Facing my fears


Whew, ok, don't mind me - I had to get that out of my system! For some reason, I was just completely overcome with anxiety and fear about the open swim for my triathlon this Sunday.

As in hands shaking, heart racing, cold sweats, almost peed-in-my-pants anxiety.

I knew this moment would come, and I'm glad I got it over and done with. You see, despite the fact that I was born and raised on an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, I have a fear of open water swimming. I'm perfectly fine when I can touch the bottom, but *gulp* having to swim and swim and swim and not be able to stand up freaks me out like almost nothing else will.

There's a reason for my fear - in my teens, I almost drowned by saving a girl I was babysitting. She got in over her head, and when I went in to get her, she failed around, and basically beat me up and choked me under the water. It was only about 8 feet deep, but the tide was pulling us out, with waves crashing overhead ... I kept getting pulled under by the current, then pounded on by the waves and the girl. I couldn't get my feet under me. The entire situation lasted less than 45 seconds, but it felt like an eternity.

I tried not to let the experience cripple me, so I've been in the water regularly since then, but never deeper than I can touch. Even with my triathlon training, I haven't gone deeper than six feet.

A friend whose sister has done this tri in the past suggested I bring a noodle with me - he said there were several dozen women that had some sort of floation device with them for the swim and still earned their finishers medals.

I dunno, a noodle in a tri? I seriously thought about it, but know I will never consider myself a true triathlete if I didn't do the tri right. Not only that, but USA Triathlon Federation Rule 4.9 Illegal Equipment states: Any swimmer wearing any artificial propulsion device, including but not limited to fins, gloves, paddles, or floating devices of any kind shall be disqualified.

Okay seriously ... a propulsion device ... the image of me with a James Bond sort of jet pack strapped to my back just popped in my head ... I'm going so fast I'm skimming the surface of the water and eat sand on the other end of the lake LOL

I will NOT have put myself through all of this, including dishonoring my friends Jeannie and Carrie (who are traveling over 800 miles to do the tri with me) by earning a big ol' DNF (Did Not Finish).

Nuh -uh, no way, no how.

Those three evil letters will NEVER get close to my name! Ever!!

CrazyTrainerGuy introduced me to my new workout program yesterday. It's a cardiovascular endurance based program and will consist of 3 cardio days and 2 total body strength training days. I said this before, and I'll say it again - I know he spends every waking moment thinking of new ways to torture me! LOL

Here's yesterday's workout:

Cardio Intervals on Elliptical

5 min warmup

3 mins @ 6.0 / Level 7 (get heart rate up to 160)
1 min @ 9.0 or higher / Level 12
*Repeat 5 times

We did just 4 reps yesterday because my heartrate got up to 189 with the 4th sprint, which is pretty much beyond my threshold, and CrazyTrainerGuy knew it would go higher with my 5th sprint. My heart rate recovered very well with each 3 minute recovery, but 190s are pretty dangerous (even if it's only for a minute!)

We ended with a grrreaaat stretching session that had me purring and left in a melted puddle on the floor when we were done LOL

Today was a total body strength day, and TrainerGirl had no mercy for me, as usual!

5 min warm up on elliptical

A1: Squat with bicep curl into overhead chest press with 15/20 lb dumbbells
A2: Lat raises while in bridge position on stability ball 8/10 lbs dumbbells
A3: Captain's Chair crunches on bench
A4: Leg Curl with Hip Ups on stability ball (these babies BURN!)
* We aim for 12 to 16 reps per exercise. On the 3rd set, we increase the weights and go until failure.
** Repeat this set 3 times

B1: Pushups
B2: Upright Rows on cable machine, 40lbs
B3: Crunches on Dyna Disc
B4: Lunges with overhead chest press on functional trainer (8/10 lbs)
* We aim for 12 to 16 reps per exercise. On the 3rd set, we increase the weights (as applicable) and go until failure.
** Repeat this set 3 times

Yeah, so that's my new insane program. I am definitely feeling it, especially as Aunt Flo is arriving on Thursday, and extreme fatigue always preceeds her visits. I'll be back later tonite with a quick video mix of today's workout, so be sure to check back!


"You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face... The danger lies in refusing to face the fear, in not daring to come to grips with it... You must make yourself succeed every time. You must do the thing you think you cannot do." Eleanor Roosevelt


Blossom said...

Hi! Thanks for "following" my blog. I just read your two months here, and really, (no pressure), your journey has been very inspirational to me. I've been struggling with my weight for the last 15 years (and especially the last few years it seems)...you give me some hope that I can also lose "a lot". I'm definitely going to keep up with your story!! And good luck this weekend, I KNOW you will finish!! xo

AzLinda said...

OM-Gosh Michelle! I have the same fear of being in water where I can't the bottom. Only I don't have any good reason for it like you do. My hat is off to you girl for facing your fears and demons and just going full force straight ahead. Proud of you!! I'll be thinking of you on Sunday. Can't wait to hear all about it.

Your new workout program sounds ferocious! Wow! Fat doesn't stand a chance...yea!!

Anonymous said...

Wow!!! I am sorry that happened to you back then! I am hoping this tri will push you past your fears! : ) I have a feeling it will. When is it? This is my goal eventually, al though I have to admit MY biggest fear is sharks...are you doing it in the ocean??

Love the work outs!!

Jen said...

OH! MY! GOSH!!! You had me ROLLING with that whole "james bond propulsion device--skimming the water thing!" Seriously, I think my dog thinks I am nuts because I just BUSTED out in giggles while reading that. She looked up at me with her ears tweaked like "what in the world...??" ha ha
I also can't help but giggle when I think of these awesome athletes swimming in a triatalon using a NOODLE! Just the name "noodle" makes me laugh...but thinking of these adult swimmers out there using them is just hilarious (no disrespect though)! If I were swimming in open water you can guarantee I'd have a heck of a lot more than a noodle holding me up! Maybe a noodle strapped to each arm and each leg! ha ha

You are so inspiring. I think you and your friends doing this together is just the coolest thing ever! Plus, you're right...DNF will never be next to your name cuz you are a girl who know's how to "get'er done!!" (as we say in Oklahomy) :o)

Mother's Heart said...

OH MY GOD! I would be the same way probably. I hope you'll overcome your fear very soon ;)

Your workout plan is great! I might start creating my goals and workout plans as well. I guess it helps ...

Congratulations on all your weight loss. I have to say that your blog is very inspiring and I enjoyed reading your posts ;)


Kristen said...

propulsion device! lol now that would be something to see! I could totally see us strapping one to your back and sending you on your way into the water...such a funny image!

Mesha said...

you'll do great! :) i am so excited to hear about how it goes! what an accomplishment it will be - not to mention all the accomplishments you've already got under your belt. Way to go girl.

Deanna said...

Scary scary experience, but your will to finish will carry you through to the end of the swim. YOU CAN DO IT!!!! BE BRAVE!! I have faith in you my friend!!!

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