My First Open Water Swim

6 Comments 08 August 2010

My First Open Water Swim

I am not normally a procrastinator.  The closer a due date comes, the more stress I feel.  So my theory is that in order to minimize stress, just get the task done early.  The due date comes, the stress level is low, and my task is complete.

You can’t procrastinate when training for a distance event.  The body needs time to adapt to the progressively increasing mileage.  I’ve been training all summer for my first triathlon, increasing mileage each week, compounding workouts, until I actually completed race distance in all three events yesterday.  I feel so good going into this race, knowing that I have a 1.5k swim, a 40k bike, and a 10k run under my belt.  Now I just need to do it all one more time, for real, next Sunday.

Although I’m not a procrastinator, especially when it comes to training, there is one little thing that I’ve kept putting off.  The open water swim.  I’ve been deathly afraid of swimming just under a mile in a lake.

What am I so afraid of?

1.  Getting tired and not being able to hold onto the side of the pool to catch my breath.

2.  Snakes.

3.  Swimming across the natural habitat of many species that I can’t see but that can see me.

4.  Snakes.

5.  Not being able to see the bottom of the lake.

6.  Snakes.

7.  Not being able to swim in a straight line without lane lines.

8.  Snakes.

9.  Flailing arms and legs around me and choking on their splashing.

10.  Snakes.

This morning was the very last moment that I had to swim in a lake as school starts tomorrow, and next weekend will be spent traveling to Fall Creek Falls.

Today had to be the day.

The sun was just starting to rise when I slowly walked down to the water’s edge.

Fog was hovering above the lake as I gingerly tiptoed into the bath-like water.

The mossy rocks felt disgusting under my feet, and I couldn’t wait to get in far enough to pull my feet up and tread water.  But, kerplunk!  I slipped and fell, enjoying the slimy bottom with more than just my toes.  Ick.

But I did it.

The Husband swam next to me, encouraging me the whole way.  We swam across the cove of the lake and back again.  I practiced sighting, aiming for a tree, and I was amazed when I stopped in the middle to see just how far I’d come.  Going back and forth in a pool you don’t get a true picture of the distance that you’ve covered.  But when you stop in the middle of the lake and see tiny your tiny car back on the bank, it’s quite evident.

I didn’t panic, I had a little practice sighting and adjusting my direction, I didn’t see a single snake, and I swam through the green water only being able to see my fingertips as I reached through each stroke.

I only swam back and forth once.  But that was enough for me to realize that I can do this next weekend.  There’s nothing to be afraid of.  (And the snakes will be scared away before I even get into the water as the women start after the men!)

Triathlon, here I come!


Your Comments

6 Comments so far

  1. KarenP says:

    I’m so proud of you!

  2. AnnMarie says:

    You rock! Next weekend will be fantastic! Good luck! I’ll be sending CA thoughts and hugs to you . . . . :o)
    (Oh, and that lake has bath-like water?!?!)

  3. Courtney says:

    The fact that there are snakes that swim in Tennessee lakes is the most irrefutable proof of the Fall that I know. Seriously? SWIMMING SNAKES?

    You are one brave woman. :)

    Good luck on the big tri! We can’t wait to celebrate your victory with some good gf dinners this fall!

  4. Wendy says:

    We were in Knoxville 2 weeks ago and went boating. We jumped in the lake and swam a little, but nothing like you. Great job! The water felt SOOO warm! It is always so fun to read what you write!


  1. The Terrible, Horrible, Incredible Triathlon | Gluten-Free Cat - 05. Sep, 2010

    […] was I so afraid of?  See here.  Out of that LONG list of fears, I experienced every single one of them, except for the snakes.  […]

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A Curious Girl in the Gluten-Free World

I'm a curious girl, wife, teacher, fitness fanatic, gluten-free foodie, high-raw vegan, and Mama Cat living in NYC. I've made the transition from baking and cooking gluten-free to creating raw vegan recipes that are naturally gluten free. My gluten intolerance opened up my diet to a whole new world of nutritious plant-based foods. While I'm not 100% vegan, it's my favorite way to eat, and making and sharing raw foods makes me giddy. Living in the City has its joys and challenges, and I enjoy sharing my experiences with you.

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