I must have looked like a complete idiot, alone in Lane 5, in a pool full with people. To my left were a team of 8 teen-swimmers going around under their watchful coach, and to my right Lane 4 is full with 10-odd 7-8 year-olds making laps.
I have misjudged P.O.S. No. 8, and turned up alone at PADE, and immediately found myself in a 3-m deep (and very cold) pool, hanging on the steel bar, afraid to let go. I have a thing for a depth I could not feel with my toes. Complete idiot is an understatement.
I won't lie, and even this entry will be mocked by many - I was scared shit. I gazed at the bottom of the pool, and shiver. I thought, no wait... I can't get out of the pool just after 5 minutes dipping in, and I was right in the middle lane and I cannot cross to the other lanes with people flipping laps. Crap, I was so dumbstruck, I cannot even pull myself up the pool wall.
I had flashes of myself having to be rescued halfway, while clinging to the floatlines.
OMG, I spent a good 45minutes looking at the big watch, and trying to play what I learned on water treading. I did those routines, but I kept looking back at the depth of the water, and started freaking out. I think that was hilarious - when usually a 50-m length pool doesn't scare me at all. But I remember holding the bar, and looked upon the other end with absolute fright. I see vividly a tunnel vision of an empty water lane with a letter 5 on the other end, a distant away, with splashes on both side, and echoing sounds from the microphones. I felt I will never make it.
I wonder how would it feel, standing facing the open sea. Nerve-wrecking? Must be insane.
I calmed myself down, and let go off the bar and sank down. By the time I reached the floor, I pushed myself up. That gave me a degree of confidence, so I repeated that many, many times. Hey, that can't be that scary. I could sink, and able to get up, and breathe.
The water treading didn't work - I was too afraid to let go to even remember correctly what Eric taught me. Even worse, I was all alone. Or I was lucky I was alone hahaha.
It was later when a guy joined my lane and started swimming when I thought, hey, I need to decide on something. I can't hold on forever. Eventually I need to go home, see my girls etc.
Option 1 - start swimming. If I start to drown, turn on my back, raise my hand, and hope to be rescued. Pack my bag, and never return to PADE
Option 2 - pack my bag, and go to KJ pool. I remember the KJ pool - hot, choppy, and heavy. It has lots of cute cats, tho, and I need my workout
Option 3 - pack my bag, and return home. I could swim in my own pool for hours on end, and be content.
I was close to shivering, and felt a knot building up my tired left calf. Damn it, cold water!
One big sigh, and I stopped thinking as I pushed off the wall and started pulling the water, and push it behind me, and repeating the strokes. 4-pulls, breathe, then 4 pulls, and breathe while keeping my head straight down, and eyes grazing the dim and seemingly distant pool floor. I kept myself right next to the floatlines, just in case.
I could almost hear my thumping heartbeat while shaking it off, but I think I did OK. As I turn to breath, the ubiquitous terrace seating did not give me any bearings, and I was lost in gauging where I was, and how much more do I need to go to the other end. The first lap felt like forever. When I finally see the pool line below ended with a perpendicular T, I was elated. I made it to the other side. I held on close to the bar, but happy nonetheless. I felt like a a piece of gold bar!
I was still overly nervous, but made my way back another loop. I thought, it was ok the first time, I could do this again. I was after all, staring at my fear and tackle it head on. I did not close my eyes or anything (who would do that, lah). What Eric told me made sense that point - as long as I stay leveled on water, and keep swimming, I will not drown.
So the next few laps felt easier, and I sort of found a pace. It was not so much of a struggle, but I just cannot get over the depth and feeling like a wimp. I figured this will have to be now, or else I will never get any closer to open water.
Just before the pool closes at 11.15 a.m., I have just completed 26 laps, of the initially 40 laps planned. Had I start earlier, I would have PBed, but fact of the matter is to answer some inferiority calls. I do not mind coming back as PADE is the only deep pool around available.
Prior to the swim, I had half a vanilla muffin, and few slices of leftover kek buah kurma, and a mug of hot tea. I have learnt to leave anything with peanuts and milk 2 hours prior as it gives me gas and active bowel, and any large meals. Those are saved for the after the swim. For hydration, Gatorade is best, but when I tried 100+ today, I was burping in between turns, which was not pretty. I am still researching for fuel plans for the swim, but now it is good.
It has been a week full of swims. I feel like a kid with a candy stick. It has been a steady 1000 - 1200 metre days, with a break on Friday as we gathered at MSQ with Eric, Kash, Day-O, Richard and Nik Arief, correcting postures, pulls, breathing and more. This week I was introduced to pull buoys and hand pedals, which improves my pulls (10 pulls on right, 11 pulls on left) over the 20m pool. At the end of the session, we battled it out for a 100-m dash. I finished mine with my easy pace at 1:57.
It is now the only solace I found peace in not running for 2 weeks. I miss my runs terribly, but swim is a damn well substitute, if not a good pairing.
Next week will be another swimming week. It will be my tribute to Ian, Kash, Fong, Shyrim and kabusgunung, going for their Kapas-Marang Swimathon. Some are swimathon virgins, and some are pros, all truly inspirational!