I loved swimming as a child. Even now, one whiff of a pool takes me back to my childhood, sparking a pavlovian craving for a bag of Monster Munch and a Vimto which was the post-swim ritual.
I’m not sure when/ why I fell out of love with it. It’s true to say that swimming is the last form of exercise I’d choose now. In moments of madness when I have tried it again as an adult, I’ve found myself exhausted and embarrassed in equal measure.
With no style or technique to speak of and coughing and spluttering within the first couple of lengths, it’s fair to say I’m not one of life’s naturals. I should stick to sport on dry land I reminded myself; this swimming malarkey was not for me.
Except….hip surgery a few years ago cut short my passion for distance running. Having done a couple of marathons and many half marathons over the years I was left with a hole where the competitive me used to be. Well into my forties, however, I told myself it was probably time to park that competitive streak and opt for a more middle-of-the road exercise regime; gym, dog walking and the odd low-key bike ride.
You can probably see where this is going …like a large chunk of the British public I’d watched the rise of triathlon over the years and marvelled at the strength and endurance I saw. While longer distance running was still a no-no for me, I’d seen the sprint triathlons and wondered if this was an option. I hadn’t run for several years and would have to keep the impact training down to a minimum. However the killer leg for me would most definitely be the swimming. Was I up to this? Could I go from doggy paddle to credible crawl in a few months? And what about all that transition business?
It’s fatal to toy with big ideas and triathlon challenges around New Year! You get swept along by reflections on the year gone by, the resolutions of those around you and talk of life-affirming exercise regimes. Then fate (or maybe Google) led me to “Top Tips for Conquering your Triathlon Swim Fears” which was spot on and enough to tip the balance for me.