In swim class last Tuesday, after instructing us to swim 50 yards front crawl at 80 percent effort and I did, coach asked me in a dubious tone if I was sure that was 80 percent. To which I nodded confidently, breathless, which upon seeing he conceded. It was not an unfair question, but he’s seen my abilities with regards to speed and conspicuously didn’t ask it of my classmates.
To be honest, it was not 80 percent in that I cannot fully comprehend sprinting and have nary a fast twitch fiber in my body, but it was 80 percent in that I would maintain a challenging, gasping pace throughout class without floundering.
Yes, I am a slow swimmer. This is why I paid for a swim conditioning class. But I am only slightly and not always slower than the two young teens in my class. I push myself, really, enough that I'd probably cry except that I'd drown.
At the end of class, he said to me alone that two times a week (how often our class meets) is not enough exercise, so I cheerfully informed him that I run and bike all the other days, not mentioning my frequent two-a-days on top of that. I’m more interested in learning what I can from these sessions than challenging this man.
Later I wondered what on earth he meant by “enough.” Enough for what? It might be enough and all one has time for if she has a full time job and maybe children. It might be enough and all one has time for if she’s a full-time student with other extracurriculars. It might be enough for someone recovering from a running injury. It might be enough for someone looking to crosstrain for her sport. It might be enough for anyone at all trying to add enjoyable movement to their lives.
This is a city rec center swim class. It’s not a master’s class, it’s not a team practice, it’s not a private coaching session, no one here is training for the Olympics or any other competition for that matter. I’m here for triathlon but not to compete; I wanna make sure I can knock out the swim on race day and have something left for the bike and run.
There are three classes left in this session; I don't think I have it in me to sign up for the next. I hate that these are so late in the evening and am really looking forward to going back to my 5 a.m. practices. I’ll keep training through the winter and think about classes again after the New Year.