Wednesday, September 19, 2012

On Drowning and Other Fun Things

The last few weeks have gone by in a blur of work, volleyball,  and training and I only have 10 days left until my first tri.  With volleyball 3 or 4 afternoons a week it's been tough getting all my workouts in but I've done pretty well.  Tuesdays and Thursdays usually go something like:

  • Crawl off the couch after a crappy night's sleep
  • Go to work to say goodbye to the most recently laid off
  • Go to Freshmen volleyball match
  • Run to University of Kentucky for a swim
  • Go to Arboretum for run
  • Head back to gym for end of Varsity match and bring my daughter home
The days are pretty full but for the most part pretty good.

Andrea over at Bluegrass Tri Chick has been warning me about my open water swim for months.  Sunday I finally took her up on her offer to take me to Cave Run Lake and get it over with.  Her husband Steve came with us for kayak support and thank goodness he did.

I know I'm biased but I rock this look. (All pics from Andrea and Steve)

Having done most of my swims in a 25m pool and in shortish intervals I have developed some unreal expectations.  Apparently I've been swimming much faster than is reasonable for a straight 500m swim in open water.  Sunday at the lake I dove in, felt really good, and took off.  I don't know how far I went but it wasn't far before I was out of breath and treading water.

You can make a rough estimate at my speed by the massive wake I'm leaving.
Gasping for air.

Now, I've been known to have the odd panic attack and bobbing out in the lake, out of breath with a long way to go my heart rate sky-rocketed and I dove for the kayak.  I hung on to the kayak until I caught my breath and headed out again.

Steve kept saying, "You're going a little fast, man."  Having been able to stop every 25m if I needed to I had no idea what "not too fast" felt like.  Finally, after two unimpressive trips out to the buoy and back Andrea told me to just stick with her and she'd pace me.  That time I made it all the way to the buoy and could have turned around and come back but we stopped, tread water for a while, and I finally started to relax.

I'm horrified thinking what might have happened at the race if I hadn't had that wake up call.  Andrea and Steve pretty much saved my race and maybe my life.

Andrea is the normal-sized one.

Last night I had a full 500m swim scheduled for the first time.  I slowed my pace way down and made it easily.  Just to put my mind at ease, I took a little break and did another 400m swim.  The whole workout totaled 1000m.  For the first time since I started this journey I absolutely know I can do the swim and that's going to make all the difference.

10 more days.  I am now more excited than nervous.  I've worn my tri-suit in front of people, which may have been more horrifying than the prospect of drowning, and I survived.  I've done the bike distance, swim distance and run distance and my bricks have felt really good.  I've discovered Chocolate Outrage Gu and had my life changed again by it's heavenly flavor.  I'm looking forward to knocking out my last 10 days of training and killing this race.


  1. Andrea took me on my first ever open water swim too back before I did an Olympic distance event back in May! It was the best thing ever because I was able to calm myself and know what to expect! Congrats on making it through open water swim initiation :)