**Results are now posted here.

*There were photographers on the course today and those pictures will be uploaded here when they’re ready!

5k Start (I’m in there somewhere getting kicked and punched)
Photo Source: SuperKidzPhoto.com via 10kswimmer.com

Today I swam in the Pacific Open Water Challenge in Long Beach’s Marine Stadium. I ambitiously decided to rock a 5k swim and frankly I was a little nervous about the whole ordeal. I’ve never attempted a swim that long before, but now that I’ve done it I’m glad I did… and I’m really glad I’m done!

Once I got out of the car and started to make my way to the registration area I soaked in the reality of the distance. Those buoys were REALLY far apart and I needed to do 3 laps? Oh boy. In the registration area I ran into a my friend Helene from the Porter Valley Masters who was bubbling over with excitement. This was her first ever open water swim and she won her age group for the 1/2 mile swim! Even though she said this was a first and a last open water swim, based on how stoked she was with it I would wager that we’ll see her in salt water again sometime soon :)

After my enthusiasm infusion I went and found some of the other Conejo Simi swimmers that were already there. All told there was upwards of 8 or 9 of us today! While I was wandering the beach just checking things out I came across an unexpected surprise… one of my friends that I swam age group and high school with was there today swimming the mile. I haven’t seen her since my junior year of high school. I knew she was into open water, so it was cool to finally run into her at an event.

I watched the entire 1 mile race while I wrapped my brain around my 3.1 mile race coming up. It was pretty hot and sunny out there so I made a few trips into the water just to cool down. I would say it was around 67 in the water today which is just about perfect.

Between the 1 mile and my race was the K9 Splash and Dash which is a 50 yard swim and 200 yard dash with your dog. It was totally fun to watch and was complete dog-tastic chaos. I shot some video of the race from in the water. The quality of my video isn’t super great, but you get the idea. Wet dogs with goofy humans trying to go faster than each other.

Now on to the main event! The races were doing an in water start which I have never done before. You had to swim about 100 yards out to the platform and then situate yourself in the starting chute. The race director gave us our directions there in the water. As I treaded water and listened things got tighter and tighter as more people packed in. I normally like to start out on the edge of the pack to avoid the impending melee but this time around there was no escape. When the start was signaled I got kicked in the stomach and punched in the head within all of about 3 yards… great. Once we got out of that chute I worked on separating myself a little bit so I could swim my own race because today was more about completion that about being fast. The first quarter mile was pretty rough, it took me a while to find my rhythm. Once I made the first turn I started to get into a groove and I had found a couple people that were just about my pace to swim with. At the end of the first lap one I was feeling pretty good. My pace was steady, my stroke was strong and I was staying relatively straight in the water.

About half way through the race my blueseventy started to eat into my neck. I had applied a bunch of Body Glide in that area but apparently it didn’t matter. It chewed away at that spot for the next 2500m, not cool. My swimming was still going really well however. No pain in my shoulders, no cramps, I was as relaxed as I could be and passing people every once and a while.

The last lap was tougher than the first two, not because I was tired but because the water was in motion. I don’t know if the tide was going out or what but there was a definite change in what was going on there in Marine Stadium. After the race a few other people said they felt it too, so it’s not just me losing my mind! It must have affected some people way worse than me, or some of them gave up on sighting towards the end… I had to dodge a few swimmers that had crossed way over the wrong side of the center line! The last quarter mile or so is a total blur. I just wanted to get through that finish chute and float. I cruised on through the chute and turned over on my back and took a minute to just be pleased with myself. I asked the guy up on the platform about what time we had and he said around an hour and 23 minutes. I’m still waiting on the official results, but this sounds about right and about where I figured I would finish. My guess at the beginning of the race was somewhere between an hour 15 and an hour and a half so I was pretty much right on.

I hung out and watched the rest of the field finish the race and afterwards I went out to lunch with everybody that came down from Conejo Simi. Now that I have this race under my belt I have a lot more confidence going into Big Shoulders next month. I just have to keep training and not hurt myself and everything should work out just fine!

The CSAM Contingent at Marine Stadium

Map of the Course

Far end of the course

the other end… the little yellow dot is the turn buoy

CSAM dogs warming up for the Splash and Dash

CSAM Humans getting ready for the 5k

at least half these rules were broken today!

2 Responses to “Pacific Open Water Challenge 5k Wrap Up”

  1. diana says:

    Great job Rob!- I was thinking of all you swimming- as I was resting after my 14 mile run in Huntington Beach.- See I knew you could do it- much props for doing laps- I like going around the Island better- very cool time too!- You did awesome – great wrap up too!! Keep em coming- can't wait to hear how you do in Chicago! Go for it!

  2. Rob D says:

    Thanks Diana! I would have much rather circumnavigated an island, but doing big 1 mile laps was ok too :)