Coolness surrounds my body. I jump before I can even think about it. First lap is a warm up. Instructions read: “2 x 25 nice and easy freestyle warm up. As you get more comfortable swimming increase the distance to a 50, 75, etc.”
Comfort in water… hmmmmm. I still panic a bit when I get near the deep end. I work very hard to not let me my mind take over. I don’t understand this fear. I have noting to link it to. I keep meaning to ask my mom if something happened on one of our family visit to my great uncle Andy’s in Rhinelander. Did someone pull on my leg in the lake and take me under? That is my fear something is going to come up from below, even though I can see all the way to the bottom, and grab me. I try to distract myself by turning my focus quickly back to my breath. Not always a soothing choice as it can easily turn to another place of panic. If find myself especially frightened of losing the ability to inhale when I get to the deep end. I can’t just stop and stand up.
My lungs feel so limited. I’ve been told scar tissues left by radiation treatment holds them like a net. One doctor told it is likely the source of my limited capacity on top of my asthmatic tendencies. Add my panic on top of that making me stop often mid-lap to turn on my back and look at the Florida sky above me. I float for a moment to catch my breath, sometimes I begin to swim on my back so I don’t look like a complete inept. I can hear the person in the lane next to me lapping me again. They move through the water as if nothing is holding them back. Their breath seems effortless. They turn underwater at the end of the pool and keep going. I am in complete awe.
So I have two months till my triathlon in the open waters of Lake Tahoe. I have to swim 400 meters. To date I have been able to swim a lap (50 meters) across the beautiful sunny outdoor pool at Frank Brown Park with fins without stopping once, hang onto the pool side to breath for several seconds and then do another the same. And that is it! How am I ever going to make it in open water with people splashing all around me? I just can’t fathom it right now and it is freakin’ me out!
The gremlin voices taunt me. What if you can’t finish the swim in time and never get to do the other parts? What if you panic and there is no way to stop because of all the people around you? What if……. And on and on she goes till I feel myself on the verge of fear tears.