I signed up for my second 1 mile open water swim for July 18th. I went to a workout swim session last Saturday that went well. The day of though, I didn’t feel full of energy. I didn’t sleep as well Monday night as I would have liked. I also was in multiple meetings so I didn’t get outside at lunch time as I usually do. A walk at lunch makes a difference but I worked through lunch instead, as happens on busy days.
I left work a bit early and got dressed and had a smoothie before. I thought the smoothie would be a good light dinner. I did pair it with a bit of shrimp that I had made though. I had a good hour to digest my food before, but maybe I ate it a bit too fast. I always eaten before the swims so I didn’t think it would be an issue, but I felt a little too full.
I arrived at the swim and checked in. I had about 20 minutes before my swim time. The water was so warm when we got in. When the guy said GO, I was ready to go all out. Perhaps that was my mistake. I really wanted to get a faster time and keep up with some of the other swimmers, but also keep a distance to not get kicked and be in the way. In the river, you can’t really see until you are right next to a person.
We start swimming upriver, which is against the current and it was strong. When I made it around the first two buoys, I even passed a person, when usually I am towards the back. Then I thought, ok, now the current is in my favor, I can keep swimming fast and strong. Then my right toes cramped. Ugh already! It was only the first lap of 2 for the mile. I managed to push through the cramps alternating breaststroke and trying to point and flex my feet during it. I slowed down a lot, but now my goal was to make it around and see how I could do. When I made it around the next turn, it was time to decide, do I do another lap or stop at the half mile? I knew the smart thing was to stop at the half mile. I would be fighting against the current again and my toes were still cramping. It would either be a really slow second lap or I’d have to get one of the people in the kayaks to take me back in. I didn’t want that to happen so I decided to get out at the one lap or half mile point.
I was sad that I had to stop, but I know it was the smart thing to do in that moment. As I think back on my first ½ mile where I was so anxious, I’ve come a far way this summer. I’m proud of finishing the one mile the last time. Even if my time is slow, I did finish it. That time, my toes cramped at the very end. I guess I’ll have to amp up the electrolytes the day before and the day of. The thing with swimming is that you don’t realize how much you are sweating when you are in the water.
I can still do practice river sessions through August and September. I was planning for this mile swim to be my last of the summer only because work gets busier in August. I am glad I was able to accomplish my goal to swim a mile in open water the last time. Also just to swim a half mile in open water is an accomplishment. When I tell people at work about my swims, so many of them say they can barely swim a length in the pool or something. I’m always shocked because I feel like swimming is such a life skill that everyone should know.
All this to say, it was not my day, but I won’t quit. Even if I don’t do another timed open water swim for a while, I will still have practices in open water and look forward to doing more swimming, pool or open water.
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