Thursday, April 15, 2010

my first REAL open water swim

yesterday, i did my first real open water swim(thanks Dineen for the picture!). i say real because the few that i have done in years past, have been more of a baptized by fire experience. thinking back to the handful of tri's i did in the late 90's, like St. Anthony's twice, i can't believe i actually went out there as unprepared as i was. that was plain crazy but what did i know. my mindset was just survive the swim and i did but it was ugly, it was scary, and it made me not want to do triathlons anymore (or at least not for the next 12 years). i did do a sprint tri around 2005 but the swim was ridiculous. it was a much shorter swim distance than advertised (i was done in like 6 minutes), so any non-swimmer could get out there and look good. it was not a challenge to me at all.
i got to the courtney campbell causeway, the swim locale, a little early, so i parked in the shade, facing the water in order to look for sharks!
but instead of sharks, i saw one of these out in the distance. i didn't know that's what it was until coach bill was giving us some warnings tips about swimming in open water and mentioned seeing a manatee hanging out earlier and to not get too close to them because if you spook them, they could possible bump you or smack the crap out of you with their mermaid fin and kill you. no kidding! i always thought of them as slow pokes but if they get scared, they haul and you better not be in the way. coach bill also said, in all of his 7 years doing open water swims there, he hasn't seen any sharks.....(long pause) until last year when he saw 2 nurse sharks. not to worry he said. they are small and if they bite you, it isn't to big of a bite. in all seriousness, he did give us some good tips about shark behavior, what to do and what not to do if we see one and how to tell the difference between a shark fin and a dolphin fin. all stuff i never knew.

we also had to do the sting ray shuffle going out and coming back in. no big deal. been doing that for years having grown up in florida and spending many summer family vacations at the beach.

the workout yesterday as presented by coach Bill, aka: TriFloyd, was quarter mile swim followed by 1 mile run. i did it 3 times. was going to do it 4 times but i missed the turn around point on the 3rd run and ran about an extra half mile and then started feeling the blisters rubbing behind my heel from going sockless. note to self: put glide on the back of your heel and the part of your shoe that rubs. so i called it a day. a very successful day. more than anything, it was exciting to finally breakdown the huge mental barrier i had built up in my mind all these years about not being able to swim well or not being able to swim in open water. i've done many races that were very special achievements for me personally but yesterday, although not a race, ranks at the top of personal goals. most people wouldn't think it was that big of a deal but for me, it was beyond words. i got past a wall that was holding me back for so long. glad it's behind me now! i will be there again next wednesday. oh, and i almost forgot to mention that the water was ROUGH and soooo CHOPPY but it was warm, so no wetsuit needed. so starting off with the worst possible conditions was a plus.

had an awesome run this morning to get this fine thursday started. blisters that were created yesterday were not an issue. thank you bodyglide! hope everyone has a great day!

much love and peace out!

25 comments:

  1. that is awesome! you got that monkey off your back! great swim!

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  2. How exciting! I am not a strong swimmer at all and to read about you working so hard is inspiring!
    I had no idea about the manatees!

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  3. Great job on the open water swim! I would be freaked about by the nature that you have to deal with in the water. We don't really worry about sharks, manatees and stingrays in Colorado. The big thing is algae and maybe water snakes.

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  4. I remember my first open water swim. I was scared stiff. Then it was over before I knew it.

    Can't wait to get to Florida. 2 weeks today, and counting.

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  5. I'll probably skip the OWS at the causeway now that our pool is open..

    Shark story: One year at Escape from Alcatraz where they do have sharks, I was half way across the bay when a felt this "nipping" on my feet. We were spread out by then so I started thinking "shark"... luckily it was a triathlete.

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  6. souded like an AWESOME day of training! Never knew that about manatees. I guess their hundred's of pounds of weight and living in the water gives them the upper (fin!)

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  7. Congrats on breaking down that wall! Whoohoo! Manatee freak me out. Big time. I'm just not a fan of large marine life (except for little fish) when i'm swimming!!!

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  8. it'll be a few months yet before we can get into the water for an OWS... geez, I think I need to move south!! But ya, not sure how I'd deal with the manatee and shark warnings! !HAHAHA

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  9. That's great practice! I love open water swimming, but still get a bit freaked by the ocean. You are brave to get out there like that--I'm sure it helps boost confidence!

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  10. Coming from swimming background, I blew off OWS as no big deal.... till.... race day... where i freaked out and had the worst swim of my life. I was an eye opener.

    As for the Octupus. People but them in ziploc bags, and tape it to their body to sneak them in. In Detroit, though they "are looking" for them, rumor has it alot are "missed somehow". In other cities, security is more of on the look out. I never tried it.

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  11. Thank God there are in Mantees in Memphis! I am hoping to get my first OWS here in a week or so, temps are a little low for me!

    Great job on the OWS!

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  12. HECK YEAH!!! Congrats girl!!! I bet your confidence has blown through the roof now?!

    I am happy that you got this hurdle out of the way with no horror stories... and yes, caution to the sockless running, be prepared!

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  13. Congrats on your open water swim - the water here is still 39 degrees, so it will be a while for me.

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  14. Um, Sharks???? I think I'd freak. As much as I love the beach, I can't get out too far for fear of them! Nice job on the open water swim, gotta feel good, I'm sure!!

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  15. AWESOME!!! great job...who ever knew a Manatee could kill U with one solid bitch slap? DAMN..

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  16. Amazing
    seriously.

    So impressed.

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  17. awwww i love those lettuce eating manatees. every time i visit tampa i got to that plant where you can see them in the winter. i didn't know those cute lil fellas could kill ya!?! other sea creatures scare the crap out of me...even lil sting rays... scary stuff. sometimes it's better when you CAN'T see lol :)

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  18. Thanks everyone! I think I'd rather swim in an ocean than a lake. There is more room in an ocean for all of God's creatures but not so much in a lake...gators! Just can't give it much thought or i'd never go in the water.

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  19. Almost all of my open water swimming is in salt water. The first few times I was swimming with non human "friends" I was more curious than afraid. The biggest fish I've seen was a striped bass about 4 feet long (50 pounds or so) that swam about 6 inches from my face. That made me stop a bit but I enjoy open water more than a pool.

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  20. YEAH!!!!! I am so happy for you!! Awesome job on the OWS! And if I ever saw a Manatee I'd so swim on up and say hi!

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  21. Congrats on getting past the mental aspect of open water swimming! Woohoo!

    I'm still waiting for it to happen to me. I'm hoping that this will be the year. The place where I do OWS opens May 1st, and I'm really looking forward to getting out there and getting over whatever it is that makes me freak out!

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  22. Great job! Manatees, wow! In one of my open water swims, I was approaching a school of stingrays. My friend saw them and got me away before I realized what I was practically on top of. You never know what may be out there waiting for you.

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  23. Congrats on getting past that barrier! I know that can be a HUGE mental relief. How cool would it be to swim with Sea Cows....but leave me out of the water for sharks and stingrays. I think I'll stay with my disgusting but large-animal-free lakes and rivers!

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  24. KC-
    Hey- just wanted to say how touched I was at your comment on our site for my training buddy Kristin. You are a real sweetheart. That was just the morale boost, and the 'see, isn't humanity just fine' moment I needed today. Thanks for your kindness. You are an inspiration! Love- Danna
    www.sherunslikeagirl.blogspot.com

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  25. I can SO relate to this post. Swimming has always been my weakness too and for 3 years I just wanted to survive it and get on to the bike & run. Well done on your OWS and thanks for the tip on manatees. I had no idea they could knock you out if spooked.

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