Club La Santa: A girlie low!
Over the last 10 days of so I’ve written a few blogs about the Lanzarote sports heaven called Club La Santa. Fantastic cycling and a Club La Santa High. I had a fantastic time, but there was one event that I was not looking forward to at all: Open Water Swimming. I had hoped the Glasgow Triathlon Club coaches might forget all about the timetabled Open Water Session or that somehow my Sailfish wetsuit would end up being left at home. I suppose I could simply have stayed on my sunbed lounger next to the pool on the afternoon of the open water swimming and enjoyed some relaxation time…
But, no, I decided to face my fears. (The last time I tried open water swimming was in Loch Lomond many years ago and I had a panic attack.) And anyway I’d been swimming outdoors in the Club la Santa Olympic distance swimming pool every morning at freezing o’clock all week so what could be worse?
Er, sadly, open water swimming in the Club la Santa lagoon was worse.
Before teling you about the session I want to confess that I acted like a little girl. I squealed and whinged and wibbled and sulked and cried out loud. Before the water was even above my waist I had convinced myself I was going to hate the experience.
Thanks goodness then for GTC coach, the Mighty Maisie. Realising that mollycoddling me would only see me depart the lagoon before I’d put my head in she chose to treat me to a little of her tough love. Alongside three other brave club members I was cajoled into full submersion (my head an’ all) and swimming out of my depth (and in amongst all sorts of horrible creepy fish things that would most likely be eating my feet if I wasn’t moving them furiously around under the water all the time).
I can’t say that at any point in the hour session I felt happy and comfortable but I did at least overcome a few of my fears:
* Putting my head in the water.
* Opening my eyes while putting my head under water.
* Opening my eyes while putting my head under water and actually looking.
* Swimming in a group with lots of jostling.
* Standing up on yukky underwater ground while entering and departing the water.
See, I told you I was acting like a child!
Our group also learned how to negotiate a turn a a buoy (I can’t actually recall how we did this manoeuvre but it did seem to work). Many open water triathlons require swimmers to swim around a series of buoys so it’s important to know how to neatly turn at the buoys so you don’t waste time and energy.
We even took part in a mini group race. This involved wading into the edge of the lagoon, diving forwards, swimming to the buoy, going round the buoy, swimming to a narrow and shallow gap between two rocks, diving in again, wading out of the water and stripping off the wetsuit (the last task being the sweatiest!).
Although I felt that all my swimming technique went completely AWOL and it took all my resolve simply to get my head in the water and swim the course I did come out of the whole session feeling slightly more confident about open water swimming. At the very least I also now know that my Sailfish wetsuit fits and will keep me warm! I am still very scared and I know this will be the discipline in the London Standard Distance triathlon that will be my biggest challenge but I know what I need to do. I need to practice, in open water, in Scottish waters (where I bet there are far more creepy underwater creature type things) A LOT!
If you haven’t sponsored me yet then surely you could find a few pounds to give to a worthy cause, and hopefully motivate me to get out swimming in open water. You’ll see my JustGiving link at the right hand side of this blog.