Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Lane pain

Three weeks ago I revealed here that Vanessa had selflessly signed me up for my first (and last) triathlon.

I also pledged to get some swimming practice in fairly swiftly as the last time I attempted more than two lengths without stopping was 26 years ago.

Well, prior to this morning, I hadn't managed to fulfil my pledge.  There were all sorts of reasons for this.

For example, where were my swimming shorts?  And being the owner of three pairs, which ones would I wear when I eventually found them?  

I bought some swimming goggles a little while ago.  (I'd ordered Vanessa some new trainers for her birthday by mail order.  But I had to spend another £5 for free delivery - so, knowing I was doing the triathlon, blew £6 on a pair of goggles).   However, where were they?  And would I have to adjust them once they were located?  That would take time too.

And crucially, I don't really like getting into swimming pools - it's the water that puts me off.  How cold would it really be?  Best not to bother.

But then last night, realising that there were just two and a half weeks to go, I suddenly panicked and phoned the local pool to see when the next "lane session" was due.

To my horror, it was between 7 and 9 this morning - and at 8.10am, in I plopped.

I'll give you the good news first.  My task on race day is to swim for 400 metres.  And today I managed 1000 metres, across two stints. So I was pleased with that.

The less good news is that it was torture and I looked utterly ridiculous.

I'd not seen a "lane session" before never mind taken part in one.  What I found when I got there was three separate lanes marked "slow, medium and fast."  And occupying each lane, divided equally, was one third of the cast of Cocoon.

(I even managed to take a picture).

And every one of them was a better swimmer than me.

Alongside my weak stamina and my slow speed, my steering also isn't very good. And so the only way I was able to get from one end to the other was to do my version of the breast stroke.  The Barry Stroke, if you will.

It involves lots of frantic splashing, endless blowing and not much in the way of forward propulsion.  Hogging the middle lane, I was overtaken by all and sundry - many tutting as they glided past, their butterfly wings and bald heads cutting through the water.

It was truly disheartening.  My only hope of retribution is if I meet one or two of them competing at the triathlon, when I will then either jog them into a hedge or knock them off their antique bikes.  But, to do either, I'll have to complete the swimming leg first.

I'm due back in Aireborough pool again on Friday morning.  In the slow lane this time.

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