I’ve taken two fun trips recently and will get to those but in the meantime...
A little something about swimming
My friend Sarah and I are planning on doing a triathlon sprint on July 24. That’s 13 miles biking, 5 kilometers running and 750 yards swimming.
I've become a little addicted to races. The excitement of the day, the adrenaline - it's exhilarating.
The sucky part is having to train for them.
Sarah is an excellent swimmer. She swam in college, learned how to cut through the water like a petite little fish.
In a swimming pool, she can do the 750 in about 13 minutes. I splash in with my meager breast stroke at 20 minutes or so.
So last week we went swimming in a small lake. Another friend lives there and she offered the use of it to us so we could practice swimming in open water. Quite necessary practice, as it turns out.
Sarah and I met on the edge of town and drove to the lake. I drove fast, to beat the clouds.
"My mom gave me a lecture about swimming in this weather," Sarah said, and I drove faster. We wanted to get in a swim before those dark clouds on the horizon tried to ruin our plans.
We got to the lake, piled our stuff on the shore and splashed into the water. I was slower, in this water. I could see the algae through my goggles as I swam. It drifted by and under me as I stroked through the water, but I couldn’t feel it or taste it, thank God. Sarah, who'd taken longer to undress, quickly caught up. About 150 yards out, we decided to head back. The clouds were looking a little angrier and we could see lightning in the distance.
"Did you see that big gross thing? It looked like an animal," Sarah said about something that had been floating in the water.
"Yah, ew. I swam around it."
As we swam back, I had visions of being electrocuted by water, and swam faster. Halfway back, Sarah hung, immobile in the water, staring at the black bobbing shape that had drifted far to our left. "What are you doing?" I huffed up next to her.
"I’m afraid of that thing," she said. "What is it?"
"It’s not going to get you, it's far away," I said.
"I hate it!" she said.
I laughed and continued to swim. She remained ahead of me, but kept pausing to watch the thing.
Still, she made it to shore first. When I was still a few yards out, the wind suddenly decided that it was time to match the scary looking clouds and whipped across the surface of the water, blowing drops into my face and challenging my swimming technique. I touched ground about that time and struggled on until I was on shore.
"Wow, this weather!" I said, and as we started to gather our belongings, the wind picked up to a million miles an hour so that the sand attacked our skin, and our clothes tried to run away. Sarah grabbed my jeans, which were down by the water, and sandals, and we raced for the car, all the while shouting, "ow, ow, ow" at the stinging sand.
I fumbled for my keys, unlocked the car, and we scrambled in, wet and with nothing but our swimsuits on.
"Well, besides the wind, that wasn't so bad," I said. "We should do this everyday."
"I know, it was great! Did you see all that algae, though? That was a little gross. I kept my mouth closed."
"Yah, but luckily, it's not all over us," I said and examined my droplety but clear skin.
We went back to my friend's house to change and rinse off the sand.
Sarah stepped into the bathroom, and then I heard a "Jessica...? Come here for a sec." I peeped open the door, she lifted her swimsuit strap and I saw all the green. It was like paint, soft and fine and squishy. You could see it smushed into the fabric of the suit.
"Ahh!" I said, horrified. "Do I look like that?" I lifted my suit and did a quick scan down the front of my body and we both shrieked again. Green, green, everywhere, like paint! Like mold! Like I’d bathed in the stuff!
Hurriedly, I dashed into the other bathroom, rinsed off, running my fingers everywhere, trying to get rid of the disgusting green.
I finally emerged with a soggy and still-green-on-the-inside bathing suit, but still before Sarah. I cleaned everything up, dressed, and waited for her.
"So... want to go again?" I said in the car. We had, after all, made plans to swim on Monday and as often as possible until the Big Day.
"Um... What do you think?"
"I'm up for it if you are, now that we know what to expect," I said.
"I'll have to sleep on it," she said finally.