I have been a naughty, naughty poster. I promise to make up for it with a fascinating post about my recent adventures in triathlon.
May 16th does that sound like a good time of year to go swimming in a lake, in CANADA? Well whether it is rational or not early in the morning on that chilly spring day I embarked upon my very first Olympic distance triathlon. The event is the Wine Capital of Canada Triathlon which is an Olympic distance triathlon, 1500 m open water lake swim, 40 km bike ride, 10 km run.
I need to give myself a bit of a break as I go on to describe the ensuing trauma created by the swim, since I had never really worn a wetsuit, only practiced open water swimming once this year and the water was frigid. I experienced things in the swim I totally had not predicted and never thought would happen to me. I had at least 3 severe panic attacks. To me a panic attack involves rapid breathing, rapid heart rate and a feeling of impending doom. Check, check ,check. I wasn’t sure what was bothering me the most, the restrictive feeling of the brand new wetsuit, the cold water, the mob of people at the the mass start, or perhaps all of the above.
This experience was defining moment of mind over matter for me. I essentially floated on my back, breast-stroked, floundered and did the occasional back stroke. There were moments of bargaining when I was asking a higher power to let me go through labour and delivery with twins again rather than continue on with this madness. I considered stripping off my wetsuit, throwing it at the kayaker and trying to continue on, I was sure death from hypothermia would have been better than finishing this swim.
But… I did carry on. Pretty much the only thing that kept me going was the fact that my family and friends were there at the crack of dawn to cheer me on, and I am a very stubborn person who does’t like to disappoint people. As I rounded the turnaround bouy the Race Director Joe grabbed my hand and encouraged me on. Okay I can do this, back in the water I go. The second lap was pretty tough but somehow a bit better than the first. I do take a while to warm up as I have mentioned before.
As I finished the swim, not last, I don’t know how that was possible. Some poor souls dropped out due to the cold and panic attacks. I am glad I didn’t really know of the prevalence of panic attacks before I signed up for an early season race.
What are my feelings about this first race in the open water?
A lot to learn, to improve on, a lot of time to shed. I will get back on the horse that bucked me, because it didn’t kill me, I am stronger.
Stay tuned for the Bike portion of the race report.