Swim #2 and Muskies

Today I made it to swim number two, and it went a lot better. The weather was ridiculously wonderful here so I also ran prior to swimming. I wasn’t supposed to according to my plan, but how could I pass up 50 degree weather in February? I also was able to go for a bike ride with my daughter last night and had a good run Monday, so overall it has been a good few days. I had a horrible 7 mile run Saturday so I needed some good workouts to move me forward.

Even though I have a half marathon in May, I think right now I am most focused and concerned on learning to swim. The swim is the scariest part of the triathlon to me, so it was a good hurdle to get back into the water and just try to go at it. I am so lucky that my friend Debbie is willing to go. She is there to answer questions, but just having someone there to support me and also to share a lane with me with no judgment makes going so much less intimidating.

I have a long time to get better at swimming, but also a lot of work to do. There are a few reasons the swim is the scariest, and the more I think of it the more I’m figuring it out.

  1. It’s just new to me. I never swam laps much in my past, and also it’s not something that is natural. I’m not a great runner, but it’s just one foot in front of the other.
  2. I could fail. If I start the bike or the run, barring something weird happening, I need to just keep peddling or otherwise moving forward. I can stop for water or pull over if I need to. But if I’m swimming in a lake, and I can’t make it, there aren’t a lot of options. That is where I think I’m most likely to get a DNF.
  3. OPEN WATER. I touched on that last time, but open water is terrifying. Who knows what is in it? (The answer is “I DO.” Horrible sea creatures that are hell bent on destroying me for invading their space. Also plants that want to tangle me up and pull me under like they are possessed by a Disney villain) Also not actually knowing for sure makes me think that every little thing I touch is something awful.

To go along with that open water fear in general, I have a very specific fear. When I was a kid, my family would often camp near the Delaware Water Gap. My family had a boat and also a giant tube. We’d pull the tube behind the boat and hang on to it for dear life. One day, as I was getting on the tube, my older brother told me that I better not fall off. When I asked him why, he told me the Muskies would eat my toes. Now, You might not know what Muskies are, but suffice it to say that are giant ugly fish. I knew how giant and ugly they were because my family also fished for them, so I had seen them up close and personal. If you want to have some nightmares of toe eating fish, click here and here. Also Wikipedia tells me that they eat things like ducklings, birds, snakes and small mammals. Now tell me you want to hang out with your toes out around that thing. I didn’t think so.

Suffice it to say, I didn’t fall off the tube much. I was the smallest kid, but I was not letting go of that damn thing. So there it is, my stupid fear that I will not ever completely get over. But I’m going to try to work through the weird fear. It might not work out. But if I don’t at least try, I won’t know for sure. My friend Jeannie reminded me today that even making a difficult goal is something that you should be proud of, so I will try to hold on to that for now and hope I can also reach that goal as well.


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