Someone should create a list of athletic milestones. Off the top of my head, the events I can remember which I considered to be milestones at the time, were:
– First finisher’s medal
– First time swallowing a fly while running, then cycling
– First ride with cleats
– First stack off bike
– First 5km run
– First 10km run
– First sub 8:00 km
– First sub 7:00 km
– First 6:00 km
– First sub 35min 5km
– First 20km ride
– First 40km ride
Last Sunday morning I was able to add two more milestones to my list. My first swim in a wetsuit.
My first “Did Not Finish” (DNF) result.
I now realise that a 1500m swim was not the wisest choice for my first open water event. There weren’t even any breaking waves, just small swells. Not even very many. However, 25m into the race I started to panic and barely swam another stroke. My coach who was keeping me company in the race managed to cajole me around two laps of the 4 lap course. 725m of a strange float/tread water/side swim. I was exhausted and everyone else had pretty much finished their 1500m so I exited the water. As it was a club race I could still choose to hop on the bike and continue.
I reckon I would have nearly set a world record extricating myself from the wetsuit! I didn’t think I would make it up the beach without passing out due to my rapid, shallow breathing.
I did make it back to transition though.
I composed myself enough to feel like it was safe to get on the bike and off we went. About 5 minutes in I pulled up thinking I was going to throw up. I didn’t. On I went. My legs were actually feeling pretty good and I was enjoying the bike, thinking I’d be right to go the distance but I continued to feel queasy and after about 10km decided I don’t like racing enough to struggle on feeling sick so I withdrew from the race.
I was disappointed after all my training and driving 3.5 hours to get there but it was the right decision on the day. If I had continued I don’t think I would have ever considered doing a triathlon again. Certainly not an open water one.
I have never experienced that paralysing panic before. I could not get my head under the water and I couldn’t get my arms to swim. It’s just like when I stand in front of a step to do a box jump. My brain says jump but my legs and feet don’t move. At all.
When I decided to do the Port Macquarie race, I gave up on Coffs Harbour. It was one or the other. I couldn’t use the second one as a backup. Since the move is going smoothly though, I have negotiated with the husband and I am seriously considering going to Coffs to give this distance another crack. That would be this weekend coming. 3 days to race day.
I know there is a high chance I will freak out again but this swim is only one lap not four so as I pass each buoy I can tell myself I never have to swim that stretch again.
I have only told 5 or 6 people what I’m considering for this weekend. Besides the world now that I’m posting this 😉