This is the look of a woman that was so damn glad to GET OUT OF THE WATER!!! On July 19th, I participated in the Ocean City Ocean Games 1 mile Open Water Swim…and the ocean was hostile that day. The waves – the surf – OMG! It was daunting. I sat on the beach at the start line just staring at the surf wondering first – how I was even going to get in the water and second – what da hell did I sign up for. I was surprisingly calm about the whole thing. I just kept telling myself that I’ve been riding/diving waves in OC all my life so what makes this so different and if I can just get out to and around the first buoy, I can slog through the rest.
I dove in at the whistle and during my 1 mile journey, I learned the following:
- I am one with the water. – The water isn’t trying to do anything to me so don’t fight the water. Go with it, ride the swells and just keep moving along.
- How do you swim any distance in challenging conditions? 10 – 20 strokes at a time. When I stopped after turning the first buoy, I was like…THERE IS NO WAY. Then I yelled at myself to get out of my damn head and give me 20 strokes non-stop and reassess. 20 became 40 became 60---became 1/2 mile. When the water seemed to get more rough, I broke it down to 10 strokes at a time…and I was finally at the turn into shore buoy.
- Find your rhythm, find your calm/peace. My rhythm was my 20 strokes – look up – adjust aim – 20 strokes. My calm/peace came with the first bullet – don’t fight, don’t flail and humming (yeah, I sing to keep the negative out). I had a wet suit on, I could see the shore, there were plenty of kayaks and jetski’s out there. I AM FINE!
- JUST KEEP SWIMMING! – let no obstacle, setback or wave in your face get in the way of a noteworthy goal.
I came out of that water in 1:10. Slow as frozen molasses, but I DID THAT DAMN THING, without help, without panicking, with a smile on my face. I came out of that water KNOWING that I can swim in just about anything and can go the distance and more. That was the biggest confidence builder EVER!!
I put together a video slide show of the swim as photographed by The FireMarshall. He is the best Sherpa and Spectathlete on the PLANET! (Next to his trainer – Erin Steptoe, of course).
ENJOY & JUST KEEP SWIMMING!