Confessions of a Hot Pink Buoy

Recently, I met TriDiver for my first open water swim of the season. We were looking forward to catching up over coffee and it seemed like a good opportunity to fit in a short swim.

The last time we swam together, I wore my blue cap. She reminded me that it was harder to see and I should stick to brighter colors. I went with the hot pink one this time around.

TriDiver is fun to swim with because she’s a natural in the water. When she dives in, she has this happy energy that reminds me of Flipper (the early 70’s version). There was no hesitation on her part. She had already been in the bay several times this winter, helping Ryan train for Ironman St. George.

I entered the water with much less zest. It was shockingly cold. I started with a breaststroke for about twenty feet before I dunked my head in. Ice cream brain freeze. Whoa! Pink cap out of the water. Back to treading water. This was not what I envisioned at all. I was so looking forward to demonstrating my new and improved stroke from all those Master’s workouts this winter.

My brain under the influence of brain freeze was having an internal battle. Left brain was being super critical. Right brain was trying to give myself a pep talk to keep going.

I made it to the dock, which was my goal, and headed back to the bridge. On the way back, my swim was interrupted just as many times by my distaste for the saltiness of the water. I felt like Lucy after being kissed by Snoopy. Bleah! Oh, yuck! Gag me.

I made it back to the bridge. TriDiver soon followed after going quite a ways farther. When she returned, she said, “I thought I saw a pink buoy out there and realized it was you. I know you can swim faster than that. What happened?” We laughed as I recounted my non-swimming antics out there. The seagulls did fly over me with some hesitation like maybe they found a new place to land.

I’m a head case. I know I need to undo all that mental muscle memory I’ve had for years that I’m not good at open water swimming. I need to get over it. I need an intervention – help from my friends. I’ll cut myself some slack for the first swim not going so well. I’ll give the bay a little more time to warm up. And me a little more time to warm up to the idea of doing a lot more open water swims there and elsewhere. Either that or I need to find one of those frilly flowery, multi-colored bathing caps, so I can really make a spectacle of myself and scare off the birds.