Why I Swim Alone – and am okay with it

June 21, 2017

Today’s the two-month mark till race day! How am I feeling? Honestly? Excited. Not everything has gone my way, a lot has shifted since I started but I’m actually really excited to see what I can pull off. I did my second open water swim of the season tonight. In an ideal world, I’d have someone kayak or paddleboard beside me but that’s really hard to coordinate. My next best bet is to have someone keep an eye on me from the shore – again hard to have a roster of people who want to sit on a deserted beach, in the middle of nowhere, on a Tuesday night and watch a crazy person swim, while it rains. Thus I typically end up with my last resort. I text a couple people before I head in and again when I come back out. I realize it’s not ideal but truth be told there’s not much someone can do if I truly run into trouble.

I think the best thing you can do is being aware and minimize any risks. I will not swim when there are heavy waves, I wear a wetsuit (keep me warm and helps me float) and I swim in places with little to no boats. I also swim in places that don’t have strong currents. So really the only reason I’d be drowning would occur from a fluke (heart problem, passing out, getting hit by a boat etc.) which has the same if not lower probability than having a tire pop, getting hit by a car or experiencing heat stroke during a bike/ run.

Another safety net I adopt is by swimming with a “swim buoy.” It’s a completely over priced floaty that you attach around your waist. I’ll take some pictures the next time I’m out. For the most part, it’s so people, boats, etc. can see you from afar and if you need to rest you can use it as a floaty. I’m not encouraging everyone to go out there and swim alone. It’s a calculated risk I take every time I dip my feet in the water. I think knowing it’s a risk and being smart about it, does make a difference. I also don’t want the fear of something going wrong, to stop me from doing something I really enjoy. I can’t say the same for riding my bike on the road – but I’ll save that rant for a future post.

Back to tonight’s swim, it was actually a massive confidence boost. I did just over 2.5km in about 10sec/ 100m faster than my goal race pace so I’m really happy with my progress. It was a little choppy on the way back and started to rain so that was good to practice some very realistic race conditions. I also happen to swim about 100m behind 2 other swimmers. Both of these people I’ve seen at the Laurier pool (they are wicked fast) so it was awesome to see how they sighted/ paced themselves. Finally, I decided tonight I need to turn lake swimming into a weekly activity from now until race day. It’s a completely different kind of swimming (than in the pool) and I’m finding other than general swim fitness, not a lot of technique translates. I’ll add it to my list of homework!

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