Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Open Water Anxiety

I'm guessing that I have failed to mention that I totally have open water swim anxiety? Yep, it's at its worst when I'm in a wetsuit (which I won't be for this swim) and when I can see what's in the water. Now, that is all counterintuative, totally, I get that. The wetsuit is supposed to make you feel more secure, more buoyant. I feel more strangled, more confined like it's choking me. I know this is because I've had an ill fitting wet suit for years (sold it and now have none). Apparently, I'm not built like a medium sized woman, I'm more built like a man, isn't that nice. I'm tall which, apparently, means, man sized. I've worn men's wetsuits and they're fine, without the man, his wife would probably object. (Me in the borrowed wet suit. See, not freakishly tall, in fact, look short next to the freakishly tall man next to me. 6'5" makes me look like a shrinking violet!) Yeah, and I don't want no stinkin two piece suit either. C'mon, it's hard enough getting that thing off when you're wet, let alone two pieces to rip off your body like some kind of huge body condom. I always feel like a stuffed sausage or like I have on a huge body condom...just so no one gets pregnant. If there are any wetsuit companies out there that would love a rave review by me that their product isn't a piece of shit that will: a) suffocate you to death b) chew my neck until it bleeds or c) cause so much fatigue in my shoulders that I can't get the freakin thing off in T1, I'm your WO-man....but only if it can hold this 5'9" biatch...certainly, not everyone in the tri world are a bunch of shrimps?

Seeing what is underwater just freaks me out. You'd think that seeing what is there would make you feel better, more at ease. Not me. Give me some dark and murky water where I can't see my arm in front of my face and I'm good. I'll have the periodic thought of a dead body but not often and just keep swimming. It's not a shark thing...I don't think. I don't have thoughts of JAWS or anything. I just don't like seeing things scurry around down there. A jelly fish, gawd, I scream underwater when I see a jelly fish. They burn like hell and I try to swim the hell away from them too.

OK, there it is, I'm putting it out there. I have had the least amount of anxiety at IMFLA last year about the water - I think it was because I was too worried about all those 2000 bodies to worry about the water AND at a small tri last year where I just wore a bathing suit and felt totally free to swim. Don't even get me started about the race...I've never done this before, I don't know what the hell I'm doing. Is it like a 5K run that unless you're stupid fast you just start at the back? I need to do more research...two weeks....

New Math - Swim Calculator for the week of 4/13/09
20,000 Meters (target this week)
20,000 M - 4200 yards (3840M) = 16,160 Meters remain
Two more days of new math, swimming in yards and then three more in meters.



Once you get over you bitchin, here is what I think.

Most wetsuit companies size and promote their suits for professionals. TIGHT. I think you would be better to go with a slightly bigger, looser fit, and let it get wet on the inside so it sticks to your skin.

Also, a full suit will give you more buoyancy, but you have to do a little work to get the arms and legs set right. That means pulling and tugging on them to get them loose at the joints.

I love open water. No wall or turns to worry about. No 80 year old women hitting on you. Just you your buddies, and the open water.

joyRuN said...

HAR! My first/last tri I was second to last outta the water because I FREAKED OUT. Lake Nummy got all kicked up & when I tried putting my face in that murkiness, I started to hyperventilate & choke & nearly drown. I finally figured out that the water was shallow enough for me to stand up & walk the rest of my swim portion. So I did.

Chloe said...

I got over my fear of an open water swim by closing my eyes except with I'm breathing or focus on the feet in front of me. I HATE seeing what's below me. It just freaks me out. Gross.

Wetsuits cause major anxiety as well - except in NO. I didn't want to swim in that lake without one. Eww. But just like you - I swim sooo much better just in a suit. Screw the wet suits!!

Marcy said...

I don't know what to tell you on the wetsuit. Anything that feels like a big body condom can't be fun.

Buuttt open water swimming (especially in the ocean) would freak me the hells out too. I refuse to go into the ocean over my waist.

Diana said...

I say do the thing naked!

Watch out for the water snakes....they love to swim around giant body codoms!

IronBob (swimming upstream at IMAZ 08) said...

I LOVE seeing what's out there.

When your swimming in the ocean in a black seal outfit (200# version for me), I know those little rascals (sharks) are down there thinking.. "Hmm, seal or Ironbob, oh what the hell, let's take a bite and see". By seeing them coming, at least I have the ability to hit them in the nose (once) before I loose my arm.

But, hey, that's just me.

Blondie said...

I'm convinced all women tri clothes are made for 11 year old boys. Some of us have curves and some of us are tall. Why can't they create something that supports the twins and doesn't give you a wedgie at the same time?

kristen said...

I totally get it about the wetsuit. I f'ing hate them. I only bought one when I moved back to the Pacific NW because the water is freezing!!

I don't relate to the 'blind' swimming though. I like to see myslef move through the water. Makes me feel like I'm actually going somewhere. What's a few little fishies (or jellyfish) between freinds?

And isn't anxiety a completly normal and rational emotion when you are about to do something completley new and out of your comfort zone. Shit, I get anxiety before I *run* a 5k. I don't know how I would hold up swimming one. Your swimming your ass off for this thing -- your going to totally rock the shiz out of it!!

Shannon said...

I have a wetsuit that rocks but I DO wonder if I'll choke to death when I get done with the swim. I got a great deal with it so I'm sucking it up and going with the choky feeling.

I'm no help, just wanted to commiserate......

TRI-james said...

I hear you about the OWS! The clearest water that I have ever swam in I still could not see my hand in the water. I would not know what to expect in clear water!

Bill said...

I hate that tight upper chest feeling from wet suits. However, I do like to see in the open water. It's a nice distraction. My advice: lie to yourself. As you swim, repeat the mental thought that you like seeing little fish and the ocean floor. Jelly fish: swim around them. Sharks: swim faster than the person next to you.

BTW, I'm super impressed with your doing this event. I can't imagine doing a 5K swim. I'm still trying to get my head around the 2.4 that I'll have to do for IMAZ.

Wes said...

I feel your pain! I kind of felt my anxiety leaving me at the end of last year. I had my best swims ever at South Carolina and IM Florida. I'm hoping that carries over to this year.

Dee Dee doesn't like to see what's in the water either. On our snorkeling trip in Hawaii, she wouldn't get out of the boat.


Runner Leana said...

OMG, like I'm not freaked out enough about my first open water swim tri..!! I haven't even tried swimming in my wetsuit yet, I just hope it fits properly. Me thinks it may be a tad big, but according to Flatout Jim that may be okay?? I love that in reading my race description for the swim it says, "the only thing to be aware of is the jumping carp." Jumping carp..??? Do they bite too??

Oh yeah, and I'm totally with Blondie on the tri clothes! My girls need some support!


Hey, check out this BT forum by Emilio De Soto.

I think he might know a few things about wetsuite.

Glaven Q. Heisenberg said...

I always see the Pool Shark coming.

But that's only cos I watch a lot of Pool Shark porn.

By the way, your height does NOT make you look like a man.

That disturbing bulge between your legs, on the other hand ...

That's a different story, Iron Mister.

I mean, "Missy".

Susi said...

my first open water swim was a nightmare. i had a panic attack and it felt like my wetsuit was squeezing me like a sausage. when i think back to that time i can still feel the suit sucking the life from me. i still have the same wetsuit, but have overcome my open water swim anxiety with a few tricks. there are likely too many to list here, so feel free to email me at susan at risingsunltd dot ca. a couple quick hints are to have a pre swim routine that you do always that calms you. also, i always always always dump water into my wetsuit through the neck, then slowly walk out of the water and let it drain through. it provides a wee barrier that allows the suit to move a bit. or so i have found. this can be done during your preswim in wetsuit pee. :)

btw your height is stunning and you look fab! nothing man like about ya.

Jo Lynn said...

I sat on a jelly fish on the beach of Jamaica, five hours before my wedding started. I'm not a big fan of them either. :~/
I'm kind of surprised you have a skin left with all the swimming you are doing. I would have a lot of trouble wearing a wet suit because I'm extremely claustrophobic (sp).

Marit Chrislock-Lauterbach said...

Well - I honestly don't mind OW swimming. As long as I'm NOT in salt water. Which pretty much eliminates everywhere I swim out here... or in Florida... :)

I wish you could have been here to hear me laugh at the pool shark. Brilliant! Because you know they're there... :)

aron said...

I am scared enough of the pool I dont know how you can do the open water, you are awesome!!

IronMissy - it's official!

IronMissy - it's official!
A vision in green!