Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Catfish Open Water Swim

I can't really call this a race report, it's more of a I survived my first long distance open water swim report!

Beautiful day for an open water swim
Anyone who knows me, knows that I started swimming strictly for triathlon. I am an oddity growing up in the Lamorinda area and not being a swimmer. I'm by no means a fast swimmer but I do love it. I think I actually get more thinking done swimming than I do running, which is saying a lot. Some how or another I got talked into swimming the Trans Tahoe Relay in July. Originally, I thought it would be fun to do the 500 yard distance. Once i realized I had been talked into the relay, I was thinking maybe i should opt for the 1.2 mile swim. The deciding factor was when I talked to my masters coach and he literally laughed out loud at the 500 yard distance. He explained that 500 yards would be like a warm-up and I'd be wondering where the rest of my swim went after I was done. Alright then. 

Of course Mary Sue was also swimming, because it wouldn't be fun if we didn't do it together! At the last minute one of my friends who talked me into the relay swim opted in as well. 

We got to the Quarry Lakes park really early. The plus side was that we didn't have to wait in line for packet pick-up like everyone else. It was also not cold, which helped with being there so early. My goal for this event was to just do it. I have swam this distance in a pool lots of times, but also means resting at the wall in between sets and chatting with folks. My biggest concern was just being able to swim the distance without stopping. I was also doing it without a wet suit since I won't be allowed to wear one for the relay. Although the water temp was so warm I imagine that anyone wearing a wet suit must have been dying of heat. 
Krista and I ready to take 1.2 miles
Our wave which consisted of all non-wet suit swimmers swimming the 1.2 and 2.4 mile swims was the last wave to go. As soon as we were sent off I quickly got dropped. I knew this would be the case, I was not racing, purely just covering the distance at a manageable pace. Thankfully, there were a few swimmers behind me so I wasn't the last person being followed by the paddle board. I found a groove and stuck with it. I was alone so much of the time that it was easy to just focus on myself and what I needed to do. Somewhere between the 3rd and 4th buoy I encountered the swimmers the wave that went off 5 minutes ahead of us. These were the wet suit swimmers. I may have been dropped by everyone in my wave, but at least I could pass a few folks. However, after swimming solo for so long, passing folks actually seemed like a workout. It was quite the relief to hit the first turn buoy. I was feeling pretty tired at this point, but I thin it was mostly from having to pass people going around the buoys. Once I hit the final turn buoy and was heading back in I felt much better. I basically started counting the buoys down, knowing that I had to pass four of them and then swim in and run up the beach. I focused on just finishing. I started to worry about my ability to actually stand up right and run up the beach. I felt good, like I could keep on swimming but standing up might be another story. As I came into the final stretch, I kicked harder mostly to move the blood around more. As I made my way in and my hands started hitting the sand with every stroke, I stood up and ran in. Running is hard after swimming that long, and running in sand after swimming that long is really, really hard. 

I did it and it was fun! It made me feel much more confident to know that I could swim 1.2 miles in open water.

Next up is the Moraga 4th of July Run and the Trans Tahoe Relay. I'll just keep plugging along and keep it fun.

Mary Sue and I post swim

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