The crippling fatigue I’ve felt for the last two weeks during practice has made me feel a bit defeated. Heavy legs and burning arms made me feel like a wet noodle during most practices, and I wondered how my teammates possibly had the energy to continue on at their normal pace. I cut a bike ride and a swim short this week because my legs and arms just would not revive. They needed more recovery time, and they were going to take it, whether I was willing to give it or not.
Luckily, the week ended in a great victory for me: my first real ocean swim. In weeks prior, I’d hung back with a small group of my OWS-panicked teammates, and we’d practiced diving under waves and getting used to the icy hug of the Pacific around our wetsuited bodies. Today, with Coach Holly as my oceanic tour guide, I set out to conquer the surf (and my cold water panic). As we dove under the towering swells, my breath quickened, but I kept diving, swimming out, diving, until we were far enough away from the shore and the waves flattened out until their only presence was a gentle rocking as we paddled forward toward the far-away pier.
I charged forward, stopping once to catch my breath, shortened not only by exertion in the freezing cold water, but by both amazement and exhilaration of being out in the open ocean. No panic had set in and I WAS doing this. Wow. I plowed on, sighting the pier and Coach Holly to make sure that I was heading in the right direction and wasn’t going to end up in Canada or something. Midway through, the pier wasn’t appearing to be getting any larger, as we swam against the current. It felt like I was paddling in place for a while.
“Trust me,” Holly said. “We are getting closer.”
I paused a few times to catch my breath, and to get my bearings. Eventually the pier did get closer, and, before we knew it, we were heading into shore.
“Watch out for the surfers. Try to stay in between them,” Holly said.
A long-haired Fabio-lookalike surfer guy who was floating by, smiled and said, “Oh, don’t worry. We won’t hit ya.”
“It’s her first time swimming in the ocean,” Holly explained to to surfer.
“Ah, cool!” he replied.
“She just swam a mile!” Holly boasted for me.
“Wow! Way to go! That’s hardcore,” Surfer Guy grinned.
“Thanks!” I beamed, having just been bobbing there, grinning in acknowledgement this whole time.
We let the waves carry us back into shore, diving under a few tall ones that would have knocked us for a loop. As I trudged onto the sand, I gathered high-fives from a few teammates, feeling triumphant that I’d slayed yet another fear dragon.
I’ll chalk this week up as another success story, in spite of some of the not-so-fun parts.
In other news: I got a job! I start tomorrow and I couldn’t be more excited! Now it’s going to be a whole lesson in time management, but that’s a story for another post (stay tuned tomorrow for more). Yayy!