By Felicia Long
I have a huge fear of heights, standing on a chair tests my limits, which means no looking over balconies for this girl. 4 years ago I went to MSC Gravenhurst and opted to do the Duathlon as jumping off the steamboat was something I did not want to do. I have heard great reports about this race and decided I really wanted to do it – which ultimately would mean jumping off the boat. I signed up a few months ago for the sprint and proceeded with my training, trying not to think about the “jump” part of the race. In theory it sounds wonderful, heading out on a steamboat full of triathletes, jumping into the water and racing…
I swim with Toronto Triathlon Club and I had told Coach Miranda Tomenson about my fears. 3 days before the event she suggested I practice jumping off the swim block into the pool (about 2 feet high). I stood on the block and looked down and to me it was a long way down..After an eternity (as it seemed to me) I jumped and survivedJ. I did a couple more and felt ready for the big day.
We got to Gravenhurst on Sunday morning and went to look at the boats. I could now see that the jump would be from a height of 5 feet – this was not in my plan. I got into my wetsuit and say quietly on the boat, I didn’t look over the edge and tried to remain calm. Then the announcement came for the athletes to jump…I let all the others in my wave jump off without a care in the world and I stood there looking down at the water below. Everyone seemed happy and no one got hurt jumping (crazy mind thinking)… I let the seconds pass deciding what to do…all that training would be of no use if I couldn’t even get into the water – time to make a decision, I jumped, seemed to take a long time but in reality probably less than a second. I survived. : )
The rest of the race was a blur, I was on a high from my big leap of faith and I smiled all the way to the end of the race. I have a mantra to try and challenge myself in whatever form that takes and this was one of those challenges I had to overcome to take on other challenges. I had such I good time I plan to be back to jump off the boat again next year.