Today is Friday, but not just any Friday. The Friday before what I consider to be my first, true full-fledged sprint triathlon. This is not to belittle my past accomplishment in completing a "my 1st tri" version of the sprint triathlon, but you only get to do that once right? This time around the swim is the full 750 meters (a little less than 1/2 a mile) in open water. A friend asked if this meant fish and alligators, and while I suppose it could, it's a lake swim where the water is estimated to be around 68 degrees (if we're lucky) so I'm doubtful the alligators are interested and the fish will be far a field with the hundreds of triathletes partaking in the event. I'm not worried about the wildlife. I just want to envision swimming straight, focusing on my stroke and remembering to site swim about every 8 strokes... 8 is the swim number and the swim number is 8.
Perhaps I should explain my swim number. It's the number that whenever I would get antsy or panicky in the water when I would compete as a kid, I would count to in my head in order to calm down. No one ever taught it to me, it just made sense to do. I'm not sure why I picked 8, but that was just the number. When I returned to swimming at the start of this triathlon path, I returned to counting to 8, but this time it was for strokes... although I used it the other day when I was jittery at the end of a slightly stressful Monday and we were doing our first 50 m length pool swim. For some reason, I needed the counting to get re-aquainted with the pool that day. When I count laps, I count in sets of 8 to keep track of things. So, I call it my swim number.
So with my swim number in my head, my gear almost packed... it's at least laid out (although I need to go buy a new race belt and some clif shot bloks, and I'd like to practice a little unclipping this afternoon/evening), and my racing packet (complete with my number - 190- and neon pink swim cap), I'm nervous but ready to go. Whenever people tell me I shouldn't be nervous about sports, I think that racing is a lot like public speaking. I teach CLE's to attorneys as part of my job, and I get nervous before each and every one. The one time (luckily not a work event) that I did not get nervous before a public speaking event was just like the few times I didnt' get nervous before a swim meet or a cross-country race, I stunk. I embrace my nervousness and hope to harness that extra fight or flight sensation to flee, but to flee in the direction of the finish line.
Let the Wildman tri begin!