The Caloundra Report

King's Beach

King’s Beach at Caloundra

We had a lovely weekend in Caloundra as planned… but did I triathletise* the weekend as planned?

*Mirrium-Webster Dictionary’s** definition of triathletise: verb, patent pending, p.p triathletised.  To make changes or refine a product, event or method in order to incorporate wicked triathlon skills – namely swimming, biking, or running. Examples “Lauren triathletised her workouts” and “you can triathletise this by wearing a swimming costume and doing it in a pool” and “watch me triathletise the bejeezus out of this”.  See also: Triathletisation, the action of triathletising something.

**Not a real dictionary

Well, did I?  The short answer, is no.

Firstly, my Saturday morning run was sabotaged.  We had planned to meet friends for dinner at 5.30pm on Friday night and we didn’t check-in to the hotel until 6pm, so as soon as we arrived it was a mad rush to get out again.  By the time we stumbled back into our hotel room after dinner and drinks – at 2am – I wasn’t in the frame of mind to lay out my running gear in the bathroom as I’d planned, and I certainly didn’t set my alarm for 5am as I’d promised.

Triathletisation: 0/10

I thought I’d get a swim in the ocean on the first full day, but that was not to be either.  One spot that we found had rather terrifying waves and no flagged areas (only swim between the flags, my coach had warned me!) so it was a no-no.  Another area we found was too shallow at the time I was there:

low tide - too shallow

Golden Beach – too shallow at low tide

I gave up and paddled in the hotel jacuzzi with a beer and the other ladies we were holidaying with, instead.  Triathletisation: 1/10 (at least I put a swimming cossie on)

On the second day I was able to get to a patrolled beach and have a swim in the ocean.  Shane (my partner) had to sit and watch me on the bank which he was not thrilled about, because as you may know if you have ever sat and watched someone swim in the sea, you look as though you’re just perving on the general public.  I told Shane that if he got arrested for loitering he should leave the car keys in a bush somewhere so that I’d have the means to drive to the police station and rescue him.  He told me if I drowned I should yell the word elephant so he’d know I was drowning and not just being an electrocuted starfish.  We were all set.

I got in and waded out to a ‘drop-off’ where, if I took another step, I’d be unable to stand on the bottom.  I dipped my face in and out of the water.  All around me, children and families splashed and frolicked without a care in the world.  Most people were just laying in the water.

The patrolled area – the area that the lifesavers were watching over between the flags – was about 50 metres in length.  I agreed with the little voice in my head that said we didn’t need to make this an actual workout – the aim of the game was simply to get another practice in at swimming in salt water with waves and sharks.  So I set myself a target of completing 2 whole lengths of the 50m area, which might take me 4 or 5 attempts, I wasn’t sure.

I continued bobbing my head in and out of the saltwater.  I’d got my goggles and swimming cap on (like a knob) but I’d forgotten my ear plugs, so for the first time in months I was going to have to swim with water in my ears.  After swallowing a couple of litres of salt water and having a mini panic attack, I nearly got out and walked straight back up the beach.  If I knew the trick I used to force myself to continue with such things I am sure I could sell it for lots of dollars, but alas I think I just simply turn the left frontal lobe of my brain off (is that a real thing? I don’t know) and continue along the path of incomprehensible stupidity like a zombie.

So I bobbed my head in and out of the water, trying not to cry.  Eventually I decided enough was enough, and started swimming towards the other flag.

I was tense and panicky, so I wasn’t expecting miracles.  I knew it wasn’t going to be a great swim, but I just wanted to stop panicking and make it to the end.  That was my only goal.  Almost immediately I swam straight into a lady playing catch with her children, for which crime I was showered with evil glares from said lady.  I didn’t bother apologising because I hadn’t actually touched any of them and she was clearly a meanie, so I swam off on my voyage and tried to ‘sight’ better.  To sight is to keep track of your location and where you are headed by glancing at key landmarks as you take a breath – usually the beach or buoys, or buildings in the distance.  The problem with this particular swim was that I was too frightened of the deep water to give myself the 5 metre berth I needed from the general crowd, so I was sticking too close to the beach and all the people.  Therefore, even though I was trying to ‘sight’, veering off track by just one metre was landing me in the middle of the action.

I tried not to worry and pushed on.

I can’t really explain how horrible the experience was.  I was simultaneously panicking about fish, sharks and drowning, whilst swallowing disgusting-tasting water and actually semi-drowning, while also feeling guilty and embarrassed about stabbing random members of the public.

It only got worse when I made the mistake of turning around when I reached the flag, to swim back in the opposite direction.  I was fighting the current and going against the waves, which crashed into my head and over my face even as I lifted myself out of the water to breathe.  I must have looked like I had never been swimming before.  I knew if I were on the beach watching myself, I would have laughed and pointed.

I pushed on and promised myself I only had to try going back in the other direction once more and then I could get out.

That single thought was the only thing that kept me going as I did my final 50m swim away from the original starting point.  ‘Get out get out get out‘ I chanted to myself as I pulled desperately through the water to get back to the flag.  And then, get out I did.

Unfortunately I had to walk past the lifeguard station, which was situated next to my finishing flag, and I actually watched them all staring at me in disbelief.

One day when I can swim in the ocean like I can in the pool I will go back and show them.

Embarrassed but alive

After the embarrassing ocean swim

So.  Triathletisation: 4/10.  It was pretty bad.  You know when you do something so embarrassing that every time you think about it your insides scrunch up and you physically cringe?  I’ve got that.  And I actually woke up at 3am the last two mornings feeling sick with embarrassment.  But I completed a swim and didn’t actually die, so Shane treated me with a beer and nice food to celebrate (and possibly to forget the entire incident, because apparently he was just as embarrassed as I was)

Food and beer

Survival celebration

Once the beer was flowing there was no hope of doing a run to rescue the day, and we left the hotel early the next morning to get back for work.  Overall, I give the weekend 1 out of 10 for triathletisation; it was a miserable flop.  I’ve had to do some work to make up for it since we got back, but make up for it I shall.  Just watch me triathletise the bejeezus out of this week. Seriously.

4 thoughts on “The Caloundra Report

  1. Have you thought about joining a surf club. Uncle Clive was not a good swimmer,not many poms get the opportunity when young to acclimatise to open sea, he wanted to be a surf life guard so he could wear the budgie things and purve on all the mums so he joined the surf club and they taught him how to swim in surf. He got a medal and actually did life save. Could be a way to

    • Good idea Grandpa and yes I might give a surf club a try someday. I think for now it is just like when I first started swimming in the pool – I just need to persevere. I will get there!

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