We stayed the night with some friends who lived only about 15 minutes away as it turned out, and I arrived well ahead of time. At least this allowed me to grab a patch of concrete next to the pool to spread out my towel and other things (Tip: when spreading out your towel with the soul purpose of sitting on concrete for 30-45 minutes, fold it into fourths and sit on it this way. By being folded, it provides much more cushioning than a fully spread out towel). I sat down and spent the better part of an hour just people watching. There was an interesting mix of folks at this event: High School Swimmers, Triathletes, and well, just plain swimmers. There were a lot of folks that were with their families which was fun to see.
At about 7:15, the race organizers had a brief meeting. The swim was planned as a fundraiser for their 16 year old daughter who was diagnosed with non-hodgkin's lymphoma this past year. She was also swimming and said a few words just prior to the start which was met with great applause. All told, there were over 200 participants at this event, which is just awesome. For me, this race wound up having added meaning because a close family friend was also diagnosed with this illness just a couple of weeks ago. This is something that I think is really special about the endurance athletic community. They are always stepping up to rally around a cause.
The race started in waves and they allowed us 2.4 swimmers to have the honor of going first. This kind of makes sense given the time limit for swimming at the lake, but I also knew that it would be somewhat humbling as I would be passed by the 1.2 mile swimmers and the 800 swimmers a few minutes after we got going. In fact, I'm pretty sure that the overall winner of the 2.4 mile swim, a woman who started 5 minutes after I did, passed me twice since the course was a 2 lap swim!
I jumped into the water with just about 3-4 minutes before the start of my race. I adjusted my goggles and took a few strokes just to get a feel for the water. My goggles were leaking just a tad, but I tweaked them and called it good. I positioned myself at the very back of the group and waited for the start. And then, we were off!
Within about 100 yards, it was clear that my goggles were going to be a problem. I rolled onto my back and drained them, and attempted to get a tighter seal on them. No luck. I kept swimming but every few minutes, I would have to pause to drain the lake water from my goggles. Finally after nearly 3/4 of a mile, I managed to get a good seal, and they didn't bother me for the remainder of the race.
I passed through the first lap after about 42 minutes. Not very fast, but I didn't mind. I had been taking it easy, and without a wetsuit, I wanted to be sure that I conserved some energy for the second lap. I also had a slight pain in my left ankle, which was making it a little difficult to kick properly, and so I'm sure that wasn't helping with my pace. At any rate, I pressed on and got into the second lap.
About halfway through (just after my slight course correction), I noticed that I really wasn't breathing very hard, and I wasn't all that tired considering that I'd already been swimming for over an hour. It occurred to me that I must really be "taking it easy" on the swim, so I decided to push a little bit harder. I did this for the rest of the swim, although by that point it was too late to generate a negative split. I reached the finish of the race around 1hr 27 minutes. Not very fast, but I wasn't really trying too much.
|11th out of 12 in this category. But hey, who's counting?|