I always get a little nervous on my first open water swim. I would not say I get scared, but I always tend to think back to my first Olympic race, and that swim did not go well. The water was freezing, and I started my race career with an Olympic size triathlon, which was my first mistake. Yesterday, I was more concerned about water temp. The temps had been in the mid to upper 60s in the water, but we had some nasty storms that came through during the weekend, and I knew it would drop the temperatures.
I had tried my wetsuit on the night before and I had forgotten how tight those suckers are! I blame The Pushup Challenge and the knew guns for the tightness... Ok, not really. I made sure I packed my suit, white swim cap (so I could be seen) earplugs, goggles (both tinted and clear), body glide, my towel and drove over to GH's house so we could jump in the lake.
We walked down to the bank of the lake and began the process of getting in the wetsuits. It did take a minute. I used plastic bags on my hands and feet to make it slide right on, then took the next few minutes to make the necessary adjustments. I sat on the edge on the bank and stuck my foot in the water. Whoooo, it was cold! So I had no other plan but to jump in feet first. Once I did, my feet were the only things that were cold, so I dove in and got the head under the water. Whoooo, it was cold! So I made the proper adjustments to the goggles and off we went. I got used to the water temp pretty fast, so it was not really an issue once we got going. We swam across the lake to the boat on the left in the picture I posted, which is about 1/4 mile to the boat and back.
The first time across the lake, my breathing was pretty labored, my chest felt really tight and it was hard to get a big breathe. I really focused on not getting to freaked about it because I knew it would eventually come to me, I just needed to relax and work it out. By the time I was almost back to where we started, I felt more normal while swimming. The only thing I noticed was that my shoulders were tired from the wetsuit. I swim in a full sleeve Zoot wetsuit and of course, it's tight, but the motion seemed more limited than I remember. It kind of had me concerned fro Ironman Branson 70.3 and the 1.2 mile swim. So it is something that I have time to work on this.
GH gave me the idea to not kick as much in the wetsuit. I guess all the Master Classes I have been doing lately has really got me focusing on my kicking. So I swam a little more and did not kick except only to balance myself. I thought of this as more like swimming with a swim buoy, and really focused on long strokes and my side to side motion and rotation. It felt better when I did not kick as much, so I can work on this more and work it out. I have time before September, I have access to a lake and a swim partner, so I should be able to figure it out by Sept!