Go Jump In A Lake: Open-Water Swim Round #2


“Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears.” Les Brown

If any of you remember the details of my first open-water swim, you know that it was a complete disaster. (See South Bound Part 2: An Epic Flail.) I had my second chance yesterday at the Nashville Triathlon Club’s last group 7AM open-water swim at Percy Priest Lake just outside of Nashville. It was the most remarkable athletic comeback since Usain Bolt’s recent 2012 Olympic gold medal sweep after his false start in the 100-meter sprint in 2008.  Not really, but that’s how good I felt about it.

What was the reason for my mental turnaround regarding the open-water swim? Here are my thoughts:

-I chose to not let this sign freak me out, as maybe it would have in the past:

-The swim took place in a lake with other triathletes, including Andrew, a local coach and member of the NTC, who was on hand to help the newbies. I was able to talk to him and get a bit of advice about what to do. Swimming in a lake in an organized group swim clearly works better for me than hurling myself off the end of a dock in Alabama into a bay during a thunderstorm.

-Because this was a lake, I could immediately eliminate the possibility of encountering sharks, jellyfish, stingrays and any other salt-water creatures that I know lurk in the Southern Gulf waters. I did have a brief moment of panic when I thought about the possibility of water snakes in the lake, but I talked myself out of making it an open-water deal breaker.

 

-I tried to focus on my breathing and also kept my eyes closed for the most part while my face was in the water. That is one part of the open-water swim that tends to send me into a panic. What do I think I’m going to see when I open my eyes underwater? My overactive imagination only knows. Breathing bi-laterally and practicing my sighting helped to keep me on course and I was able to complete approximately 800 meters in total.

-The final reason for my major improvement was my desire to not come away from the swim feeling defeated, lame and like I have no business training for a triathlon. That was the general feeling that I had after my first attempt and I felt so good about walking away from the lake yesterday feeling like I accomplished something that has otherwise terrorized me.

It was a wonderful way to end another week of training as the clock counts down to the Santa Rosa Island Triathlon on October 6th. This Saturday the 18th, I will be participating in the girls-only Nashville Girls Tri It On Triathlon as a practice run for Santa Rosa. It’s a mini-triathlon for lack of a better description and the swim takes place in a pool. I’m ready! Bring it on!

Nervous pre-swim ‘don’t talk to me I need to focus’ face

Happy Face and Wet Hair

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29 Comments on “Go Jump In A Lake: Open-Water Swim Round #2

  1. Thank you for the encouragement on my blog. Will have to definately keep you in my list of blogs to follow, sounds like you are on a very similar road!!! Keep it going!!!

  2. I grew up on a lake and the fear of unknown creatures getting me never fully vanished. When I was a kid I thought there was a shark in their at one point and refused to swim for a few weeks!

  3. BTW I love the sign posted in your pictures. Our group appears to go out into the lake from the backwoods from a picnic site. I would have second thoughts if I saw a sign posted like that though!!!

  4. Congratulations on the swim! Yes, it’s such a nervous and exciting feeling to go in the water, because you can’t slow down and you definitely can’t stop! And what a crazy sign, especially because the numbers can be switched out so easily! I hope the rest of your training goes well, keep it up! 😀

  5. my first openwater swim I was terrified, but pushed on anyway. Then of course you want to improve your time and the bug catches you.

    you would be surprised just how many people are terrified of open water swims or the swim component of a tri, but the sense of achievement you get when you beat that demon is amazing.

    • I think you’re right. I’m starting to understand just by talking to people that there are plenty of people who don’t like the idea of the open water swim. It did feel good to have less of a fail on this swim. 🙂

  6. Thanks for liking my post!

    An open swim– brave you! After seeing Jaws at the tender age of 4, any unchlorinated body of water kind of freaks me out. It sounds like a huge rush though! And maybe worth the temporary panic? 🙂

    • I’ve seen that movie probably 80 times in my life, which is probably why I’m so freaked out by the ocean. The temporary or not-so-temporary panic turns into a feeling of excitement and accomplishment!

  7. fab blog! I’ve done an open-water swim before – the ‘Great North East Swim’ – a mile in a freezing cold lake. I was completely struck by how cold it was! It was kinda like when you jump in at the swimming baths and get that initial shock…but the shock never seemed to leave! I might do one again this year – exhilarating stuff!

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