Swimming in the ocean for the first time was a bit of a wake-up call. It is vastly different to swimming in a pool (obviously) but I also realised it’s not something that is easy to practice. You need people around, you need to know you’re safe, you need to know a course, which changes depending on the tides… it’s not a case of simply showing up and jumping in to swim straight lines between ropes.
At the Noosa Triathlon in October next year, I have to swim 1500m in the ocean. Not only is this further than I have completed in a pool (so far) I don’t even know how I would attempt to practice it in the ocean – that would be dangerous. So apart from clocking up some serious laps in the pool, I decided that I had to come up with a Plan for OWS.
Firstly, I need to accept that short ocean swims must be incorporated into my training. If once a month I make the effort to go to Bribie Island in the morning instead of the pool and just swim along the shore where I can still touch the bottom, that would be a good start. I could bribe Shane to come with me if it were a Saturday or Sunday morning, by offering to take him to breakfast at The Sandstone Point Hotel afterwards. That way at least there is someone to call an ambulance if things get ‘interesting’.
Secondly, in order to do a long swim I decided I had to find an Organised Event. IE, a race. In a race, not only are there hundreds of other people scaring away the jellyfish and sharks in front of you (because I will be at the back) but there are lifeguards on surfboards along the course, ready to save you if you want to drown. Oh, and not to mention that the course is carefully measured out and marked, so you actually know where to go and how far you are going without guessing.
So I started looking for a swimming race, something longer than 300m but maybe not quite 1500m. And the first one I found was part of the Mooloolaba Triathlon Series in March. Of course, I’d love to do the triathlon but it is Olympic Distance (a proper triathlon) and I will be working my way up to that for October next year, when I do Noosa. So maybe I’ll look into doing the Mooloolaba Triathlon the year after, in March 2017 if all goes well.
But in the meantime, on the day before the Mooloolaba Tri 2016, they have a swim-only event of 1000m. Possibly a bit much for me to attempt in March, but then again I wont have to get out and bike-run afterwards so I could give it everything I’ve got and really try my best.
Furthermore, the race starts at 10am so I can drive up there nice and leisurely in the morning, no accommodation or frantic planning required. To top it all off, the entry cost is only $35 plus booking fee of 6%. What a bargain. I’m in.
I signed up and put it in my diary. So I have a new swimming goal – 1km by March. It will be nice to know a whole race isn’t hinging on my swimming performance – the performance is the whole race. I’m quite looking forward to it.
Just remember, if you’re planning to be there too: I will find you, and I will stab you.