Wednesday, July 25, 2012

First Open Water Swim...Ever

Well, since this Ironman Kentucky thing does not take place in the pool at my local gym, I decided that I better go out for an open water swim to see how this thing will play out.  This was to be my first open water swim.  By first, I do not mean first of the season or first in a long time, I mean my first open water swim, EVER.  Now, I have "swam" in the ocean before, you know sat in the water with a frozen drink in the Caribbean Ocean, but something tells me that the Ohio River is not going to look like the Caribbean and that I will not have an umbrella drink in my hand.

My super sweet husband volunteered to go out in the lake with me on his kayak.  We were not sure if there would be a lot of other people out during the open water swim or not, so we wanted to be fully prepared.  We were very surprised and happy when there were three life guards out on the course.

I first walked out into the lake, thinking this was not so bad.  I felt sand beneath my feet.  I then kept walking to get out onto the course and no longer felt sand.  I am not sure what it was but it was something that I did not like, it was probably grass or moss or something.  Yuck.  (In case you have not noticed, I am more of an indoor girl). 

I took off swimming and was completely overwhelmed by the fact that there was no red line on the bottom so I could see where I was going.  Ah, so this where that whole sighting thing people have talked about will come into play.  I kind of started to panic a little bit.  I saw Ken on his kayak very close by and decided that it was time to completely panic.  My heart rate went up, my breathing was labored and I very ungracefully made my way over to his kayak.  I told him that I could not see and that this was awful.  All I could think about while holding on to the kayak was in the move Titanic, "Rose I need you to swim!".

At this moment, I wanted to quit.  I wanted to straddle that kayak and get out of the lake.  I was convinced that there was no way I could even swim one loop, let alone swim 2.4 miles with 2000 other flailing bodies.  I composed myself and went on my way.  I started to panic again just before the first buoy when I saw the first life guard.  She talked to me for a second, and calmed me down.  I told her I was having a hard time seeing and she told me I would get the hang of it.  Ken talked to her for a moment and she thought it was so sweet that he was out there with me to support me.  One point for Ken! 

I leaned on the kayak thinking, wow, I have no idea how I will do this.  Then it hit me.  I have spent the last eight months swimming 2-3 days per week for at least an hour each time if not more.  I can do this.  I have not spent every Friday night at 68 Sports in the pool for nothing.  I have trained for this.  Get your butt out there KJ!!!  (I call myself KJ when I mean business).  Show your husband that you can swim and that you can do this!

So off I went.  Guess what, I was completely fine.  I just counted.  I counted like I do in the pool 1,2,3....1,2,3....I ended up swimming three loops, which was about 1500 yards.  I could have kept going, but Ken and I were both rather hungry. 

Ken told me that I just took off like a duck.  I was just swimming like a mad woman and would look up to make sure I was on course.  He said I was passing people.  Me, little Keri, that could not even swim 50 yards without stopping 12 months ago, was passing people! 

I was so proud of myself for not only making myself stick it out, but for even getting out there in the first place.  I am so not a fan of dirty water.  I guess I am a little tougher than I thought I was. 


Heather said...

Again, I am SOOOO proud of you Keri!! Especially after reading this post as I know how much of a "big deal" the open water is for you! Way to rock it!!!

Anonymous said...

I freak out trying to swim in "real" water where I can't see the bottom - I was squirming when I read this post. (You just don't know what is under you, right?) Good for you!! Jean