Today I’m excited to launch something new on the blog: Tri Talk Tuesdays! It’s a weekly linkup hosted by me, Courtney from The TriGirl Chronicles, and Miranda from The Cupcake Triathlete. Each week we’ll pick a different triathlon-related theme and talk about it. We’ll each have a linkup at the bottom where you can add your triathlon-related blog post on Tuesdays, then click and discover other triathlon blogs.
We’re three triathlon-obsessed ladies – we love checking out tri blogs and connecting with other triathletes, so we wanted to carve out an e-space where we can chat and connect. Courtney has had a series called Tri Tip Tuesdays, and we decided to morph it a bit and add a theme – your post can be anything related to the theme each week: your training in that area, your thoughts on the topic, or even tips, tricks, and resources that you want to share. Just talk tri and you’re good to go!
For our first Tri Talk Tuesday, we decided to talk about the first discipline in triathlon: The Swim.
In talking to people about triathlon and reading about triathlon, I’ve realized one thing: out of the three sports, most people feel most nervous about the swim. It’s a feared discipline by many, but in actuality, they say you don’t usually win a triathlon in the swim portion of the race. And let’s be honest: although my kids always ask me if I “won” my races, most of us aren’t out to “win” the triathlon we’re racing in!
I’ll admit I have more confidence in the swim than a lot of people since I practically lived at the pool in the summertime growing up and spent many an early morning at swim team practices and meets. I wasn’t the best swimmer on the team, but I loved it and worked hard.
Hmmm, I know I have more first-place ribbons in the house… but I think it’s cool my daughter hung these with princess stickers, and above her “Reading Is Cool” poster. And if you look really closely, the letter on the bottom right is an apology to her teacher for not doing her homework since it wasn’t in her basket!
But as I got older and moved to places without a convenient pool, it was harder to find a place and find the time for lap swimming. With the weather in the northeast, the neighborhood pool doesn’t allow for many months of use. So I had to start fresh when I returned to swimming not only as a form of exercise but also as a competitive sport in triathlon. And you may recall my recent return to swimming after several months off – it’s easy to slip out of swimming shape, and something that takes practice and patience.
In triathlon, the swim portion may be in a pool or it may be an “open water swim”, commonly abbreviated OWS. As a kid I swam in my share of lakes, oceans, and rivers, so I figured I felt comfortable with the open water. So last year when I was prepping for my first tri, I went for a practice OWS, figuring one shot at it was all I needed.
However, it was quite different to swim with a goal in mind than as a fearless kid goofing off in a lake! My heart raced and my breathing wasn’t the same as in the pool – likely caused by chilly lake water plus excitement. And then, as I wrote, we were called out of the water for weather reasons – so my “one shot” OWS wasn’t what I had hoped for (after driving 2 hours to get there!).
I decided another OWS practice was necessary and headed to a clinic/practice swim at National Harbor near Washington, DC. Swimming in the Potomac was kind of gross, but it was worth it for the practice swim. Building confidence seemed to be the key to the OWS.
I tossed in one more OWS practice to test out a wetsuit I was renting for the Iron Girl Rocky Gap, and that sealed the deal – I felt good about the swim.
I had also taken a swimming clinic hosted by the Luna Chix earlier in the summer, which was an amazing experience with tons of useful info, along with practice in a pool sighting and simulating open water swim starts. That was a huge help and I carried the info with me to race day.
Then: the triathlon. Race day.
Excitement, nerves, other people – adding variables is a surefire way to screw up your confidence and training! I had that same breathing issue as the first OWS – shallow, rapid breathing and needing to stop and sight more often than truly necessary. It took time to get into a groove, but once I got my bearings I felt pretty good. And then the swim started flying by and it was out to transition.
I’m looking forward to a lot more swimming this year and more OWS practice experiences. And apparently the Ironman 70.3 Augusta has a downriver swim going with the current. Sounds fun!
What’s your comfort level with swimming? Are you a pool person or an open water person?
Link up your triathlon blog post below – and join us for next week’s theme: The Bike. As always, with linkups it’s best to mention in your Tuesday post that you are part of a linkup and link back to one or all of our blogs – otherwise the point of the linkup is lost! It’s about connecting triathletes (wanna-be triathletes included!) together.
Do you talk triathlon on your blog? Link up with You Signed Up For WHAT?!, The Cupcake Triathlete, and The TriGirl Chronicles on Tuesdays for Tri Talk! We’ll discover a new theme each week and talk about triathlon training, tips, and general chatter. Be sure to link to your specific post and not a general link to your blog so that your post can be found in the linkup archives. Links not triathlon-related will be deleted.