Well as my dad would say I suffer under peer pressure, I'd like to rephrase that to fear of missing out. As soon as I saw XTERRA is coming to England I've decided that it is the closest I'll ever get to do one... So I sent an e-mail to my friends and got a group together. Many of them entered whilst I was still procrastinating clicking the button!
I was trying to ignore the swim element so kept riding my bike and started running again. Myburgh kept asking me when am I going to start swimming...
My first swimming session was 28 July, I swam 720m, with my head 90% of the time above the water... I left the pool thinking I can seriously drown... I'm surrounded by water and that it would be a bad idea for me to enter.
The next session was the following week and it was just awful. I like to keep my word if I said I am going to do something I AM GOING TO DO IT, so regardless of these horrible two swim sessions I entered...
16 August two weeks after I entered, my friend Stephne and I went to the pool. She is a teacher and her mom was a swimming teacher - I was in good hands!
She literally dragged me up and down in the teaching pool on a kickboard. I think she must've thought how on earth am I going to swim in the triathlon. I was so frustrated, swallowed so much water and started talking before I breathed. We finally found a drill that seemed to help. I had to stand with my back against the wall and blew bubbles through my nose and then started bringing my head to the side for some breath. We left the pool on a more positive note. I updated my Facebook status with the following:
"#XTERRA swim training back to basics last night. What a hack? Too many things to do at once talking NOT one of them, JUST breath, arms AND kick! So boring, but life threatening for me. Must keep going though.
Another good friend is a friend that drags you up and down in the pool on a kickboard! Thank you so much Stephne van Niekerk."
On the Sunday we went back to the pool and started with the same drill. I came up after about ten reps and couldn't believe that I have finally clicked the technique.
"I can report that I can now successfully swim, the penny dropped re the breathing today - so chuffed & grateful. I never thought that there would be a day where I enjoyed swimming more than cycling... BUT today was that day! Bring on XTERRA England, 8 September!"
After that I swam 4 more times of which twice was with a wetsuit. My housemate borrowed her boss' old wetsuit for me. Conrad Stoltz was obviously right when he tweeted to me saying that a wetsuit would make a world of difference - it did!
Thank you XTERRA for forcing me to learn a skill that I've wanted to be able to do all my life. Thank you Stephne van Niekerk for pulling your 32 year old friend up and down in the pool and teaching me how to swim properly! It has been the best birthday gift and I'll always be able to use it! I am far from a confident fast swimmer, but I've overcome my fear for water! If I can learn to swim at this age anyone can!
|Meet my coach, Stephné van Niekerk|
|The beautiful swim start|