Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The REAL deal: Open water

I did it once and it wasn't pretty. I did it a second time and it wasn't that bad, but it wasn't great. 

It was an open water swim.   

The only thing remotely cool about my first open water swim attempt was that I was the only person on the beach in a full on Tri Suit, complete with butt pads and no bike to get on afterwards! I really dig the suit, and wanted to give it a try. What better place than the lake! 

While camping, our site was about 50 feet from Lake Echo so there was no excuse for not getting in and reminding myself that Triathlon's take place in a lake. 

My first swim didn't go so great. Earlier that morning I set off with 2 friends to do a little trail run and ended up twisting my ankle. It wasn't TOO bad, but it ended up being a bother the rest of the weekend.  STILL, I thought maybe it was an ok idea to go for my first open water swim even with a hurting and slightly swollen ankle. 

Not so much. It hurt a lot and made the attempt to swim WORSE than it would have been. And it was pretty bad. Why? Because I am afraid of deep water, I am afraid of water I can't see into and where I can't touch... that won't go away with 8 weeks of fun little swim lessons in the 4 foot deep water at the Y. Nope. That requires courage and determination on my part and this first swim had none of the sort! 

I joke around about this stuff, but I actually was about in tears. I know I am Mrs. Little ray of sunshine on here and I am in my life too, but this was a lot for one day. For starters, it was hard for me to have fallen and twisted my ankle and not finish my run with my friends. It was also a lot for me to get in the water try swimming period. But when my feet aren't working right, I am facing a deep lake for the first time knowing it's the race in front of me and I am still learning, it was a lot all at once. It was discouraging. I made this little VLOG about it: 


The second attempt, the next day was better. I decided that a body of water was not going to get the best of me, so I suited up again and went to the beach with my friends. This time, my friend Jen swam very close to me and encouraged me as I swam. 

My goal was just to swim out to where I couldn't touch and do laps back and forth between the buoy's.  At one point, I got too close to some weeds and even as I tried to move away, moved into more of them and really started to panic! I got out took a breather and did a little more.
Jen rocks! 

 I spent a total of 9:40 swimming without touching. For me, right now that is a good start, I have a long way to go, but most of what makes me stop in the water is not being tired, but being afraid. 

Things I need to do: 
1) Keep my eyes closed when my face is in the water. When I can see that I can't SEE the bottom, I start to panic, come up and stop. I can wear goggles, but need to not open my eyes under water. 
2) Swim with someone in a canoe next to me in a Minneapolis Lake. Jen said she would swim with me, and I am hoping to have a friend paddle along side me much like the kayakers will be during the tri. 
3) Keep practicing and focus on my next step, not on my failure of today or yesterday. The past is PAST. I can only move forward and focus my energies there. I know I will not fail, because I am trying and stepping out to face a fear. I may not overcome the fear, but if I face it and get THROUGH it, then I have not failed. 

Swimming super hero!


Coming up: some REALLY great moves I learned at swimming lesson #4 and the difference they made! 

Have you done an open water swim? Do you enjoy the lake with a passion or do you just splash around? :) Happy Hump Day! 




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