Perhaps I should've known things would not bode well when I arrived at Madison Park Beach (an hour early, by the way, just to add to the awkwardness) and found the place completely overrun by tattooed hipsters chain-smoking and basically just re-enacting that Owl City song.
If there's anything that makes me feel old and frumpy and like someone who would make a lame Owl City reference about a song that is overplayed and so six months ago, it's hipsters. But the worst part: I'm strangely jealous of those girls in their mismatched bikinis with their bearded boyfriends. For example, today I saw one such girl with a tattoo that said "Meow." And all I could think about was: Why the hell didn't I come up with that first? Instead I have a stupid unicorn on my ass.
But let's just pretend you don't know about the tattoo I got when I was 18 or about my secret hipster envy-hatred. (Is that a term? And, more importantly, when did I suddenly become the angry jock?) Because this is really all just verbal diarrhea anyway since my brain can no longer function due to the complete and total ass-kicking I received tonight.
(Also, my cats are actually the ones who are typing this right now since I can't lift my arms. If anything in this post is TMI, blame the cats.)
Lake Washington pummeled me for 1.2 miles -- I've never swum in water this choppy before. I felt like I was getting slapped in the face over and over again, sometimes even with little bits of debris. And to add to the fun, both of my calves cramped at the same time not just once, but twice. And then a stray rope of milfoil wrapped itself around me, and I couldn't get it off.
Not too long ago, I would've completely freaked out and started crying and hauled myself up on some stranger's boat deck and begged for a ride back to my car. But this time, I literally just put my head down and fought through it. I knew I had the physical ability to do the swim -- I just needed to control what was happening psychologically. Because really, the worst thing you can possibly do in water is panic.
And I was fine. My swim buddies stuck with me, even with the cramping, so I was never alone. I focused on keeping my legs relaxed and just used my arms to pull me in. And I slowed my mind down -- no racing thoughts about being strangled by milfoil.
It worked. I made it in. This wasn't a great swim by any means -- god knows I probably looked like I was flailing -- but I'll take mental fortitude as a small victory.
Also, I refuse to show fear in front of hipsters.