Posted by: Sue D. Gelber | August 7, 2010

Over My Head

I woke up this morning to the sound of birds singing outside the window. Wishing that the birds had a snooze button, I rolled over, wrapping myself in the smooth coolness of the sheets. I pulled a pillow over my head, but I could still hear one particular bird, calling insistently. It sounded like he was saying “Don’t. Don’t. Don’t do it. Skip it. Skip it. Don’t swim.”

My sign-up-aholic tendencies have taken me strange places before, but this time I have really done it. I have signed up for something that even six month ago would have been not only unthinkable, but possibly a death sentence. I have signed up for a one-mile open water swim race. Let me just highlight those components for emphasis: One-mile. Open Water. SWIM.

Just to be clear, I hate swimming. I don’t even like water that much. My feeling about bodies of water, of any size, is that they are best appreciated from dry land, preferably in a beach chair, ideally with a cocktail.  No, I was not the mom who would play with her kids for hours in the shallow end of the pool, or playfully toss them in the waves at the beach. I was the mom who would sit comfortably in the shade reading a book while they swam, and when my kids would come to check in with me I would say “Can you please stop dripping on me?”

My water aversion is challenging, though, because I love water sports. For windsurfing, I manage to overcome the cold-water obstacle by doing a beach start and then praying – hard – that I don’t fall until I coast back onto the beach again. Water skiing, however, is more difficult. I am too chicken to try a dock start. My dislike of large painful splinters in my backside is greater than my dislike of cold water. So, I water start, whining and complaining the entire time. And, again, I pray hard that I don’t fall until I coast back as close to the beach and/or dock as I can get without risking great bodily harm. Although I love water skiing, I will gladly skip it altogether if the water is too chilly or if I simply don’t feel like getting my hair wet. Yes, I am that much of a baby.

So, how in the world did I sign up for a swim race? What invasion-of-the-body-snatchers kind of force took control of my mind and made me pick up the race flyer and say “Hey, I should do this….” Perhaps it is some undocumented form of psychosis, or perhaps a kind of miracle. In any case, I filled out the registration form and sent in my money, so I am committed. Now I just need someone to shoot that bird outside the window before he talks me out of it. “Don’t do it. Skip it. Skip it.”


  1. You can totally do this. And you’ll love it. Can’t wait to read the race report. One mile is totally do-able.

    Good luck!

  2. Think Dory in “Finding Nemo” – Just keep swimming and you’ll ge there. Focus on breathing out everything you got under water…slows you down, makes you more relaxed. You can do it!

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