Sunday, May 25, 2014

Demon Terminator

One week ago tonight I went out for my first open water swim (OWS) of the season. I've spent 3 days a week in the pool this winter. I swim 1 mile continuously every Wednesday night with the goal of beating last week's time. I felt prepared for the first OWS of the season....until my face hit the water.

The water temperature was 68 degrees. I wore my Exterra wet suit for warmth. Everyone swears they feel much more comfortable in a wet suit because of the buoyancy. All I could feel was the wet suit squeezing my lungs and strangling my throat. I went home feeling frustrated and angry tears burning at my eyes. 

I've spent the last week trying to figure out why the swim was so mentally tough for me. Was it the cold water? Was it the wet suit? Was it that I forgot I swim to the right and need to sight every 10 strokes? I'll just say yes to all of the above. 

It's Sunday once again and while we spent the weekend in Jacksonville at Abby's softball tournament, I secretly prayed that I would not make it home in time to swim. Nonetheless, I was home by 5 pm - in plenty of time. 

I took some advice from a fellow T3 member and soaked my wet suit prior to heading to the lake. I took extra time pulling it up slowly dreading hitting the water. Once in the water, I took a couple of plunges just blowing bubbles and getting used to the cool water. Everyone else took off to swim the triangular lap around Lake Windermere. I swam along the shoreline counting strokes, blowing bubbles, sighting. 

Hmmmm, what do you know? I didn't feel a bit of anxiety. I felt completely calm. Phase 1 was a success. Let's do a lap.....

I took some deep breaths and dove into the water. Counting 1, 2, 3, ....up to 10...sight...blow bubbles, 1, 2, 3....sight...bubbles. I hit the first buoy counting 80 breaths. I may have miscounted, but it didn't matter. My mind was calm. I swear I could see the bottom of the lake. Maybe it was just the murky water playing tricks with me, but it helped me feel completely at ease. 1, 2, 3....second buoy 90 breaths. "Oh look! A fish!" Heading in to the shoreline! I made it. 

Swimming one lap around Lake Windermere was such a relief. I felt calm, even secure in my wet suit. What was the difference in one week?????

I didn't care. I went for another lap. As I rounded the first buoy again, I thought about my previous blog posts about drowning the open water demons. Suddenly I had it. My wet suit shall forever here forward be known as Terra the water demon terminator. (I am sure this is exactly how I look in my wet suit, too!)


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  2. Good for you. I'm so happy to hear you defeated them again. But, I knew you would ;) You too strong not to.

  3. Knowing your struggles in the past, I thought you looked really strong and calm tonight. Not that I'm an expert, because I definitely am not in the area of swimming!