Here’s a Public Service Announcement for any newbies out there – if you just learned how to swim in June, don’t go swimming with a lake full of Ironman or Ironman-in-training athletes. Trust me, it does nothing for your self-esteem or confidence.
Let’s back up to my last open water swim, when I swam with Nicole and Brian (both Ironman athletes) and they swam circles around me. Literally. They literally swam circles around me to get me used to the activity that I’ll encounter on race day. And yes I was very aware that they swam past me effortlessly and at such a high-speed that you would have thought I was anchored in place. If I wasn’t so scared I was going to drown, I would have been very bummed at how slow I was swimming and how much harder it was for me than it was for them. So my being scared actually helped me not have time to feel completely bad about myself!
And last night I went swimming in a lake where a bunch of folks were doing their own open water swims. EVERYONE in the lake was either already an Ironman or will be one shortly. And then there was me.
Besides Stosh and Brian, who were doing shorter swims – the others all swam close to 2.5 miles. Everyone swam effortlessly, quickly and confidently. Except me, that is. I went about 1/3 of a mile and I tried to do my own sighting which means I stopped and flailed every 5 to 10 strokes as I tried to figure out how off course I was swimming. There is nothing graceful or effortless about my swimming and my sighting! Then there was the issue with my goggles fogging and my swim cap coming off. I stopped to try to fix them both but only made the situation worse. Grace and ease were not my friends last night – not that they ever were as it pertains to athletics, but it was very apparent last night.
After fussing with my goggles and swim cap, I limped (not sure what the correct metaphor is for swimming, but you get my point) the rest of the way to shore and I called it a night. I sat and watched everyone complete their training swims and I was so unbelievably envious of them all. And while I know they’ve all been swimming longer than me and have put the time and the hard work into getting where they are, I just can’t help but want to not struggle at everything I do. I have some friends (actually it seems like most of my friends kick ass) who are just athletic and gifted at whatever it is they do. I, on the other hand, am not. But seriously, at some point – can’t I be good at something!?!? At some point I have to find something I’m good at and I’m not always be the “slow friend”. You know the one, the one you don’t want to go on a training run or training ride (or now a training swim) with because they hold you back. Yep, that’s me. I’m the slow friend. But then again, if I wasn’t I guess I’d have to change the name of my blog to something else!
But here’s hoping I can find a rhythm and not embarrass myself by coming in dead last and being the last one out of the water at the tri. Because based on my swimming ability last night with the others, it’s a definite possibility!
(Side note: How many fricken people can I know who are, or soon will be, an Ironman!?!?!? I have some freakishly talented friends because I don’t think it’s normal to know this many people who have done something so epic!)
Until next time,
Gotta run (or swim or bike)