triathlon, Wallis Sands triathlon

A bit scary…

When I blogged about my triathlon experience last year, I mentioned how crummy the swim portion was for me.  I’m not a particularly strong swimmer, a fact that was made painfully clear as I brought up the rear of the race.  So this year I decided that I’d actually train a bit, and I’ve been swimming about a half a mile twice a week (the swim portion of this race is 1/3 of a mile).  I’ve been feeling better about my swim prospects.

Until today.

You see, there’s just one problem…this swim is in the ocean.  I’ve been paddling around in the nice warm, calm lap pool at the gym.  That’s juuuuuuust a bit different than swimming in the Atlantic.

Now, last year I didn’t use a wetsuit for the swim, something I lamented after the fact, since wetsuits add some buoyancy.  Since this swim is in the Atlantic at the end of September, you’d have to be an idiot not to wear one.  So, I bought a wetsuit, which has been sitting, still with the tags on, in my closet.  I’ve been hesitant to take the tags off in case I either a) chicken out, or b) have my back injury from last fall flare up again.  Since I’m now a week out from the race and my back is doing pretty well, I decided to take the tags off and give it a whirl today.  It would have been nice to have done it on a warm day with calm water, kind of like this…

Aren’t they cute?  But no, I had to wait until today.  Overcast, windy as hell, with lots of waves and a cross-current.  And nary a soul to be seen on the beach.

Hardheaded and stubborn as always, I pulled on the wetsuit.  And pulled.  And pulled.  And tugged.  And then contorted myself into this weird pretzel to get it zipped up.  By the time I was done, I was sweating.  That thing is TIGHT!  I mean, I know it’s supposed to be tight, but…wow.

I was still pretty nervous about getting in the water, but now I was sweating so I was at least ready to cool off.
Of course, it was also low tide.  For those of you that have not experienced our New England low tides…they’re low.  It added a nice, long walk in my very tight suit.  I finally reached the water and ran in.  I hadn’t even hit knee deep water before I got knocked over by a wave and carried several feet south.  I came up and gamely tried to dive under the next one.  That went a bit better, but the waves were basically on top of each other.
Now, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…I’m stubborn, but I’m not stupid.  And I was not staying out there any longer.  It was too rough and certainly too dangerous for me to play around out there by myself.  So, I called it a day.
The good news- the wetsuit seems to work fine.  I was warm and once I was in the water it didn’t seem so tight.
The bad news- I’m now fairly terrified about this swim.  I hope things are a bit calmer tomorrow and I can give it another try.

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