I had been feeling fairly anxious about the Capital of Dreams triathlon for a while – river swim, jump in the water, wetsuit… all things I had not experienced. Due to our weather this spring, a few more things were added to the list this week – point to point swim, fast current, not only jump in, but jump off a boat. I practiced jumping in the deep end of the pool but it just isn’t the same as jumping off a boat into the middle of 65 degree river. I did think I could do it though. I really wanted to see how my swim was shaping up as I get closer to Raleigh and I haven’t had a chance to get in the open water.
I was almost last in line. There were 3-4 guys behind me and they all looked like they could swim right over me. That made me nervous. (One was actually back stroking so I probably would have been ok.) I really dismissed the news article that appeared yesterday because I know that Team Magic is not going to put us in a river where we would be put in danger. The other thing weighing on me was jumping in the cold water, even with a wet suit on, and being too stunned to move or losing my googles. (Losing my googles in a major fear since I only have sight in one eye. I can’t see much without my glasses as it is.)
We were supposed to jump out away from the boat. I was wondering what would happen if we didn’t get far enough out. Would we get sucked under the boat? That made me nervous. What if I couldn’t jump out away from the boat? I really didn’t think I would sink that far with the wet suit on but I knew I would go under water. But when my number was finally up, I just could not do it. It looked too far – both down and back to the dock. We had to round a slight bend and my depth perception was giving me problems with seeing. I knew that when I got in the water that I would just being looking for the next buoy and be siting for the tent in the park. I also knew a jet ski or a boat would be near by. The designated last place finisher went in but I still couldn’t. Everyone was very kind and tried to help me and encourage me. I could have gone in from the sprint start just to get in the water. It was not my day to jump off a boat into a cold river though.
I have never been much of a jumper. My mom kept from jumping off things as a child or out of trees or things that most kids do. She was so afraid I would get hurt or would lose the sight in my good eye.
I could have also gone ahead and done the bike and run but I was pretty drained from trying several times to make myself jump off the boat. In the end, I just gathered everything up and went back to my room and packed.
One of the cardinal rules of triathlon is “don’t do anything new on race day.” I had several new things on this morning that I really had no way to practice ahead of time. The river venue didn’t allow for getting in the water before the race like other venues do. This is a great race venue, by the way, it is just not what I have been used to doing. Getting in before the race helps me calm down some. I was repeating, “it’s only water” to myself and I know that is true. I also have brand new tires on my bike, but I am certain they would not have been any problem at all.
The positive side was meeting other team members from e3tri. How fun! And they all had great races! I also felt very supported by the Team Magic group, Cathy Pagani, Brian Darr, and by my friends who posted on Facebook. Thanks to all of you. Special thanks to Trish Seay who came to cheer for me and found me when she couldn’t spot me on the course.
Oh, and I learned how to put on my wet suit. Not all was lost.
So, now I go forward.