This weekend I had my first experience of open water swimming, the first of 3 weeks running. I was a little nervous but more excited as have never done this before and was curious about what everyone meant when they were telling me how different it would be to swimming in the pool.
I have found the swimming the hardest part of training, in part due to struggling to get time in a swimming pool at all. Hence it is the part of the triathlon I have most concern about.
On arriving at a way too early hour of the morning at the side of the lake I found my coach already in the water, having done his 2k swim!! I am continually amazed and in admiration at the commitment of triathleets at the early hours they train and keep up with every day. I cannot deny I like a 7am as opposed to 5 am start to my day.
I get myself into my wetsuit, a sight I am still not sure is ready for public viewing. Then took the plunge! I was a little surprised by the cold but it was not as bad as I had expected so thus far was ok. Then I took the first few strokes to swim to a 100mtr buoy. That was when the shock hit me. I put my head in the water and suddenly could see nothing! This was new to me and I really was no sure how to deal with it. I found an involuntary desire to keep my head above water, which totally blew out my swim stroke. For some time I struggled to get my breathing pattern sorted out as I kept struggling with my head being in the water where you could see nothing, due to the dark and dirty water quality.
After about 15 minutes this started to become more settled (and encouragement from my coach), though not entirely enjoyable and I found a pattern and started to realise that I could focus on where I was going then swim on and trust my ability to stay on course with just the occasional check to look every few strokes. This was not perfect by the time I had done my 1000 mtrs but with the next few weeks to practice as well I have high hopes of getting close to being sorted.
By the time I got out and headed home it was about 8,30am and I had a strange feeling of satisfaction at having achieved something and yet the day had not yet even really started. So for all the dirty water and slimy bottom of the lake, actually have to say I kind of enjoyed myself.
More to follow next weekend with a 2 day training program with the triathlon club my coach runs, with a Saturday pool based session then back out on Sunday early again for the lake.