So, in an attempt to face my fears, I registered for a local open water swim series, which consists of three 1500m races, one each in April, June and September. Then, I looked at last year's results and I freaked out. These people were CRAZY fast. And I was going to get schooled. (Note: I later found out that last year's races were 750m, not 1500m. While the times were still fast, I should have been able to hold my own.)
Yesterday morning was the first race in the series.
Thanks to our nerves and our OCD tendencies, Sally (who's training for IMFL) and I showed up about an hour before we needed to. The course wasn't even set up yet. The site was beautiful.
|looks can be deceiving ...|
But, due to several recent rainstorms, the water levels were crazy high (9") and the current was wicked fast. Like "this swim is not for beginners" fast. Fan-freaking-tastic!
|a buoy with a wake. never a good sign ...|
I was not feeling good about the situation. We had been hearing all week how challenging the conditions were going to be and how there was a chance the event would be postponed. I knew deep down that it was going to be rough, but, I didn't want to just chicken out. It was one thing to get there, warm up and decide that it was unsafe for me to swim, but it was another to just bail all together. And we all know, I'm not the quitting type.
(Note: this video does not accurately show the current. Or the extent of my anxiety)
So, we decided to get in the water and give it a shot. But, before we did, a few things were brought to our attention.
|sexy. i know ...|
- The race would still be two loops, but shortened from 1500m to 600m (not a good sign).
- That yellow buoy (pictured above) would be a pull out point. If you dropped back to it, you were out.
- The water levels were high, the current was strong, but there wasn't a lot of debris, so the race would go on. (Doesn't seem like the best reason to not reschedule, but OK.)
- Anyone who got in the water for warm up and decided not to race could defer to a later event.
Anyway, we got into the water.
And started swimming.
As in, NO FORWARD MOTION.
Sally and I looked at each other and pretty much in unison said, "There is no way this is happening."
And we bailed. Swam to shore and took off our timing chips.
It was kind of demoralizing at the time. I don't like to give up, but I knew that it was going to be a total fail. If I was able to swim to the turnaround, I don't think I would have had the strength to do the second loop. And I know that I would have been really embarrassed if I started and then got pulled out the water because that little yellow buoy and I became best friends.
So, instead, Sally and I hit the pool for a timed 1500m. And we crushed it.
30:44 - Way faster that I've ever swam a 1500 before.
It kind of made that embarrassing walk out of the river worth it.
UPDATE: This video is from the actual race. Proof that I was not exaggerating.