I waded out into the water at Shadows Regional Park in Pleasanton. This would be my first triathlon. I’d been biking and running regularly for the past 6 months, however I’ve been procrastinating any swim practice. There I was, in a lake with a goofy looking swim cap and swim goggles. I could see the 400 yard course, out around one red buoy, across to another, and then straight back to the beach to where my bicycle was awaiting me. There were several life guards out in the water on surf boards. The starting gun went off. I paused for a few seconds and let some of the crowd go by and then headed out into the depth of the lake. When I was deep enough I lifted my legs and began the swim.
It wasn’t as much as 20 yards; I was swallowing water and gasping for air. “What did I get myself into,” I thought and was tempted to raise my arm in the air, the sign for one of the life guards to come rescue me and bring me back to shore. They would not have far to bring me back. I continued on. The first red buoy seemed too far away, but I eventually reached it. I think I was doing a back stroke at the time. Imagine, laying back on you back relaxing, except I was pulling myself forward with my arms in a position of surrender. There were other swimmers all around me, bumping into me, making it difficult to swim straight. I continued on. A few more yards, with each huff and puff, swallowing water, I thought to myself, “Well, I’m never doing this again.” All my dreams of using the triathlon to get in and maintain a good physical shape was drowning in that lake if it were not me that would drown. I imagined that I could still stay in the triathlon club and join their running and riding work outs, but somehow that seemed to be missing something. I was disappointed with myself about my failure, however I continued on. I could see the second red buoy and put my head down in the water to focus on reaching it. I reached it surprisingly fast which was encouraging and turned the corner for the home stretch into the beach. The realization that I would soon be at the shore kept me moving forward.
After all was said and done … or more likely after all was swum, rode and ran, my painful memories of the swim faded (perhaps that is why they have the swim first). I was psyched to sign up for my next triathlon. I have plenty of support and resources from the triathlon club available to me. I just have to use them. There is a swim clinic with a coach every Monday night and an open water swim practice every Thursday night. My next triathlon is August 16th. I love the riding. The running is fun, but tough after the swim and the ride. I have a lot of work to do to improve my relationship with swimming.