Sunday, March 10, 2013

Never Say Never

Training had been going so well.  I was plugging along and had found my groove.  And then...I hit the bump in the road in the form of a nasty cold.  It started with a feeling of exhaustion then quickly turned into a cough then a full blown cold.  It was inevitable - both my husband and a number of my coworkers were sick.  I was bound to get it.  What I wasn't ready for was how long it would last.  It's been over a week and I'm still battling the cough - I sound a bit like a seal when it comes on.  But I'm at the point where I'm sick of being sick, so I just have to suck it up and get back to training, even if I'm not able to go at 100%.

And so on that note, I did something yesterday that I never thought I would do.  Let me just start by saying that I saw the movie Jaws when I was about six years old and it left a huge impression.  Because of this movie, I am terrified of swimming in the ocean.  When I was in Hawaii in June, my family teased me because I would only go in the ocean just past my knees.  

The movie that instilled the fear.
But if I'm going to participate in triathlons, at some point I'm probably going to want to do a race that involves an ocean or a bay swim.  So yesterday I did something that I thought I'd never do - I went for a swim in the bay.

The site of the swim.

It was actually more than a swim.  It was an open water swim clinic.  We spent over an hour talking about open water swimming - what to expect, what we were afraid of (sharks!), the current, the cold.  And then we all put on wetsuits and headed down into the water.  The instructor and the volunteers were fantastic.  They took time to get us used to the cold - and it was COLD - and used to putting our faces in the water.  We swam a few yards back and forth, and then split up into two groups - those who were ready to take off and swim the entire 400 yards along the shoreline, and those who wanted to go at a slower pace.  I chose the slower group.  Having been sick, I just didn't have the lung capacity that I normally do, and since I'm so new to swimming I'm still pretty slow as it is.  Plus it was my first time in open water and in a wetsuit so I knew this was going to be a lot harder than swimming at the pool.

We never went in so deep that you couldn't stand up if you wanted to.  And there were volunteers lining the entire distance of the swim offering tips and encouragement.  Those of us in the slower group would swim along as far as we could, then flip over onto our backs if we needed a break.  I was never afraid or uncomfortable, but there were times when I was floating on my back that I could really feel the current.  It was definitely a lot harder than swimming in a pool.  But after all was said and done, I made it the entire 400 yards.  It took me a long time, but I did it - and so did everyone in our group.  I felt amazing!

And one additional great benefit of going to this clinic was the wetsuit rental.  They had a company at the event so I could rent one on the spot.  No going to a store ahead of time to try on suit after suit - I've heard this can be quite an experience.  Since I had such a great time and knew that I would be doing this again, I decided to go ahead and purchase the very suit I had worn that day.

It followed me home.
I've already got my next open water swim experience planned for this coming weekend.  This triathlon thing is suddenly becoming very real!