At the last minute I found out about this race and changed some plans around to go do it. I’m really glad I did! I counted it up and it’s been 15 swim meets since I’ve done an open water race… I was so over due that I felt compelled to swim 2 races today to try and catch up :) The way the day was structured I had the opportunity to swim a 2 mile race and a 1 mile race, I was pretty stoked to get that much swimming in today.
I got into the park early and was one of the first people to actually get into the water. They said it ranged from 60-64 degrees which is plenty tropical to me! It was probably the perfect temperature for a long swim. I didn’t really swim much to warm up, I mainly wanted to get used to the temperature so it wasn’t a surprise later when the race actually started.
My first race was the 2 mile swim, I was in the 3rd wave. The first two were open division (non masters) and I think they were all in wetsuits. My wave was 18-39 year old men non-wetsuit. There was seriously like 8 of us! At the start we all separated out pretty quickly… a few guys took off real fast, a few fell back and I apparently had the middle all to myself. It was pretty lonely going until I started reeling in wetsuited swimmers. I used them to help navigate to the first buoy because it was really hard to see with the way the sun was shining in the lake. I felt really comfortable on that first mile and just kept chasing down one swimmer at a time. I never caught any of the fast dudes in my heat, but I at least felt like I was accomplishing something whenever I passed somebody. On the second mile I felt like I held a pretty good pace and my lines were a little bit better now that I knew where everything was. Half way through it my stomach started cramping a little bit but it never turned into a problem. I probably should have drank more water than wine the day before :)
I finished in about 55 minutes and when I came out I heard the announcer talking about me. “Hey check out this guy in the Zebra suit! Nice! Look out for this guy he’ll be back for the 1 mile” I raised my hand over my head victoriously (despite not winning anything) and he said “rock and roll man!” Ahh yes… my goofy RobAquatics swim suit makes friends every where it goes!
I had an hour to kill until my next race so I wandered the beach and talked to some people. There was a Walnut Creek guy who I hung out with last week there, and I spent a lot of time talking with a guy who was out for his first ever open water swim. After his race he was hooked! Funny how that works once people actually try it!
On the way back into the water for my 1 mile the water felt way colder. Not unbearable, just colder. I guess it was from baking on the beach for an hour. The funny thing was all of the guys who did both races said the same thing. I was in the 3rd wave again, but this time we had more dudes in the line up. I got to swim around a few people my speed for the whole race and I felt like I took it out a lot harder than my 2 mile. The time doesn’t exactly reflect that, but it’s what it felt like. At the far end of the course I really wanted to stop and take some pictures since I had a camera stuffed in my suit, but I didn’t want to stop and give up any distance to the guys around me. Towards the end my stomach started feeling tight again, but like before it never turned on me. Note to self for my longer swims: DRINK!!!
After my race I hung out and took advantage of the free food provided. They had bagels and fruit and burritos and other good stuff. Overall I was really impressed with the event management. They took care of parking, food, the announcing was good, everything was right on time, and they gave out a ton of good prizes. I walked away with a bottle of wine, some goggles, a hat, some wetsuit lube stuff, and some other goodies. There was a little problem with the results from the 2 mile when they were first posted, but the event staff got that ironed out very quickly. By the time I got home the results were online, and now I’m just waiting to see the pictures taken by the photographers they hired to work the event (go here to sign up for email notice when they’re online).
On the way home I made a pit stop in Monterey for some Korean food and a walk down around Cannery Row. It was obnoxiously beautiful in Monterey today. Warm, light breeze, and tons of sunshine. I hung out on one of the beaches for a while and snooped around the tide pools looking at hermit crabs and sea anemones.