Those words went quietly through my mind as I listened to Sandra Sutherland teach the First-Timers Tri Clinic today at Northshore Park. I was watching the people rounding the buoys in Lake Woodlands in the background and could not believe that I was going to be out there soon. Some people were gliding through the water effortlessly with their freestyle, then there were some backstroking, breaststroking and sidestroking. I can do this I told myself.
The clinic gave a lot of great information...nothing I hadn't heard or read somewhere, but good information nonetheless. (I am super-duper obsessive compulsive about reading everything I can about triathlons - blogs, discussion forums, magazines, books, you name it.) It was a bit chilly, because the sky was overcast and there was a breeze. I met quite a few great people at the clinic, including a woman from Cypress, Keri, who I originally "met" through beginnertriathlete.com. We were all 1st timers so it was nice to commiserate and laugh about what this 1st time was going to be like.
Next, it was time to swim! I went ahead and put on my rented wetsuit...if there was even a fraction of a chance that I'd use it at TriGirl, I wanted to see what it was like in the water now. My arms felt weak just after getting that sucker on...whew, it's a workout by itself! Next, I got in the water, which was cold but with the wetsuit it wasn't too bad. I hesitated for a minute and then thought, "screw it!" and put my face in. I started to freestyle, but immediately went into freakout mode after seeing the lovely green through my goggles. The wetsuit felt like it was choking me and I had to take a minute to attempt to regain my composure before actually trying to swim again.
To say it didn't go well would be an understatement. What I was doing could not be called swimming. Everything...and I mean E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G, I had been practicing in the pansy-ass pool went out the window. I tried to put my face in the water and freestyle, but then I felt like I was choking. I tried sidestroke - choking. After about 100 yards of this I seriously wondered what would happen if I tried to shed the wetsuit right there. Then I thought how much I would have to pay to Tri On The Run to replace it and kept trying to move forward. I rounded the 1st buoy and at the 2nd buoy, the kayak guy was asking people if they wanted to rest. I took him up on the offer and hung there on the kayak for a few seconds.
Seriously people, I was PANTING.
And swearing. A lot. (But not outloud)
So then I tried to keep going and never felt like I was getting anywhere - I'd do about 5 -6 strokes of freestyle, then sidestroke and at one point I even flipped to my back. It was awful. I was getting somewhere, because I eventually passed a few small buoys. At one point, not realizing I was saying it outloud, I said something like "OH JES-US CHRIST! THIS SUCKS!!!" and a guy next to me responded with a "Yes, it does", lol! Okay, so I was glad I was not the only one who felt that way. I was thinking a lot worse though, like "what in the f*ck am I doing?" and "G*d damn mother "f*cker holy sh*t to h*ll"...and yes, a few of these may have slipped out as well...I honestly don't remember. About the time I was getting to the part of the course where you're actually heading to shore, I began to question if I could even make it. I was tired. I had been struggling this entire time and I had freaking had it. I decided the following things:
I AM STUPID FOR DOING THIS. STUPID I'M TELLING YOU!
I AM NOT DOING TRIGIRL DAMMIT! NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I AM GOING TO DROWN, AND THAT HIGH SCHOOL KID OVER THERE IN THE KAYAK IS GOING TO PULL MY BODY OUT OF THE LAKE!
And then I realized, OMG THIS IS HOW PEOPLE DIE IN OPEN WATER SWIMS! THEY HAVE HEART ATTACKS IN THEIR RENTED WETSUITS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Then I waved Kayak boy down and asked him if I could rest for a sec. I caught my breath and then started moving again. Where is the freaking ground???? Where is the goddamn ground??? Finally, there it was....I made it to shore and wasn't sure I ever, ever wanted to do that again.
So I got out and Keri was all, "How'd it go, did you do the 500?". And I was all like, "YES IT SUCKED I AM NEVER DONG THAT AGAIN". She was totally happy and very encouraging - someone I probably need to hang with more (I need to be more positive!). She swam to the 1st buoy (around 200) and over to the side twice, and she felt GREAT about the swim.
Seriously people, this tri-thing may really not be for me. The only reason I am not wussing out on TriGirl is because it is 200 pansy ass yards. If it were 500 there's no way in hell. I will not use the wetsuit. I like that with the wetsuit I can't drown - I just float. But, I felt like I was struggling against the wetsuit the entire time while being choked by it. I think I'd prefer free range of motion, even if it means freezing my ass off for the 1st 100 yards.
So that's it - my 1st open water swim. It sucked ass. No, it sucked monkey balls. No, it sucked BIG sweaty monkey balls. IT SUCKED.
Now excuse me while I go pick up my kiddos. :-)