So here’s a conundrum:
How can I stay hydrated during a swimming workout? I keep a water bottle at the end of my lane just in case, but I never feel the urge to reach for it between sets. After experiencing a few post-swim headaches though, which I feel pretty sure are caused by dehydration (well, either that or cinching my goggles within a millimeter of their little elastic lives just to try to keep my cap down over my ears and ward off the great terror of Swimmer’s Ear), I’ve been trying to remind myself during the workouts to drink, drink, drink (a reminder I’ve never really needed in my other extracurricular pursuits . . . ) But I can never really bring myself to drink the water I bring. I take a few illusory sips here and there, but my first instinct is to swish it and spit it, which I suspect is seriously disdained by fellow swimmers.
Lucky for me, I finally stumbled (hard to do in 4′ of water, actually) upon a solution: Breast Stroke. That’s right; thirsty after a short but tough swim workout? Just add on quick relaxing 100m breaststroke to mix it up and cool down. When I realized the swimmer next to me (who was rocking a CapTexTri swim cap convincing me that we should be friends and that I looked rad in my Rookie Tri swim cap) was finishing up her workout with breaststroke, I got the bright idea to toss in a little last-minute breast-stroke of my own just to practice a head-up alternative to freestyle that I could perhaps draw on if I experience another 100m panic on race day this weekend. The 100m of breaststroke did precious little for my training, I’m sure, since the CapTexTri-Capped Swimmer did it like this:
And I did it like this:
On the upside, I now color the hydration problem solved since that piddly 100m of breaststroke forced a good two to three gallons of water through my face, and into my chest and stomach. Although, to be fair, I didn’t really drink the water as much as I inhaled it. Any moment I wasn’t trying to effectuate and underwater sneeze to release some of the water I’d swallowed was spent playing out the conversation I was POSITIVE the CapTexTri-Capped Swimmer and the 16-Year-Old Lifeguard were engaged in as I swam:
CapTexTri-Capped Swimmer: “Do you see this hack in Lane 2?”
16-Year-Old Lifeguard: “Of course. It’s ridiculous. I have work late now to make sure the pool gets re-filled tonight. Hey “rookie,” thirsty much? Save some water for the athletes, will ya?”
CapTexTri-Capped Swimmer: “Really. I mean, the angle of the arm swoop, when compounded by the spastic gyrations of the legs amount to virtually opposing her velocity. I’m shocked she’s not moving backward.”
16-Year-Old Lifeguard: “Psh. Right?“
But when I mercifully reached the wall again I saw that the CapTexTri-Capped Swimmer had already hit the showers and the 16-Year-Old Lifeguard had never actually looked past the screen of his smartphone. Apparently the grip of Angry Birdsis far stronger than his need to viciously critique my strokes. On the upside, I’m encouraged to know my swimming is good enough that apparently my life didn’t need his guarding. Which resulted in yet another “Aha” training moment: No other soul on this planet cares one iota about your training. Your training is for you. Don’t avoid trying things because you’re afraid of how you’ll look trying them because, really and truly . . .
Nobody is looking.