I just got back from my final summertime vacation before school starts up again (barf). My family and I went down to Key West for a little extended weekend, which gave me the perfect opportunity to work on my weakest tri sport—- swimming! Not only would I have a plethora of open water opportunities, but the house that we were renting also had a pool (score!).
Like I’ve mentioned before, I come from a family of swimmers, scuba divers, snorkelers and water skiers. Water sports come naturally to most of them, so I knew they would be partaking in all of these adventurous actives in the beautiful clear waters of the Keys. I tried to get into a “you can do it” mentality before I left, but I failed epically.
The first day of vacation, Kristin and I decided to take a drive up to Bahia Honda State Park. Beautiful beaches, crystal clear waters, coral reefs, and untouched mangroves as far as the eye can see. Kris brought her snorkeling gear, and I brought my swim cap and goggles. I left my fins behind so that I could work on strengthening my upper body in preparation for my first tri. Everyone keeps telling me that if I use my legs too much during the swim, I’ll regret it during the bike and run! So arms it is. Kris decided to go out a little deeper where the coral reefs were, while I decided to not take my chances and swim a little closer to shore. I marked out what I thought was about 100 yards, threw my head in the water and started crawling. The ocean was calm, and the water was so incredibly clear, it was like I was swimming in a pool (damn you Ft. Desoto). I reached my first goal and mapped out another 100 yards, then swam back to the start, completing 400 yards total. I was feeling good, and I noticed my breathing was improving. Before, I was taking breaths at the first, sometimes second stroke. Now, I was taking breaths on the fifth and sixth! (yay!) I decided to do another 200 yards before I called it quits.
Before we got out of the water, Kris convinced me to come out to the tippy tip edge of the coral reef and see a conch. I saw it. Then swam back. lol. I’ll get there. Really I will.
I was able to use the pool all week long, getting about 400-600 yards in each time. I really made a great effort to work on my breathing and my stroke, and within days I was feeling like a much stronger swimmer than when I first started out! I read a great article in Triathlete Magazine about beginner swimming techniques that gave me so much information on how to improve my swim. Now if I could just tackle the deep water, I’ll be golden!
One day during my trip, my uncle took us out on his boat for some fishing and snorkeling adventures. I really wanted to get into the water and do some swimming, but the 14ft depth was totally freaking me out. Thank goodness I won’t have to swim in 14ft of water during a tri! (hopefully).
Even though I only tackled one open water swim during my Key West adventure, I still feel like I made some major progress in my swimming! Hey, feeling good about what I’m doing is half the battle, right?
On another note, I purchased some tri goodies! My swimsuit came in, but unfortunately, it was too big and lacking support, so I had to send it back. As soon as I get my credit I will be purchasing another! To make up for that disappointment, my tri charm came in! (and it fit just right lol.) I found it while searching around Etsy (a site for all things handmade). I attached a picture below, and if you’d like to order one for yourself, check out Jessica’s Gifts! I’ve also picked up a tank to wear during the bike and run portion of the tri, to wear over my swimsuit (to spare any horror to onlookers). It’s a dri-fit Nike tank which happened to be on clearance (whoo!). I bought an xl men’s, thinking I would get a little more length. Check out the Nike online store if you’d like to buy one before they all sell out!
The last bit of exciting news that I’d like to share is:
1. I have another tri training partner! It looks like my pal Meghan is going to be joining me on this endeavor. We did some biking and walking this week, and we’ll be tackling open water swimming soon! (she’s not too thrilled about the OWS, so we’ll be getting our funoodles ready together)
2. My parents booked a weekend at Turtle Beach Campground in Siesta Key for the weekend of October 3rd… which happens to be the weekend of the Siesta Key Shark’s Sprint Tri. Coincidence?
3. I’m ordering 2 bike accessories: road tires and handle bar extenders. I’ll be flying in no time!
4. The weight loss has begun! FINALLY!
I’m feeling good. Real good. =)