Sunday, August 21, 2011

The one where I eat it on the swim

Earlier today was the Bulldog Triathlon out at Rondeau Park. You may recall that this was the locale of my very first tri ever, the Try-a-Tri, here. This year I was back, but being an old pro at this tri thing now (said with tongue firmly in cheek), I was ready to do the full course race this morning.

Or so I thought. My back injury has been niggling all summer long, and I haven't run a 5k since early July. I have been so focused on the run - could I do it, would I re-trigger my injury, could I even last 5k now that it's been 8 weeks without any running - that to be honest, the idea of anything going wrong on the swim or bike never crossed my mind.

Oh, but it did. Approximately 15 seconds after the horn sounded to start my heat of the race, I had some sort of panic attack in the water. I couldn't breathe even though I wasn't moving, I couldn't get my heart rate down, and I couldn't reason myself back into a more sane state of mind. I kept thinking about how earlier this year I'd swum 4 times the distance - in the ocean! - no problem. I told myself to suck it up. I thought back to my final swim set last week which I'd finished in 17:19 - which may not be fast by swimming standards, but it was pretty indicative of someone who has at least trained for the distance.

Instead, I bobbed about gasping for breath, trying to decide between swimming back in to shore or latching onto the lifeguard's boat. In either case, it would be throwing in the towel.

Somehow I got moving again... sloooooowly... and somehow I did pull through and finish that leg of the race. I puttered through transition because really, I'd lost so much time on the swim that a few seconds here or there didn't matter. Transition was pretty darn empty by the time I got there. It was depressing.

But the bike leg went OK (a little slower than I expected, though it rained the whole time and I definitely took it easy on the corners because of that) and the run actually went better than I expected. So all was not lost.

But that swim leg got the best of me. It took me 23:17 but felt like an hour. I'd been thinking I could do it in 17:30. So much for that!

On the bright side, Chad signed up to do the duathlon, his first. He did really well and now we are one of those corny couples who share a hobby, which is pretty neat.

The only thing left to do is decide whether or not to go ahead and sign up for Lakeside this year. Part of me wants nothing to do with swimming again for a good long while. And part of me thinks back to Top Gun, where Tom Skerritt is telling his crew to get Maverick back up in the sky as soon as possible after his crash. If it worked for Tom Cruise, it will probably work for me.


carolyn said...

Hi Carrie,

Don't despair about the swim. The same thing has happened to me several times. The trick that works for me is to take it easy and do breast stroke until you feel comfortable in the water. Was the water colder then normal? As I discover at the Coborg tri, the water was 13oC and what I thought was a panic attack was my body getting used to the frigid temp.

You should be very proud of yourself. You continued despite your fear.