My answer to all of these questions is "Yes". Of course, sometimes I am afraid of all of these things. If I wasn't, I think it would be more dangerous, and yes, ocean swimming can, at times, be SUPER HARD. ;)
I have posted before that anything can happen in the water, especially in open water, where temperature, conditions, and environment are continually changing, but it's those things that make ocean swimming so rewarding. Agreed, it's not for everybody, but for me, it is.
Our swims so far this season have been particularly challenging. Only two of our countless days in the ocean since May, have been what I would consider optimal with good temperatures (warmer than 13 degrees) and calm 'easy to swim' water. TWO. I have been heading to the pool a few times per week in addition to our ocean days to help me psychologically. To help remind me and my body, that I can actually swim! However, there's nothing worse than turning out 100+ laps in the pool and feeling good about it, only to have it feel like you have never swum 100m successfully a day in your life in the ocean. The up side? Ocean swimming makes you strong. Both physically and mentally. Swimming against current, chop and swell is a full body workout, and equally tests your mental strength. Pushing away those negative or fearful energy zapping thoughts while holding onto your breath for a few extra seconds as you dodge a wave or swell, to 'just keep swimming' some days is certainly harder than others, but I have never exited the water, regardless of the difficulty of the swim, regretting it.
With only 2 weeks to go to until the Across the Lake Swim in Kelowna, I am excited, but also, very tired. Tired mostly I think due to the fact that the majority of our swims have been challenging which has had a bit of a negative psychological effect on me. My arms seem to be fatiguing early in the water, my head is full of crazy thoughts, and I have a strange anxiety I have never experienced before. I know that all I need is one or two 'easier' swims, but recognise too that I am at the mercy of mother nature. I also know that all of these experiences are making me stronger and more prepared for all of the unknowns the open water can throw at you, so I guess that means I am thankful. HA!
Looking forward to what the next 2 weeks hold, and secretly asking the Ocean goddess to go easy on me. ;)