Friday, July 25, 2014

Open Water Swims

My triathlon is 3 weeks and 3 days away.  I'm really feeling the crunch now and the doubt is creeping in.  Somehow I thought I'd be so much farther along at this point.  But, that is just my head getting the best of me because I know that I have been doing more exercise wise in the past 3 months because of this event than I would be if I hadn't signed up.  That's the whole point, right?
Last week my friend that talked me into this business wanted to go test out an open water swim.  I thought that would be a good idea since all of my swims so far had been in the pool.  Finding a time that worked for both of us was tough- she is ridiculously busy all the time, and I have a baby to watch pretty much whenever I'm not at  Anyway, we finally figured that5:30am on Fridays would work. 
We met at the swim spot last Friday on a cool morning when the previous days had been in the 90's (cruel trick, Seattle).  We found an entry point to the lake and discussed our plan of attack.  She was in a wetsuit, me in my mom speedo suit.  I could see the lake plants growing up from the bottom and pooling at the surface.  There were mosquitoes buzzing around.  I stepped into the water, and it was warm.  Like, bath tub warm.  So, that was nice.  I pushed out and we started to breast stroke out to deeper water.  The whole time plants were caressing my bare legs and arms and it was freaking me out.  We got to a place that was deeper and seemingly less plant-y.  "Alright.  On the count of three.  Let's try to make it to the end of that dock."  I put my head down and began to free-style.  When my head went into the murky water, I could see nothing but murkiness and plants below me.  It freaked me out.  I kept trying to swim, but now my breath was all out of sorts.  I stopped.  My friend had stopped.  "This is creepy" I said.  "Don't look underwater" she said.  Yeah, too late for that. 
We would swim a few strokes, stop, catch our panicked breath, and keep going.  We were never able to get away from the plants, and the whole thing was just hard without any sort of direction.  "I'm over this she said."  Thank god I was thinking.  "Me too!"  So we swam to the nearest dock, climbed up the ladder, and that was that.  I would hardly call it a workout, more of a fact finding mission.  I began to get really nervous for the swim portion of the race.  The part that I was least worried about suddenly became my biggest nightmare.   
A few hours after this first swim, we exchanged some text messages.  "I think we just need to suck it up" she said "next Friday try again?"  "Yes" I shot back.  I then asked her if she knew of a better area we could go from that maybe wouldn't be so inundated with water plants.  She said she would think about it.  A few days ago she messaged me that she had a new location to try, and let's meet on Friday (today) at 5:30am
That is just what we did.  The new location was on the other side of the bay from where we were last week.  The water was deeper (and much colder) but there were no plants.  It was pretty much iconic "Sleepless in Seattle" as we swam in front of the fancy houseboats.  Today was SO. MUCH. BETTER.  I don't know if it was because I knew what to expect?  Or if having a row of houseboats next to us was comforting and also gave us something to sight off of?  Or if it was the plant-less water?  Either way, we were able to get a solid workout in.  One that we could both be proud of. 
On the agenda for me this weekend is getting my mountain bike tires switched out to road tires, a run, and another lake swim on Sunday.  I will get through this event.  I will get through this event. 


  1. Kudos to you both for not getting discouraged! I love swimming in lakes but hate the weeds and murky water too.

    Good luck with the rest of your training. I know you'll finish the triathlon and you'll do better than you expect!

  2. I don't think I could swim in a murky water either! But I'm glad you found a new location. :)

    I'm sure you'll do great on the triathlon! Best of luck!!!