Sunday, May 01, 2011

Robinwood Lake Revisited

Six or seven months ago, my first "open water" swim was at Robinwood Lake. I had trained exclusive in the pool since day one. Gone from barely completing a couple of laps to tearing through 1800 meters (36 laps.) And then, to my great surprise, I nearly drowned at Robinwood Lake. The lessons of that day still haunt me: Desperation. Panic. Disappointment.

I had to regroup mentally. Then spent the next six months challenging myself all over again. Always plotting my return to the spot of that first defeat.

So today, I revisited Robinwood Lake. A bit warmer. Far fewer folks. Personally more prepared. Calmer. And with each crossing of the lake, I picked up more confidence. The first time I fought with myself and the water. Struggled to find my form. Couldn't relax. The return trip was easier. But still tense. Did not accept my inability to swim straight without looking up. So I worked twice as hard, out of anger.

One trip across and back was about 500 meters. Nearly the distance of most triathlons. I wanted to quit at that point. Claim victory. But I thought about my mistakes. Told myself I should have relaxed more. Should have focused on my breathing. Slowed down. Found the right pattern. And maybe I'd do it next time. Get better each week. Then something happened: I decided to stop planning and start doing. I decided to swim more.

And the second trip was great. Not perfect, but much better for me. I stopped fighting. I slowed down. Found the pattern: one.. two.. three.. four.. breathe! Took my time to spot my destination between breaths. And just kicked at times to keep my composure.

It was good to return to Robinwood Lake. Two laps today. Plan on training to the point of doing five. That'll be a mile of open water swimming. A noble goal for a full time computer dork like me. And I can make it happen.

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