Tuesday, October 26, 2010

You Big Chicken!!!!!

You know how they say a vampire won't show up on film?
Well, if you are a Big Chicken, it DOES show up on film --
this is why I didn't buy race photos this year...LOL!!!

Six years ago I had no clue how to swim. NO IDEA.

For the first 29 years of my life, I had an uneasy relationship with water. When my parents would take us on summer vacation, my sister and I loved to play in hotel pools...at the shallow end of course. Neither me nor my sister ever learned how to swim.

Fast forward to when I was 26 years old, and the summer of me and my sister's Great Mexican Vacation. Our trip consisted of tanning by the pool and then submerging ourselves in the little pool to cool off every once in a while.

One afternoon, a local scuba guide came by the pool to give free demos. Now anyone who knows the Andersons, is aware what the word FREE does to us. It is the same thing that happens when we see a glittery object...It's like our hunting instincts are instantly activated. The heart starts beating quicker, all senses are heightened. Things are seen so much more clearly -- hearing is maginified, the sense of touch, everything. We are turned into Superman!! FREE?!?!?! Where? FREEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My sister and I were the only ones who took advantage of the free demo. It didn't matter that neither of us had a clue how to swim. The poor guide.

First, he had to show us how to get our faces in the water. This took some time. Step by step, he walked us through putting the gear on and then breathing underwater. He tried to get us to take off our masks underwater and then put them on again. That was NOT happening. I panicked and flew back up to the surface as quickly as possible. I know -- if I was in real deep water, the pressure would have blown my eyeballs out of my head and stopped my heart, but remember, I had never been underwater before!

My sister, on the other hand was a total stud. She put the gear on and just sank to the bottom of the pool and stayed there. She told me afterward, it was easy -- she didn't know how to swim or anything, so she just sank. And then sat there at the bottom of the pool until the guide brought her back up. LOL!!! It reminded me of when she was a baby and she would poop her diaper and just sit there with this big grin on her face. No worries, no problems. Just sit there.

After the demo, the scuba guide asked if we wanted to go for a scuba tour. In hindsight, I realized that what he did was probably illegal, because I guarantee you could not find two greener scuba-tourists than us. I can't actually believe given our limited 20 minute demo that we went out in the ocean with scuba gear on!!

This was how it went: We each had to fall backwards off the boat, just like you see on the Discovery channel. I thought I was going to have a panic attack when I saw my world go all topsy-turvy and then bubbles everywhere. But I clung to that mouthpiece and breathed like Darth Vadar and used my breathing as something to focus on.

The scuba guide then took my hand and my sister's hand, and pulled us around the ocean floor. It was pretty cool -- he gave each of us a sea cucumber to hold and took pictures of us with our underwater camera. (The one pic of my sister holding that cumber looked especially perverted, It looked like it LIKED my sister's grip -- I kid you not!! LOL!!!)

There was one point during our underwater excursion where I could feel a current. I felt myself getting pulled along....The guide at this point had (for some reason) let go of each of our hands for just a moment. My sister got caught in some weird-ball current and no kidding, it looked like she was getting sucked out into space. Like she was on the Starship Enterprise and someone opened the hatch and you see the person getting sucked out into space, their arms and legs spread and them spinning away.

The guide caught me, and then looked to the left, to the right for my sister. She was above him!! OMG it was so hilarious (but terrifying in retrospect) when he didn't see her and then he finally looked up. The poor guy probably had a heart attack.

As we ascended, I had to fight the panic attack thing again. Oh man! When we finally got to the surface, his partner hauled each of us in the boat -- literally. Hahahaha -- the guide told me he had been worried about me freaking out. That he thought I would have been the one to watch out for. LMAO!!!

Now you know my swimming background...

Thus, today at Masters, for part of the session we were to DIVE off the blocks. I was excited (yet scared) about this. We started by standing on the blocks and then jumped as far as we could, plunging into the water feet first.

I could do this.

I did it twice.

The next step was bending over and then actually diving. I had heart palpitations and I broke out into a cold sweat. Oh My God I was terrified. The coach kept saying, "1...2.....3...GO!" And everyone kept cycling through.

Except me.

I was shaking so much, I got off the blocks and let the women in my line go ahead of me. Then I tried again, and I tasted fear -- the terror of the unknown. Coppery like blood. My God, if there was a cougar, shark, bear, any wild animal around I can guarantee you they would have come running to me. I SWEAT pure fear.

I finally got up enough courage to ask if I could try diving off the pool deck. The coach said, "Of course!" On the 1....2....3....I wavered again and was shaking, I couldn't do it! The coach then came over and showed me how to pretend like I was going to dive, but then just fall in.

Now that I could do! Although I was still terrified, I could do it. It was so hilarious, everyone was offering me encouragement and when I finally plopped into the pool, the coach said, "That was really great, Julie!" Yeah right -- I felt my belly slap the water. Hahahaha!! But positive encouragement is something I will take! :) :) :)

I was a big chicken!!!! LMAO!!!!

Who's the big chicken? I'M the big chicken! Me and my
Coke Zero. Yeah man. Cool like us chickens.

It's hard to explain to people who learned to swim as kids what it is like for chickens like me...The vast majority of my memories involving water are coupled with fear. It is only in the past 6 years that I have created fun water memories. What is even stranger is having both sets of memories (and their associated emotions) rattle around my brain at the same time. It can be a very odd experience!!!

Until next time....


Lisa G said...

Awesome and hilarious! And diving - way to go! You can totally do it, it just takes practicepracticepractice! Just like flip turns. That is so crazy about the scuba diving thing - what an amazing experience yet scary at the same time!

So excited for your Ironman race coming up in a few weeks - yay!

Keith said...

Diving is way easier than flip turns. Keeping your goggles on while diving, there's the trick.

I'm having a tough time picturing you in the chicken suit.

Big Daddy Diesel said...

I love the water, been in it since a little kid, but scuba diving scares me, the stories of if you hold your breath your lungs blow up, doesnt sound fun to me

Jen (Triathlete Within) said...

That's so brave you went scuba diving when you were scared to put your face in the water!! I love diving - so amazing to see the world under there, but scary and terrifying at the same time!

Jenna said...

I can related to scuba fear - since I fear all aquatic life I have some serious mental shit going on in my head when swimming open water tris.....I read of your training below and frick, I am glad I am taking timeoff - i just about puked in my mouth!