Where is My Mojo

Swimming with the Sharks

In Swim, Triathlons on June 20, 2011 at 6:02 PM

I work in advertising, and normally when you present a case study you leave the results for the end. For this post, I’m not. I’m too damn excited to do so…

Results: I swam 400 meters in 13 minutes freestyling without stopping… nor panicking nor drowning. Yeay for me!

Yesterday was the Trilogy #1 Tri-race and I participated. This was my third tri-race ever. I was both excited and anxious to really see how far I had gone with my swimming. To me it was something like a mid-term exam. “Let’s see how you are performing so far, Ms. Chaurero”. Surprisingly, on Saturday I was not anxious. Only by night time I was just a bit. Butterflies were doing their usual thing. Now, Sunday, was different animal, but nothing comparable to my second race when I was hoping something insignificant would happen, but significant enough to avoid showing up at the race… e.g. my  car tire exploded; Socrates vomited; I woke up to a very bad hair day…

But this day was different. It was the day where the big girls were separated from the little ones. Boys with one hair on their chest no longer played with the hairless ones. It was THE turning point.

After the regular things I do before being able to leave home, I went to pick up Karla, a high school friend and tri-buddy. By 5:35, we were parking the car and heading to get ourselves marked and pickup our ankle chips so we could get into the transition area to set up our gear. Because of our race numbers being so close, she and I ended up on the same bike rack, so we set our stuff next to each other. Yeay! Upon completion and meeting our other team members, we headed to the beach area from where we would begin the race.

Once there, I got into the water for a quick warm up and I started feeling much more confident. I was thinking “You can do this. You can do this”. It was just a matter of waiting for our 40+ women group to be called into the water. We wore purple swimming caps, and there were many of us… 5. 4. 3. 2. 1. and then the sound of a bull horn, and off we were. I went out smoothly but firmly. Just like in meditation, where you listen to yourself breathing to be able to focus, I do with swimming. I focus on the water bubbles coming out of my mouth. I always let them go out at the same pace, almost creating a repetitive sound, a song if you may. Something that has a certain rhythm that keeps my mind on track… if possible.

My first impressions were incredibly enlightening to me, but probably foolish to you, because I couldn’t believe I was swimming next to soooo many people. I would touch some of their feet. Some of them would touch mine. I could see feet and hands and arms and legs. I could see entire bodies swimming next to me. I was not alone as I had been in my two previous races. This was it. I was swimming with the sharks. Finally! And still I kept it calm. I continued to follow my breathing pattern and have happy thoughts of getting to the shore. I didn’t want to go faster in fear of getting tired. The objective was clear from the beginning: do the entire swim in freestyle and without stopping. As we turned the first buoy I realized many people stop there to rest, without noticing that they become obstacles for the rest of the swimmers. At this point I pushed myself so I could avoid getting stuck with them. Passing the second buoy was most exciting because you start pointing your body towards the direction of the finish line. At this stage I was getting excited, to a point where I was starting to get tired, but I really think it was more mental than physical. So I started thinking about the Dude and how proud he would be of me; of my Coach who has helped me getting where I was and who for sure would be happy to see me come out of the water; and my training buddies who have always been supportive and helping me either by giving me tips or just kind words.

I swam until I couldn’t any longer because my body was touching the sand in the water. I got up, and as I started to run out I had to look back. I had to make sure I was not the last one out of the water. And surely I wasn’t. There were plenty of sharks with different colored caps trying to make their way to the shore. As I was running I saw my Coach with a big smile. I have no clue what I told him, if I indeed said something. We hi fived, and I went straight to transition.

Once on the bike, and heading out to the course I was still in awe, overly excited and almost teary eyed. The race could’ve ended for me right there and then, and I would’ve been a winner in my little own world!

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  1. You are indeed a winner, and not in your very own world but in a great way!!! Felicitaciones, literalmente se me paran los pelos cada vez que leo tus posts, son demasiado emocionantes…

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