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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Posts
    378

    First Total Immersion Lesson And I'm Finally Here

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    After watching Mr. Alex do 8 Iron distance triathlons (plus various Oly distance races) over the last 3 years, I finally find myself checking out the Triathlon forum on TE. After watching thousands and thousands of folks having so much fun, I guess it was inevitable! The final thing that pushed me over the edge was IM Coeur d'Alene last weekend. Not that I want to EVER do an IM, but watching everyone hammer by on the bike and do that beautiful run along the lake got me thinking and wondering about giving it a go (on a much smaller scale) myself.

    Okay, the first challenge is that I don't know how to swim. Like not at all. Sort of a big deal, to be sure. DH taught himself through the Total Immersion DVDs and books and he actually showed me some drills about 2 1/2 years ago. At that point, however, I was just getting back into road cycling and fell so head over heels in love with it that I didn't want to take any time away from my bike. Since then, I've done several centuries, raced LOTOJA as a 2-person relay, raced a little cyclocross (totally out of my league in the B division but had a great time anyway!), and been out on my mountain bike, too. Maybe it's time to do something not on wheels? (The heresy!)

    I have run in the past, up to the half-marathon distance, but wasn't ever very fast and haven't run regularly in several years. I went out on the high school track for a few miles this week and realized that I could do a 5K right now. Yeah for cycling and regular dog walks!

    Bike? Check! Run? Check! Oh, yeah, that swimming thing....

    I called up a Total Immersion coach and signed up for lessons. He thinks I can be swimming in 10 lessons. I didn't want to go the self-taught route like DH because I really don't want to take a year to learn how to swim (I'm not very patient) and I don't want to teach myself incorrectly (the whole x y axis stuff on the freestyle DVD made me run screaming from the room).

    I went to the pool today and made it all the way from Superman through underswitch. I sure didn't expect to get that far in one hour! I don't know how many lengths of the pool I ended up doing, but I was pretty happy when the hour was over. The TI DVDs make it all seem so effortless and peaceful but I was feeling pretty tired by the time it was over. DH says swimming (you know, once you actually know how) is easier than learning all the drills. It gave me a new appreciation for all those folks at IM CDA who got out of the water last Sunday and promptly fell to their knees on the beach! My next lesson is on Saturday and I plan to go practice tomorrow before work.

    I bought a couple books for women triathletes as DH has tons of Tri books that are not gender-specific. I started looking around on the Internet for a race. I was thinking I could try a pool sprint in July but, after today, I'm not so sure I'll be ready for the swim part that soon. I found an interesting women's only race a few hours from here. It's in the fall, which may be a more realistic time frame, but it's an open water swim. I just need to see how the TI lessons go, I guess.

    I'm going back and reading all the old posts. The race reports are so freaking inspiring! I'm sure I'll have some questions along the way, but just wanted to stop in and say "Hi, my name is Alex, and I'm a wannabe triathlete."

    Alex

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Atlanta, GA
    Posts
    714
    Alex-- you are inspiring! I've done the same envy reading of the tri posts and done some research on what it's like to do a triathalon. I can ride, I can swim but I sure can't run... and I'm (shhh.. don't tell anyone...) old.

    I wish you luck and keep us posted on your progress. Float, hammer, jog... gotta love it.
    ----------------------------------------------------
    "I never made "Who's Who"- but sure as hell I made "What's That??..."

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Mississauga -a "burb" outside Toronto
    Posts
    648
    Hi Alex, "will be a triathlete"

    I can't wait to hear about the journey to your first tri....


    "You can't get what you want till you know what you want." Joe Jackson

    2006 Cannondale Feminine/Ultegra/Jett

    2012 Trek Speed Concept 9.5/Ultegra/saddle TBD

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Seattle, WA
    Posts
    2,208
    You should be able to find stuff in August/September - that'd be far enough away that you might be willing to commit

    You can do it. Learning to swim is harder than actually swimming, I swear. Having to think about everything when you're being coached or trying to focus on something is sometimes really exhausting. It's so much nicer when you can just go.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Pacific Northwest
    Posts
    3,436
    You can do this, Alex. I don't mean this in a goofy general "rah rah" way--I mean, I believe you can learn to swim well enough to do a late season tri. I really do.
    "My predominant feeling is one of gratitude. I have loved and been loved;I have been given much and I have given something in return...Above all, I have been a sentient being, a thinking animal, on this beautiful planet, and that in itself has been an enormous privilege and an adventure." O. Sacks

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Switzerland
    Posts
    2,033
    "Hi, my name is Alex, and I'm a wannabe triathlete."
    All:Hi, Alex!

    He thinks I can be swimming in 10 lessons. I didn't want to go the self-taught route like DH because I really don't want to take a year to learn how to swim (I'm not very patient
    uhmm, yes, you may be able to swim after 10 lessons but I would recommend to be tech-obsessed for at least a year. You want to do this for the long term? then learn that stroke until it is ingrained in your brain. So you't be well advised to give it a little more patience than 10 lessons. I mean, you can continue alone after that but you won't be finished after 10.
    Last edited by alpinerabbit; 06-26-2009 at 03:56 AM.
    It's a little secret you didn't know about us women. We're all closet Visigoths.

    2008 Roy Hinnen O2 - Selle SMP Glider
    2009 Cube Axial WLS - Selle SMP Glider
    2007 Gary Fisher HiFi Plus - Specialized Alias

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Olney, MD
    Posts
    3,063
    Hi Alex,

    Welcome to triathlon! Where is your home base and where are you looking for races? I'm sure you can be ready to do something this season.

    Re: float, hammer, jog; I've got a shirt that says "Sink, Bike, Crawl"

    I'd rather be swimming...biking...running...and eating cheesecake...
    --===--

    2008 Cervelo P2C Tri bike
    2011 Trek Madone 5.5/Cobb V-Flow Max
    2007 Jamis Coda/Terry Liberator
    2011 Trek Mamba 29er

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    St. Pete, FL
    Posts
    1,101
    Love the shirt!
    katluvr

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    where the wind comes sweeping down the plain
    Posts
    5,251
    Welcome, Alex. You're going to do GREAT!!!! Good job on your swim. You'll be there in no time.

    8 IM's in 3 years? He's a madman!

    Mdhillslug- I gotta have a shirt like that!!!
    Check out my running blog: www.turtlepacing.blogspot.com

    Cervelo P2C (tri bike)
    Bianchi Eros (commuter/touring road bike)

    1983 Motobecane mixte (commuter/errand bike)
    Cannondale F5 mountain bike

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    2,309
    Yes, you can do it!! And like salsa said- not in a rah rah way. YOU CAN and WILL if YOU REALLY WANT IT.
    And yes, I put the things in caps for a reason...

    If you want inspiration I do think my story is a wee bit inspiring.

    here is my IMAZ race report

    http://forums.teamestrogen.com/showt...highlight=IMAZ

    Also if you go way back in the search you'll find the day in april of when I actually DID IMAZ and all of the posts from the ladies here that were following me. It was really cool that I had so much support. It was humbling actually.

    And that is what I love about this board. We support one another.

    Oh and I have a you tube video from 06- and my failed race in 07.
    search "denise ironman arizona" and it will pop up. But WARNING the 06 video has a song with salty language in it. My friend that did the video used artistic license...

    So here we go! Welcome to the world of TE and Tri. We look forward to hearing how you progress.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Posts
    378

    Thanks, everyone!

    Thank you SO much for your votes of confidence and warm welcomes.

    Between everyone on TE and DH, I am really excited about this new adventure. DH is leaving triathlon articles on my desk at home and saying things like "You need a wetsuit!" and "You need clothes!" LOL!

    The wetsuit idea I wasn't so crazy about because I really thought I wanted to rent one first. However, now DH is suggesting that we do some open water swims together (once I'm actually swimming) and the water around here definitely requires a wetsuit. When he was trying to get comfortable in open water (after his first open water freakout in his first triathlon where he ended up doing a lot of the swim on his back), we rented a kayak and I paddled around while he swam. The thing is that I can see me really enjoying swimming even if I didn't do any triathlons. I have always loved the water and used to be big into windsurfing (until we moved to where the windsurfing isn't so good). So, maybe a wetsuit is a good idea. I'll have to think about it.

    I agree I do need some tri shorts and a top. I went to try some on today and they were pretty darn cute. I didn't buy them, though, because I read on a website that the Zoot items aren't good in chlorine.

    My second swimming lesson was today and it went great! I felt a lot more comfortable in the water already, and we got through Zipper Switch. Even better was that I was beginning to get a feel for how my body moved in the water and how moving my hand or head position or using more or less hip rotation can really change things. I plan to practice tomorrow, take Monday off from the pool, and then I have my third lesson on Tuesday.

    Alpinerabbit, I agree that getting the proper technique is a long term project and that there are likely lots of refinements along the way. I sure don't expect to be perfect after 10 lessons. The good news is that if I'm not swimming after 10 lessons, my coach will continue with lessons for as long as it takes for only the price of the pool rental ($10). I like that he has that kind of confidence in his teaching abilities.

    After my swimming lesson this morning, we took the dogs for a nice long walk, and then we went for a bike ride (short, only about an hour and a half), and then I did a very short 15 minute run just to see what that felt like after biking. I had so much fun! I told DH it was a Quadrathon because of the added dog walk leg.

    There is a pool triathlon in mid-August that is about half an hour from home. The "standard" division does a 400 yard swim and the "novice" division does a 200 yard swim. I'm thinking that might be a good first event for me. Then, maybe I can do an open water swim in September, like Colby suggested.

    P.S. to TriGirl. Yes, Mr. Alex IS a madman. His first tri was an Olympic distance race. He did several more of those in the next few months and then did an Iron distance race 6 months after his first tri. The race he selected is known as the toughest Iron distance race in North America. Then, he proceeded to do a total of 7 Iron distance races in 2 years. Yeah, 2 years. And, no, I have no plans to replicate that feat!

    P.S. to MDHillSlug. I LOVE that shirt!

    P.S. to Running Mommy. We were at IMAZ in 2006 and 2007 and I actually read your reports back then. I think you are more than a "wee bit inspiring!"

    Alex

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Dallas, TX
    Posts
    2,716
    Hello and welcome to triathlons!

    Sounds like your hubby is so excited to share his love of tri's with you! That's really great!

    For the tri suit... only wear it to race in. You should not practice in it when it comes to swimming. Now, I run in my sometimes, but I keep it out of the pool unless it's a race.

    Buy a nice Speedo for your pool practice. If you go to Speedo.com you can find really nice suits marked down big time! Just have to keep your eyes open.

    Welcome to tri training and good luck!
    "Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather, to skid in broadside thoroughly used-up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming: WOW WHAT A RIDE!!!!"

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Posts
    378
    Quote Originally Posted by KSH View Post
    Hello and welcome to triathlons!

    For the tri suit... only wear it to race in. You should not practice in it when it comes to swimming. Now, I run in my sometimes, but I keep it out of the pool unless it's a race.
    Thanks, KSH! I thought I should get some tri clothes that are chlorine resistance for pool races. However, the pool tri I wanted to do in August isn't going to take place. My first tri will have to be in open water.

    Still searching for the right race clothes. I've tried on some stuff from local shops and am sort of underwhelmed. I just want a bra top and a pair of shorts because I plan to put a sun protective top on for the bike and run. I think I'm going to have to order several alternatives from TE and then send back what doesn't work.

    I have some Tyr suits for the pool that I got on sale, so I'm all set for swimming practice, but I will check out the Speedo site when these suits wear out.

    Alex

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Dallas, TX
    Posts
    2,716
    Quote Originally Posted by Alex View Post
    Thanks, KSH! I thought I should get some tri clothes that are chlorine resistance for pool races. However, the pool tri I wanted to do in August isn't going to take place. My first tri will have to be in open water.

    Still searching for the right race clothes. I've tried on some stuff from local shops and am sort of underwhelmed. I just want a bra top and a pair of shorts because I plan to put a sun protective top on for the bike and run. I think I'm going to have to order several alternatives from TE and then send back what doesn't work.

    I have some Tyr suits for the pool that I got on sale, so I'm all set for swimming practice, but I will check out the Speedo site when these suits wear out.

    Alex
    Well, a pool swim is so short (you MIGHT be in the water for... 5-8 minutes)... it really doesn't matter about the race suit being chlorine resistant. Ya know?

    Finding the right outfit is VERY hard. I loved Desoto stuff in the past... but their new designs starting in 2008 have sucked. Just odd seams on the tri shorts and odd cut tops. I use to love them because the neckline was up to my collarbone and the bottom came down to my hips.

    One thing I would STRONGLY suggest you look for are tri shorts that DO NOT have a SEAM up the MIDDLE OF THE CROTCH and through the padding. Some tri shorts are designed this way and it looks horrible. I mean really... it gives you a cameltoe because the padding on either side of the seam bulges out. It's horrible.

    Desoto luckily has stayed away from the seam up the middle of the crotch. I believe TYR has too. So take a look at those brands.

    Side story- I was on a ride the other week and this guy friend of mine was talking about this girls HUGE cameltoe (guys do notice) and said I had to see it. So I took a gander at the next rest stop. I pointed out to him that she had one because of the inseam up the middle of her cycling shorts. When she stood with her legs together the padding buldged on either side of the seam. It was pretty bad looking.
    "Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather, to skid in broadside thoroughly used-up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming: WOW WHAT A RIDE!!!!"

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Bogota
    Posts
    294
    hi triathlete, not wannabe,
    You actually have an advantage to learning how to swim from zero and with good coaching, it means you will learn how to swim correctly, instead of spending years correcting all the silliness that you were doing before. If only we could learn to run from zero, we wouldn't have so many other weird postural things going on that we need to unlearn.
    I spent the first two years swimming for triathlon, UN LEARNING and have finally gotten some of the technique down.
    The second advantage is the windsurfing thing, windsurfing helps A LOT on the open water swims, you have some already assimilated water reading skills which a lot of people don't have. On my first open water swim (the first time I swam in open water), I did very well, even better than some of the top women, cause they were going zig zag all over the place, but I had picked out a line (very similar to windsurfing) that got me to the shore in the shortest amount of time including wind, currents, waves, etc.
    have fun!
    Last edited by tribogota; 07-08-2009 at 10:17 AM. Reason: spelling

 

 

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