"When you are going through hell, keep going…" (Churchill, W) That's not what I did. At the moment, I did what was good for me.
Second try at a OWS, this one was choppy and there were waves. I arrive early, as I always do. Pull on my wetsuit, set out my gear and walk out in the water. I stand in the water at first, feel the waves, look at the orange cones, follow the course. Then start walking out further to get a short warm up swim in. After that, I start psyching myself out or in, depends on the moment. I try to convince myself I can do this, just stay in the moment and do the stroke, sight, then stroke. Practice breathing.
The gun goes off and everyone starts swimming. I swim, I don't know, a few strokes, maybe 25 yards and a wave hits me right when I look up, mouth open and I take a breath of water. I stop stand up and cough it out. I can't do this, I tell myself. I turn around and start walking out of the water. I run across someone in a kayak, notice it's the same lady who helped me through the last OWS. She says, without realizing it's me, "you okay?" Then realizes it's me and she takes a double take and says, "Oh hi!" I said, I can't do this. And she says, "Okay, then go do the run." And I didn't even consider that. But, that's just what I head to. I walk out of the water. Silence from the audience, crickets. They all look at me not knowing what to do. I don't care. I walk to the coral and change my clothes and head out to run.
I get back and see my husband with his fancy camera in hand, looking for me. Then surprised he sees me. He thinks I'm just heading out for the run because he thinks he missed me. I said, I just got back from the run and explained how I didn't finish the swim, only did 75 yards of it. Then choked.
He told me he couldn't find me and has lots of pictures of other swimmers, thinking it was me coming out of the water. He said, well, you finished the run, there's always the next one. You will do this. And I will, I just have to get through whatever it is that is holding me back.
They don't record my time in the overall, even though they have times for those who finished the swim but did not run. I would think they would keep my time in and say I didn't complete the swim but ran. Doesn't matter. I keep moving forward.