Friday, June 11, 2010

OWS? More like OUCH!

Okay, no it wasn't really that bad, but today was my first Open Water Swim, and let's just say: it wasn't pretty. I realized on our way to the lake that the last time I did an open water swim was my one and only triathlon in September 2008! I was actually pretty excited about wearing the wetsuit, getting in the water and giving it a go, but I kept my expectations for the day very, very low. I hoped to be able to swim about ten minutes and if I was having a great day, maybe twenty.

When we arrived at the lake, it became immediately obvious that today wasn't the best day for the first open water swim of the season, because winds were sustained at 17+ mph, with gusts up to 30 mph. Holy cow that water was choppy!

Oh, sure, it looks pretty in a picture.

The Hubs and I getting ready to get in the water. What's that saying? "The family that wears neoprene and risks giardia together stays together!"

Getting in the water wasn't bad. It was chilly but tolerable. Getting started wasn't too bad, either. I told myself (again with the low expectations) that I could stay in the shallow water today. But maybe three strokes into it and Toto, I don't think we're in a swimming pool anymore! The chop was tough, to say the least. I was swimming parallel to the shore, which meant the chop was perpendicular to me, pummeling me from the side. Which therefore meant every time I took a breath to the chop side, there was no breath, just lake water! I managed to swim a little distance...umm, to be honest, a very little distance...before the urge to put my feet down was just too strong to resist. Two minutes of swimming - done!

I caught my breath and soldiered on, sort of enjoying the bouyancy of the wetsuit in the waves, but also feeling like my form was as sloppy as a wet noodle. Several times the waves were big enough to roll over my head, so I started breathing only to the shore side to avoid swallowing any more water. I tried counting strokes to give my mind something to focus on, telling myself to just make it to 100 strokes. Yep, I made it to 40 before my feet were on the bottom again. Two more minutes of swimming - done!

I continued on like this, swimming a little, taking a short break, swimming some more. After 25 minutes in the water, I decided that was a good first session. Not the wildly successful swim I had dreamed of, but definitely not a complete failure, either. Here's what went well today:

1. I never felt like crying. You laugh, but I have come out of the water in tears on more than one occasion!

2. I never choked, even though I swallowed a lot of water.

3. I never felt panic - this was a HUGE step for me! I've become pretty comfortable in the pool, but I wasn't sure if that calm would translate to open water.

4. I was in the water for 25 minutes and actually swimming for about two-thirds of that time (roughly 17 minutes) so I totally made my time goal. Don't you love massaging numbers like that??

I did it!! You know, sort of...

I ended up not using my stopwatch at all, and I'm glad, because I think I would be disappointed with the cold, hard facts! So my time and distance estimates are as rough as they come: 400 meters (you know, +/- 300 meters!) in about 17 minutes = the slowest swim EVER. Yay me!

Have a happy and safe weekend!

1 comment:

Teamarcia said...

Wow that is just awesome under those tough conditions. WTG!