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.