Last night I tossed and turned thinking about my open water swim this morning. In case you missed my post earlier in the week, last week during swim time trial I had a bit of a panic attack in the choppy water and turned around after only 100m.
I took a St. John's Wort pill last night to help me sleep. I don't take these very often, they are basically a herbal remedy that "reduces nervousness". Anyway, it was still after 1:00 am when I fell asleep, and woke up frequently throughout the night, always in the water, swimming amongst large ferocious waves (think Perfect Storm).
This is open water phobia is strange to me. I am a relatively strong swimmer, swimming since I was old enough to walk, and swam competitively throughout elementary and part of high school. Although I have abandoned swimming throughout parts of my adult life, I always seem to come back to it. Swimming laps in the pool is solitary, but I tend to relax and it really clears my mind. Being Canadian, it is the perfect winter activity, especially when chased by a hot tub or a sauna afterwards when it is in the middle of a snow storm. What makes my fear even stranger is that I swam open water at my first sprint tri and had no problems (other than kicking and space issues).
I am not afraid of weeds or any aquatic life, but I strangely find myself dwarfed in large bodies of water. I also worry about currents and large waves.
So this morning when the alarm went off at 5:30 am, I immediately starting to come up with excuses why I shouldn't do the swim trial.
Yet I impressed myself with my inner strength. I want to complete this Half Ironman. I even have visions of being an Ironman next year (I can't believe I just wrote that).
I. CAN. DO. THIS!!
So I dragged myself (and darling Hubs in tow) down to the beach to swim the trial. I tried to hide my fear - my heart was racing - literally. I just went nice and slow, didn't worry about my time, and would pop my head up and look for that red buoy bobbing in the distance. And I swam, the entire 1000 meters. I was even able to relax and enjoy myself.
It dawned on me afterwards that one of the best parts of being an athlete is overcoming our fears. I remember being fearful like this before my first marathon, and now 15 marathons later, that fear is gone (I still get nervous before races, but I think that is par for any race). I think that is why I am enjoying this tri stuff so much, time for new goals and achievements. The adrenalin rush of overcoming our fears and doubts in what drives us perhaps? Hopefully with more experience this open water swim stuff will be less scary!
It is also my fourth wedding anniversary today. I share my life with the most wonderful person, my absolute best friend! Here is a picture of us on our honeymoon in Europe (Rome to be exact). Happy Anniversary Hubs! I love you!
Thanks for reading, hope you are experiencing less rain than us Ontarians!