Posted by: pursuingsub17 | June 6, 2009

Valuable lesson learned about open water swimming


OMG!! That water was cold. The new wetsuit Kept my body warm though. I bought Blue Seventy’s Reaction. It took me less than a minute to put on and it isn’t big! It was like the suit chose me. Hee hee. But the water was still cold.

I went down to the beach by myself – Marc was working. There was hardly a soul around. One triathlete was leaving just as I arrived. Okay, off topic, but this guy was hot and just from the look of him, a seasoned pro. He gave me some good advice about the swim. He actually said the water wasn’t too bad but I think that’s because he’s swam in this temp many times before :).

Back to my story, I put on my suit and paraded to the water. One guy getting out said to another in the wetsuit garb that it was COLD! Great. This guy looked like an athlete too. Whatever – I walked in and it wasn’t bad on my feet. By the time I got theigh deep, I started noticing it was cold. There was another swimmer who followed me in so out of pride, I dove in and started to swim.

Panic! I couldn’t relax and get into a good breathing pattern. I couldn’t put my face in the water without thinking I was about to gasp for breath. So I started swimming faster so I could inhale air faster. Obviously, wrong thing to do. I started breaststroke. Same thing. Couldn’t put my face in the water. I started swimming with my head up but found I was still breathing rapidly – like a panting dog.

Scrreeeeeech! Whoa! Hang on. I know how to swim. What the hell was wrong with me? My heart was racing. I tried to guage if maybe I was shivering but I wasn’t. My body was cool but comfortable. C’mon girl! You used to be a lifeguard for Christ’s sake. What is going on? By the time I hit the second bouy, I started to panic – the shore was way too far away (it wasn’t). How foolish was I to come out here by myself with only one other swimmer and 5 others on the beach who can’t even see me? What if I drown? Must remember next time to bring someone with me if I make it back alive.

But on the way back, I started to relax – did breast stroke with my head in and then front crawl. What did I learn out of this? Climatization is VERY important before the swim portion of the race – don’t just jump in. Out of the water, I spoke to a few other triathletes – again, all seasoned pros, and said I had started to panic when they asked how the water was. Man alive, I got good advice! I love triathletes! They rock and the majority of them are super supportive and more than willing to pass on what they’ve learned.

Tomorrow I’m wearing a swim cap under my race cap and go in the water 10 mins before start time to get used to the cold. I was also told to splash water on my face and head and then try and put my face in the water – maybe even practice some breathing.

Tonight, I dine on pasta with diced chicken, fresh tomatoes and basil. Then I’ll do a quick glance over my bike and get Marc to look over my tri bag to make sure I’m not missing anything. Wish me luck tomorrow morning my friends!

Tomorrow – I become a triathlete.

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