Thursday, January 12, 2017

The Olympic Distance: how to get there

I walk into the locker room of the Osborn Aquatic center. The echo of water sounds, and the chlorine-laced smell of warm, humid air instantly make me feel happy.

I am training for an Olympic Distance Triathlon.  Of the sixteen week training plan, I am in week zero, getting my body back into its memory of training-- training for something, anything. A large part of my motivation is my equine partner... If I shall expect my horse to get progressively more fit in order to compete in equine triathlons over the next few years, I had better be fair and join her along the way.

Week zero has included several short runs, and today, my third swim. The true training starts next week, week 1, and from there I will follow a 16 week plan to get my brain and body ready to tackle a 1-mile open water swim; a 25 mile bike ride, and a 6.2 mile run.  If my life depended on this, the run I could do today. The bike ride I could do today.  The swim:  not a chance.  The three together...  well, that's why I'm on a training plan.

I slide into the pool during the quiet hours.  I waste no time getting into the rhythm of the freestyle stroke, my face under the water, my breathing instantly transformed into a stream of bubbles and a metronome that keeps time with my arms, my legs. I instantly relax. I am in a very bright orange and pink Speedo. My hair is tucked into a black cap. I have goggles on.  I become a water creature for a brief period of time, everything sleek and simple.

I have no idea what this looks like from the eye of an observer.  I imagine the life guards watching me, wondering if they will have to pull my corpse from the bottom of the pool tomorrow.  I imagine the swim instructors cringing as they try to teach others how to swim correctly.  I keep going. 

Emily taught me to swim a few years ago in the Eel River.  I am forever grateful for this.  I was forced into my first triathlon; nearly didn't make it to my second one; and hope to make this next effort, my first Olympic distance, something other than a complete shit show.  I have a way of sabotaging my 'races' whether running, or triathalon-ing, or what have you.  Maybe 2017 is my year?

Stay tuned for the mortal woman's journey to the Oregon Dunes Olympic Distance Triathlon. 

No comments: