I must finish with my Paso Robles trip report, which I left off Monday evening. So, Tuesday morning...
I woke up on the early side, prodded Michael out of bed, scarfed down a banana and yogurt and then we headed to Lake San Antonio. On a friend's recommendation (this a colleague who has twice competed in and completed the Wildflower Tri and is more or less my personal trainer - she also loaned me the wetsuit), I decided to do an open water practice swim - at the place where I will, maybe, be swimming for the ever-more elusive triathlon. I tried to NOT freak out when I saw that the temperature outside the car was FORTY FREAKIN' TWO DEGREES! I think it budged a degree or two during our ride to the lake, but it was pretty chilly when I stripped down and then geared up in the wetsuit. With zero confidence, I headed into the water (I swear my ass looks huge):
I swam out, maybe 100 yards or so, but realized that my breathing was so screwed up that there was no way that I could do anything resembling an open water swim. So, I turned around and paddled back to the banks of the lake and caught my breath. My dad (who accompanied us) and Michael watched me with concerned amusement as I told them, "I'm okay, I just need to focus and do this again". I still wasn't totally calm, but I felt better about the swim and headed back into the murky, dark water. While the swim was not a total failure, I also cannot call it much of a success. I never did get my breathing down or felt comfortable with my head in the water. Both of these issues are more than slightly problematic for the race. On the other hand, I am glad that I KNOW that they could be issues, and I feel that I will be better prepared in May. Or I hope that I will be!
It wasn't a great swim, obviously, but at the end, I was either tired enough or comfortable to at least focus on my strokes. It is also reassuring to know that I can handle the cold water - the wetsuit definitely works! It is so strange swimming in it, but I suppose the entire experience is quite new for me. Finally, at least I ended with something of a smile - of relief, perhaps, but a smile nonetheless:
And, it *is* a beautiful place to be swimming, so I will try to remember that thought even as I'm struggling through the swim on May 1!