by Jen C.
Hey, Coach Joe! Happy Monday to ya! Yup…it was toasty this weekend. I’m sure you can relate, though…it was just perfect for me and Kent. 🙂 Bang’s Lake was the first Tri this summer where we didn’t FREEZE before the race. 🙂 Kent did the Aquabike and I did the full Tri. We weren’t shivering after the race either. Very refreshing for us…
I’m also very happy to report that I didn’t freak out on the swim. That was my only goal for Bang’s Lake this year. Last year, I spent about 15 minutes hyperventilating because I thought the seaweed monsters were trying to pull me under. Plus, they had the course swimming directly into the sun! Brutal! This year, they angled it slightly to the left of the sun so it was much improved! Plus, they doubled the number of lifeguards. Unfortunately, they still used teeny tiny buoys so many people struggled to stay on course.
Because of my seaweed fiasco in 2008, I have been mentally preparing myself all year for this race. Last weekend, during our practice swim in Madison at ET Summer Camp, the seaweed really scared me at the beginning of our swim. As Kent I and swam out towards the bridge, the waves and the seaweed got the best of me and I had another panic attack. I realized then that I had gotten a little too self-confident and I still needed to work on some basic Tri skills. So, at the end of our Madison swim, I purposely swam through the seaweed and brushed it with my hands and settled down into it. My heartbeat slowed and I began to think of reasons why the seaweed is beautiful.
Kent and I had an involved discussion about it. Why did it scare me? Was it just the basic survival instinct that kept me fighting against it? Did I think I was going to drown in it? Was it the slimy feeling that freaked me out? I think it was a little bit of everything.
So, this year, at Bang’s Lake, I made sure we were on the first bus over to the lake. I immediately jumped in the water and swam out through the seaweed. I chanted to myself, “The seaweed is just a plant, the seaweed is my friend, the seaweed is beautiful, the seaweed gives us oxygen.” I swam through it. I waved my arms and feet in it. I ducked my head into a mass of seaweed and laughed! Then, I grabbed a long piece and swam back to shore. As I stood there, waiting for my wave to start, I draped the seaweed over my face and I wrapped it around my neck. Five different people came up to me and asked me if I knew I had seaweed hanging on me! I told them it was part of the big plan!
As the race started, I kept chanting to myself, “The seaweed is my friend.” I knew the water was going to be a lot worse as I swam out because of all the previous racers kicking up the plant. I hung back in my wave and let most of the other women start out before me. As I kicked out and began my swim, I knew I was going to be ok. My heart rate was low and I was smiling. The seaweed monsters were dormant for me this year and I had one of the best swims of my Tri career!
It’s all about mental preparation…right?
Have an awesome day!
Congrats, Jen, on Beating the Seaweed Demons!! – Coach Joe