May 29, 2008

Swimming with the Fishies...

Tonight marked my third, and longest, open water swim. 900-1000m (difficult to measure when there are no lane lines!) I met up with a bunch of people from BT who are also on a Triathlon racing team. Cycle To Fitness is the group. They are recruiting for next season - and I have to say, wow. I am sold. Next year, God willing, it looks like I will be sponsored and racing for an actual team.

I had plenty of time on tonight's swim to contemplate what my goals are this season and for my race in two weeks.

My goal for Ann Arbor is to simply finish with a smile. The swim is going to be a struggle - not because I can't swim but because sighting, cold water taking my breath away, and swimming in a wetsuit are all new to me. Plus...here is the kicker... I am still afraid of open water to a degree.

Anyone who knows me knows that I am afraid of fish.

Are you done laughing?

OK.

Yeah. I am afraid of fish. And open water. And dying. But honestly - ever since I ended up in the ocean as a kid I am afraid of bodies of water that are missing chlorine and lane lines.

The irony rediculousness to all of this (aside from being an aspiring triathlete) is that I will get into a lake and swim. I will jetski, hop (or fall) off and be fine. But if I start to just hang out in water and my mind wanders... I panic a little.

Tonight I was doing well. I was swimming, sighting, getting used to my wetsuit and the whole "just being in a lake" thing. As I started to get tired, I would breast stroke and hang back with a fellow swimmer who was having some major wetsuit issues (circulation getting cut off in her legs), and then I would get back into the swim. Well... then it happened. I see a fish.

Yeah it was tiny. But it freaked me out! Reality had sunk in. I was swimming with fishies.

It was at this point that I thought - what the heck am I doing? What did I get myself into? Didn't I swear that I would never do a tri? Didn't I say that in this very blog last year? Can I handle this? Can I handle open water?

Yeah, I can.

I just put my face back into the chilly water and plugged away.

The first leg was maybe 300m but no more than 350. It was ROUGH. Not gonna lie.

The second leg was 200-300m. It was not as rough. Feeling better. Took some sighting advice from fellow BTers and eased into the stroke. If I clear my mind and just enjoy the swim all of a sudden I picture myself in the pool and I can go forever, or until I see another fish. ;)

The third and final leg was 300-350ish and it went a lot better. No breast stroking, all free style. Confidence up, sighting working it's way out, and breathing great.

I even saw a HUGE bass fish and I didn't even flinch. Well.. OK I flinched, but I kept on going. Just put the arms in the water and go. Just get to the bike.

All I could think of was that the fish were way more scared of this huge person flailing their arms through the water than I could possibly be of them.

It worked!

I did between 900-1000m tonight in open water and I finished stronger than I had started. I finished enjoying the swim out there and excited to do Saturday's 7/10th of a miler. I finished knowing that I will finish at AA, and knowing that I will improve this season triathlon after triathlon. I finished not as afraid, and even excited to get back out in the lake.

I have a HUGE way to go in the next week - but with that week comes two more open water swims both well over the 1/2 mile that I will swim in AA.

So yes. My time goals are out the window. I am treating my first tri as my first marathon... no time goals! This is a learning experience for me. Wow.

I love this. I honestly love being a triathlete.

So tomorrow is my reward for all of the hard work (aside from my freaking killer legs [if I don't say so myself lol]) - I am getting my hair did. Blonde highlights. :) Followed by dinner and a showing of the Sex in the City movie with my gal Stacy! Mike will not go to chic flicks with me - so it is a great time to bond with my gal friends!

From fishies to Sex in the City... life is good.

Take care all and I will "catch ya" on the flip side! T minus 9 days until I become a bonafide triathlete.

})i({ Jennikins

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