Tuesday, June 24, 2014

TriTalk Tuesday - Open Water Swimming

Happy Tuesday everyone.  It's really getting into the summer.  Hard to believe we are dealing with 80 degrees days, too many bugbites, and sunburns after the seemingly un-ending winter we had in New England (and across the country).  But summer it is, and with the warm weather comes the much-anticipated Open Water Swimming Season.  We've chosen OWS as our topic for today, so along with Courtney and Cynthia, if you have a blog on the subject link it up below!

I talked a lot about techniques and tips for open water in our first TriTalk post, The Swim.  Rather than to reiterate them (other than to again take the opportunity to say NEVER SWIM ALONE!), I'd like to share my thoughts and experiences so for this training season.

I've done 5-6 open water practices since mid-May.  Yes, those first few ones were in very cold water and were short.  In fact, I've hardly been in the pool at all in the last few weeks.  When I do swim, I swim outside.  Why?

I really enjoy open water swimming.

I grew up in upstate New York.  It was about a three hour drive to any ocean.  Summertime for me was long days at Greenwood Park, the local lake beach near our home.  The feel of mud between my toes, the cool lake water, eating sandwiches on the gritty beach and begging my parents for popsicles from the snack stand.

My childhood stomping ground

I'm sure it the time of year and the fact that my own family is on summer break, but I'm feeling very nostalgic for those summer days.  I learned to swim at a similar camping ground lake.  Now my kids spend days at similar parks, and it brings it back.  These parks are also where me and my training partners do the majority of our open water swimming.  We even brought the kids along and parked them on the beach once with the Dads while the mommies swam:

My swim coach Gill started out our Total Immersion class with a comment that swimming is a very sensual experience.  It is.  The feel of the water on your entire body.  Being supported by it.  Water moving around you. Add in the open water portion and you have (to me), a very calming and fun experience.  My most recent OWS was last week.  I had had a killer stressful day at work, my husband was sick, and I was deeply frazzled.  I met Gill and Gypsy at the lake for a swim.  Gypsy was also pretty wound up with her own trying day.  We were a bundle of nerves.

When we got in the water, it all melted away.  It was a beautiful evening.  Clear and warm.  We swam, enjoying the peace and quiet of the lake.  Just a few fishing boats.  By the end of the swim we were giggling (not Gill - would not suggest that a man giggles) and chatting at our stops.  Even Gypsy, who is as critter- and icky mud- phobic a swimmer as I've met.  We came out feeling much calmer and centered.

New stomping ground: Photo credit Gill
Fun to swim outside the buoys!!  
There are a ton of blogs and articles out there about conquering fear of the open water.  I get it.  I do.  But the next time you are out swimming in a lake (or ocean, or river - wherever you train), I challenge you to remember back to being a kid.  Back when you had no fear.  When you still thought worms were cool.  To summer days spent swimming and splashing.  And have fun.  Yes, your pace is important, as is sighting and many other skills for triathlon, but...

 if you aren't having fun.... why are you out there in the first place??

Happy swimming everyone!!  Next week we'll be getting back into the technical and talking about swimming gadgets, aids, tools, gismos, etc....


Lynda Benson said...

I have not not opened water swam for years come to think of it..oh I guess the ocean in Maui last summer would count, the sea turtle made me jump. You swim sounds amazing and peaceful :)

Gabi @ LeanGreenIslandGirl said...

I tell people that about running all the time, but you're right it's the same for swimming! If you don't love it, why do it? Or if you're doing it because you love triathlons make that your motivation, your mantra, find love for it! I def didn't used to love OWS, but now I do!

Courtney Fields said...

I love this! I grew up swimming in lakes too and swimming in them competitively feels so different some how. But I will try to remember what it feels like to be a kid enjoying th open water next time I'm out there. Love it!

Miranda Greenhalgh said...

Definitely try it! I completely agree that it feels very different (or it can) when you're swimming competitively. But it's the same water! I think having my main training ground also be a good kiddo beach spot kind of clinches the comparison for me.

Cynthia @ You Signed Up For WHAT?! said...

I love lakes and summertime fun in the water - thanks for the reminder to feel like my youthful self again!

Amanda said...

That is awesome you love open water swimming, I like it so much more than the pool. However I prefer the ocean over anything. It sounds like you had a really great swim last week. Great pic!

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