I did my 4th OWS (open water swim for your non-triathletes) and I finally had somewhat of a success. Let me tell you a bit about my experience…
1. I probably need to stop counting my OWS since I am past the first 3. I can’t keep saying, ‘well this is my 6th OWS, or my 56th…’ At some point I’ll start to sound doofusy and I probably need to end that now.
2. I am really short! Look at that picture, what am I hanging with giants! Wowzers I should have been by the ladies to the right because my friends on the left are breathing different air.
3. The swim was out and back, 750 each way. I could have opted to swim around an island, but was instructed by my hubs to not do so. He said take a break at the turnaround, catch your breath and then come on back. I started off in a freestyle stroke and was feeling ok, then I got punched in the head and switched to breaststroke. Then switched back and got kicked, so switched back to breaststroke again. For anyone who does triathlon, this is very common. OWS is a battle ground of sorts and getting hit/kicked is something you need to prepare for because it will happen. I couldn’t get in my groove the rest of the way out, I kept trying to return to freestyle stroke, but was too out of breath. Finally made it to the turnaround and was not feeling good about that performance at all. Stood for a couple minutes and then kayaker said it was time to roll, so off the slow people went first (that was me, those are my people). It was emptier, only a couple swimmers in front of me. I did a very slow breaststroke, more like treading water and then went for it. I was able to swim the WHOLE distance back in a freestyle!! I did pull up to sight and would tread until I saw where I was and then went right back to it. I figured out one thing I had been doing wrong was exhausting myself during breaststroke. I was going too fast and then getting out of breath and then wasn’t able to return to my freestyle. So this time, I went very slow and I did it. I actually swam!
4. This was huge for me considering 5 minutes prior to the swim start, I was prepared to quit, to not get in at all. The distance looked daunting and I was in panic mode, to the point of almost tearing up, full on panic mode. Did not want to do that swim at all! Had hubs brought his swim gear, he would have been getting in the water instead of me. Jason was ever patient, giving me tips, trying to calm my nerves, and just before I got in, saying a prayer with me.
I still have a lot of work to do, but this was, by far, my best swim (outside the pool). To the point, that I am now only wanting to do OWS. It’s kinda like running on a treadmill versus outside. Once you taste the sweet freedom of the great outdoors, it’s hard to cage yourself back inside. If I have the same success next week, it should feel really good going into the Eagle Creek tri on 6/15. Which makes me look at the calendar and realise, ONLY 5 MORE WEEKS UNTIL RACE DAY!