“Thinking will not overcome fear but action will” – W. Clement Stone
We all have things that we are afraid of, or better said, scare the living daylight out of our souls.
Some people are afraid of spiders, some hate the thought of public speaking and others hate heights.
One of the things that many new triathletes, and thereby including me, have to deal with in their adventure of combining 3 sports in one go is OWS.
Open Water Swimming that is.
Like most triathletes the middle part: ‘Water’, isn’t an issue. We swim in indoor pools and take showers (thank god) and so we can conclude that Water in this case is not the problem that makes our souls shiver.
Swimming then? Could that be the issue here? No, we are triathletes and since triathlon still involves swimming it would be a rather odd decision to become a triathlete if one is dead afraid of swimming in general. Like a cab driver afraid of his car. This is not it.
Open. Would be a bit strange if this was the problem wasn’t it? ”Scared of open things” would be a strange medical condition where someone is afraid of what? open doors? open drawers? We are scared but no, we are not mentally ill.
The thing that makes OWS so dead scary is the combination of the three words: Open. Water. Swimming.
And so there I was, ready to conquer the fear that all the other Ironman before me had conquered.
And I wanted to go home, slip under a blanket and never face this cold, hard world again. I was scared.
Still I jumped in, I had to do this.
I did it! I thought to myself. There I was standing firmly on the ground.
What? ”Standing firmly on the ground”? I hear you wonder.
Yeah, turns out that that ‘Open Water’ of mine was around 60 cm/2 feet deep so I just stood there looking like an idiot while my father was filming this great anti-climax of mine.
“Well, I’m in anyway so might as well just go for it.” I said to myself.
Turns out that you can’t really see a damn thing in open water and that your feet, hands and, above all, your face get numb if the water is still to cold, which luckily… it was.
After swimming around 50 meters in total, while staying close to shore and still a bit in my comfort zone (for as far as you can say comfort zone in open water) I started playing around a bit like a young seal who just learned how to swim.
Finally I could conclude that I now officially couldn’t feel my feet anymore and I thought that was a viable reason to get out.
Well, I had at least done it.
No I did not swim anywhere near 100+ meter.
No I did not really ‘swim’.
No it didn’t took longer then 5 minutes total.
No It wasn’t really ‘open water’, more like a little side-river.
But I swam somewhere else then in a pool and there were probably human-eating fish out there so yes I swam in open water. No discussion possible.
What are your experiences with OWS? And got any tips to help me out (yes I’m still scared so a little help is appreciated). Let me know in the comments!
One thing left to do:
Get comfortable being uncomfortable.