So, in November of 2010 when registration opened for the 2011 Iron Girl Triathlon I jumped on the chance to sign up! Immediately, I began to question my decision. Could I really do this?! Yes, I had been running for a few years, yes I was about to run a half marathon, yes I take spin classes, but no I do not, have not, ever swam. Fear began to set in. I attended the practice swim and immediately freaked. (The swim is 1100yards in a dark murky smelly lake!) Needless to say, I did not complete the swim that day. I immediately came home and joined my local pool. I began swimming 3x a week (for the remaining 3 weeks before the race) and was able to complete the 1100 yards (42 laps in a 25yd pool!). The day of the race came.....and I SURVIVED!!!!
Following the swim, there is a 17.5 mile bike ride over HUGE hills, and a 3.3 mile (cough uphill cough) run. Completing the swim was my mental barrier and I felt like my race was over during my first transition. (Demonstrated by a T1 time of over 6 minutes!) This race was the most inspirational race I had ever done at the time, until MCM, but that's another story. This race was all women who were encouraging and supporting one another along the ENTIRE course! After completing the race last year I knew I had to sign up again and try to beat my time.
Well.....that brings us to today. The practice swim for the 2012 Iron Girl Triathlon. My friend Shannon is also doing the race and we decided to head up together. (She has an awesome van and was able to put both of our bikes on her carrier!) We headed out around 5AM to arrive and get checked in by 6:30AM. Swim waves started at 7AM. We arrived a little after 6AM and this was the line we found.....
Gearing up to get into the water I felt pretty ok - I had already done this before. Right?! Wrong. Immediately after entering the water I couldn't get my breathing right. Every stroke just sent more water into my mouth as we swam over other swimmers, had legs grabbed by others, and dodged those who were finishing up their swim. (Others were already done?!?!) After resting a few kayaks to catch my breath, we were almost to the halfway point. For a minute I wanted to give up and beg a kayak to take me in! I quickly shut that voice up and decided I was going to do this.
After we passed the turn around point the swim back was successful. I was able to get back into a rhythm and get moving. It felt like nothing and then the swim was over. Thoughts ran through my mind - can I do this again, should I quit, what to do?!? I again shut that voice up and decided I was going to do this again and it is something I can do. (Hopefully I overcome my dark water fear by August 19th!)
Your mental state of mind really works wonders on your physical performance. Physically I have swam this (in the same water) and in the pool numerous times. Mentally I was not with it today and that was causing me to doubt my abilities. Keep your mental game strong and you can do anything you are dreaming!
Some of the morning swimming buddies...
Happy Training :)