The Hard Hard Sun


I hit the pool hard today for the first time since my last Triathlon back in early September. I had wanted to go swimming on several occasions but just couldn’t quite bring myself to do it. I would have my suit and my towels and I would walk by the pool lanes, and I would turn the other way. I wasn’t ready. The pool was still on a time-out! Ya, I was angry at the water. I didn’t want to look at it, to touch it, or really even to drink it, though I knew that I had to in order to keep breathing.

A short glance of the pool lanes and the flashbacks would start. Vivid memories of that early morning lake swim that would plunge me into my second Triathlon. It was a bitch. A bitch that began at dawn on a warm September morn. I barely had time to get my wetsuit on and in the water before the starting gun sounded and 340 other wayward bodies enveloped me like piranhas in search of popcorn.

We began the swim heading due East into the Sun as the large golden orb first began to open her eyes and poke her head above the tree line. The air was warm, as was the water, and I questioned myself repeatedly , on why I was wearing a wetsuit. Seemingly all the other swimmers that mulled around, over and under me, had wetsuits on as well, so I took a bit of comfort in that. If nothing else, it would act as additional padding as feets, legs, arms, and hands tapped-tapped me from side to side and above.

I had tinted goggles in my bag, but had chosen to wear my clear ones since those were the only ones that I had trained in. Another bad decision. They say, ‘don’t change anything on race day’ , but that should come with a caveat of reason and logic thrown in! If you are swimming due EAST into the sun, you need some cornea protection, man!

In my case, I should have worn them because the glare from the sun coupled with the floundering arms and legs in washing machine like fashion, had my direction lost within minutes. Well, it really wasn’t ‘lost’ because the huge rising Sun was beckoning us forth, but for how much longer I wondered, not being able to see any of the buoys! In my best front crawl, I swam hard to the first buoy – about 300 meters – over, under and around people as I went. As I finally reached it and turned the corner, something happened. Something within me, slipped. I lost my breath. I lost my rhythm. I nearly lost my mind.

I began head up breast stroke trying to find a lane where I could flip and go hard in back crawl, all the while talking to myself. Talking my breath back into my body. Calmly asking it to re-join me so that I could have some semblance of compete, some semblance of getting over this first fucking hurdle that has stung me twice in each of my Tri’s.

I couldn’t coax it back in. Plan B was alive and kicking: Breast Stroke to find a lane of 50 meters or so, then flip and go hard on the back crawl. Rinse. Repeat. Finally, we were coming into shore and my foot found some rocky ground, and I stumbled for a better footing, scrambling up the bank, somewhat dazed and confused, but breathing. Rather, hyperventilating. Dizzy.

With shaky legs and an even shakier mind, I jogged to my bike; One of the few constants in my life, that I have come to rely on day in and day out. My go-to medicine – no prescription needed. She was waiting, my little Specialized, pretty in red in the early morning light…she was primed, and raring to go….so we did and along the road, in my comfort, in my time, I found my breath. And it was exhilirating.

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2 Responses to The Hard Hard Sun

  1. Carolyn says:

    I haven’t been in the pool since my last tri, either. Sadly, we’re not talking months here…more like a year and 4 months. Starting at square one. I always find an excuse. Thanks for being a good role model. You rock and I plan to rock again one day soon…maybe tomorrow?

  2. Admin says:

    Do it Carolyn! It feels good! The Tricep burn is awesome! 🙂 Wish we could swim together!

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