My Plan

Ok, so let me tell you about my plan. At the Onion Man Triathlon, nerves struck REALLY hard and caused terrible anxiety, so I wasn’t able to finish the open water swim.

Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve been afraid of the open water. I remember sitting on the beach in Southern California on a family vacation just crying while the rest of my family played in the water. Why? Because I was afraid of the open water. I don’t know exactly why I’m afraid of the open water. I think part of it is just the size. Any large body of water is just HUGE. I think it’s also, when you’re in a pool, you can see the bottom of the pool. You can see where you’re going. When you’re in the ocean or a lake, when your face is in the water, you can’t see ANYTHING. You have to be good at sighting to do open water swimming.

While I was on the bike at the Onion Man, I decided to put this plan in to place, and this is what I’ve done so far:

When I returned my rented wetsuit to Salt Lake Running Company on Tuesday, I purchased a brand new wetsuit. I am going to go open water swimming every Saturday, except for the Saturday’s that I have a race. I’ve GOT to get over this fear.

So, this last Saturday was my first Saturday heading in to the open waters in my new wetsuit. My dad and I headed up to East Canyon Reservoir to go swimming. It was a 45 minute drive. We got up there about 9:00 a.m. At first we were going to go to a free part of the reservoir where we wouldn’t have to pay to swim, but there were fishermen about every 30 feet. I didn’t want to make them mad and I didn’t want to get tangled in fishing line.

So, we paid $9 and got ready to go swimming. My dad is such a good sport! First off, he doesn’t have a wetsuit. The water was REALLY cold. Second off, he has a cold, possibly pneumonia, and he still went with me.

I got in to my wetsuit and it was time to get in the water. It was very nerve wracking. There was a stupid fish swimming around the stairs to get in to the water. I didn’t want to come in contact with the fish. If I can’t see the fish, I’m fine, but this fish was being a pest. It even nibbled on my dad’s toes. NIBBLED!!! This was just making my anxiety worse.

Finally I was able to get in to the water. Now that I was in the water, I just had to get the nerve up to actually swim. I set goals for myself. First was to swim 10 yds to a tree. I know 10 yds doesn’t sound like much, but when you’re heart is beating out of your chest and you’re scared to death, 10 yds is a long ways.

I made it to the tree and back a couple of times. My dad told me to swim out maybe 15 yds. Well, I don’t know what came over me, but instead of swimming 15 yds, I started to feel comfortable in the water, and I swam about 30 yds out and 30 yds back. There was a big jumpy, play toy thing out in the water (it was for rent), and I used that to sight with and I swam out and back a couple of times. I had to rest a couple of times in between just to catch my breath and analyze what I did right and what I did wrong.

I ended up swimming probably a total of 200 yds. That’s not alot, but I did it. Finally as I was feeling comfortable in the water, it was time to go home. I wanted to swim some more and get some more yardage in, but I had some serious time constraints that day.

Oh well. Next weekend I’m going swimming again. 🙂 I’m going to get over this fear.

Next open water swim race: the Spudman Triathlon on July 28, 2012 up in Idaho. I’ll be swimming down the Snake River.

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6 thoughts on “My Plan”

  1. Omg I’m so proud of you! My therapist calls what you did ‘in vivo’. The theory is that your body can’t maintain a high level of panic for long periods of time, so just by forcing yourself to continue, you’ve already lowered your anxiety.

    PS: lmao@the fish

  2. Congrats, well done. It can be scary at first, but one thing to remember is that you can swim and float and the more you think about your form the less you think about the water and the further you swim.

  3. Good for you! I’m right there with you. I’m terrified of it. I did the Spud man because it was a river and there are banks on either side of you … and of course the current is great. But straight out in a lake? SCARY. It is for me anyway. Good for you getting over the fear

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