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Is this Real Life?

Holy guacamole.  The wave starts have been posted for St. Anthony’s.  Seeing as how I am so stoked about anything relating to open water and “waves” at present….this was a shock to reality.  Less than two weeks!

My wave will start at 7:04am.  I am racing Athena (women over 150 pounds – at least they don’t ask how much over 150 pounds we are!).   The Expert is racing Clydesdale, and he won’t start until 7:40!  I am happy about going first… because if I start to drown, I can make sure that I not only ruin my time at the race, but his also.  I kid, I kid.

After a not-so-positive swim experience over the weekend, I hit the YMCA pool for a 1600 meter swim tonight. Nice and slow, because I am still suffering from some crazy wheeze-o-thon (read: went to doc this morning where I was shot up with steroids and given a 21-pill pack of steroids).  I told the doc, “Hey, you know I’m racing PRO and everything…. can’t be taking steroids.”  She didn’t laugh.  I feel a little better, though.  And better in the brain after swimming a little tonight.

Why the lake/ocean can’t have black lines along the bottom of the water, I can’t understand.

I am blown away at the difference between a pool swim and an open water swim.  Yes, I’ve read it.  Everywhere. “Open water swims are tough.” And I experienced it firsthand yesterday. But I don’t think people who write about open water swims use enough exclamation points (!!!!!!!!!) or something when describing it.  Or maybe my experience was just bad with the pollen/near drowning from panic situation.

Of course, I like to write silly things.  But in all seriousness, I was scared with the first time experience.  And I am working through visualizing myself in the water, swimming calmly, chanting “just keep swimming” from Finding Nemo, and loving my wetsuit like a warm blanket… and I have five more days of visualization before I am back in the suit, in the water.  I know I will be fine.

And as my dearest Coach Monster says, I will laugh about this one day.

Today is not the laughing day.  But maybe next week will be.  I am so humbled by the greatness of this sport. I have not even scraped the surface of triathlon and I feel so welcome.. and so in awe of the amazing athletes who participate.

At the lake yesterday, I spoke with a man who was formerly 270 pounds, and is now working on his sixth Ironman competition this season.  He was so nice, so genuine.  And so fit and hot and adorable. (Shut up and so what….the Expert was there too… he would agree!) I wish I had scribbled his name and email on my trembling Orca arm so I could steal more inspiration from him.

But I have found that almost everyone I have come across in triathlon has the same welcoming, “I’ve been there too” spirit.  That’s what makes this sport amazing.  I can’t wait to spend my weekend in St. Petersburg – watching the pros, watching others like me, and just being immersed in such an amazing sport.

I am truly, truly blessed.

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