This past weekend I faced one of my biggest fears. Swimming in the open water, none the less the ocean. Wow, it was challenging both physically and mentally, but I’m so glad that I did it and super happy to have the support of CFLA.
One year ago I stood on the beach and watched CFLA tri team compete in the 2014 PDR triathlon. I was so impressed and inspired by every single athlete and their ability to get themselves past the HUGE waves and swim the race. At that point in time I told Coach Jamie, next year I will do it. I told him in a way that I kinda hoped that he would forget and I would too. So, when this years announcement came out about the team starting, I kept quiet. It was something that I wanted to do, but was still very nervous about. So, I halfway committed to signing up for the team.
My fear of swimming started back in third grade. My mom signed me up for swimming lessons and my swim teacher said, “some black people can’t swim”. I didn’t totally believe her, but it sure did leave a mark. So, I played in the water, went to the beach but never really swam. I had a few other not so good water experiences that made me nervous in the water, but part of me knew at some point I would learn to swim. In college I asked a friend to help out, this was before our annual trip to Lake Shasta on a house boat. Practice consisted of blowing bubbles and getting more comfortable in the water. At age 30 I decided I was going to learn to swim, I bought a book, a swim suit and got myself a swim pass and started going to the pool. I was able to get in the deep and even swim laps. Last year I even jumped off the diving board with minimal fear. But the Ocean is a whole different story.
Tri team Practice started in July and we met most Sunday’s at the pool. Jamie gave us very good feedback and video taped us so we could see what we were doing. This was a big help. Then fast forward a few weeks to the date of our first ocean swim. I was sure nervous but was totally willing. I didn’t know what duck diving was or how I was really going to do it. Sure, I’ve played in the ocean, I’ve even snorkeled in Maui, but getting past the waves and relying solely on myself to move forward in the water was something I was not comfortable with. Jamie was the perfect coach. He was gentle, yet firm in giving guidance on the how to’s and do’s and don’ts of the ocean. On that day I successfully made it out to the buoy and back, with just a few toss and turns.
After that session I felt a little better and more able. It was truly about staying calm and finding my breath. Many practices later, with some really big waves and some not so big waves, but choppy water I got in a little more practice. Fast forward to race day I stood looking at the same ocean I saw a year ago. Knowing that it was my time to dive in and swim. And I did it. I made it to buoy number one, then the next, then the next, then back to the beach. I resorted back to my breast stroke as that is where I found comfort and rhythm. Coach Jamie said I just had to keep moving forward. And that’s what I did. I kept moving forward.
I truly am thankful for this opportunity to overcome this fear. And, I might even do it again. When I signed up for the race my intention really was to finish. Not to race, but just to finish, which is exactly what I did.
10 Thrusters (115/75)
10 CTB Pullups
50 Double unders
And Coming Friday
A) QAMRAP 9
100m SB Front carry
60sec Handstand hold
8 Power snatches (~55%)
3-5 x 3 (~85-90%)