So as a child I went to centre parcs every summer for around five years. Brilliant, great, lucky me. However the lake there was always full of huge gross fish that would snap up my wotsits when i dropped them off the platforms there. So needless to say, I wasnt overly keen on going in lakes ever since. Open water, not seeing the bottom, swan poop, the odd trolley...no no thanks I thought I'd stick to swimming pools. As a swimmer. I never had the desire to further my skill in open water, and so triathlon always seemed a no-go.
The three sprint triathlons I have done have all begun in pools, fantastic, however recently It has been highlighted that to reach a higher level in the sport, open water is a must.
so aquathlons at 'Activities Away' was a brilliant introduction for me. A clean (warm-ish) lake wit wetsuit hire broke my open water cherry. The aquathlon seemed less of a challenge once I saw nine year olds jumping in with glee in tiny swimming costumes!! Again my tough mudder philosophy of turning off my brain kicked in and off I plunged...into to fish poop.
Woah, serious challenge, when panic rose in my chest was I looked down at the weeds and rocks below me, suddenly I felt small and terrified. So for one of my sessions there...backstroke became a necessary stroke! Looking up into the sky on a warm summer evening was refreshing after a day in a claustrophobic sweaty classroom. Maybe I could embrace this closeness to nature after all.
Last night I swam in a river. Two miles. In my own (ebay) wetsuit. Who would have predicted this!? Certainly not me. Off we trudged over grass, bare-foot down a rocky slope into a river. Not seeing the bottom (or two inches jn front of me) initially panicked me but gradually refreshed me, what I dont know, cant panic me obviously.... Throughout the swim stopping seemed an issue, waiting for the group to catch up meant body temperature lowered and reality hit my crazy brain, time to think 'whats below me' 'whats around me?' And two miles in my brain was a washing machine, and cold seemed to travel into my arteries.
It didnt matter how far we swam. Or how fast. Taking on the challenge and getting in there instead of going to my plush Bannatynes swimming pool has given me a fizz of pride, challenge taken and smashed. Pushing the boundaries of what we think we can do and what we actually can do opens opportunities we never thought we'd have. Gives us achievements we never thought we would obtain and a tickle of pride for something we thought was strictly just for other people.
Turn off the 'I cant do that' and just do it. Just keep swimming just keep swimming.