open water swimming

I did my first open-water swim on Wednesday.  I’ve been worried about this for some time.  The local triathlon club has practice swims on Wednesdays, and I was hoping to go a couple weeks ago, but I was sick, and then H was out of town the following week, so I finally made it this week.  I’ve read so many triathlon books about people having anxiety attacks when they swim in open water, and my co-worker had a panic attack only last week.  Given my own issues with anxiety and panic, I was worried I’d freak out when I got in the water, despite the fact that I’m a pretty good swimmer, if not particularly fast, and I’ve spent a lot of time swimming lately.

However, all was well.  Well, maybe not quite all, but I felt completely comfortable in the water.  I wasn’t nervous or panicky, and I just felt good in the water.  It was great.  The only problem was that the sun was low and quite bright.  It was hard to avoid looking at it while swimming, and I triggered an ocular migraine.  I’ve purchased mirrored goggles, so hopefully that will help on my next outing.  Interestingly, even the ocular migraine didn’t really make me nervous.  It was just annoying.  There was a coach there who’d planned a 2000 yd workout – more than I wanted to do anyway.  I soldiered on for about 1000 yd (according to my watch), and then just swam in.  The ocular migraine mostly had subsided, which is unusual.  Usually they persist no matter what I do.  But this one had mostly gone away, but I had a headache, and I just wanted to get out of the sun.  Still, I feel really good about the swim portion of the “super sprint” tri I’m planning.  It’ll be in the same lake and will only be 400m.  I’m sure I’ll be nervous on race day, but I’ll get through it.  It’s kind of a weight off my mind.  I’d been quite worried about it.

This weekend, I’m planning a duathlon.  I’ve already paid (and ‘athlons are expensive), but both my kids are sick, so fingers crossed I’ll stay healthy.  It’s a 20 mile bike and a 10K run.  I’m not really in shape for a race of that distance, but I should be able to make it through, perhaps slowly.