As you have probably read here before, I am in the midst of triathlon training to ready myself for not only an open water sprint in June, but an Olympic distance triathlon later this year. Swimming is my weakest sport, as I sink like a rock and cannot seem to tread water. The idea of swimming almost a mile started to seem like a far fetched idea.
But, one should not give up hope. So to push myself a little harder, my wife and I purchased wetsuits. I purchased what is considered an entry level Orca S5 suit. Since the outdoor water temperature is still a little cool, we decided to try them out in the pool at the YMCA. It wasn’t too bad getting it on for the first time, although I did have trouble getting the pull string to stay out of the way! I made my way to an open lane, said a little prayer that everything would be ok, and jumped in.
I actually felt a little lighter in the water with it on, but then again I was just standing there. It’s when I started to swim that I noticed a big difference. First: I didn’t have to try so hard to beathe, as I was almost on top of the water. Second: It seemed almost effortless, as if I was gliding along. Third: even with the full sleeves, it never felt cumbersome and I seemed to have a full range of motion. That’s when I realized that I had swam 400 yards as my warm up! I had never done that so easily before. After drills, I decided to just swim laps again, and completed 750 yards non-stop! That felt amazing, and since my first open water sprint is approximately 820 yards, I feel much better about it.
Then my wife suggested that we swim out to the deep end and and practice treading water. Now I don’t tread water, I sink. I don’t know why, but that’s what happens. So I try to be brave, and swim out to the deep end and stop … and I float! I barely moved my arms or my legs, and I was floating. I even went one minute treading water and floating. It was amazing, and it has me amped up to try open water swimming now!
My No Boundaries group is moving along so well that they will soon be teaching me. Because of a graduation, only one of my team, Shirley, was there on Saturday. We partnered with Maria, another mentor, and I asked Shirley what she wanted to do. She said she wanted to try to run the entire 5k, but slowly and no walk breaks. So I told her that she would set the pace and off we went. And she did it!! Shirley was amazing, and she finished in 34:39 which is a great time! It has been amazing to run with this group, and between Shirley, Jennifer, Sarah, and Bob, I have learned so much. They have taught me how to encourage people, to make things fun, to boost spirits, and to love running even more. I can only hope that they got as much from this program that I have.
After No Boundaries was completed Cathy, another mentor in the group, asked if I was doing the “Run With the Police 5k”. It was the first year for the race, raising interactions with the police and the community, and raising money for Special Olympics. I told Cathy that I had not signed up, but would love to run it. So I ran a half mile to the police station, and they were still accepting applications for the race. I got my bib, my t-shirt, then ran a half mile back to Fleet Feet Sports. The race was at 10 am, so we had enough time for a coffee and a pastry before walking to the starting line. I had already logged in 4 miles, and now going to run a 5k. I wondered how this would pan out.
The race was wonderful, with 1000 runners at the start. We took off, and the police were everywhere, cheering us on, high-fiving runners, it was a great time. I crossed the finish, got a great looking medal, and went through a wall of uniformed police officers all fist bumping us and congratulating us! It was a great race, one that I will add to my “have to run” list. I looked at my watch to see the time I finished: 26:30. Not too bad for running 4 miles beforehand. I stayed to cheer on Cathy, Brenda, and Cindy on as they headed to the finish.
Here is the medal we received:
Here we are after the finish:
After the run, I cleaned up, got out the bicycle, and went with on a 25 mile bike ride. My wife, my training partner Kara, and her sweetheart Eli were there, and we stopped at Mullets for an early dinner. It was great to see Kara and Eli again, and I hope we can ride together more often.
Live healthy, be happy!
sounds like you had fun Travis and served your community in the process.
….but the police are all evil according to the media! Great post! I ride in Des Moines quite a bit since I have 2 kids that live there!
I loved reading about the benefits of the wetsuit! thanks for posting!