I can’t blame it on peer pressure.  It was me. All me.

There was gentle encouragement though.  “Maybe it will help.”  “Maybe it will make you feel better.”  “Just imagine having no worries.  No fear. No panic.”  “It’s not cheating.”

“No,” I thought.  “It’s just so wrong.  My friends won’t approve.  Da Husband will be furious. And concerned.  What if my mom finds out?  I need to research the side effects.”

But I succumbed.  I took the two yellow pills.  Then another two.   And now I take two yellow pills, three times a day.

They told me it’s not addictive.  That, soon, I will be able to use just one a day.  An hour before I need it. I hope so.

I have officially joined the ranks of Marion Jones, A-Rod, Floyd Landis, (and maybeperhaps) The Lance…  I use performance enhancing drugs.

But, the yellow pills, Morpheus! Where are the damn YELLOW PILLS?!?!?


A side note here, for any race judges out there following my progress.  I’m not about to come from nowhere and ace a podium spot.  I’ll still be somewhere in the back – pinky-promise.

Welcome to the pink fluffy cloud of awesomeness

I happened to chat to my local pharmacist about something completely unrelated on Monday, when she asked how my training was progressing.  I started with the good news:  cycling is going well and there’s a constant improvement in my running (evident in my recent PBs).  But the swimming… oh, the swimming.  How can I ignore the panic attacks.  The ugly cries on the way home.  The fear and loathing when my alarm tells me it’s time to take my swimming gear and head to the Waterfront.

We worked through the symptoms and did a bit of trouble-shooting.  Nope, I’ve never struggled with exercise-induced asthma.  Nope, it’s not the shark issue; I feel pretty safe in my surroundings.  Yes, I’m prone to sea sickness and general motion sickness.  YES… I am a lifelong claustrophobia sufferer.

So she recommended I give Biral a try.  A  natural and mild tranquilizer that will just take the edge off any anxiety I may experience in my wetsuit.

Now, you need to understand that I’m not much of a pill popper.  After each of my two c-sections I refused further pain medication.  In the rare event that I have toothache, I bite into a whole clove.  The strongest thing in my cupboard right now is my bottle of multi-vitamins.  So two Birals on Monday night put me in such a happy space that my outsides felt like candyfloss.

The big test was last night, though.  We had a swimming session in Sea Point and I was a little nervous.  But this time the nerves had less of an edge.

We were supposed to swim around 1,500m, which most of the guys did.  My one and only mission was to swim without wheezing and panicking and feeling like I was going to die.

AND I DID!!!  (not the 1,500m bit; rather the no panic bit)

I took a while to get into some kind of rhythm.  But then it clicked in and I swam. I stopped every now and then to control my breathing and to watch Sofie who, since her swimming course, has developed such an amazingly relaxed stroke that I couldn’t help but to want to copy her.

We even took a moment to smile for Coach Steve.  Just look at us!!

The original slow-lane-three (from left): me, Megan & Sofie. (Meg has since graduated to a faster lane and Sofie’s not far behind…)

But that’s not the only thing that helped…

I’m an obsessive-compultive researcher (just ask my colleagues who are amazed at my online research / hacking / stalking skills, which results in a constant flow of useless information about people and things), so I started reading up on all things OWS related.

That’s when I came across this awesome, and not to mention helpful, little video of a technique called shoehorning.  A few of us tried it last night and the difference it made to the overall wetsuit fit was phenomenal!

Check it out…


And… <this is a pretty long vid, so skim past the plastic bag technique and start focusing from about 2:45.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xEH0bWMyDnU]