Yesterday I got clearance to train in open water again(long story, freak bike accident 2 weeks ago) so I went to Lake Terramuggus to do a quick 600 yards around lunch time and test things out. I have Lake Placid Ironman coming up in 4 weeks and swimming is not my strong suit. In the words of my amazing swim coach after 4 weeks of twice weekly lessons plus 2000-3000 yd workouts twice a week, “well, swimming will never come naturally to you but now I know if you’re out on a party boat drinking and it goes down you’ll survive.” Wow, thanks, high praise!!!
Anyway I got to the lake and decided it was too hot for my wetsuit, sat down on my bench after setting up my towel for sighting and began a little meditation. Open water freaks me out. I love it, splashing, bobbing, playing etc. however when it comes to putting my face in and intentionally swimming away from shore I get a little panicked. When my face goes in to the dark murky waters of most lakes the claustrophobia sets in… And yet I have opted to face the fears and swim anyway. I have chosen to participate in triathlons and scoff at indoor events. Why, I don’t know…. Crazy maybe?
I walked in waste deep, locked my eyes on the dock which was my destination and set off, stroke after stroke. What raced trough my head as I swam, “I hope the turtles leave me alone”-(never seen one, just heard they exist), “I hope the fish don’t nip my toes”, (they’re nesting close to shore and rumor has it they were biting people the night before), “I hope I remember to breath…”, “I’m out here all alone… I hope as mass swim murderer doesn’t freestyle next to me and wrestle me under…” all totally ridiculous I know.
Then somewhere about 200 yards out I gave in to the process, I felt the water move around me and I felt myself move through the water. Focusing on the relationship between me and lake, lake and me somehow made it more tolerable. Dare I say pleasurable.
Shortly after the swim I came home and was chatting with a friend and amazing swimmer who was saying they were thinking about joining Facebook but were scared. I laughed and asked him, “What are you so afraid of?” and as the word came out of my mouth I realized what he wasn’t afraid of. He wasn’t afraid of open water, dark lakes, turtles, fish, forgetting to breath or mass swim murderers. The water was his domain and he moved comfortably through it. The Internet is part of mine, and here I am equally as agile. Then I realized, a total duh moment, we’re only afraid of that which we don’t know, and the more we acquaint ourselves with something, the less scary it becomes. And who wants to be scared of anything…
All of this swimming and contemplating made me hungry. I just harvested some cilantro from our garden this morning and wanted to use it. I made what I’m calling a Fiesta Egg Salad and ate every last bite!!!
What are you afraid of? Do you readily admit it?