Monday, January 18, 2010

And the fear slowly subsides

The water is amazingly clear ...
Bronwyn Bishop becomes convinced she can too [move her eyebrows]
Oh what a glorious day!
We head to the start line

And it starts ...
photos courtesy of

Training on Saturday was bizarre. I got through the break and started swimming instead of panicking. Having been advised to dive deeper I found myself focusing on that rather than my impending drowning and for the first time ever actually enjoyed Ocean Swimming. Susan, our team captain, was totally vindicated and crowing that she had promised eventual enjoyment. I rolled my eyes at the time. How does one go about retracting an eye roll? Counter clockwise perhaps?

Then Avalon. Another 1.5km swim. Went up the day before with a colleague (the Federal Court proving a very fertile hunting ground for recruiting ocean swimmers) to test out the waves. Massive. She handled it with great aplomb included a massive wave, that came from no where (i.e. beyond the break) and blotted out the sun whilst diving underneath it, and even still swept us both up in it.

Sunday morning. Bright and early. Well bright at least, by my standards. Meet 2 fellow associates, grab a third and head to Avalon. Glorious day. Minimal wind so no chop. Convince recalcitrant associate to have a go. Her aplomb holds throughout the race and she finishes with a smile a mile wide and exclamations of never having had quite so much fun. I literally burst with pride; especially considering the nervous quivering mass I was during the first four weeks. The blokes smash the race. 30 minutes and 30 seconds and 31 minutes and 30 seconds respectively. I'm a ways behind but still improve my time from Bilgola considerably. Am totally stoked. Having never been in the second wave I'm used to my time not having to be adjusted. The blokes point this out to me and I attempt to knock them out with my flailing arms as I star jump for joy.

Mel (of World Masters gold medal glory) comes 3rd in her age category and the colleague who joined me for Bilgola is only moments behind. Impressive.

But most exciting, is that, for the first time, instead of panicking during the race, I swim. Even when I take a gulp of ocean instead of air, or someone elbows me, or swims over me, I'm totally relaxed and just keep setting a steady pace. I'm blaming this wonderful development on my lovely fellow associates. Clearly they are a calming presence.

Swim 5km in the pool. Almost non stop (I take two breathers without touching the bottom). Am now actually EXCITED for the Big Swim in a greater proportion to the part of me which dreads it. This is entirely unprecedented. It no longer looms as an impossible Herculean feat, but rather something achieveable. I guess I Can Too!! (Fingers crossed)

Past the $800 mark for sponsorship. Not sure hassling people for money isn't the harder part of the program!

Euphoric post finish line!

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