Tri Challenge: Breathe deeply to conquer wet suit anxiety
July 25th, 2011
03:10 PM ET

Tri Challenge: Breathe deeply to conquer wet suit anxiety

Since January, six iReporters have been training in the Fit Nation Triathlon Challenge. We’re following along as they prepare to compete alongside Dr. Sanjay Gupta in the August 7 Nautica NYC Triathlon.

Well here we are, staring down less than two weeks until we jump into the Hudson River! Wet suits are allowed for this race as long as the water temp is below 78°F, and because the water temp has not reached this level in the history of the NYC Tri, we 6-Packers have all included wet suit swims in our training.

We swam in them several times while in Hawaii in April, including the mini-tri we did on our last day there. That swim did not go well for me, and I have come to decide that it was due to “wet suit anxiety.” Frankly, I have more anxiety about the swim than I have admitted to myself and others.

The first time I put on my wet suit in Hawaii (actually it was the second time; the first time we all put them on backwards and had to start over), I was comfortable swimming in it in the ocean. But on the day we did our mini-tri, something changed, and I found myself hyperventilating on the swim. I think I had started out swimming too fast, got winded, and then blamed the tight fit of the wet suit for not being able to catch my breath when actually I couldn’t catch it because I was hyperventilating.

Memories of that Hawaii swim drove me to practice a real-life river swim in my wet suit, just so that I would know that I had done it when the time came to take the Hudson plunge. So this past Sunday, after I had celebrated a 50-mile-ride milestone earlier in the day, I rested a few hours and then hit the river with friends Gena and David, to do a wet suit swim in the Etowah river.

I donned mine about a mile upstream from where I would exit, but because I was tired from the morning’s ride, we paddled a little farther downstream before I jumped in. My greatest concern was that the river was quite shallow in spots, and I didn’t want to scuff against any rocks or logs that might tear it. Gena and David paddled along about 20 feet to each side of me to make sure I stayed in mid-channel. As usual, I started off swimming smoothly, rolling, stretching and breathing bilaterally as I have been doing for miles all summer in the pool. Maybe this time it would be OK.

I practiced abdominal breathing to lessen my feeling of chest constriction, but no such luck; here came that familiar shortness-of-breath feeling that pulled my attention to the fit of the wet suit on my chest. I wish I could say that I worked it out, that I got my mind over matter, slowed my strokes, breathed abdominally and finally hit a stride, but I really never did. What I did accomplish was good practice of my resting strokes (side and back), and of my self-talk that enabled me to go on downstream.

I’m not gonna lie: I was very glad to get out of that water last Sunday. I had righteously earned that long bubble-bath that was waiting at home! Three lessons came out of the water with me: (1) Do not take comfort with any sport for granted– things may (and will) change when you least expect it.(2) Know your resting plan and practice that too; and (3) Friends that help you train add fun and blessings.

So… will we or won’t we be wearing our wet suits into the Hudson? That decision is out of my hands, so I plan to succeed under either scenario. If we do, I will enjoy the extra flotation, and if we don’t, I will probably not hyperventilate. One thing is certain: When I take that leap into the Hudson with all of my new best friends, it will be a moment that I will never ever forget.

Follow @CNNHealth on Twitter

soundoff (601 Responses)
  1. Internet Marketing Mechanics


    May 19, 2021 at 02:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Maserati Near Me


    May 19, 2021 at 02:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Eye Exam Deals Near Me


    May 19, 2021 at 04:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Eye Care Specialist Near Me

    Good info. Lucky me I ran across your site by chance (stumbleupon). I have book marked it for later!


    May 19, 2021 at 04:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. otc energy pills like adderall

    Pretty! This was an incredibly wonderful article. Thank you for providing this info.


    May 19, 2021 at 05:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. best energy pills for men


    May 19, 2021 at 08:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. happy birthday mom gifts


    May 19, 2021 at 12:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. does rv insurance cover roof leaks


    May 19, 2021 at 17:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. SEO Marketing Services


    May 19, 2021 at 19:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Internet Marketing Company Near Me


    May 20, 2021 at 05:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Digital Marketing Experts

    Next time I read a blog, Hopefully it does not disappoint me as much as this particular one. I mean, I know it was my choice to read, but I truly believed you'd have something interesting to say. All I hear is a bunch of crying about something you could fix if you were not too busy looking for attention.


    May 20, 2021 at 06:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. SEO Marketing Agency


    May 20, 2021 at 07:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. oc rv dealers


    May 20, 2021 at 16:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. RV Awning Orange County

    Aw, this was an exceptionally good post. Taking the time and actual effort to produce a superb article… but what can I say… I procrastinate a lot and never manage to get nearly anything done.


    May 20, 2021 at 17:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. RV Cabinet Los Angeles


    May 20, 2021 at 19:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Sprinter Repair Shops

    This web site truly has all the information and facts I wanted about this subject and didn’t know who to ask.


    May 20, 2021 at 23:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. accutane coupon

    isotretinoina https://tretivaisotretinoin.com/# side effects of accutane

    May 21, 2021 at 00:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Sprinter Mechanic


    May 21, 2021 at 06:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. furniture repair shops near me


    May 21, 2021 at 10:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Digital Marketing Agency Near Me


    May 21, 2021 at 13:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. good paint shops near me


    May 21, 2021 at 14:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. rv parts store close to me


    May 21, 2021 at 16:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Digital Marketing Company


    May 21, 2021 at 18:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. RV Technician Near Me


    May 21, 2021 at 18:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. RV Tires Riverside

    I'm more than happy to find this web site. I need to to thank you for your time just for this fantastic read!! I definitely enjoyed every little bit of it and i also have you book-marked to check out new information in your blog.


    May 21, 2021 at 21:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. RV AC Orange County


    May 21, 2021 at 21:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. RV Remodeling Near Me


    May 22, 2021 at 01:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Local Marketing Agencies Near Me


    May 22, 2021 at 04:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. RV Parts Near Me

    Good post. I learn something totally new and challenging on sites I stumbleupon every day. It will always be interesting to read through articles from other writers and use something from other sites.


    May 22, 2021 at 08:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. RV Inspection Riverside

    This is a topic that is near to my heart... Cheers! Where are your contact details though?


    May 22, 2021 at 22:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Internet Marketing Specialists

    It’s hard to come by well-informed people about this subject, but you sound like you know what you’re talking about! Thanks


    May 22, 2021 at 22:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Tembepteriope

    effects of long term prednisone use [url=https://prednisoloneacetateophthalmic.com/ ]prednisone precautions [/url] steroid side effects interactions for prednisone prednisolone for cats

    May 23, 2021 at 01:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. horse trailer paint colors


    May 23, 2021 at 10:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Local Marketing Agencies Near Me


    May 23, 2021 at 14:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. rv repair orange county

    I’m impressed, I must say. Seldom do I encounter a blog that’s both educative and engaging, and without a doubt, you have hit the nail on the head. The issue is something which too few men and women are speaking intelligently about. I'm very happy that I stumbled across this in my search for something regarding this.


    May 23, 2021 at 19:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. upholsters near me

    I blog frequently and I really appreciate your information. This great article has truly peaked my interest. I am going to bookmark your website and keep checking for new information about once a week. I subscribed to your Feed too.


    May 24, 2021 at 15:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. rv body repair

    This website was... how do you say it? Relevant!! Finally I have found something that helped me. Thank you!


    May 24, 2021 at 18:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Internet Marketing Specialists


    May 24, 2021 at 18:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Video Marketing Companies


    May 25, 2021 at 01:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Forklift Repair Shop California

    This is a topic that's near to my heart... Best wishes! Exactly where are your contact details though?


    May 25, 2021 at 01:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Used Forklift For Sale California

    Way cool! Some extremely valid points! I appreciate you writing this article and the rest of the site is very good.


    May 25, 2021 at 02:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Used Forklift Maintenance Shop California

    Greetings! Very useful advice within this post! It's the little changes that produce the most significant changes. Thanks for sharing!


    May 25, 2021 at 04:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Google Marketing Specialists

    https://go.onelink.me/v1xd?pid=Patch&c=Mobile Footer&af_web_dp=https://affordableranking.com

    May 25, 2021 at 04:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. Local Marketing Experts


    May 25, 2021 at 06:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. SEO Marketing Agencies


    May 25, 2021 at 11:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. Video Marketing Firms

    Your style is so unique in comparison to other folks I've read stuff from. Thank you for posting when you've got the opportunity, Guess I will just bookmark this site.


    May 25, 2021 at 11:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Social Media Marketing Service

    Hi, I do think this is a great site. I stumbledupon it 😉 I may revisit yet again since I book-marked it. Money and freedom is the best way to change, may you be rich and continue to help others.


    May 25, 2021 at 12:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. Content Marketing Companies


    May 25, 2021 at 12:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Digital Marketing Company Near Me

    Way cool! Some very valid points! I appreciate you writing this post plus the rest of the site is really good.


    May 25, 2021 at 12:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. Digital Marketing Consultant

    Hi, I do think this is a great blog. I stumbledupon it 😉 I may come back once again since I saved as a favorite it. Money and freedom is the best way to change, may you be rich and continue to help other people.


    May 25, 2021 at 13:36 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

Post a comment


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.