My biggest fear in the entire world is drowning. In Runner Susan’s world, there isn’t much worse than death by drowning. It used to be death caused by a giant hunk of metal plowing me over while I was innocently driving my bike down the road. And before that it was all those crazy psychopaths who I imaged were out following me on my 5 am morning runs.
But by far this fear of drowning is the worst, and my fear of drowning in dark and murky open lake water is far worser (I’m making it a word, so shut it). That being said, I had my first open water swim experience last Sunday. Obviously, I’m still living – but a week later I think I can feel the lake water still sitting in my belly. Souring. Fermenting. Simmering.
I simmered a bit by the water while the group did their first lap. It’s a really, really long lap that reaches way, way, way, way out by the boats. BOATS! I was assured the boats stay on the other side of the buoy, but what’s a tiny buoy compared to a giant-sized boat with a driver who might not be paying attention and take a wrong turn severing my body into two pieces?
I only made it in the water up to my ankles before T had to lead me by the hand, through the muck and into the water. The water – the deep, dark, scary water – the water you can’t see through because the nightmarish cloudy mud color only allows for a tenth of an inch of vision. Despite the nightmare, I did swim to the closest buoy and back with T. I treaded some water and then did two more swims to the buoy and back. I mostly kept my face out of the water, but even so – a little bit of nasty seeped into my mouth.
With my head above water I treaded some more and while everyone else was doing another big lap I looked around the shore and noticed several pails labeled “bait.” BAIT. And then I proceeded to thoroughly FREAK OUT. I don’t belong in places with bait and boats. No sir, I do not belong with bait or boats – and I’ll be honest with you, the bait part freaked me out way more than the boating. Way more.
And please use this picture as fair warning – open water swimming is not as glamourous as, well? anything at all and ever – so always bring a hat if you are planning a run after!