Out of the three disciplines in triathlon, it seems like muscle memory is most important for the swim. Typically, you train in a pool, in water you can see through, and with lines on the bottom to guide you. But in a race, you find yourself in open water, surrounded by a bunch of other swimmers. It might be murky and choppy, and often, you feel like you have no bearings. As you try to get into a rhythm and swim like you normally do, you have to hope that muscle memory will kick in and get you where you need to go.
In two days, my husband and I get to face this for the first time this season. We are doing the Nanticoke 3-mile swim in Bivalve, MD. The water will be cold (~58-62 degrees), and we will be doing the longest distance we have ever done (swimming). The thinking is that if we can swim 3 miles in cold water now, then the cold 2.4 miles we have to do in Ironman Arizona in November should be a piece of cake.
I think of it as going to get my bottle of confidence. When I was a teenager, I was very insecure. I guess a lot of teenagers are. I would get uptight about social situations where I felt like I didn’t fit in. My mother would say, “You just need to have more self-confidence.” I always thought that was funny, as if I could just go buy some bottled-up confidence at the store. There was no way then (that I knew of) to simply “have more confidence”. But now, I look at it differently. So much of life –like triathlon training– is about gaining experience. You have to jump in and go for it. Otherwise, you’ll never know what you can do. And, once you find out what you can do, the confidence just pours out.
In a weird way, the same can be said for the organ donation process. First of all, you don’t know if you can be a donor until you offer and get tested. And then, after you donate, you don’t know if you’ll have any issues … or if you’ll even be able to strive to do more than you did -physically- before the donation. I guess that’s what I’ll be finding out this year. And when I do, I’ll just open up a bottle and pour myself some!