Near hyperventilation panic.
What am I talking about? I’m talking about my open water swim on Saturday. Let’s just say, it did not go well.
We went to a new body of water because I wanted to try new water so I don’t get too comfortable with the conditions I had been swimming in at the quarry. I also wanted to try working on my transitions and doing a bike ride and run after the swim and that required us to go to Bayshore for the swim because it’s easiest to bike and run from there.
The water was not calm. Well, let me rephrase that, it looked perfectly calm to the naked eye but once you were in the water, you realized it wasn’t calm. Well at least not calm to me.
I was freaking out in such a tiny bit of movement that it was ridiculous. The winds caused a bit of a current and some tiny swells but to me I swear on my life – it felt like the swells of a tsunami. I had never swam with currents or ripples. And I did not handle it well. Not only was I getting seasick from the motion, but I couldn’t get in a rhythm, I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t do anything right.
Many, many things did not go right with my swim. I probably stopped and panicked every 10-15 feet. Needless to say stopping every 10-15 feet is not a very efficient and quick way to complete a 1/2 mile swim.
The worst part was that once I panicked I couldn’t calm myself down. My heart rate was so elevated and my breathing was accelerated. I tried so hard to slow my breathing because it’s impossible to swim in that condition. Also, I have a history of hyperventilating when struggling (I’ve hyperventilated on more long runs than I’d like to admit) during events and I knew I was close to that happening. So trying to not hyperventilate while trying to calm down, all while treading water does not make for a very fun swim.
At one point I said to Brian, “I need to get out”. And he said okay, let’s get out. He said we can just go to the shore and stop swimming compared to going back to where we started. But as soon as I said, “I need to get out” and Brian said “okay”, that I realized I couldn’t stop. I knew if I didn’t finish my last open water swim, the mental effects of it would really be devastating to my confidence. Besides I’m #toostubburntoquit!
So I kept swimming. I kept stopping and panicking. I kept swallowing water. I kept trying.
Eventually I finished. I hated every fricken second of it and it was way worse than when Brian and Nicole ganged up on my to give me the “group swim” experience.
I guess I’m glad I experienced it, because I sure wouldn’t have wanted to experience that for the first time on race day. I am just bummed my last open water swim was so bad. I wanted to go into the event feeling confident and instead all I can think about is “how bad it can be”.
I just hope for PERFECT weather and conditions next Sunday. I’ve worked so hard to learn to swim and swim 1/2 mile. I just want to be able to swim and not have to worry about other people banging into me or fighting against current or ripples. All of those things will make me stop and I may or may not panic. Lord knows I’m slow enough in the water, I don’t need to waste any more time stopping. And I really don’t want to have to hang on to the lifeguards. I know I can swim the whole thing without stopping or hanging on to the lifeguards so I just hope conditions are right so I prove that I can do it.
I want my first tri to be uneventful and calm. I don’t want some crazy story to tell after – I know shocking – because I’m always up for a good story! But not this time. Give me an uneventful, no drama filled day that is almost boring. Is that too much to ask?
Until next time,
Gotta run (and swim and bike)