I have been trying not to freak myself out by thinking too much about the race. Actually, I've been blocking the thing from my mind completely. Whenever a race-related thought pops into my head, I'm all like LA LA LA TODAY HAS ENOUGH CHALLENGES OF ITS OWN LET'S JUST GET THROUGH TODAY, SHALL WE? And I've enjoyed approximately 38 panic-free weeks of being my normal calm, relaxed, mellow, Type Z self.
Only… recently I thought I heard that the race organizers had mailed out an Athlete's Guide. I had not received one, so naturally my reaction was to go to the website to confirm that I'm actually entered. For peace of mind, you see. Just being on the website, I could feel my heart rate starting to rise. But, yes, I was on the competitor's list (of course, I already knew for a fact that they had taken my money).
Anyway. Okay. That's settled. Whew. Don't have to think about the race anymore.
Only… maybe, I thought to myself, it's about time I READ the Athlete's Guide? What if there's something important that I need to deal with now? So I read it. It's 28 pages, and the theme of 20 of them is, "TAKE ONE STEP OUT OF LINE, AND WE WILL DISQUALIFY YOUR SORRY BUTT." (The theme of the other eight is, "Chances are, you are probably going to die.") I could feel the adrenaline beginning to bubble up from my stomach and spread outward.
Okay. Deep breath. I know most races are a lot friendlier than they sound on paper. (And, as my husband helpfully pointed out, I'm not really going to be passing anyone, so I can forget all that stuff about passing violations.) Deep breath.
Then I started thinking again (oops). The Athlete's Guide had mentioned we could wear neoprene booties if the water temperature was below 65 degrees. Well, just how cold was the water? Unfortunately for me, I found a website that answered that question with hourly precision. And the answer is, at this hour, 56 degrees.
This information caused (in addition to near hyperventilation), an online shopping expedition for neoprene booties, an email to my sister to see whether she had neoprene booties, a round of Googling for cold-water swimming advice, the reading of several cold-water swim race reports, the watching of 30 YouTube videos of last year's Coeur d'Alene swim start, and the taking of a cold shower to see how tough I was (zero tough). Oh, and pacing around my office under the guise of "stretching." Guess how much work I've gotten done so far today?
So I think I've learned my lesson.
And I hope you have learned why, if you ask me if I'm nervous about the race—or really anything about the race—I will either cheerfully lie through my teeth or actually lunge for your throat.