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2014-07-10 3:29 PM

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Subject: First Ironman, first open swim...ANXIETY is setting in
I am doing IMFL in November and when I signed up I knew that was the race I most preferred. I love Florida, I love the beach, I love the sand, and the time of year was PERFECT for my lifestyle. However, as time ticks away I am feeling more confident about the swim distance, the bike, and the run but WAY less confident about my decision to choose a race with an ocean swim. I have seen so many pictures of the start of IMFL and the water looks rough and the people are so crammed in that I fear I will drown. It's honestly making me regret my decision.

Has anyone done this race and not swam in the ocean prior. I sense that lots of the regulars swim in the ocean on a regular basis. I have no way of getting in the ocean or any rough body of water before my race. I live in Iowa and the lakes through the summer and early fall are sedentary for the most part.

Any good advice, tips for ocean swimming, or encouragement to offer?


2014-07-10 4:03 PM
in reply to: midwesttrimom

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Subject: RE: First Ironman, first open swim...ANXIETY is setting in

I haven't done IMFL, but you should plan to get to PCB a few days early and you can take advantage of that time to get some open water swims in.  They won't do much for your fitness, but they should help tremendously with your confidence.  

Think positive.  If you believe it is a mistake and will be a horrible experience...it will be...If you are excited and looking forward to a great swim...you stand a good chance it will be...

2014-07-10 4:07 PM
in reply to: midwesttrimom

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Subject: RE: First Ironman, first open swim...ANXIETY is setting in

1. You pretty much couldn't drown in a wetsuit if you tried.

2. The IMFL waves can look intimidating but for the most part it's just surface waves.  Once you get past the break it's fine.  Granted, there are days the waves are almost insurmountable.  A big storm came through Thur and Fri before the race last year.  It was extremely hard swimming past the break on Thur, so much so that I gave up on that practice swim.  Friday the beach was double red flagged and closed.  Had the race been a day earlier last year it would have been cancelled.  Not just the swim but the whole race.  The winds along the coast would have made the first 10 miles and last 10 miles of the bike ride so dangerous they would've had to call it off.

3. There's a ton of real estate with the beach start.  Last year they had everyone line up by anticipated swim times with the fastest swimmers to the left along the buoy line with the next group to the right of them and so on.  The slower swimmers were lined up furthest right which, IMO, is the best place to be if you want to avoid contact (regardless of your swim speed).

4. I've literally never done an OWS (let alone an ocean swim) outside of race day and I've trained for 8 Ironman races and 10 70.3's.  I have done IMFL twice and swam it in 1:06 each time.  No biggie as far as I was concerned.

2014-07-10 4:13 PM
in reply to: midwesttrimom

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Subject: RE: First Ironman, first open swim...ANXIETY is setting in

If the start looks too crowded for you, just wait a minute or two for the gung-ho folks to go out ahead, then walk in and get started.

2014-07-11 8:22 PM
in reply to: GMAN 19030

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Subject: RE: First Ironman, first open swim...ANXIETY is setting in
Originally posted by GMAN 19030

1. You pretty much couldn't drown in a wetsuit if you tried.

2. The IMFL waves can look intimidating but for the most part it's just surface waves.  Once you get past the break it's fine.  Granted, there are days the waves are almost insurmountable.  A big storm came through Thur and Fri before the race last year.  It was extremely hard swimming past the break on Thur, so much so that I gave up on that practice swim.  Friday the beach was double red flagged and closed.  Had the race been a day earlier last year it would have been cancelled.  Not just the swim but the whole race.  The winds along the coast would have made the first 10 miles and last 10 miles of the bike ride so dangerous they would've had to call it off.

3. There's a ton of real estate with the beach start.  Last year they had everyone line up by anticipated swim times with the fastest swimmers to the left along the buoy line with the next group to the right of them and so on.  The slower swimmers were lined up furthest right which, IMO, is the best place to be if you want to avoid contact (regardless of your swim speed).

4. I've literally never done an OWS (let alone an ocean swim) outside of race day and I've trained for 8 Ironman races and 10 70.3's.  I have done IMFL twice and swam it in 1:06 each time.  No biggie as far as I was concerned.




Priceless advice. I think I was having a panic attack yesterday after a long week of training. I do feel better today. So many things to think about. I am not getting to PCB until Thursday AM, but I will certainly swim a little that day, as well as Friday. Hopefully that will ease some of the stress. I have swam in the ocean for 400-500 meters on vacations with little difficulty but I think I read too many race reports and that started to really get to me! I am a strong swimmer and my 3000 meter swims are getting really easy! I look forward to longer swims.

Still welcome any tips or advice!!
2014-07-12 6:35 AM
in reply to: GMAN 19030

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Subject: RE: First Ironman, first open swim...ANXIETY is setting in

Originally posted by GMAN 19030

1. You pretty much couldn't drown in a wetsuit if you tried.

2. The IMFL waves can look intimidating but for the most part it's just surface waves.  Once you get past the break it's fine.  Granted, there are days the waves are almost insurmountable.  A big storm came through Thur and Fri before the race last year.  It was extremely hard swimming past the break on Thur, so much so that I gave up on that practice swim.  Friday the beach was double red flagged and closed.  Had the race been a day earlier last year it would have been cancelled.  Not just the swim but the whole race.  The winds along the coast would have made the first 10 miles and last 10 miles of the bike ride so dangerous they would've had to call it off.

3. There's a ton of real estate with the beach start.  Last year they had everyone line up by anticipated swim times with the fastest swimmers to the left along the buoy line with the next group to the right of them and so on.  The slower swimmers were lined up furthest right which, IMO, is the best place to be if you want to avoid contact (regardless of your swim speed).

4. I've literally never done an OWS (let alone an ocean swim) outside of race day and I've trained for 8 Ironman races and 10 70.3's.  I have done IMFL twice and swam it in 1:06 each time.  No biggie as far as I was concerned.

This is good advice.

I have done the race twice in 2010 and last year.  Really different swim conditions last year compared to a relatively flat 2010.  But as was mentioned above, once past the breaks near the beach it wasn't that bad. 

I thought the new start format used last year made it more congested, but nothing stopped anyone from standing back and letting the masses take off before getting in the water in less crowded conditions.  Really, for most of us waiting a minute is nothing at the end of a long day if it helps relieve some anxiety about the crowded swim.  I have done that myself on more than one occasion.

Between the salt water and the wetsuit, you are almost in a rubber canoe just paddling along!  Enjoy the journey!



2014-07-12 9:09 AM
in reply to: kenj

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Subject: RE: First Ironman, first open swim...ANXIETY is setting in
Agree with others that say you pretty much cannot sink in the ocean and a wetsuit. I actually prefer doing Tri's in the ocean because of the buoyancy help. Also, good advice about starting behind or on the outside edge of the group. I had a terrible experience in my very first triathlon many years ago where they actually started the women before the men (this was the 80's). Anyway, was swam over and kicked several times. So, since then I try to avoid the crowd. If you feel panicky, just take a deep breath, roll over on your back if you need to, and it will pass. You will do great!
2014-07-12 2:55 PM
in reply to: spudone

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Subject: RE: First Ironman, first open swim...ANXIETY is setting in
Originally posted by spudone

If the start looks too crowded for you, just wait a minute or two for the gung-ho folks to go out ahead, then walk in and get started.




Plenty of other good advice above, but this times 10. If this is your first and you are anxious, take your time, let the mosh float away and enjoy the wide open swim. Unless you are looking to KQ the few minutes you give away here will not hurt your days performance at all and will pay dividends in spades as you are able to have a relaxed swim. I've used this technique 14 times so far including twice at IMFlorida. Great anxiety reliever.
2014-07-13 1:14 AM
in reply to: exnavydoc

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Subject: RE: First Ironman, first open swim...ANXIETY is setting in
Originally posted by exnavydoc
Originally posted by spudone

If the start looks too crowded for you, just wait a minute or two for the gung-ho folks to go out ahead, then walk in and get started.

Plenty of other good advice above, but this times 10. If this is your first and you are anxious, take your time, let the mosh float away and enjoy the wide open swim. Unless you are looking to KQ the few minutes you give away here will not hurt your days performance at all and will pay dividends in spades as you are able to have a relaxed swim. I've used this technique 14 times so far including twice at IMFlorida. Great anxiety reliever.
Not only is it less stressful, but you conserve a lot of energy when you aren't fighting for space. If you aren't fast enough to get out ahead of the pack, then it is better to stay out of the washing machine.
2014-07-13 9:40 AM
in reply to: kenj

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Subject: RE: First Ironman, first open swim...ANXIETY is setting in
Originally posted by kenj

Originally posted by GMAN 19030

1. You pretty much couldn't drown in a wetsuit if you tried.

2. The IMFL waves can look intimidating but for the most part it's just surface waves.  Once you get past the break it's fine.  Granted, there are days the waves are almost insurmountable.  A big storm came through Thur and Fri before the race last year.  It was extremely hard swimming past the break on Thur, so much so that I gave up on that practice swim.  Friday the beach was double red flagged and closed.  Had the race been a day earlier last year it would have been cancelled.  Not just the swim but the whole race.  The winds along the coast would have made the first 10 miles and last 10 miles of the bike ride so dangerous they would've had to call it off.

3. There's a ton of real estate with the beach start.  Last year they had everyone line up by anticipated swim times with the fastest swimmers to the left along the buoy line with the next group to the right of them and so on.  The slower swimmers were lined up furthest right which, IMO, is the best place to be if you want to avoid contact (regardless of your swim speed).

4. I've literally never done an OWS (let alone an ocean swim) outside of race day and I've trained for 8 Ironman races and 10 70.3's.  I have done IMFL twice and swam it in 1:06 each time.  No biggie as far as I was concerned.

This is good advice.

I have done the race twice in 2010 and last year.  Really different swim conditions last year compared to a relatively flat 2010.  But as was mentioned above, once past the breaks near the beach it wasn't that bad. 

I thought the new start format used last year made it more congested, but nothing stopped anyone from standing back and letting the masses take off before getting in the water in less crowded conditions.  Really, for most of us waiting a minute is nothing at the end of a long day if it helps relieve some anxiety about the crowded swim.  I have done that myself on more than one occasion.

Between the salt water and the wetsuit, you are almost in a rubber canoe just paddling along!  Enjoy the journey!




Thanks so much. This is building my confidence. I know it's not going to be EASY, but relatively normal swimming conditions would be great.
2014-07-13 9:42 AM
in reply to: exnavydoc

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Subject: RE: First Ironman, first open swim...ANXIETY is setting in
Originally posted by exnavydoc

Originally posted by spudone

If the start looks too crowded for you, just wait a minute or two for the gung-ho folks to go out ahead, then walk in and get started.




Plenty of other good advice above, but this times 10. If this is your first and you are anxious, take your time, let the mosh float away and enjoy the wide open swim. Unless you are looking to KQ the few minutes you give away here will not hurt your days performance at all and will pay dividends in spades as you are able to have a relaxed swim. I've used this technique 14 times so far including twice at IMFlorida. Great anxiety reliever.



I will FOR SURE be doing this! I am not trying to break any records and just want to finish happy and respectably! Thanks!


2014-07-13 4:57 PM
in reply to: midwesttrimom

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Subject: RE: First Ironman, first open swim...ANXIETY is setting in
Also, saw that it said FIRST open swim. I have been doing OW swims for almost 8 years and spend a lot of time in the lake- FYI. Just not the ocean. I think I was losing my mind when I posted this. I was in panic mode!!
2014-07-14 12:46 PM
in reply to: McFuzz

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Subject: RE: First Ironman, first open swim...ANXIETY is setting in
GMAN basically covered everything. I'm also doing IMFL (first IM, first race in the ocean) and plan on starting far right, just to avoid as much of the washing machine as possible. Somebody did the math, and you can start 100 meters to the right of the buoys and it only adds 7-8 meters to your swim to that first turn buoy.
2014-07-14 1:33 PM
in reply to: midwesttrimom

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Subject: RE: First Ironman, first open swim...ANXIETY is setting in
Originally posted by midwesttrimom

Any good advice, tips for ocean swimming, or encouragement to offer?



First you have LOTS of time before the race. Get in your swim volume and you will feel much better a few months from now.

Hopefully you can get in some decent wetsuit practice, that really helps. Make sure your wetsuit is a good one and fits properly in the chest and shoulders. This is where you can feel uncomfortable. Swimming in a wetsuit is quite a bit faster, which will make the swim easier.
For me, my triceps do get tired in a wetsuit, and so I make sure I do "dips" regularly leading up to the race to build strength.

Swimming in the ocean is a blast, of course it's not overly smooth like a pool, but more bouyant. With the wetsuit you will cruise like a ship.

Best advice I can offer for ocean swimming is be ready for a mouthful of seawater. Don't panic, rotate your body a bit more to get clean breaths. Head down and steady forward. Relax and make sure you breath often. Focus on a steady even pace. Bilateral breathing helps a lot btw.

Don't forget you will develop a lot between now and then. Come race day, you will find your potential is greater than you think.


2014-07-14 4:19 PM
in reply to: metafizx

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Subject: RE: First Ironman, first open swim...ANXIETY is setting in
Originally posted by metafizx

Originally posted by midwesttrimom

Any good advice, tips for ocean swimming, or encouragement to offer?



First you have LOTS of time before the race. Get in your swim volume and you will feel much better a few months from now.

Hopefully you can get in some decent wetsuit practice, that really helps. Make sure your wetsuit is a good one and fits properly in the chest and shoulders. This is where you can feel uncomfortable. Swimming in a wetsuit is quite a bit faster, which will make the swim easier.
For me, my triceps do get tired in a wetsuit, and so I make sure I do "dips" regularly leading up to the race to build strength.

Swimming in the ocean is a blast, of course it's not overly smooth like a pool, but more bouyant. With the wetsuit you will cruise like a ship.

Best advice I can offer for ocean swimming is be ready for a mouthful of seawater. Don't panic, rotate your body a bit more to get clean breaths. Head down and steady forward. Relax and make sure you breath often. Focus on a steady even pace. Bilateral breathing helps a lot btw.

Don't forget you will develop a lot between now and then. Come race day, you will find your potential is greater than you think.





Thanks! I do always wear a wetsuit if it's legal for whatever race I am doing. I actually used to have a full sleeve but swtiched to sleeveless
about 3 years ago. I am just more comfortable in it. Broad shoulders and small through the hips so always struggled with getting
the sizing right. I have a very nice wetsuit that makes me feel like I am wearing a life jacket. That will certainly help a ton and I would
not want to race without it. I know there is a slim chance, though. My HIM is a week from Sunday so that will give me an indication
of where I am at. I know that's half the distance but I swam 3500 a couple of times already and try to hit 3000 MOST days that I swim.
No problems there. I feel strong and I know once I up my swims to 3500-4000 range I will build that confidence. It's really just the wave
and rough water potential that is keeping me a bit nervous! I think I will take that advice of starting off to the side and not being in a huge
hurry. I have estimated my swim time for this race at 1:30 and right now I am swimming 3000 around 52-53 min without trying to go
hard so thinking that should be pretty good? Will hopefully give me a bit of cushion, too. Although time isn't as important to me
as feeling good and being happy when I exit the water and head off to T1.

2014-07-22 7:06 AM
in reply to: 0


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Subject: RE: First Ironman, first open swim...ANXIETY is setting in
Originally posted by midwesttrimom

Originally posted by GMAN 19030

1. You pretty much couldn't drown in a wetsuit if you tried.

2. The IMFL waves can look intimidating but for the most part it's just surface waves.  Once you get past the break it's fine.  Granted, there are days the waves are almost insurmountable.  A big storm came through Thur and Fri before the race last year.  It was extremely hard swimming past the break on Thur, so much so that I gave up on that practice swim.  Friday the beach was double red flagged and closed.  Had the race been a day earlier last year it would have been cancelled.  Not just the swim but the whole race.  The winds along the coast would have made the first 10 miles and last 10 miles of the bike ride so dangerous they would've had to call it off.

3. There's a ton of real estate with the beach start.  Last year they had everyone line up by anticipated swim times with the fastest swimmers to the left along the buoy line with the next group to the right of them and so on.  The slower swimmers were lined up furthest right which, IMO, is the best place to be if you want to avoid contact (regardless of your swim speed).

4. I've literally never done an OWS (let alone an ocean swim) outside of race day and I've trained for 8 Ironman races and 10 70.3's.  I have done IMFL twice and swam it in 1:06 each time.  No biggie as far as I was concerned.




Priceless advice. I think I was having a panic attack yesterday after a long week of training. I do feel better today. So many things to think about. I am not getting to PCB until Thursday AM, but I will certainly swim a little that day, as well as Friday. Hopefully that will ease some of the stress. I have swam in the ocean for 400-500 meters on vacations with little difficulty but I think I read too many race reports and that started to really get to me! I am a strong swimmer and my 3000 meter swims are getting really easy! I look forward to longer swims.

Still welcome any tips or advice!!


I've never done an ocean swim, but from my experience, sometimes ignorance is bliss! I used to kayak regularly, and one of my big goals was the upper gauley. I rafted it once and loved it. Started setting my sights on kayaking it, and then I began reading about it, and that sealed the deal. The more I learned about it, the more scared I became about kayaking it.
Point being, stop reading the reports
Like someone else said, just hang out for a couple minutes. Do you really care about finishing in 14:30 vs 14:33(or whatever your anticipated time is). Three minutes will feel like an eternity while you're waiting and the mass will get a good 150 yards ahead of you giving you a lot of free space to swim.
Like you said, you've done 400m before in the ocean, so this is no different. Focus on that first 400, by then you'll be settled in and comfortable. You'll have a wetsuit so you'll be even more buoyant, flip on your back if you need a break, grab a canoe/kayak/boat if you need another break. Just try to breath slowly and deeply and you'll be just fine.

By the way, I love your quote about the word "obsessed." I hear that word a lot!

Edited by TriDadinAsheville 2014-07-22 7:07 AM


2014-07-22 10:41 AM
in reply to: TriDadinAsheville

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Subject: RE: First Ironman, first open swim...ANXIETY is setting in
Originally posted by TriDadinAsheville

Originally posted by midwesttrimom

Originally posted by GMAN 19030

1. You pretty much couldn't drown in a wetsuit if you tried.

2. The IMFL waves can look intimidating but for the most part it's just surface waves.  Once you get past the break it's fine.  Granted, there are days the waves are almost insurmountable.  A big storm came through Thur and Fri before the race last year.  It was extremely hard swimming past the break on Thur, so much so that I gave up on that practice swim.  Friday the beach was double red flagged and closed.  Had the race been a day earlier last year it would have been cancelled.  Not just the swim but the whole race.  The winds along the coast would have made the first 10 miles and last 10 miles of the bike ride so dangerous they would've had to call it off.

3. There's a ton of real estate with the beach start.  Last year they had everyone line up by anticipated swim times with the fastest swimmers to the left along the buoy line with the next group to the right of them and so on.  The slower swimmers were lined up furthest right which, IMO, is the best place to be if you want to avoid contact (regardless of your swim speed).

4. I've literally never done an OWS (let alone an ocean swim) outside of race day and I've trained for 8 Ironman races and 10 70.3's.  I have done IMFL twice and swam it in 1:06 each time.  No biggie as far as I was concerned.




Priceless advice. I think I was having a panic attack yesterday after a long week of training. I do feel better today. So many things to think about. I am not getting to PCB until Thursday AM, but I will certainly swim a little that day, as well as Friday. Hopefully that will ease some of the stress. I have swam in the ocean for 400-500 meters on vacations with little difficulty but I think I read too many race reports and that started to really get to me! I am a strong swimmer and my 3000 meter swims are getting really easy! I look forward to longer swims.

Still welcome any tips or advice!!


I've never done an ocean swim, but from my experience, sometimes ignorance is bliss! I used to kayak regularly, and one of my big goals was the upper gauley. I rafted it once and loved it. Started setting my sights on kayaking it, and then I began reading about it, and that sealed the deal. The more I learned about it, the more scared I became about kayaking it.
Point being, stop reading the reports
Like someone else said, just hang out for a couple minutes. Do you really care about finishing in 14:30 vs 14:33(or whatever your anticipated time is). Three minutes will feel like an eternity while you're waiting and the mass will get a good 150 yards ahead of you giving you a lot of free space to swim.
Like you said, you've done 400m before in the ocean, so this is no different. Focus on that first 400, by then you'll be settled in and comfortable. You'll have a wetsuit so you'll be even more buoyant, flip on your back if you need a break, grab a canoe/kayak/boat if you need another break. Just try to breath slowly and deeply and you'll be just fine.

By the way, I love your quote about the word "obsessed." I hear that word a lot!


Thanks! I talked to a local coach briefly and he said the same thing you did. Stop reading others reports and keep your head up. Confidence goes
a long ways. I need to stop dwelling on it. Swim hard on my workouts, get the long ones in, race a few times, etc. Appreciate your feedback and example!
2014-07-22 2:51 PM
in reply to: midwesttrimom

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Subject: RE: First Ironman, first open swim...ANXIETY is setting in
One of the things I noticed last year was many swimmers were jumping up to avoid the large swells close to the beach. Wouldn't it be easier to just dive through the wave like a surfer? Any thoughts from any of the IMFL veterans?
2014-07-22 3:17 PM
in reply to: midwesttrimom


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Subject: RE: First Ironman, first open swim...ANXIETY is setting in
Originally posted by midwesttrimom

Originally posted by TriDadinAsheville

Originally posted by midwesttrimom

Originally posted by GMAN 19030

1. You pretty much couldn't drown in a wetsuit if you tried.

2. The IMFL waves can look intimidating but for the most part it's just surface waves.  Once you get past the break it's fine.  Granted, there are days the waves are almost insurmountable.  A big storm came through Thur and Fri before the race last year.  It was extremely hard swimming past the break on Thur, so much so that I gave up on that practice swim.  Friday the beach was double red flagged and closed.  Had the race been a day earlier last year it would have been cancelled.  Not just the swim but the whole race.  The winds along the coast would have made the first 10 miles and last 10 miles of the bike ride so dangerous they would've had to call it off.

3. There's a ton of real estate with the beach start.  Last year they had everyone line up by anticipated swim times with the fastest swimmers to the left along the buoy line with the next group to the right of them and so on.  The slower swimmers were lined up furthest right which, IMO, is the best place to be if you want to avoid contact (regardless of your swim speed).

4. I've literally never done an OWS (let alone an ocean swim) outside of race day and I've trained for 8 Ironman races and 10 70.3's.  I have done IMFL twice and swam it in 1:06 each time.  No biggie as far as I was concerned.




Priceless advice. I think I was having a panic attack yesterday after a long week of training. I do feel better today. So many things to think about. I am not getting to PCB until Thursday AM, but I will certainly swim a little that day, as well as Friday. Hopefully that will ease some of the stress. I have swam in the ocean for 400-500 meters on vacations with little difficulty but I think I read too many race reports and that started to really get to me! I am a strong swimmer and my 3000 meter swims are getting really easy! I look forward to longer swims.

Still welcome any tips or advice!!


I've never done an ocean swim, but from my experience, sometimes ignorance is bliss! I used to kayak regularly, and one of my big goals was the upper gauley. I rafted it once and loved it. Started setting my sights on kayaking it, and then I began reading about it, and that sealed the deal. The more I learned about it, the more scared I became about kayaking it.
Point being, stop reading the reports
Like someone else said, just hang out for a couple minutes. Do you really care about finishing in 14:30 vs 14:33(or whatever your anticipated time is). Three minutes will feel like an eternity while you're waiting and the mass will get a good 150 yards ahead of you giving you a lot of free space to swim.
Like you said, you've done 400m before in the ocean, so this is no different. Focus on that first 400, by then you'll be settled in and comfortable. You'll have a wetsuit so you'll be even more buoyant, flip on your back if you need a break, grab a canoe/kayak/boat if you need another break. Just try to breath slowly and deeply and you'll be just fine.

By the way, I love your quote about the word "obsessed." I hear that word a lot!


Thanks! I talked to a local coach briefly and he said the same thing you did. Stop reading others reports and keep your head up. Confidence goes
a long ways. I need to stop dwelling on it. Swim hard on my workouts, get the long ones in, race a few times, etc. Appreciate your feedback and example!


No problem, that was the first thing I thought of when you talked about all the reading about the race you've been doing. I like reading reports too, but only the one's that are inspiring. You still have a lot of training ahead of you, so plenty of time to get more confident in the swim. I thought my first IM swim would be terrifying, but it was anything but. Literally, my first thought when the horn blew was..."OH MY GOD I'M DOING AN IRONMAN!" Then, it was swim. I also prepped myself in all my races that season by putting myself front and center in the swims instead of shying away, to prepare myself for the contact. The Ironman swim was by far the easiest swim I had all year.
You'll be fine, you really will. Relax, breath, and enjoy it. It goes by really fast!
2014-07-23 11:19 AM
in reply to: TriDadinAsheville

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Subject: RE: First Ironman, first open swim...ANXIETY is setting in
Originally posted by TriDadinAsheville

Originally posted by midwesttrimom

Originally posted by TriDadinAsheville

Originally posted by midwesttrimom

Originally posted by GMAN 19030

1. You pretty much couldn't drown in a wetsuit if you tried.

2. The IMFL waves can look intimidating but for the most part it's just surface waves.  Once you get past the break it's fine.  Granted, there are days the waves are almost insurmountable.  A big storm came through Thur and Fri before the race last year.  It was extremely hard swimming past the break on Thur, so much so that I gave up on that practice swim.  Friday the beach was double red flagged and closed.  Had the race been a day earlier last year it would have been cancelled.  Not just the swim but the whole race.  The winds along the coast would have made the first 10 miles and last 10 miles of the bike ride so dangerous they would've had to call it off.

3. There's a ton of real estate with the beach start.  Last year they had everyone line up by anticipated swim times with the fastest swimmers to the left along the buoy line with the next group to the right of them and so on.  The slower swimmers were lined up furthest right which, IMO, is the best place to be if you want to avoid contact (regardless of your swim speed).

4. I've literally never done an OWS (let alone an ocean swim) outside of race day and I've trained for 8 Ironman races and 10 70.3's.  I have done IMFL twice and swam it in 1:06 each time.  No biggie as far as I was concerned.






Priceless advice. I think I was having a panic attack yesterday after a long week of training. I do feel better today. So many things to think about. I am not getting to PCB until Thursday AM, but I will certainly swim a little that day, as well as Friday. Hopefully that will ease some of the stress. I have swam in the ocean for 400-500 meters on vacations with little difficulty but I think I read too many race reports and that started to really get to me! I am a strong swimmer and my 3000 meter swims are getting really easy! I look forward to longer swims.

Still welcome any tips or advice!!


I've never done an ocean swim, but from my experience, sometimes ignorance is bliss! I used to kayak regularly, and one of my big goals was the upper gauley. I rafted it once and loved it. Started setting my sights on kayaking it, and then I began reading about it, and that sealed the deal. The more I learned about it, the more scared I became about kayaking it.
Point being, stop reading the reports
Like someone else said, just hang out for a couple minutes. Do you really care about finishing in 14:30 vs 14:33(or whatever your anticipated time is). Three minutes will feel like an eternity while you're waiting and the mass will get a good 150 yards ahead of you giving you a lot of free space to swim.
Like you said, you've done 400m before in the ocean, so this is no different. Focus on that first 400, by then you'll be settled in and comfortable. You'll have a wetsuit so you'll be even more buoyant, flip on your back if you need a break, grab a canoe/kayak/boat if you need another break. Just try to breath slowly and deeply and you'll be just fine.

By the way, I love your quote about the word "obsessed." I hear that word a lot!


Thanks! I talked to a local coach briefly and he said the same thing you did. Stop reading others reports and keep your head up. Confidence goes
a long ways. I need to stop dwelling on it. Swim hard on my workouts, get the long ones in, race a few times, etc. Appreciate your feedback and example!


No problem, that was the first thing I thought of when you talked about all the reading about the race you've been doing. I like reading reports too, but only the one's that are inspiring. You still have a lot of training ahead of you, so plenty of time to get more confident in the swim. I thought my first IM swim would be terrifying, but it was anything but. Literally, my first thought when the horn blew was..."OH MY GOD I'M DOING AN IRONMAN!" Then, it was swim. I also prepped myself in all my races that season by putting myself front and center in the swims instead of shying away, to prepare myself for the contact. The Ironman swim was by far the easiest swim I had all year.
You'll be fine, you really will. Relax, breath, and enjoy it. It goes by really fast!



I tell myself that every single day---OH MY GOD I'M REALLY DOING AN IRONMAN!!! There, just did it again. It is completely CRAZY but when I really analyze my last 7-8 years I can do this just as much as anyone else can. I have put in the time, I've raced a TON, I've met so many goals I never thought I would. I am READY for this training and I am loving it SO MUCH more than I thought I would have. It's amazing. Thanks!
2014-07-24 11:28 AM
in reply to: midwesttrimom


2

Subject: RE: First Ironman, first open swim...ANXIETY is setting in
Remember 3 things:

1) You may (read - will) freak out a bit when you start. Most everyone I've talked to that does an OWS for the first time at a 70.3 or IM event does. The water may be cooler than you anticipate, the wake will be weird, you'll get loads of water/salt water in your mouth, etc.. Knowing this will help you prepare mentally.

2) You will be fine. Just take a moment, tell yourself to relax. At my last 70.3 event (my 3rd) I freaked out for a minute and thought "holy crap, I am not going to finish", but then treaded water for a second, did a few breast strokes, calmed down and got into a groove. I landed a new swim PR & went on to get a spot at the 2014 70.3 World Championships.

3) What everyone else said above :-)



2014-09-07 5:47 PM
in reply to: TMan72478

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Subject: RE: First Ironman, first open swim...ANXIETY is setting in
Originally posted by TMan72478

Remember 3 things:

1) You may (read - will) freak out a bit when you start. Most everyone I've talked to that does an OWS for the first time at a 70.3 or IM event does. The water may be cooler than you anticipate, the wake will be weird, you'll get loads of water/salt water in your mouth, etc.. Knowing this will help you prepare mentally.

2) You will be fine. Just take a moment, tell yourself to relax. At my last 70.3 event (my 3rd) I freaked out for a minute and thought "holy crap, I am not going to finish", but then treaded water for a second, did a few breast strokes, calmed down and got into a groove. I landed a new swim PR & went on to get a spot at the 2014 70.3 World Championships.

3) What everyone else said above :-)




Thanks. I am coming back to this every time I start getting overly-anxious about this race. It's so helpful. I am doing 2500-3500 meter swims up to three times per week right now and feeling GREAT. I raced in open water again last week (only a sprint due to some flooding, though) and had a great swim exiting the water first in my AG. I am gaining confidence but cannot wait for those practice swims. Really hoping for calm waters this year!!! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH
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