just a swim after all

I’ll post a video when I can get one. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever been involved with before.

Right after the pro start at 6:50am, they allowed us to get into the water. The first people at the front of the line seemed to be taking their time, putting on their goggles and caps and walking orderly toward the water. The herd was moving slowly. When I passed under the chip reader on my way a different picture appeared. An almost panic frenzy stirred on by the volunteers as they tried to get everyone in the water before 7 am. I heard ‘There’s only 3 minutes, Go Go Go!’ I don’t know if the first in the group had steps to go down, but everyone by me jumped the rails like we were trying to get to freedom. Once I hit the water, I had another 200 yard swim before I caught up to where the others were at the starting line. There were others behind me and I wondered if they were going to be in the water before the cannon shot to start the race.

I chose a spot smack dab right in the middle of the pack. I was going to experience this thing full tilt. On the right side, the edge of the lake, a ledge two feet wide runs along the entire distance. It’s a chance to stop, stand up and take a break if you wanted to. I wanted to be as far from that ledge as I could get. I eventually caught up to the pack and had a moment to look around to see if I could find anyone  knew, apologized in advanced to people around me in case I accidentally kicked them in the face, and then the cannon boom started the race.

I’ve been practicing staying relaxed in the water, though all my training was in a clear pool with no one near me for 8 feet or so. This was nothing like that. My plan was to keep my head above water until the craziness subsided, then relax into a comfortable stroke listening to my wetronome. Well the craziness didn’t subside for me until almost a mile after the start. I did some sort of side stroke (nothing I practiced or even tried before) to keep moving and my head above water. At one point I just put my head down and started swimming freestyle. I got bumped and I bumped others, but so what, nothing was By Purpose. Once I had my head down, I started concentrating on the beeps and everything else started to fade away. At that point, it was just was swim, no nervousness, no fear, and no more experimental strokes.

I was out of the water in just over an hour and a half. Time is a funny thing when you are in the water. It didn’t ‘feel’ like I was in the water for three full sit coms. It felt much faster than that. I thought it would take me the time of a full length movie and perhaps not make the 2 hour 20 minute cut off. And I feel sorry for the people watching for me, that must have felt like it took forever.

What an incredible feeling it was getting out of the water. It was the luck of the draw, but I heard my name announced which put a big smile on my face. I made it! I made it out of the craziness. I made it through the fear of not being able to complete the distance. I made it through the fear of being kicked in the face. I got out and walked tall to the next ‘transition’ with a confidence I couldn’t make up if I tried.

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