I have to be honest, when I decided I wanted to do a 70.3, I chose a race based solely on the difficulty (or lack of difficulty) of the swim. When I heard you could practically float with the current down the Augusta swim course, I was sold. I’ve mentioned it before, but swimming is a fairly new thing for me.
When I started training for my first triathlon in 2010 I learned that the best I could do was some version of treading water to stay afloat. When it came to putting my face under the water and doing any formal stroke, I was clueless… and terrified. I deferred my entry for my first Olympic Distance triathlon for that reason; I just wasn’t ready to take on the swim.
I made it a point to really work on my confidence in the water for this race. It’s the very first thing you do after the gun goes off and it sets the tone for the day. I didn’t want my insecurity in the water to get the best of me.
It’s a funny thing, training.
I let go of the fear of swimming with groups and I’ve gone to every group open water swim I could find. I’ve become a regular at my YMCA pool and have recruited friends to swim with me. I’ve seen my pace pick up and I get excited on days I have a long swim. I’ve gotten out of the water at my last few triathlons feeling proud.
That’s the thing about training;
You get out of it what you put into it.
Last night, I swam with the Mad Dogs at Pass-a-Grill Beach.
I finished the 1-mile swim in 35 minutes. Sure, that’s probably not so impressive to some people. But, that’s the fastest I’ve ever swam a mile so to me, it’s an accomplishment.
Here I am, 16 day from my very first Ironman 70.3 and ironically, the swim is the event I am most excited about. I know I won’t be in the front of the pack, or anywhere near it for that matter. But I also know that I have prepared myself to swim the distance without completely panicking and wearing myself out in the first event. I consider that a small victory in my training.
Now, if only I’d had that same mentality on my cycling training…