Have you ever seen a triathlon swim start?
Wearing your wetsuit and waiting in line for your age group to be called is the worst part. It’s like going skydiving and waiting until it reaches elevation knowing it’s a matter of time before you take the plunge. It’s nerve racking and your heart rate is already in aerobic zone without moving an inch. Eventually, you take the plunge.
The swim is a human washing machine, swim for survival, no holds bar, every man for himself fight across open waters. In short, it’s chaos. Psychiatrists are standing by as panic and anxiety attacks are imminent before a race.
You get punched, kicked, scratched, stampeded on. They know you’re human but they don’t care. Goggles are only meant to shun water away from your eyes and not as a tool to see in open waters. It’s pitch black.
You’re supposed to remain calm otherwise you’d most likely hyperventilate. Once you’re oxygen deprived, technique starts to falter and your survival instincts kick-in which are counter intuitive to survival. Seconds will feel like minutes and minutes will feel like hours. Your brain will tell you to kick and swim harder. Your brain will tell you not to put your head in the water and your brain will tell you it’s not natural to be horizontal. You must fight primitive instincts and rely on your experience from training. Stopping is all you’re thinking about but you know it’s a last resort as it’s both a psychological blow and unsafe to do so if you’re in the middle of the pack. Swallowing ocean/lake water will make swallowing chlorine a treat. Your only goal is to try to recover as the thought of drowning is very much real. The only crazy thing about this situation is that you willingly volunteered yourself to be part of it. You can’t wait until it’s over until you reach shallow waters, embrace how good it feels to step on firm ground, and immediately think “I can’t wait to do this again.” It’s viciously cyclical, rinse and repeat.
How do I know? I don’t. I ran through the experiences in my mind.
Ready as ever.