Saturday, 1 February 2014

Reasons I probably shouldn't be doing a Triathlon


When I was a young girl I had a near death experience* whilst I was at my regular swimming lesson. At this point I was quite good at swimming although it is important to note that I was still wearing armbands to help with the crucial aspect of flotation.
(*I have a tendency towards extreme exaggeration)

Midway through the swimming lesson, I realised that I needed to go to the bathroom so I got out of the pool and trotted over to my mum who was sitting in the viewing area at the side. She took my armbands off so that I could easily wriggle out of my swimming costume. Off I popped, did what I had to and came running back through to the pool, beaming at my mum, waving and shouting 'Look Mum!! Mum!!...CANNONBALL!!' and proceeded to launch myself into the pool. 

It wasn't until I looked up at the surface of the water under which I was submerged that I realised I didn't have my armbands on. My precious, crucial armbands without which I couldn't float! I could make a big deal about how my head felt like it was being pressed within a vice, or how I kicked and kicked frantically but the surface didn't seem to get any closer or about how my heart felt like it was about to burst with panic, but that would be extravagant because really what happened was that about five seconds after I splashed through the surface of the water, my swimming teacher dived under and helped drag me to the surface, completely unharmed. 

Despite the relatively undramatic conclusion to my story, the experience didn't leave me completely unscarred and to this day, I've a funny relationship with water, I'm not scared of it per se, but I don't like it. I don't even stand underneath the shower, instead holding the shower head clutched to my chest like it's my first born child because I don't like the water on my face. And I swim like this....

Image by Klaus Wiese (Chin Up)

But it's not just my relationship with the water that's broken. The second memory comes from my teenage years where I was forced to swim in P.E at high school and had to don a skin tight swimming costume in front of the whole class, boys included. Now let's just say that I wasn't a particularly svelte 12 year old and I can remember vividly the fear of showing off my wobbly thighs and protruding belly to the whole class. Still to this day, the thought of donning a swimming costume isn't one that fills me with glee and on countless holidays I've thrown an absolute strop about having to get into a bikini, instead choosing to sit at the side of the pool in shorts and a t-shirt, looking like a miserable git.

Image found on Pinterest

So with this backdrop, you perhaps wonder why someone who has a mortal fear of wearing a swimming costume and won't even put her face under the shower would ever sign up for a Triathlon. Which is a valid question. 

The reason I signed up for the Triathlon isn't that it will be one of the biggest challenges I've ever undertaken (although it will be), but because I'd entered Tough Mudder and was getting a bit nervous about the water obstacles and so I thought, well if I do a Triathlon before that, those obstacles won't seem so bad. Solid logic if you ask me.

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