After that, I checked out the swimming isle. I took a deep breath and bought the cheapest pair of goggles I could find, an ugly black swim cap and an even uglier black Speedo. Eek! I was not looking forward to the swim. Not one bit.
Since I was dreading the swim so much, I decided to just get it over with and start my training with a pool workout. I hadn’t been swimming since I was 12 and played shark attack in my grandparents’ pool. I also hadn’t been in a locker room since I was 18 and didn’t know if I should wear my bathing suit under my clothes or change while in the locker room.
I decided that since walking to the pool in my unflattering one piece black Speedo and cap was going to be embarrassing enough… thigh jiggle and all, I would try to reduce my embarrassment and wear my bathing suit under my clothes. When I got into the locker room, I was so relieved that no one else was there. I would have been SO embarrassed if I saw anyone I knew… or if I saw anyone period.
Hidden in the corner between two lockers, I quickly took off my shirt and shorts and wrapped myself in my towel. I was feeling pretty confident after my fast towel wrapping skills and so I went over to the mirror to put on my swim cap. Right at that moment, a whole group of girls came into the bathroom. Mortified, I averted eye contact and continued to stuff my bright red hair into the impossibly small rubber cap as fast as I could. It snapped off my head a few times before I finally got it on. Seriously? The cap was so stinking tight that it instantly gave me a headache and it made my eyes look Chinese. There was one benefit, however, no one would recognize me… especially when I put the goggles on!
I successfully made it to the pool unnoticed and was very happy that there was only one other person swimming. I studied him for a few seconds, trying to get some tips on how to swim. I took my towel off at the last possible second and made my way to the edge and did a few arm circles to make it look like I knew what I was doing. As soon as I hopped into the water I heard someone say, “Hey Jess!”
WHATTTTT?! Who was that?! Who recognized me in my black swim cap and tinted goggles?! Horrified, I turned my head around… and then up. The LIFEGUARD was a guy I went to college with. You have got to be kidding me right now. “Hey Chip” I said. “How long have you been swimming?” he asked. “Uh, just today” I answered, and then I quickly dove under the water and started to do my best “fake it till you make it” breast stroke, or whatever they call it. I could not believe it.
The one day I decide to swim, I know the lifeguard. COME ON! So, between gasping breaths, I planned to just keep on swimming until he left so that I didn’t have to talk to him when I got out of the pool. I kept peeking up at the lifeguard chair to see if he was still there. I was so tired. It had only been 15 minutes and so I came up with a Plan B. I’d get out at the opposite end of the pool and make a b-line to the locker room. Even if he had tried to talk to me, I had so much water in my ears that I wouldn’t have heard him.
I guess I did alright for my first swim because Chip never jumped in to save me. And I’m happy to say that Plan B worked. I made it to the locker room, un-suctioned my goggles off my face and pulled off my super tight swim cap. I was a sight to behold… goggle marks around my eyes, mascara rings under my eyes, tangled hair and goosebumps. The locker room is WAY colder then the pool room. I quickly hid in a corner to change, but I FORGOT MY UNDERWEAR. At this point, I didn’t care and since I had already embarrassed myself, I pulled on my clothes over my wet Speedo and power walked to my car with water dripping down my legs.
Things can only go up from here, I thought.
Read on about my first triathlon: a bike? I should’ve gotten a trike!