I feel that I have a sacred duty to use these pages, err, pixels, to inform and educate. There may be some of you out there who are thinking, me? Wear a wetsuit? In public? No. Way.
Allow me to assuage your concerns.
Today was my very first Open Water Swim, aka "OWS," which means swimming that doesn't take place in a pool. It was a one-mile swim in Lake Audubon, in Reston, Virginia, a swim clinic that was prelude to a race tomorrow.
(You might remember that a few weeks ago I made a slight error and signed up for the race instead of the clinic. An error quickly put right by the lovely race director.)
Remember the morning of your first marathon? Your first 10k? 5K? First day of kindergarten? DO YOU REMEMBER THE STATE OF YOUR NERVES?
Yeah. Like that. I thought I would puke and die just driving there. My main worries were a) digestive (so to speak), and b) what if some horrible song started running through my head and I couldn't get it out????? Also, would I die from the cold (water temp was 64F)? And, lastly, could I finish?
To calm my nerves, the clinic started with a coach telling us how easy it is to DROWN. (I'm not making this up.) But! They had plenty of emergency personnel on hand. The other coaches talked about adrenaline, about how all your blood will go to your core so "don't worry if your lungs tighten up and you CAN'T BREATHE, because that's perfectly normal."
They started us slowly in groups of ten or so, and before I knew it I was in the water, and I started swimming. Kind of just like I do in the pool.
Putting on a brave face.
I took it nice and easy, as advised, and only stopped to see where I was, oh, 10,000 times or so.
The day was gorgeous, beautiful blue skies and nice and sunny.
I. Loved. Every. Minute.
No errant songs filled my brain. I was too busy trying to stay on some sort of course, which you would think might be easy since the course followed the shoreline, but you would be wrong. Mostly what I thought was: Am I last?
I swam freestyle. I felt strong the whole way, didn't get tired, breathing was easy. It was cake!
43 minutes later, I was done.
And I was, once again, DFL*.
(Hey, somebody has to be!)
So back to the wetsuit. I'm posting the photos below as a public service. If I can do this in public, you can too.**
1. Get wetsuit
2. Something about turning the legs inside-out:
Throw your butt in the air and party hardy like you just don't care... c 1979
3. Work it on up your legs:
4. Do the twist:
5. Now put your arms in:
6. Tug, tug, tug
7. Eh, bonsai!
New tri-friend, S., and me
*Dead F***ing Last
**Or you could just watch this: