That refers to my open water swim this morning. Before I go on to whine about how I don’t belong and should put all my triathlon gear up for auction on eBay, I don’t regret today. Today was “a learning experience,” as Coachie said.
All teachers know that learning experience is code for bad. f***ing. day.
I was one of 7 today as we started out on the river. Smart people were among us, tubing, paddleboarding, boating. Our butts were in wetsuits and goggles. It’s gonna be a great day, right? I had anticipated being nervous. This ain’t LA Fitness. What I did not anticipate was just how bloody nervous I would be once I started. I have taken to a strategy of swimming from buoy to buoy and it had been extremely effective for me. There were no buoys. Everyone was getting ahead of me. It was swim a million strokes or die. My heart rate shot up and I had to stop. I shouted that I needed to stop and they came back and waited for me. Insert uplifting “people need people, we’re here for you” business here. Yeah, yeah, they encouraged me and I’m thankful. The only thing worse than a bad day is needing people to help you through it.
I continued – with the help of Red, who stayed with me and assured me she wouldn’t let me drown because she would get fired. It’s nice when my life is someone else’s job security, 😉 I kid with Red. I needed help and she was there. “What’s going through your head?” she asked. “I haven’t trained enough!” I replied, on my back, still trying to calm my breathing. “You are well-prepared, you’ve earned this,” she says. I wanted to say, “You don’t know me!” I focused on calming down. She encouraged me to take a few strokes. I could commit to a few. I did. Not so bad. Soon after, she observed that I was swimming fast. Then it hit me.
Don’t swim fast.
Immediately I felt better. I started to notice what a beautiful day it was. I observed a turtle on the river’s surface. I remembered that I actually enjoy swimming.
As I made my way toward the end of our swim, I reflected on the nervousness I had felt when I played my recital program for a small audience prior to my concert. Just the same, my heart rate had shot up. I went super fast and jacked up my playing. I forgot notes – shoot, I even had forgotten how one piece started and had to fake the first few measures. I’d like to say that that’s different because it is easier to hide my panic on dry land, but it’s not. I was no less bothered then than I was today. I’m also equally happy I put myself through the ringer. I was able to take those lessons I learned from my mock recital and give a solid performance on recital day.
If I show up at Augusta, I expect the same. 14 days.
NB: Coachie let’s make my goal 8:00 to allow for mental breakdown time. If I show up, that is.