Sunday, July 11, 2010

Braving the outdoors...

So far I'm managing to keep up with the triathlon training plan which is very exciting! Earlier this week I completed almost 5 hours of training including some things I've never done before such as: a spinning class (which I didn't fall in love with) and biking the 11 mile, beautiful, award-winning Flatwoods trail that I've managed to avoid for the 12 years that I've lived just down the street. Maddy rode the full trail too which totally blew me away! I am actually quite enjoying my bike now that I am not so scared of falling off it and think I may even upgrade to a proper road bike in time for the big day.

I am trying to finish the training plan slightly ahead of schedule so that I can "face my demons" sooner than planned, so this was also the week with the first dreaded 20 minute open water swim. The swim is consistently one of the top reasons that people don't want to do a triathlon, yet it's only about 10-15 minutes long for most first-timers. Apparently swimming in open water is very different than in the comfort and safety of a pool, so we headed out to Fort de Soto this morning so that I could find out for myself.

Lessons learned:

1. It takes a will of steel not to think about what might be underneath you when you are swimming in the ocean...or what happened to that poor Steve Irwin.

2. Warm salty water tastes disgusting and it's hard to breathe when you get hit with a new mouthful every time you make a stroke. Imagine someone throwing a bucketful of miso soup at your face every few seconds.

3. Seawater is full of random, sticky, nasty seaweed - much like miso soup actually.

4. The current is strong, even in calm waters, and it's very difficult to swim against. This becomes more of a problem when combined with #5....

5. My goggles were rubbish and fogged up within seconds so I couldn't actually see anything once I was out in the water. When I finally got them off my head and was able to focus, I'd been swept away quite a bit so it looked like I was miles away from dry land all of a sudden. Like that awful moment in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang...

5. The very last of my problems is whether or not I am able to swim freestyle on the day. There's no shame in being a "breaststroker" - anyone who completes the swim, particularly with 100 or so other people flapping around them, has perfomed a feat worthy of a medal in my opinion.

Dori had it right when she said "just keep swimming, just keep swimming." After about 5-10 minutes I managed to calm down a bit but I was still so grateful when my 20 minutes was up and spent the next hour blowing salty water out of my nose. One thing's for sure - if I finish the swim on the day, I'm not going to let a silly bike or run stand between me and the finish line ;)

1 comment:

  1. I know this will sound gross, but spit in the goggles, they won't fog up :) Do a google search..

    Glad to hear you got out and conquered the fears of the demons of the deep and rode the trails. Ana and I rode about 18 miles on the off road trails at Flatwoods yesterday. Keep up the great work!