The Connection Runners + [triathlon]

If at first you don't succeed, tri, tri again

With the tri just over a week away, I realized tonight that I may, in fact, drown in Big Fish lake next Sunday. Kev and I met up with Sprague and Liz for a swim (my first in open water) at Kensington tonight. Let's just say it didn't go great...

In the last six months, I've grown into a slippery little average swimmer. Dutifully reporting to the Livonia rec twice a week to swim anywhere from 300 to 800 meters, I've learned to like, maybe even love, the feel of the pool. The overpowering smell of chlorine that surely kills any little kid urine. The lane markers that keep potential waves at bay. The pretty blue stripe that guides my sloppy strokes toward an eventual rest stop.

Turns out "real" water doesn't have any of that. It's not that I wasn't aware of the fact that a lake is NOT a pool... it's just that I didn't expect the open water swim to be so... hard? Instead of stinging chlorine, I smell goose poo. Lane markers? (insert sarcastic sigh and eye roll here). As for the pretty blue stripe? All I see is murky green water.

Even after initially getting over my fears of being in a real, live LAKE, I spent most of the swim chasing Liz and alternating between freestyle, backstroke, and having a stroke. Instead of concentrating on technique, my mind wandered to the few Martindale beachgoers who surely were pointing and laughing at the girl out by the buoys in full gear (speedsuit, swim cap, hot goggles) as she gasped for breath between awkward strokes. A riot, I'm sure. I'll be here all week, folks!

Despite the gangly swimming I did tonight, I did learn a few things. 1) Don't be afraid of open water. Go slow, breathe, and remember that somewhere, someplace, someone out there is still holding their nose while swimming. And that person isn't me anymore. 2) Transitioning out of the water is hard. Wet skin + a new layer of bike clothing + sore quads = I need to just buy some real tri shorts. 3) If at first you don't succeed, tri, tri again! We're putting in time at Big Fish on Sunday, so I'll get another shot at open water practice before the big day.

If nothing else, I'll doggy paddle the whole damn swim. I will finish it. And then I will drink a nice cold beverage afterward to celebrate that fact.

Today's Point Two: Don't watch any scary movies about deep water before swimming in it.