Sunday, September 12, 2010

first open water swim!!!

I have been feeling a little apprehensive about swimming in open water, I mean will pikes try and eat my  toes? Will hands of dead bodies reach up and try and pull me down? Will I drink rats pee and catch some horrible disease?
But as Nike says "just do it" so we did.  Barry picked me up at 9 and off the the Huntspill we went.  We parked up, scouted the area for a suitable entrance and exit totally ignoring the NO SWIMMING signs!!!

We were quite quick putting our wetsuits on, despite the funny looks we were getting from dog walkers.  So no going back now, we got in the water..... well I waited for Barry to get in first, so I knew there were no sharp stones on the bottom( he did have shoes on) and to see how deep and cold it was.  When he was in and no dead bodies came floating up I got in.  It wasnt actually that cold.

We started swimming and I tried to do the proper breathing right from the start.... big mistake!! The water was murky and brown and it made me panic and I just couldn't get into the rountine of breathing.  So we just swam with our heads above water.  It was actually very liberating and at some point I had a fit of the giggles. 
I started to wave at people passing by then stopped quickly, maybe they would think I was drowning!!!

My goggles kept steaming up so  put them on my head so when I decided that i was comfortable enough to  swim properly, I couldn't as I had lost the goggles.    Barry has suggested that it was an offering to the triathlon gods that protect our pool souls in the river of DOOM!!!

We took a few breaks, well Barry took loads as he swam a lot faster than me and had to keep stopping and waiting for me.  We had set a target of the bridge which was about half mile away.  We finally reached the bridge and started to come back.  This is when I started to get really tired, you cant just hold on to the side and take a breather, luckily the wetsuits make you really buoyant and you can float around.
I seemed to get slower and slower and even though I was enjoying the experience and mucking around, it was starting to dawn on me the full implications of swimming 1.2 miles in an lake for the half ironman challenge. That was going to be the ultimate challenge for me, and I certainly need to improve on my strength in my shoulders and arms and my swimming technique.  I am also going to have to conquer the fear of breathing properly in dirty murky water.  

After we got out, I certainly felt like I had done something and actually felt a little disconnected until my oxygen levels returned to normal.  I think we certainly scared the dog walkers as we emerged from the bushes in our wetsuits with big smiles on our faces.  One lady did  do a double take before suggesting that we were totally bonkers!!

But I enjoyed the experience, I  learnt a lot about my capabilities as a swimmer and now have 9 months to become a super swimmer.

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