Wednesday, October 11, 2006

I swam.

Twenty-four days from now I'm scheduled to attempt a 2.4-mile swim in the Gulf of Mexico. One year ago that thought would have filled me with abject terror.

Today I'm looking forward to it! It's still going to be a long, long, long swim for me, and I have a tremendous respect for the power of the ocean, but I'm fairly confident that I can get the job done.

What changed?

For me, it wasn't taking lessons, or attending master's swim class, or any of those avenues that probably would have been a good idea to start out with. I haven't swum huge workouts or enormous distances. I've had a total of about four hours of swim instruction in my entire life.

Then what changed?

I swam.

I swam over 80 miles this year, even though it wasn't a standard training program or anything terribly methodical. But I did try to make every lap count.

I swam in a dirty three-lane-wide pool at 5AM in the winter in Virginia with the aqua aerobics class going on in the next two lanes.

I swam in the brackish water of the Choptank River in Maryland.

I swam from a backyard dock into Long Haul Creek in Maryland.

I swam lap after lap in the clean, chlorinated waters of the Cool Pool at the Easton, Maryland YMCA.

I swam 1500m in freshwater Centennial Lake in Maryland.

I swam in the Choptank River some more, 1.2 miles in the roughest water that they had seen for Eagleman in twenty years.

I swam in the early mornings at the town pool in St. Michaels while the babysitter watched my girls.

I swam in Deep Creek Lake in western Maryland with Ellie.

I swam in the (overly) Warm Pool at the YMCA.

I swam in Lake James in Indiana.

I swam 1.2 miles in Lake Michigan for Steelhead at Benton Harbon, Michigan.

I swam in Harrison Lake in Ohio.

I swam in Delaware Bay with Ellie near Cape Henlopen on the Delaware coast.

I swam at the Miles River Yacht Club pool, and played with my girls in the baby pool.

I swam in the Atlantic Ocean without a wetsuit - and was so cold I turned around and got out again.

I swam laps in a 20-yard hotel pool near Denver, Colorado in the rain.

I swam in the Choptank River again amongst the sea nettles. Against a current. For 2.4 miles.

I swam today, another 2500 yards in the Cool Pool at the YMCA, and 1000 yards of it was at a pace that would yield me a sub-1:37 Ironman swim (though it's doubtful that I'll swim that hard that day).

To teach myself to swim. . . .

I swam.

I swam and learned what the water had to teach me and swam some more. I learned by doing.

I'm looking forward to seeing what the Gulf of Mexico has to teach me.

Twenty-four days from now.

19 comments:

Bolder said...

outstanding post!

way to recognize what you have achieved...

you SWAM gurl!!

Ellie said...

You swim and you ROCK!

soozey said...

I AM SO EXCITED ABOUT YOUR IM RACE!! Is that weird, since we've never met? :) I've heard they call you the Nancinator. A nickname that was earned, obviously. YEA!

nancytoby said...

Thank you!

Me too, Soozey! :-) Thanks for following along!!

Cliff said...

I learn to swim by drowning..wait..i haven't swim yet..i am just swish swashing in the pool.

U r ready :)

jbmmommy said...

That's a lot of swimming. I know you're ready, the Gulf of Mexico's got nothing you can't take!

Spokane Al said...

Wow - when you put the numbers and the recap into print, one begins to get a sense of the effort you have put into getting ready to rock at IM. I will very much be looking forward to following you on your big day.

Mr Steve said...

Great Posting! I am sort of doing the same thing ..swim,swim,swim... I'll try my Ironman in 2008.... BTW, here is a website where you can see the real time air and water temp at Panama City.

http://www.ndbc.noaa.gov/station_page.php?station=pcbf1

Rootin' for you in PA

Fe-lady said...

Practice, practice, practice...makes perfection! Or close to it! Man, a sub 1:40 for IM FL would be so cool! Heck a sub 1:45-50 would be too! Glad you are feeling better enough to be looking forward to the race!

WADDLER26.2 said...

Impressive- I am hoping to learn to swim this year.

LouBob said...

A great achievement!

Habeela said...

Well, the Gulf may teach you something but you will definitely respond by showing how it's done. :)

Iron Pol said...

Isn't it amazing how it adds up. I did some division a few weeks ago and found out that I had completed more than 40 miles swimming. Starting from scratch, I consider that an accomplishment.

And 80 miles in less than a year is amazing. And the big part is that so much of it was in open water. You'll rock in Florida.

triathlonmom said...

Nancy,
I love this post. I've always been a swimmer, but had very little instruction myself. I feel like hours in the pool is one of the best ways to learn to swim. You teach yourself what moves you faster and what feels good. Hours of coaching can never give you what hours just swiming in the water will.

Lynne said...

You brought tears to my eyes... no really. I am so happy for you!! And psyched that your feeling better!! Go Go Go!!!

*jeanne* said...

That was a really awesome post.

Congratulations on the SWIMMING! AND all the rest!

:-)

jeanne said...

i believe you just taught me an important lesson!

Lisa said...

i'm a new swimmer myself and having read this, i'm inspired this very moment to head out to the pool.

good luck with your IM race

Sprint (wo)Man said...

I also have come to this sport with no swim training and a tremendous fear of the water. Thanks for the inspiration.