Friday, May 27, 2011

The Day She Drank Vancouver Lake

I've missed the last two open water swims due to family commitments, so I was determined to get out to Vancouver Lake last night to join the team in a leisurely, if rainy, swim. When I arrived, someone tried to tell me that the temperatures of the lakes we've been swimming in have ranged between 46 and 56 degrees (which I just verified) and all of my warm thoughts flew away into the cloudy skies. Here I've been thinking I've been in 60+ water and the placebo effect was downright wonderful.

I could see from the shore that it was really choppy, but I had NO IDEA! As I entered the lake and put my head down into the water, it occurred to me that I would need earplugs today...See!...I haven't been using my ear plugs at all this year and I've been fine, but now someone puts into my head how cold it is and my mind starts playing tricks on me. Generally at Vancouver Lake we swim a large circle around these poles...

The water goes in quite a ways more up the shore right now and...in fact, I don't believe there was even a sandy shore last night - it went straight into the grass. I don't know...it's maybe a 300-400 meter loop?? The inside of this loop near the shore was not smooth, but didn't look too horrible... but as soon as I rounded the corner out into the main part of the lake, the waves hit! Look...there I am...can you see through all that pounding water ;-)
Everytime I looked up...ALL I saw was water...water..and more water...
No sighting possible.

I felt like I was in the ocean. Worst...and Best swim ever.
The first loop I was so scared I peed all over myself. Wait a minute...I always pee all over myself...never mind. But the second loop, I took in about 2 gallons of water within two breaths and had a minor panic attack and had to tread water while a teammate laughed at me! Laughed at me! What the heck is he doing laughing at me?? Some friends I have =D   It WAS pretty funny. Laugh or cry funny. There was nothing to do but laugh and have fun...or go back to shore with the pussycats.

By the third loop, I had gotten pretty good at how to handle it all and by the fourth loop, I was so tired of fighting the waves that I started to take in lots of water again. Every other breath was a mouthful of water and me stopping to find my bearings. The fifth loop I could barely swim I was so tired and waterlogged.

I survived.
I'm well hydrated.
But...I'm apparently not ready for an ocean swim yet.

I feel stronger for the experience.

What is your worst, best, or craziest open water swim?

18 comments:

Nikki Kendall said...

Any Tri I do is a crazy swim!! People under you, on top of you, kicked in the face, nasty lake water. Sigh....It's awesome!

Samantha said...

hahaha...that picture of the surfers (I mean you, swimming) cracked me up. That water sounds crazy. Good job for toughing it out. I don't open water swim, but I was on the crew team in college and we accidentally flipped our boat in the Hillsborough River one morning while it was still dark out. That woke me up real quick.

misszippy said...

You survived and next time it will be easier!!

My worst open water swim was years ago doing Eagleman 70.3. It was my 3rd tri ever (why that far on 3rd try, not sure!) and it's in a river called the Choptank. It was so windy and choppy that the buoys were getting sent everywhere. It took FOREVER to get through that swim, but I did. Afterwards I talked to my coach (Troy Jacobson) who was also doing it as a pro. He told me that it was the hardest swim I would ever do, and he was right!

(Just) Trying is for Little Girls said...

Oh Julie! You crack me up.
You know I'm not a swimmer, and this post reinforces my position.

Laura said...

Maybe he was laughing because he had just peed all over himself and then saw you take down all that "water"...just a thought :) you are brave, I'm the worst swimmer ever!

Julie said...

Laura! You are probably right :D

Rose @ Eat, Drink, and Be Meiri said...

The only open water experiences I've had have both been races. Well, we used to play in a big lake as kids, but kids aren't afraid of anything. Except sea monsters.

Michael said...

Great job on the swim that sounds awful!!!! Glad you survived and left feeling more confident.

XLMIC said...

"Well-hydrated"! *snort* too funny :)

I am so glad you SURVIVED! I am not a big fan of cold water... or swimming :P I am super impressed by people (like you) who take on both at the same time!

Megan said...

I've had pretty chill open water swims for the most part. I think the weirdest one is when I had to stop because a rude fisherman decided he "needed" to go right in front of me and there was no way that I was going to get close to his boat because of his fish hook. So I just bobbed in the water a waited...lame.

Tri-Living...Together said...

Ear plugs... holy hell do I need earplugs?? I've never done an open swim! So i'm going to get my arse kicked in August!

Chris K said...

Wow. You are tough.

Guess what? You won my Giveway. Go to my blog "contact me" and send me your email. I can't seem to find yours.

Abby @ Have Dental Floss, Will Travel said...

The title of this post alone made me giggle.

Julie said...

You have any idea what a rock star you are!?!?!? I'm pretty sure I would have packed it in if not when I saw the waves certianly after a panic attach! You rock!

ajh said...

Sounds like you did great. You will be ready for that ocean swim soon.

Cory Reese said...

Just the idea of an open water swim gives me a knot in my stomach. That sounds so daunting. Good job!

Jill said...

I swam competitively in high school and college and I'm scare shitless to swim in the open water. Mostly, I'm so afraid of being kicked in the face. I'll stick to swimming laps for now and maybe one day when my foot is healed enough to run more, I can do a tri again (did them eons ago. In a pool :)).

Hahah...I was laughing at the first picture and how "choppy" the water was :). Nice swim, chica! You lived to write about it and that's a good thing!! :)

Small Town Runner said...

You are DEFINITELY NOT convincing me to try that Tri at cooper creek reservoir. I am sure I would die now.