Sunday, August 21, 2011

Distance Swim Challenge!

Before the summer comes to its end and I return to meetings (next week!), I have one final, totally selfish, "It's-all-about-me"moment.  No, no, no, I'm already married, and we aren't renewing our vows anytime soon, so no Bridezilla moments.
I have something much more fun planned:  The Santa Barbara Triathlon Long Course!  I decided that competing in/participating in a tri would be a great way to end the summer and kick off the new year.  I made that decision back in May, before the 2010-2011 academic year had even ended and the summer begun.  At the time, it seemed like a brilliant decision, but as the summer months have rolled along and I've experienced some lackluster training mixed in with some pretty great rides and runs, I was inches from panicking.  Especially after my really crappy performance swimming only 750 meters!  A day or so after the deplorable swim/run in Boulder, I signed up for a 1.2 mile open water ocean swim.  I know, kind of crazy deciding to swim over mile when I could barely survive the 750 meters.  But, I thought that I would have time to train and motivate and it would be 6 days before the tri.  I thought that if I could manage to finish the swim, it would give me the confidence boost that I severely needed going into the Santa Barbara Tri.
First of all, a little about this crazy swim...  
The OptimisSport Distance Swim Challenge offers a nice array of distances that vary from 12.6 miles (seriously?!) to the much shorter 1.2 mile swim.  I, obviously, had set the bar quite low at the 1.2 mile swim, but I was just fine with that.  
I was somewhat nervous last night, but I kept telling myself 2 things:  a. I didn't care about my time at all, I just wanted to feel strong in the water and swim.  b. Even if I get exhausted like I did in Boulder, I can't drown because I'll be wearing a wetsuit and I can just stop and rest, bobbing up and down.  
This morning was fairly low-key, despite the earlier than usual wake-up call at 5:40 am.  Michael and I enjoyed coffee and breakfast and then we headed west to Venice Beach!  Before we found parking and I picked up my packet, we had to make an emergency stop - I needed to find a bathroom ASAP.  That has never happened before an event - not like that at least!  The Venice Beach public bathrooms were definitely not the nicest, but I felt extremely relieved afterwards.  I was also happy that I hadn't had that incident while swimming.  I don't even want to think about it - gross!
As far as events go, this one was low-key.  It doesn't seem that as many people get out for a swim as they do for run/walks!  I picked up my packet which included a brand-spanking-new swim cap and the usual odds and ends (an energy bar, a drink, lots of pamphlets that promoted other events...), and around 8:20 or so I put on my wetsuit and then took a quick dip in the ocean.  The water felt GREAT!
Here I am getting ready:

This is my "I'm-intense" look, otherwise known as my game face:

Anyway, our swim started at 8:45 - it was pretty casual and much less intense than the start that I experienced in Boulder.  It took me a while to actually start to swim - I didn't go and ATTACK the waves ferociously!  But once I started to swim, the water felt pretty great, no one kicked me in the face or grabbed me, and my strokes and breathing seemed well paced and normal.   Mentally and physically I settled in to swim for about 40-45 minutes which is what happened.  I don't have my official time at this point, nor do I care.  All I can say t is that I felt good throughout the swim and even tried to kick it in at the end a bit.  I probably did swim longer than the 1.2 miles because it is hard for me to stay on course when it is an open water swim that has bouys that are so far apart, but I'm fine with that!
Overall, it was an awesome experience, and I definitely feel prepared for the Santa Barbara Tri next weekend.  Obviously there are certain issues that might affect the experience, but at the very least I feel confident about the swim.
So, swim, bike, run - here I come!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Swimming is so hard...swimming in waves? Nearly impossible for me - I'm just not strong enough! Your endurance is really remarkable.

Good luck next week! Can't wait to hear how it goes.