Since it’s my last official week of summer vacation, I decided to get as much tri training in as possible- which included finding a good (and cheap) location for some lap swimming. I stumbled across a website called Beginner Triathlete. One of the forums had mentioned Bobby Hicks as being a really nice facility in Tampa for swimming. I decided to try it out today and see if it would be a good fit.
As anyone knows, Tampa is notorious for summer afternoon rains, so at around noon I decided to hit the pool, as the rains were already coming. I googled the directions, got my gear and hit the road. It was pretty easy to find, and only about ten minutes from my house. I decided to loop around the block and check things out from the car first. There was a handful of people there- some there for leisure and some for sport. It seemed as though they had about eight lanes open, four of which were being used by what looked to be some hard-core swimmers. I could see their swim caps in between their arm and leg splashes zooming through the dividers. Pros. Dammit.
Fat girl syndrome set in.
You see, when you’re not “lean and mean”, jumping in and being side by side with these “athletes” can be very intimidating. No one wants to be laughed at nor ridiculed. No matter how much confidence one says they have, it’s never easy to hear negative comments. Smug looks are always a hard gulp of sea water to swallow.
After sitting in the car for a good 2 or 3 minutes, I decided to suck it up and get out of the car. I walked up to the entrance and read some information posted on a bulletin board. “$2 entry fee, cash only”.
Score! I didn’t have cash!
So I happily got back in the car, turned on the tunes and pulled out of the parking lot.
It only took about four seconds for me to start feeling like a total loser.
After a pep talk from my bff, I drove myself to the nearest McDonald’s, pinched my nose, closed my eyes and felt my way to the ATM machine (McDonald’s doesn’t charge any ATM fees to credit union customers, but it’s best to walk in there Helen Keller style, as to not risk a sudden diversion to the value menu).
I got in my car and drove back to the pool. I wasn’t going to chicken out this time.
With cash in hand, I marched up to the lifeguard’s office without a second thought, signed the “Do Not Drown” waiver, and walked up to an open lane. The hardest part was over. I was standing in front of the pool, ready to jump in. I threw off my shorts, exposed my non-swimmer thighs, sprayed some sunscreen, got my swim cap and goggles and sat on the edge. While my sunscreen dried, I watched the other swimmers, noticing their techniques and speeds. I looked down into the water, and realized it was D-E-E-P. Now pools don’t really scare me too much, but jumping into some majorly deep water can be shocking for a moment. I scooted in, wet my hair and threw my cap on. As I was getting situated, it started to rain a little. A swimmer in the lane to my right came over and cracked a joke about “getting wet”, which suddenly made him seem less like an “Olympic swimmer” and more like just another corny smart ass.
That one little joke was enough to help me break the proverbial ice and start up. I threw on my goggles and started crawling. I ignored the really deeeeeep part of the pool to my right and focused on the lines underneath me. Once I got my breathing down, I was feeling like a catamaran, cutting through the water. By the start of the heavy rains, I had already completed 800yds. Although I had to take a break every now and then, and even did some laps on my back, I kept moving.
When the whistle blew I was pretty tired, but I felt like I had accomplished something major. I may not have been nearly as fast as the other swimmers in the pool, but I worked on strengthening my upper body, and getting my breathing under control. Two important parts of my tri training.
I may take a swim rest tomorrow, but I will be hitting Bobby Hicks again this week. It feels really good to spend $2 on lap swimming. Not McNuggets.