I finally went for an open water swim thanks to an invitation from Aquaman.
Aquaman invited me on a 750m swim. This swim was easy for Aquaman. He had done the swim many times before. I, however, haven't really swam since the 8th grade, and I've never swam in the ocean before. On top of that, 750m is the goal for which I am training. I was 100% sure I could not swim that far.
So, of course, I said yes.
I was pretty sure I was going to die. So I kissed my wife goodbye, and took my fat, hairy, white body to the beach to face down my impending doom.
When we got there Aquaman, the spry dog he is, dawned his “Rash Vest”. A rash vest, it turns out, is a wet suit like shirt that helps protect you from the sun, and has the nice side effect of… well… being a shirt. Standing on the beach, blubber exposed and tingling from embarrassment I made a mental note: “Buy a rash vest you idiot”. (Side note: my wife said I should buy one months ago, but I try not to listen to her so we can fight. It keeps our relationship fresh.)
I dragged my body into the water. It was cold. It wasn't freezing, but cold enough to make my breathing erratic. I am going to die.
“Are you ready?” Aquaman confidently grumbled. “Nope.", I replied, “Maybe we should just shoot for half way and see how that goes”. “Sure man, let's head for those stairs and see how you feel”.
And just like that he was gone. Skipping across the water like a thing that skips across water really well.
I started to follow. The water was a bit cold, but I was… holy fuck is that a shark… no it's just sea weed… whoops out of air I'll just get a breath of… this big wave of water… bllekbebbe… man, drinking sea water is gross.
I pushed on. The sand floor slowly started fading into a murky teal gradient of darkness. I can't see down there. I am having a hard time breathing. Damn it, another lung full of sea water. I am going to die.
I reckon about 200m in I just started alternating between the backstroke and some flailing attempt at freestyle. Fingers across the water, bend the elbow, small kicks, don't counter rotate your hips…
A few seconds into doing my version of freestyle, the darkness would get to me and I'd start to panic. I'd roll back over and just kick along until I could try freestyle again.
At one point a police boat came pretty close to where I was. I am almost positive they were thinking, “What the hell is that moron doing. Should we go save him or something”.
What was probably only about 15 or 20 minutes later, we reached the stairs.
“Do you want to swim back or keep going to the other beach?” Aquaman asked looking at me with a bit of concern.
“Nope.” I said. “I am walking back mate.”
We went back to the first beach and did a few laps near the shore. We'd swim out 100m or so, turn around, and back to shore. That was more my speed.
All in all, it was awesome! 10 out of 10; would do it again. In fact, Aquaman and I are going to try to make this a regular Saturday thing, and hopefully I can get decent at open water swimming - get my panicking and breathing under control. Now that I have a base line, I just need to do it about 100 more times, make a bunch more mistakes, and I might just be able to pull it off.
I am starting to ease back into training again. The triathlon training officially starts in a few weeks. You can see the start of my climb out of Resting Valley™
And Swimming has started to make an appearance on my activity break down.
I have a new appreciation for “getting thrown in the deep end”.