Growing up in Middle America, a trip to the beach involved driving to a spot on the Great Lakes. I have fond memories of family vacations at Oliphant Bay on Lake Ontario. It was a beautiful little cove with a white sandy beach and knee deep water even a 1/4 mile out. A perfect place for little kids to splash in the water and build sand castles. Sometimes we’d take a day trip to Sauble Beach and body surf in the waves – those were the good old days.
I never swam in the ocean as a kid, and never felt deprived for it. When I was 12, I went to see the movie JAWS. I had never before seen any scary movie, and THAT movie was TERRIFYING! It pretty much killed any desire I had for a trip to the ocean, and I never did visit the Atlantic coast until I was 25.
To this day, I still have an unrealistic fear of sharks. I can’t shake it. I’m doing a triathlon in Washington, NC this weekend. The swim is in the Pamlico River, way upstream from the ocean. But I’m still thinking about sharks. After all, the shark attacks that inspired the movie JAWS occurred in a creek, miles upstream from the ocean.
To make matters worse, I have a festering wound on my knee from my attempt at running in the dark. And… I am menstruating!!! So, just call me Shark Bait. You can bet I’ll be working hard during the swim to stay with my wave… and will not stray off course tomorrow.