Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Triathlon Obsessions - All About Swimming Surprise Surprise

Triathlon training brought out a few obsessions.  I was thinking about them as I swam back and forth and back and forth in the pool this morning. Not much else to do.  Here's what they were.


  • One of the first things I obsessed over was what wet suit to buy. Should I get sleeveless or full sleeved?  I asked bloggers. One blogger posted it on Facebook and got many opinions. As with so many things there seemed to be an equal amount that swore you had to have each one.  I talked to my swim instructor at the time about it and went with what she said.  I figured she had seen me swim and knew the water temps I would be swimming in.  What did I get? Sleeveless.  How do I think it went?  I think it was the perfect decision FOR ME.  Most of the time I didn't even need a wet suit temperature wise so I didn't need full sleeves.  And I did feel very constricted in it and feel it would have been worse with full sleeves.  
  • Then I obsessed over trying it on and even on opening the package. I believe it was at my house for 3 months before I opened it.  It was way past the friendly "you can return this if it doesn't fit" date.  I had a friend come with me to the lake who knew more about wet suits than I did.  With some help it went on just fine.  I must admit though that every time I put it on I worry this will be the time it doesn't fit.
  • Still on the wetsuit......I also obsessed over getting it off. I was heard to say more than once that when I did my first triathlon I would breathe easily once my wet suit was off.  Not when I was done swimming........I even had to have the wet suit off before I relaxed.  What did I find out?  I have never had a problem getting it off. Sometimes I remember to use PAM and sometimes I don't but it has never been hard.


  • I also obsessed over open water swim.  I put that off along with trying on the wet suit and then the whole broken wrist thing happened so they both had to wait even longer.  Once I got in the water I found out I liked it.  I liked not having to turn around all the time.  I liked being outside, the lake I was at was gorgeous.  I am a bit obsessive about the distance I cover in any sport so I didn't like not knowing how far I was going.  But OWS - not bad at all.  
  • A big obsession - one of my last ones I still had before the actual triathlon was fear of what was in the water with me.  Before I signed up for a tri I tried to find out about the water. Was it weedy?  I googled bodies of water trying to get this information or read race reviews.  I must say the three bodies of water I swam in were great. Plus once I was swimming in the tri itself - I didn't think about this at all. I was way too busy thinking about getting from the start to the finish as fast as I could so I could get on the bike and have some fun and be done with the whole swimming part.
  • I also obsessed over all the horror stories I had heard about swimming with masses of people and getting mowed over.  In my first two triathlons I was in the last wave and simply got at the back of the pack and that worked quite well. But in my more recent tri I was in a middle wave with many more people in it and many more strong fast burly men swimming after me.  Major panic.  This was not fun but nowhere near as bad as I thought. Yes, I got an elbow in the back with a downward push but I never went under and managed not to be in the way too much. I actually even passed someone. I don't know that this fear has gone away but it has certainly lessened

Putting the swim behind me!



  • Do you obsess over anything work out or race related?  I am really fairly relaxed before running races but I have not reached that state at all with triathlons.  Looking at the swim course always brings out some panic in me.  Thankfully it is the part that is first and I can put it behind me. 

11 comments:

Kate said...

Your swim weed experience was much like my rock climbing experience. I was all prepared to be petrified of the height, but when I was in the moment it was all about getting it done (or not getting it done, but at least it wasn't because of fear).

Typically, I don't obsess like some people do (for example, the two friends who I've had to talk down from the wall on a daily basis about this obstacle run we're doing on Saturday). I do tend to worry some about things that scare me (riding tricky singletrack), but I'm pretty good at compartmentalizing it until I absolutely have to think about it.

Char said...

You've faced a lot of demons with your swimming. Sometimes our thoughts are our own worst enemies and actually doing what we feared isn't half as bad as we anticipated. My current obsession is the need to 'go' while I'm out running.

HappyTrails said...

Just think: you missed out on wearing that dad-gum wetsuit around the house for the THREE MONTHS it just sat, unopened, quietly calling your name - three months of wetsuit love lost!!! :-)

I am a worrier and obsessor. I worry about all things and all people and am constantly trying to figure out solutions for all problems. It is a heavy load to bear! :-)

Teamarcia said...

I obsess over hooking wheels with another rider in a duathlon ergo I haven't done one. Swimming? I don't even go there.

Kepa Wong said...

It seems to be very common that folks obsess over the swim for all the reasons that you give. I obsessed over the run since I am such a crummy runner. Having been raised in Hawaii and growing up surfing large waves in very rough water, the open water swims fell well within my comfort zone. I did not have a competitive swimming background so I had to teach myself how to freestyle though (still trying to perfect it).

Liz said...

I love the fact that most of your worries turned out to be completely unfounded! I have many swimming related fears, which I am trying to face up to recently, e.g. if I put my head under water I'll die. So far, this one seems unfounded too...

Kandi said...

I don't think I obsess much about anything. I was a little concerned about swimming with the masses in my tri but the one I did was fairly small so it wasn't really an issue. If I hadn't grown up swimming in lakes frequently then I might have been more freaked by the OWS.

Darlene said...

Those are all the reasons why I would never swim in copetition (besides the fact that I would probably drown.)
I only worry that I will get lost or not find a parking spot and miss a race.

Mike said...

I worry about full contact swimming. I think getting out of my comfort zone by swimming is one of the reasons doing triathlons makes me feel alive.

Karen said...

You have come such a long way!! I think we overblown everything in our heads. It usually isn't nearly as bad as we fear!

Ana-Maria RunTriLive said...

You know, we all start with these fears and eventually the brain habituates and we feel fine. I love swimming now:) And I agree with all your points: have never gotten pummeled in the swim, and have never had a problem taking my suit off.