The last day of 2011 seems like a good time to reflect on my first training session of this triathlon journey I started six months ago tomorrow.
I wake at 5am on my first day of training. I feel excited at the change in lifestyle I’m about to embark on. It’s still dark outside on this mid-winter morning and the air is cold. I left my togs and clothes ready next to my bed the night before so I don’t have the opportunity to procrastinate.
It’s cold as I ride my motorbike the 25km to the swimming pool. I get stuck in traffic on the highway and make a mental note to take the back roads in future. There are quite a few cars parked in at the pool despite the chill and darkness. It gives me courage.
I pay my $4.50 entry to the pool and buy a pair of goggles. In the change rooms I strip down to my togs and wrap a towel around my shoulders against the cold. Outside steam is rising off the pool as the warmed water meets the cold morning air. It’s beautiful. Swimmers’ heads bob in the water as keen people swim their laps.
I select a lane and slide my body into the water. It’s not as warm as I had hoped and I flinch. Pushing off the wall I decide that the best way to warm up is to get moving.
The pool is 50m long and by the half-way point my shoulders and lungs are having a competition for who can scream the loudest. It becomes apparent that it’s going to take me a while to get swim-fit enough for my first triathlon, which will involve me swimming at least 400m, if not 750m.
I manage to swim four 50m laps with rests at each end. I swim freestyle half of each lap and breast stroke the other half. My legs wobble as I walk from the pool to the change rooms and pull on my running gear. I’ve not yet started to run barefoot so I have to pull on my shoes, which I find quite an effort in my exhausted state.
Despite my exhaustion I run out of the pool, telling the counter staff that I’ll be back after a run. I turn left down the hill towards the main road. My legs stop wobbling within 100m and start hurting instead. After running downhill for 500m I can’t run any further and, frustrated, I stop. I’m absolutely shattered after what I’m sure is the shortest training session in history.
I want to give in right here and now. I will never be able to do a triathlon, let alone enjoy it. I turn around and walk back to the pool complex; on my way I decide not to give in just yet. I just have to take things slowly.