distance to length

On Saturday, the day before the event, we were allowed to partake in a practice swim in the lake. It was either going to be a good thing or a bad thing. It would only be my third time in open water and if I felt comfortable that day, I would have a positive feeling going into the event. If however, I didn’t have a good time, it would make it that much more difficult the following morning. The race organizers were to open the lake at 9 am. At 8:30, there was already a line waiting to jump in. I had to do a little more surveying before I even thought about getting in line. I waited and watched the swimmers until the line was non existent and noticed how relaxed everyone seemed to be swimming. I said to myself (and probably out loud) “this is only practice, I guess it makes sense to be relaxed”. That took the pressure off of feeling I had to go faster as not to slow anyone down that was unlucky enough to get behind me.

With my superhero wetsuit on, one giant breath, and a little bit of courage, I stepped off the ledge. My breath was off right away and could only go about twenty strokes before I had to take a break. The practice swim was less than a mile, but that day seemed very long because of how long the landscape is in Arizona. I swam for about 40 minutes with Steve and Fawn watching me. I wanted to do better because it was really the first time Fawn saw me swim and only the second time Steve saw me, but I couldn’t quite get in a groove that worked for me.  I couldn’t concentrate on my timing and was a bit discouraged when I got out. The rest of the day I thought about the swim, and at one point had a conversation with someone who had completed the event in the past. I told him of my experience and was glad it was only to the other bridge and back, he said, “you know, it’s much further than you think. It’s like you are swimming to the end of the lake”. GREAT! Note to self…. don’t talk to that guy again.

Since I have no real concept of distance in water, it shouldn’t really matter to me how long it was. It was only the length of time it would take that mattered, right?

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