortably. Considering I’ll have to jump out of the water and hit my bike, not wearing myself out entirely in the first event seems like a pretty key thing to focus on.

Slow and steady may not win the race, but I do hope it will help me complete it. Even if I am more of a barracuda than a tortoise.