On June 3rd we will become triathletes at the Keuka Lake Triathlon! This won't be our first multi-sport event though, we are going to do a local duathlon on May 19th, but a triathlon feels more real. I'm not sure why, maybe because you do all three events and not just two? I know, how logical of me.
So I hope you don't mind that soon this blog isn't going to be just about running! It was going to happen eventually and I hope that I can convince some of you to come over to the dark side with us!
When we tell people that we are going to do triathlons and, hopefully, an Ironman one of the most common responses we hear is that people are afraid of the swimming part. As former swimmers, Mike and I have the technique down and we just need to get back into swimming shape and work on our endurance.
While some people are afraid because they aren't very strong swimmers, I think more people are afraid because it is OPEN water swimming and that is vastly different than from the comfort of a swimming pool. In this article from the Bangor Daily News (taken from the Washington Post), the author points to panic attacks during the swim leg as the cause of the recent deaths during triathlons. There may have been other causes, but I have to agree to some extent. Swimming is the one leg of a triathlon that the majority of training does not occur in the same environment as race day and any triathlete could be consumed with nervous thoughts.
Mike and I have both swum in open water races and I don't think that we will have a problem with anxiety attacks, but we are going to have to do some open water training swims.
Ali for noticing the typo) is pretty nasty (in Rochester anyway) and even though I have gone up to my thighs in it, I'm not about to stick my head under the water.
Ryan T. Collier photo
The first time I swam in an open water race it did not go very well. I was in fifth grade and I had glasses. I did wear prescription goggles for awhile, but my eyes eventually got so bad that they didn't make them in my prescription anymore. I got contacts soon after because it became difficult to function!
During this race, I did so horribly I came in last place! People on my team who I normally beat, beat me by so much because I went in the wrong direction. I couldn't see! A guy on a kayak had to guide me back to the right course and I eventually finished. I think it would be safe to say that after that experience I really didn't like open water swimming.
After getting contacts, I swam in another open water race and I did much better! Open water swimming wasn't something that I did often, we only did it when our swim team went to Florida, but with more practice I'm sure I would have liked it even more.
My advice for people who are nervous about open water swimming, would be to practice, practice, practice! Also, drafting is legal on the swim portion, unlike the bike leg, so try to keep other feet in your line of sight and check where you are every so often. Hopefully I remember these tips on race day, I will be a little bit nervous because it will be our first triathlon! Admittedly, I'm more nervous about the bike portion than the swimming portion.
How do you feel about open water swimming? Any triathletes out there with tips for newbies?