My oldest son’s favorite movie is Cars.  In that movie there is a scene where Doc Hudson tells Lightning McQueen that in order to turn on a dirt track you need to turn right to go left.  When Lightning McQueen tries the new advice he ends up turning the wheels right and zooming off the right side of the road and down an embankment.  OK, maybe that isn’t the best example, but trust me the directions were right, it was the execution that went wrong.

Today I went to the Y and tried to get a swim in.  It has been a while so I was anxious to figure this swimming thing out.  I went for a warm up lap or two, then it was time to get serious.  I went out, the goal was to get as many laps in as possible without stopping.  I went out, lap one was great.  I turned for my second lap and I worked my way down the lane, I turned back and made the second lap but that was it.  I was winded.  I felt like I had just finished a sprint run.  I couldn’t believe how hard I was breathing.  I repeated this pattern over and over.

I was dejected and sat there catching my breath.  I watched an older man a few lanes over swam away ever so slowly.  He wasn’t making much progress, but he also never stopped.  I had noticed during out last triathlon in February that the people who I thought were swimming really slow ended up with times close to mine.  The reason was that they kept making forward progress while I would speed away and spend a minute at a time on the end of the pool catching my breath.  Constant forward motion was the key, but how was I going to get there?

I thought about my running training.  How I kept my heart rate down very low. and how that allowed me to make some serious distance.  There is no way I could sprint 6 miles.  I had to slow the swim down.  I went for another lap.  This time I was slow and deliberate with my swim stroke.  I would lift my arm and roll it forward nice and easy.  Before I knew it I had finished my 2nd lap and kept going.  Three laps, four laps, and then five.  I finished 5 and I wasn’t breathing hard.  Was this it?

I had to slow down to speed up.  Wow, what a concept.