And so the self talk began.
"Why are you so afraid, you know how to swim?" I know, I don't know why I"m afraid. I know it's irrational but I never claimed to be a rational person.
"What could go wrong? You'll have a wetsuit on so you can float and there will be other people around." I know, but I can't help but worry.
"Stop worrying and just do it. Focus on everything else but the fact that you're in open water." Ok, I'll try.
And on and on it went. At one point I almost managed to talk myself OUT of getting into the water. But then I got annoyed with myself. I've registered for 2 sprint distance triathlons so I have to get in the water and get used to it. So I set myself the goal of getting in, putting my face in and swimming a few strokes to see how I felt.
We pulled in the parking lot at Sunset Beach and it was packed with triathletes which I figured was a good thing as that meant that there should be a lot of people swimming. The other good thing I saw was that there was a line of buoys that went right across the lake. Awe-some! I am horrible at sighting so to have something to follow is very helpful. We met our friends Linnea and Glenn, got our wetsuits on and made our way down to the water. I felt like barfing or maybe even crying. We got down to the little landing and we were greeted by a bunch of ducks just chilling out as well as a few other triathletes getting ready to swim.
|Duck Posse, Chillin by the Lake|
This is ridiculous. You can do this.
I decided that staying close to shore would probably be the best thing for me at this point. If I could see the shoreline, I'd feel better. So, I swam back to red buoy, floated on my back for a bit to get my breathing back to normal, then rolled over and started to swim back to where we came into the water. I thought that maybe if I thought about my form and worked on my sighting that might be distraction enough. So I picked a point along the shore where there happened to be a guy fishing, and used that as my focal point.
One two three, breathe, one two three, breathe & sight.
Sometimes counting makes it better.
Before I knew it, I was almost at the shore. I rolled over on my back and floated for a bit. That was actually really relaxing. I tried to backstroke but it made me kind of dizzy so I stopped. I tread water for a bit and figured I'd try swimming back to the red buoy. So, off I went.
One two three, breathe, one two three, breathe & sight. God I'm tired.
I stopped once to take a breather. Swimming in a wetsuit is hard work until you get used to it. My shoulders were tired and I think I was swimming faster than I would normally. I wasn't far from the red buoy so I put my face back in and continued on. I got to the red buoy and actually thought, wow, that wasn't so bad. So I decided to swim up the line of buoys. I made it to the second one before I started to panic a bit. Ok ok, don't push it, you've already done way better than you expected.
It was true, I had. I didn't even think I'd make it over the few hundred meters to the red buoy, let alone swim back and forth between it several times. With that little victory, I turned around and swam back to shore, practicing my sighting and thinking about my stroke. I swam through a bunch of weeds coming towards the shore and got grossed out so I flipped over on to my back and backstroked until I could touch the bottom.
First open water swim, a success. I might have only swam about 500-600m but it wasn't about distance for me. I just had to be able to know that I could get in and do it. The next time we go out, I'll try to swim a bit farther. It's all about baby steps. Today I was a happy camper.
|Nice cone head.|
|Huge horse farm.|
|The Yellow Jersey & Fluffy Clouds|
Total ride time: 2:21:54. Distance covered 66.17km. Longest ride this year and my fastest average pace too. Woot!
Today's little adventure has done wonders for my confidence. I'm actually kind of looking forward to getting into the water again to see how much farther I can go.
Call me crazy but that was a fun way to spend a Saturday morning. Maybe it was the 2 coffees I had before we started.....
Is there something you're afraid of doing? Have you been able to conquer that fear?
What's your idea of a fun way to spend a Saturday morning?