I swam for a bit Monday evening. I was wrong about the gym always having lap lanes available. There's a chunk of the day during which there are swim lessons in both pools. Pool II opens at 7:15 p.m. Less than ideal, but I can go home after work and then head to the pool. (Pool I opens at 7 p.m., but I prefer Pool II. It's set to a cooler temperature, there's less traffic (the sauna, steam room, and hot tubs are around Pool I), and no children are allowed in Pool II.)
I backstroked for about ten minutes to warm up, then switched to my Total Immersion drill. I'm on drill one, just working on keeping your upper body & head under the surface. It really does feel different, and it's much easier to move through the water. But there's that thing about breathing...
During my next pool session, I'm going to try drill two. I did it for one length at the end of my workout, and it went pretty smoothly. I decided to quit at that point for a couple of reasons. First, I had a cramp in my foot that I'd mostly worked out, but it was still bugging me. I didn't want it to cramp up again because I find it really hard to focus when my brain is yelling "Cramp! Cramp! Ow ow ow ow CRAMP!" Second, my heart rate really goes up when I'm swimming with my face in the water. I'm working on moving slowly, to try to keep it down. I'm pretty sure this is a re-training issue. My inner coach needs to remind me I am NOT going to drown in the pool. (I was pleased that I swallowed a bit of water during my swim and I did not freak out. I'll take my victories where ever they appear.) I think my inner coach will start chanting "relax relax relax" next time.
I'm grateful I haven't had to share a lane, because I am as slow as a person can be and still be moving forward. I don't mind being slow - I figure it's just part of the process.
I spent a few minutes in the sauna after the pool. I developed a love of saunas back when I was a hard drinkin' sailor. Gatorade and a sauna can do wonders for a hangover. (No, there were no saunas on the ships I served in. There were saunas in the gyms at the land bases where I served. Having a hangover on a ship is miserable.) While I was in there, my inner coach and I had a talk. "That sucked," I said. "Yeah, so?" said the inner coach. "What are you gonna do, quit? No, you're not going to quit. You're going to do this. You just need to accept the fact that you have to learn how to do this. Welcome to the real world where everyone else lives." (I'm a good beginner. I tend to pick up things quickly. If I'm not good at something at first, I usually quit. Two exceptions: skiing and law school.)
So, despite my shaking my head at how much I suck at this, I'm confident and optimistic. Yeah, it's going to take time. (I know I could speed up the process by finding a coach, but between my medical bills and my husband's recent medical emergency and paying off debt from the Hubs being unemployed for a couple of years and my law school debt (lovingly referred to as "the house I bought that I'll never live in" - $130,000), I thought I was doing pretty good by joining a gym. So the coach will have to wait a while.) But that's okay. I am going to devote the time it takes, because I will do this. I am an athlete.