I mastered the challenge. Today I swam in my first open water race. Two miles at local Lake Harriet. I went into this race confident in my ability to swim two miles, pretty sure about my ability to swim two miles in open water, even with weeds and wind; and hopeful that I could make it within the hour and fifteen minute time limit for the race. All I wanted to do was finish.
Joe and the girls left the house extremely early for a Kang-family weekend and came down to the beach with a picnic breakfast to see me off. You can’t see it in the picture, but the paper Julie is holding is a sign reading “Go, Mommy Go!” (with the Gs written backwards).
There I am in the water right before the race, pretending to be confident. In actuality, I was trying to ignore how cold I was and convince myself that I was really going to do this.
Joe was in charge of taking pictures today, and while I was out in the water the kids amused themselves on the beach. I hear that there were a couple of dead fish involved, but my girls were only observers in that part of the entertainment.
The actual swim itself was fine. The first leg was a little – not scary, but I was nervous. All those people bumping bodies in the water, settling into my stroke, getting comfortable with trying to sight the buoy. Once I turned that first corner, though, the crowd had spread out and I settled into the swim – one stroke at a time. I’d swim thirty or so strokes, then pop my head up with a couple breast strokes to check my path. It’s not exactly easy swimming in a straight line when you’re not staring at the black line on the bottom of a crystal clear pool. I never did get too far off course, and pretty soon I was past the second buoy, then the next.
There was only one point where I was swimming against the wind and swallowed a giant lungful of lake water when a wave caught me right as I came up on a breast stroke. The thought going through my head as I coughed it up was not “I’m going to die” but “I hope the safety people in the kayaks don’t see me coughing and come over to drag me out.” And then I turned the last corner and came in for the homestretch and it was all downhill from there. At that point I felt like I could keep swimming all day.
And when I came up on the beach, I was so happy to finish feeling good that I did a little happy dance to the finish line.
There were a bunch of high-fives, hugs and general celebration. In this picture I’m surrounded by three of the women I swim with at the club, all Jennifers, one of whom swam in the race and the other two who showed up to cheer us on. How cool is that?
Here we are again – the Jen on the right is our coach – her kid is the one who touched the dead fish!
All this before 10 in the morning. The family and I headed home, I showered off the lake schmuck, and we all went out for brunch. Which was awesome. And then I came home and took a very long nap. The End.