This will be my last post before the Chicago Triathlon. I’m hoping when I write my next post I will be a triathlete!
Wow, a triathlete. It’s crazy to think I may actually be a triathlete in a few days. When people say, “never say never”, I’m pretty sure they were talking about this endeavour.
I swore on all things holy that I would NEVER be a triathlete. I knew I would never participate in a triathlon because the issues that I would have had to overcome to participate in one were numerous and insurmountable to me. And 95% of those issues revolved around swimming (and the rest involved the fricken outfit!).
I have had an issue with swimming and water since I was a child. I took, and flunked, swimming lessons as a kid and from there my anxiety with water only increased. I’ve tried to be “okay” with water for certain activities and I tried not to let my fear hold me back from doing things like kayaking or going in the water while on tropical vacations. I’d go kayaking but I’d have a life vest on and I’d panic and want to stop the moment the kayak rocked even the slightest bit due to a ripple in the water. I’ve gone in the water of a Cenote in Mexico, but I basically went in and then promptly got out because it wasn’t fun for me. I instead stood on dry land and watched Brian jump from cliffs. There was another vacation where Brian got to play on a waterfall (and he also fell down it – but that’s another story) and I again, watched from dry land and took pictures. The thought of getting my face wet or going under water was too much for me and I had to watch from the sidelines.
Same is true with triathlons. A few years ago a large group of my friends all competed in the same triathlon and wanted me to join them. Instead I cheered them on and played event photographer. It was never in my realm of possibilities to swim and participate in a tri. The thought was absurd to me and them asking me was laughable. I actually did laugh when they asked me if I wanted to join them and followed my laughter up with a quick, “fuck no”.
If I had to think of all the things that I would have said would never happen in my life – competing in a triathlon/learning how to swim would be at the top of the list, just behind growing 8 inches, losing 50 pounds and becoming a super model!
Not only did I not enjoy water and know how to swim, I had no desire to change my lack of enthusiasm for what I used to call “liquid hell”. It never occurred to me to try to learn how to swim, especially at my age. But about two or three years ago, I had the idea of doing a triathlon start swirling around in my head. And I just couldn’t shake it. And then once the challenge became real, I had no choice but to learn how to swim.
Learning how to swim is one of the hardest things I have ever done in my entire life. It’s bigger than just learning to perform a physical task. It’s taking a true, deep and lifelong fear and trying to shut it the hell up! And when we talk about fear, let’s not mistake it with my fear of mice or the fear some people have for spiders. I don’t like mice and they creep me out, but I know a mouse will not kill me. When I started this journey, I couldn’t say the same thing for water. The fear of dying was (and still is) real.
So while I’m not sure what’s going to happen on Sunday, I’m sure you all will get a good story from however my day turns out. I just checked the weather forecast and the winds are more brisk than I’d like and I may be swimming in rippled water. Yikes! And while I won’t like it and I may likely panic, I at least will be in the water trying and doing. I will no longer be on the sidelines, watching comfortably from land. I won’t be comfortable, I’ll most likely be scared and freaked out, but as they say, if your challenge doesn’t scare you – it’s not big enough!
Well, this one is fucking huge!
Until next time, when I’ll hopefully be a triathlete…
Gotta run, bike and swim!