Sunday, November 27, 2011

Express Glass Ocean Challenge

Yep, that's my back. That looks like a typical swimmers V back but I am sure it's more the camera angle. Either way, I love my shirt and I earnt every thread, fibre in that shirt today. Why? Well, I overcame so much today and in the end came out of it a much stronger person emotionally. I beat those head demons for sure.

As usual I woke up super early but I did have a great nights sleep which is extremely unusual for me - as most of my friends know and my poor husband. I don't know why I wasn't super freaked out the night before but something inside me just felt at peace. I just kept saying to myself - Tomorrow will be okay. Believe in yourself and all will be good.

So when I woke up this morning, even though I was slightly nervous it was very different to other race day's. I knew there was nothing I could do to change the day - it was what it was and that was all there was to it. Breakfast went down easy too - I wasn't gagging or heaving to swallow my brekkie.

Arriving at the Coogee, I did start to get nervous. Thought's of Yeppoon came flooding back. I really didn't want this to be a repeat event. But I thought the only way to find out was to just go for it. Lucky I had my beautiful family there and can you believe it - no photo with my hubby. I felt so bad. But he later told me he was just happy to be there watching me do something that I love - swimming.
I quickly registered and got my arm marked with my famous "211" race number and sat around waiting for it all to start. I ran across Spot Anderson, as always that dynamic smile and personality made me feel comfortable and he told me not to forget about warm up with them and then Joey and Kristy turned up. So happy I was to see their smiling faces. So happy I was to be sharing today with them.
Pretty soon it was time to go and warm up but not before Kristy and I got a photo with Bondi Fit and Spot Anderson. It felt really nice to be included in their club shot. And then it was time to warm up.

WHOA, talk about freezing water. I think the water was 18.9 degrees but boy did it feel sub zero. It took my breath away and made my head feel like I had brain freeze. All I could think of was those poor people in the Titanic and how cold they must have felt. Yeah I know - strange thought - but it did cross my mind. And then I kept saying - just stay focused. It will warm up and if it doesn't - swim faster.

And then it was time to line up - Kristy and I wandered over and we gave eachother a hug and wished eachother luck. So glad she was there.
And then, we were off. I took off relatively slowly I felt and heard Spot scream out - "GO PANTHERS". With that I dove in and started swimming. Wave after small wave I swam through trying to gauge which way the current was taking me. But I couldn't feel any current, all I could feel was chop. And then I started to be pulled to the left as did everyone else. There seemed to be this cross current that we were battling so all I could do was keeping swimming on an angle to the first can.

I seemed to be doing pretty well in my breathing and timing it and kept remembering Spot's words "If you want more oxygen - breathe more", so I breathed every second stroke and then swapped sides when I fatigued on that side. I could just see that I kept passing people all the time and for once I didn't feel scared. I kept looking at the ocean floor and seeing it change from beautifully clear rippled sand to rocks with weeds to then total darkness as I hit the back end. The swell got a bit more intense and waves got messy and choppy and I just tried my hardest to stay focused on counting down the cans and then looking up to see how many purple caps were in front of me.

On the way back in there was this lady in a wetsuit beside me with a blue cap and I kept focusing on her to make sure she didn't slip too far from my view. I deemed her my pacer. So thankyou blue capper - you kept me on track. As we got closer I saw 2 purple caps start to overtake me - one was male and the other a lady. We stayed pretty much on par until the very last minute where they both got a wave and I missed it. I kept swimming until I felt sand at my fingertips and then got up and started trying to run up the bank. Before I knew it I got smashed by a wave from behind and found myself spinning in a pretty circle and then trying to redeem composure for my run up the sand bank through the finishers chute.
It was great to see the kids smiling faces waiting for me and then seeing Stephen and Joey's face up top waving as I went through. Not far behind me was Kristy - she did amazing and came out smiling from the surf too. Well done Kristy. Such an accomplishment.
As we both walked back to the boys with the kids - what a sense of pride and accomplishment I felt. I had done it and conquered that which I thought I may never. I was on top of the world. It was great to feel hugs from Stephen.

It was then Joey's turn to do the 2.4km swim. He is so brave - far braver than I. And he did amazing. Well done Joey - you too accomplished an awesome goal today. I think we will all sleep soundly tonight.

As we were driving home I asked Taillah to have a look at Multisport Australia for my time. What a shock I got to find out I came 4th in my age group.
WooHoo. Just what I needed today. It was a real boost to my self esteem.

Now my next challenge is Bondi to Bronte 2.4km swim next Sunday. That one may require more self control the night before. But here's to me for trying.

Your hard work will be rewarded.

"The path to a dream is paved with sacrifices and lined with determination. And though it has many stumbling blocks along the way, and may go in more than one direction, it is travelled by belief and courage and conquered with a willingness to face challenges and take chances" Barbara Cage