Yesterday I had an incredible accomplishment - I did my swim-ish in the "big" pool which is 8 feet deep! I planned to do my swim-ish in the inside "small" pool (only 5' deep at the deepest) like I normally do and some of the ladies I know were talking about how cold the small pool was and how warm it was in the big pool. The big pool is outside covered by a huge canvas tent and the heat was set very warm. Margaret, who is a friend from aqua class, talked me into trying to do my swim-ish outside (she promised she wouldn't let me drown!). I'm not sure why I agreed but I did.
I went out and had to take a center lane (next to Margaret) since the outside lanes were all being used. I got in and realized I couldn't touch bottom even in the shallow end. I took a deep breath and started off using my floaty board and kicking my legs. I made it to the deep end without incident. Hmmm... I made my way back to the shallow-er end. So far so good. Ok...back float with a kick...down and back. Ok...put on the swim snorkel since i haven't figured out how to do the breathing part of swimming yet. I can only do a front float with a kick but it moves me through the water - eventually, I'll figure out what to do with my arms. Down and back (wow, it's really deep in the 8 foot end!). Ok...back float with a kick again. Good.
Every time I got back to the shallow-er end, I realized Margaret was watching me (Thanks!!!). I was feeling pretty good and wasn't showing any signs of a panic attack and I had not broken out in hives. She was so proud of me and I could NOT stop grinning. I then set off with the swim snorkel on again. Down...back...down...back...I ended up doing a total of 20 lengths of the pool without having to stop to calm myself down. This has never happened before. I was SO excited. I stayed in the big pool doing my version of swimming (which is why I call it swim-ish) for 35 minutes. I was so happy when I was done that I called my hubby to invite him out to lunch to celebrate with me.
Not sure where I go from here but I know that I will be back in the "big" pool before too long!
Today is the day I start training for my first full marathon which is the end of July. I have been reading tons of material about running, strength training, nutrition, and mental preparedness. I've got my training schedule which takes into account the shorter races and relays that I have signed up for between now and then. I'm ready to get started and see how I do.
I have picked a trail marathon as my first. It's a very small race held in a beautiful park in downtown Portland. I will have a chance to run my long training runs there which I feel will greatly benefit me. I have a wonderful running buddy who has agreed to run this with me. I know that will really help me to get through this.
My only goal for this race will be to arrive injury-free at the start and to finish the race and have a fun and memorable experience. I am open to any advice or suggestions for making this a fantastic adventure. Thanks.
On Friday, I went to the pool for the first time since the trip with my trainer. My gym has three pools: an outdoor pool which goes up to 8 feet deep (I've never set foot in it), an indoor pool which goes up to 5 feet deep, and a kiddie pool next to it where swim lessons are held.
I was taking it easy and everything was going well until a group of about 8 kids got into the kiddie pool for their lessons. Being the last day of the session, the parents were allowed to sit in chairs on the four-foot-wide deck that separates the two pools. Being able to hear the kids splashing, talking and laughing made me a little tense and being able to see the parents at the edge of my lane made me extremely anxious. I stopped at the deeper end and was actually considering getting out of the water and walking around the far side of the pool to leave. I decided to do what I usually do while I'm in the deep end before I got out: I dip under the water a few times (holding my nose) and try to touch my knees to the bottom. As I was underwater, I realized that I didn't feel as tense since I couldn't see or hear the others.
I moved to the middle lane which was open and tried my backstroke laps again. As long as my ears were in the water so I couldn't hear anything and I could no longer see anyone on the pool edge, I was much more relaxed. I did fine as long as I was moving through the water. I'm starting to think my issue is more about being in a crowded area in the water rather than just being in the water itself. That could be a very important difference.
Yesterday, I met with my trainer at the pool. He had agreed to work with me on overcoming my fear of water. It was a true test of my trust and faith in him. We started slowly, just sitting on the pool steps and talking. We slowly worked our way down the steps and deeper and deeper into the water. It felt a little tough to breathe but I was doing alright.
He worked with me to lower my face into the water while holding my nose then again without holding my nose. I would try each thing that he suggested and then he would give me a minute or two to catch my breath and relax then we'd try something new. Things were going well until the gym owner came in and starting yelling at my trainer that the gym doesn't allow "outside trainers". He explained that I had asked permission the day before and been told that it was alright because he was there as my support person rather than as a trainer. He wasn't teaching me to swim - he was just getting me comfortable enough to be in water so that someday I could take swim lessons with her. She didn't care AT ALL. She just kept telling him that they don't allow outside trainers in the gym.
My stress level was rapidly rising during their conversation to the point that I had to get out of the water. By the time I reached the pool deck, I was in full panic mode. I sat sobbing on the deck for probably a good 5 minutes. Then something interesting happened...I thought of how THINKING about this was actually harder than DOING it. I thought of how angry I was at the gym owner for interrupting my time in the pool to yell at the trainer (Really? It couldn't wait until I was done? She knows about my fear of the water). I thought of giving up and never trying again. I thought of what I was going to say to everyone who has supported me during this.
Well, my anger finally won out and I asked my trainer if he would be willing to get back into the water with me (poor guy had sat with me during the entire panic attack). He agreed and we started again. I did most of the things he asked me to do. Some of his tricks worked well and some didn't but I was able to accomplish so much more than I thought I would. He was very proud of me and a little surprised as well. We have so much more to do (including finding a new pool to use) but we made a great start.
Today I am heading to the pool. I'm meeting my trainer there to work with him on overcoming my fear of water. I've made so much progress but I've stalled at the point of putting my head under water without holding my nose. My trainer is an ex-marine who is water-safety certified and he feels that he can help me take that next step.
I trust him completely because we have worked together a long time and he has rehabbed me from two shoulder surgeries and a serious hip injury. I keep putting this off because it scares me SO much but I've reached the point that I'm thinking about it constantly anyway so I need to go ahead and try it.
What's the worst that can happen? Actually, please don't answer that because "the worst that can happen" is exactly what I'm afraid of...