Before yesterday, I'd never in my life worn a wetsuit. Which means that when Greg Koenig of Fitness For Life in Wilmington offered to let me borrow his for my open-water practice swim with the Y Dub Tri crazies, I was thrilled.
But dude....that junk is tight. I put it on at my house before I left and called Greg to make sure I wasn't going to rip out of the thing.
"Trust me," he said. "If I wear it, you can wear it."
By the time we jumped in the water, though, I was used to it. And the instant I hit the water, I was grateful for it. Remember how terrifying my first channel swim was last week? Remember how petrified I was of running into who-knows-what-type of sea monsters? The wetsuit canceled all that out somehow. Something about having a few millimeters of rubber between myself and whatever might come did wonders for my anxiety and made me a much more confident swimmer.
It definitely helped that the water was warmer, and what cold spots we went through were wholly mitigated by the suit. We ended up swimming the Beach2Battleship half-Ironman swim route, only in reverse to go with the current. Had I known that's what we were swimming ahead of time, I honestly might have bailed. But I got through it.
LeAnne stayed back with me as I started falling behind.
"That's what you get for missing all these pool workouts," she said....while swimming with one arm, doing drills to keep from getting bored while staying back with my slow self.
Turns out my form had fallen to crap. For some reason, I got it in my head that faster arms meant faster swimming, like how faster feet and legs mean faster biking and running. Not so. It's long, smooth, gliding strokes and not throwing your head up to breathe that makes all the difference. Of course, nobody told me that until I got out of the water. Well, I think LeAnne tried to, but all I was worried about was crossing that channel before any boats or jet skis ran me over.
Suffice it to say I'm thoroughly stoked about Sunday's triathlon. That's right -- in case you haven't heard, I'm competing in the White Lake Sprint this weekend. I'm going to get to compete on my new bike, and Greg's letting me borrow his wetsuit, which will be pretty clutch for that 750 meter swim out of the gate. Sure, taking that sucker off will kill my transition time, but I think it'll be worth it saving that energy that the cold and the anxiety saps out of me in the water.
It was comforting to learn, though, that anxiety isn't limited just to me. Simply knowing that helps ease it, I think.
In other news, I've finally settled on a good cause for which to raise money with my triathlon stuff. I'll post more about that later today, so stay tuned!