For the last year or so, I've talked about doing a triathlon. Crossfit is too expensive here, I had been getting bored with running and I've realized that I need a goal in order to effectively work out. I simply don't have the motivation to just work out regularly without a plan and a goal. I don't push myself.
So, with the support of my wife (she bought me a nice bike for Christmas), I have begun training for a triathlon in June. This week, I started my swim training in earnest by joining a "master's swim class" at the YMCA. It is completely kicking my ass. Although I learned how to swim as a kid and I know all the strokes, etc., my form is crap.
Frankly, I am embarrassed by my complete lack of skill in swimming. It is WAY harder than I thought it would be. I struggle with breathing, kicking and "pulling" (as I learned the part with your arms is called). Not only am I relegated to the "slow lane" during the class, but I am also easily the slowest of the three guys in this lane. I can barely swim 50 meters without needing a rest. It reminds me of how awful I was at running when I started. I am still not a fast runner - I never will be - but I can run 5 miles if I need to.
To make matters worse, we swim A LOT. When I was learning to run, my first race was a 5K. During practice, I only ran that distance once or twice before the race. I mistakenly assumed the same theory would apply to the swim in the triathlon. For my tri, I have to swim 750 meters (30 lengths of the pool). The WARM-UP at the first practice was 500 meters! The total work out was 3400 meters. I am limiting my workout to an hour, so I only did about 2200 meters. That is still three times the length of my race.
As bad as it has been (and it's been pretty bad), I just have to remember how it was when I started running and how it was when I started cross fit. In both cases, I was by far the worst person doing this when I started. But, over time, I improved (incrementally) and other worse people started up. Improving my technique and building my endurance made it so I eventually wasn't the worst. I assume and hope that will be the case again with swimming.
Additionally, I went on a long bike ride (7 miles) a few weeks ago. I could barely walk for 3 days, so we'll see how that goes.
Wish me luck.