Friday, June 18, 2010

Tri Latta Sprint Triathlon 2010 Race Report Part 1/3

On June 12, 2010, I participated in a sprint triathlon. While the distance didn’t frighten me, the swim created a little anxiety in this triathlete

What was causing me a little anxiety was the open water swim. I still am very inexperienced when it comes to the open water. In New Orleans Half Ironman, I had a safety net; my wetsuit. The wetsuit provides buoyancy. It is nearly (I said nearly) impossible to drown in a wetsuit. You can just lie on your back effortlessly and float. Of course you can do the same thing without a wetsuit but you have to be focused on staying relaxed. No focus needed in a wetsuit.

In New Orleans, I had that added security. During the Tri Latta triathlon, I had to trust first my Father, and second my ability to swim. I was admittedly having trouble trusting either of the two. A couple days before the triathlon I watched a movie called Facing the Giants. It is an AWESOME movie. That movie totally inspired me! I also took a song from their sound track called “The Voice of Truth” by Casting Crowns. It became my theme song heading into the triathlon.

The point of the song is to trust where God has put you and listen to HIS voice. I played this song, no kidding, at least a hundred times in the days, hours, and minutes leading into this open water swim. I was terrified and I wasn’t sure what to do so I turned to my faith.

We get to the race sight and the event was exciting! I saw a couple other police officers who said they were doing this event. I secretly had this inner plan to beat them! I learned later that beating someone wasn’t important at all.

I had an early wave which was exciting because being a back of the packer it gets lonely if you have a later wave. I felt good going into this event; well minus the swim. I did the body marking, chip pickup, bike check-in and the must visit to Green Gold! I was a little disappointed this event had sold out with 800 participants and there were !ten! portalets! The line was extremely long and I barely made my swim start!

So, this thing happens to me when I’m really stressed about an endurance event. It’s not good at all! I get nausea and usually have to get sick. My very first triathlon in October ‘09 it happened to me. In fact, it was the last time it has happened. It also happened before some of my key half marathons. I was curious as to why it didnt happen in New Orleans. Well, going into this swim start I was extremely stressed and had nausea. In fact, in a video right before my swim start KP asked me how i was feeling. I said I am going to be sick!

I here an announcement “Men 34 and under, if you are wearing a yellow swim cap enter the water now.” I had an adrenaline dump! I could feel it burning the veins in my body like a poison! I was panicked! As all of the other swimmers walked confidently into the water I stood back. There was a flash! A demon screamed as loud as it could! I stood on the edge of the ground and the lake too afraid to commit. Too afraid to get into the water. It was at that moment that demon YELLED! PULL OUT!!! Dont SWIM!!

I looked around for KP for reassurance but i couldnt see her. I didnt know it then but i was learning a lesson about my God. I started to hear the words of that song in my heard! “The voice of truth tells me a different story. The voice of Truth says do not be afraid” I had taken a small step toward my fear. I was in the water only but I was only ankle deep. What I learned was that I needed to depend on God in those moments. I need to look to him first.

Announcement “Two minutes.” I could still feel my heart beating rapidly. I began praying and hearing the lyrics to the song in my head. Slowly I began to move forward into the pack of standing swimmers. Anouncement: “One minute” Something weird was happening!!!! I couldn’t believe it. The closer to the start time, the more i prayed, the more i sung that song in my head, the calmer i was becoming. “Ten seconds!” HORN! Nothing! No rapid heartbeat. No panic; just calmness; another day at the “pool”. I was standing with Christ! I was so calm it was scary. The firth 400 meters went by quickly. I was sighting well and i was even staying with the pack! It was awesome to finally be with the pack for once. I was even passing people!

I passed one guy with his hand raised and I prayed for him to be ok. I put my head down and kept moving forward. The water was warm (80 degrees) and i was able to swim the same way I did in my swim workouts. I breathe on the fourth stroke, then the second stroke, then the fourth stroke, then the second. I was focusing on my technique which is something I didnt do in New Orleans. In New Orleans, I was breathing every two strokes and moving my hands in any manner just to get through the swim. It was a tough swim and I was just trying to survive. This swim was different. Well, until 400 meters out and 350 meters to go.

Something was happening to my peace; to my great swim I was having! That nausea, and possibly that adrenaline dump, was catching up with me. I was getting sick. I was feeling like I had to vomit. I, unfortunately, had to stop and hang on a kayak for a minute or two until my stomach settled. I didn’t let it ruin me though. I continued my swim and then passed some people that had passed me while I was hanging on the kayak. I made it out of the water and I was excited. I had just completed my firs open water non-wetsuit swim! I wasn’t as fast as I have been in the pool but at least I gained confidence!

The standard used to determine if I had a good swim today meant I survived it. And I gained confidence in the open water. Both happened during this swim. I also learned a lesson. I “wished” I would have pushed it out more and swam through it until the point I had actually gotten sick. The reason is now I wonder if that nausea was psychologically induced. Or, if it was a true physical issue, even if it was a true physical issue I wished I had swam through it. This, however, all pointed to something God was planning for me. A blessing that was coming later.


  1. congrats on conquering the open water swim Hassan!! That's a huge accomplishment and you deserver a lot of credit. I'm willing to bet there were plenty of other people as nervous as you were at the water's edge - they may not all look it, but they're out there. Keep on keepin' on - I've got my first open OCEAN swim on July 4th - EEP!

  2. 愛情是一種發明,需要不斷改良。只是,這種發明和其他發明不一樣,它沒有專利權,隨時會被人搶走。..................................................................

  3. 知識可以傳授,智慧卻不行。每個人必須成為他自己。.................................................................