Tuesday, February 21, 2012

What now?

I sort of feel as though another chapter has been closed: first there was the Ironman and then there was "breaking 3 hours in the Marathon". So much so, that I sent my second volume of blog posts off to Blog2Print to be converted into another book.

I was thinking about what I said the other day about tending to chip away at what I am worst at and I realized that it wasn't completely true. What I am worst at is swimming. There is a kind of barrier for me, below which I am just not even interested in trying to get better, I am so bad. You can only do so many things in life so you have to draw the line somewhere. I'd love to be able to play the drums, for example, but I've never got above that barrier to entry. In the Marathon I very nearly got stuck there, at one Marathon at just under 4 hours. It was the challenge of the Ironman that contextualized the Marathon and made it seem an attainable goal.

Swimming, on the other hand, is just above learning to ski on my scale of things to master. I can see that it must be great fun to be able to ski well, but I can't be bothered to go through the "being crap at it" bit, during which it really doesn't seem so much fun to me: I liked it more when I was completely out of control. I should be good at swimming because I have good aerobic fitness, I am tall and I have big hands and feet. I can even learn good technique if I put my mind to it (as I did in rowing). I just have to want to.

A friend of mine commented that I rarely, if ever, post anything about swimming. It is a third of a triathlon, after all. On the one hand, the benefit of swimming faster in the scheme of an Ironman or even a Half Ironman is marginal at best but, it has to be noted that almost all of the best triathletes started off as swimmers. Perhaps that answers to some extent the original question that prompted the creation of the Ironman event: who is fitter - the best runner, the best cyclist or the best swimmer?

So I'm thinking that I might try to make swimming faster my next goal. The next competition I have lined up is ICAN Marbella Half Ironman in April. I'd like to turn up in good enough shape to comfortably finish it and to put my new bike through its paces, but I don't care about beating my best Half Ironman time (which I did on a much flatter course). Rather than plough up and down the swimming pool on my own, doing exercises the point of which I don't appreciate and no doubt am doing incorrectly, I thought I would focus on technique and do all my swimming sessions with a swimming coach present. I'm lucky enough that my work has a gym with a swimming pool and good coaches available, so I should really take advantage. I've long been jealous of those people who seem to effortlessly glide up and down the pool so why not try to be one of those people?

I promise to post more on swimming as I find out more...

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