Tuesday, August 6, 2013

In the middle of the lake

Have I mentioned that I'm doing a triathlon on Sunday?

Well I am. 

I have never done a triathlon before, nor have I ever even done a race aside from the occasional 5K here and there, during which I've never registered with a bib number or had myself timed. 

But this Sunday I'm going to Pleasant Prairie to do the Iron Girl Triathlon with a bunch of women from the kids' school, a group of strong and wonderful women--also known as the Highland Honeys, women with whom I've been training all summer long.

Tonight I went with a group of Highland Honeys and we did the open water swim across Lake Andrea,  the very lake we will swim across on Sunday.  I've been training all summer in a pool and have been able to swim a healthy half mile in a half hour without stopping.  But the open water is quite different with no wall to push off or place to rest. 

As today's swim approached, I started to get nervous that it would be really hard...that I'd have to be thrown a noodle or just wouldn't be able to go all the way across without a rest.  And when we pulled up and got out of the van to put our shoes and towels on the beach, I looked across and was thinking, wow...so that's a half mile.... And the enormity of the 1/2 mile swim, 12 mile bike ride and 3.1 mile run began to sink in. 

So we gathered on the other side of the lake and the leader sent us in and I swam.  I side stroked and doggy paddled and side stroked again and began feel good. I felt strong.  And I knew I would be fine.  And I flipped on my back somewhere out in the middle of Lake Andrea and looked up at the blue sky and the white clouds and it hit me.  I was in the middle of the lake. My safe place.

Now I should explain. I know that many people would not call the middle of the lake a "safe place", but last year when I was doing a lot of therapy, trying to make myself a healthier person, I tried a type of therapy called EMDR.  You can look it up for a more in depth explanation, but it's a way of changing pathways in your brain.  And in order to do it, I had to think of two things: a traumatic event and a safe place.  So the safe place I thought of to go to when I needed calm and peace was just me in the middle of a lake with a blue sky and land on either side of me.

And in that swim tonight, it hit me when I floated a moment on my back, that I was there. In my safe place, but in the flesh, not in my mind. And I felt calm and peaceful and strong and good. 

And I made it across the lake.

And I am ready for my first triathlon.

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