This week at the pool my lunchtime workout buddies were talking about doing a Splash and Dash at Hancock College over the weekend. A 500 yard swim and a 5k run. One by one each guy decided to enter and copious amounts of shit talking grew from there. Although I’m in no danger of running (hooray for back injuries ಠ_ಠ) a timed 500 sounded like something I should do so I set my alarm to go off early Saturday morning with hopes I’d actually wake up and go swim. I’m bad at mornings, but amazingly I woke up early enough to ride the snooze button for 45 minutes and still show up on time. In my haste to leave the house I did forget small yet important things like goggles… heh, whoops… luckily a lot of the guys like the same goggles I do and Berto lent me a set of B70 Elements which is what I usually race in.

I’d never been to the pool at Hancock… I actually didn’t even know they had one despite having a diploma from there… but I found it easily enough and started finding my buddies in the parking lot. While registering I found out I could sign up for just a swim which was cool, that way I didn’t have to DQ from something. I paid my registration fee, got numbered and then went to check out the pool. The pool, well… let’s say it’s not ideal for racing. Any pool is a good pool, don’t get me wrong, but yikes. The lane lines were pretty questionable with most of them under the water, one lane had a water jet in it that supplied hot water to the pool, there weren’t normal gutters, the walls had diamonds on them instead of crosses which was hard to process while swimming, and there were some ladders at the corners that would be bad news for whoever drew the outside lanes. Luckily our group included a swim coach so he got them to tighten down the lane lines some more and to take out the ladders for the swim. While he worked on that I braided down my beard for some sort of speed advantage? Haha… It was a pretty hot look.

Our unofficial team consisted of me, Mike, Berto, Duke, Chad and Ken. We all swim at PNAC together during the week, Duke and Chad are Avila regulars, and most of them except for Mike and I are into the whole triathlon scene. Somebody talked the race people into letting the 6 of us start together so we could race amongst ourselves a bit. A few minutes before go time they told us to go grab half a lane each. Mike and I both went for the solidest lane lined lane in the pool. We’re the swimmeriest of the group so we knew what was up. The two of us in one lane was prone to being a bit tight if we were shoulder to shoulder, but I was pretty certain he’d drop me within 200 yards. We dove in for a quick warm up 50 and when I got back to the wall they moved me into my own lane because I was the only one starting at that time who wasn’t going to do the run. Uh oh. Right to the janky lane. Crap.

Around 8:30 they started the first round of swimmers from a push off the wall. I started entirely too strong, but I think that’s what some of the guys wanted in hopes that I’d draw out Mike (the fastest swimmer of the 6 of us) and make him work harder on the front half than he wanted to. Best I could tell I led things for the first 100 by a lot more than I should have. Whoops :) I don’t have any splits, but it was definitely too fast… it may have been a touch under a minute. Besides starting at an unmaintainable pace for me, my lane was trying to kill me. On the far end of the pool I had to swim over a jet of hot water which sucked the life right out of me. Not cool. I’m like captain cold water over here so a burst of 90 degree water to the chest when I’m trying to get somewhere in a hurry is no good man! I also kept getting sucked into the lane line on my left side. Ken said he felt like he was pulling a pretty decent draft off me. He was a bit of surprise. He’s a quick in shape guy but I thought I’d put more distance between us on the swim. I think I coaxed him into taking things out way faster than he wanted too… later on he talked about his heartrate being way too high when he transitioned into his run.

On my last lap a counter poked a kickboard with a red X on it underwater to let me know I was on my last turn and I tried to pick it up for the finish. I’m pretty sure only Mike finished in front of me… as the other guys came in I cheered/high fived/fist bumped them on their way to 5k run glory. I went to go check on my time and nobody had it. Some students with clipboards and stopwatches huddled together (the event was put on by a recreation management class at the college) to discreetly figure out what happened because I obviously wasn’t going to figure out they totally missed it, haha. It was decided I swam about a 6:05 based on when other people finished. Why not. My previous best while racing a lot more was 5:44 in a techsuit so a 6:05 right now, assuming that’s near correct, is cool with me.

I dried off and changed back into my shorts and watched Berto wrap up his swim. He’s the slowest swimmer of the bunch but a beast on dryland. I followed him out onto the course and then worked my way backwards along it to spot my guys running. Ken was busy dominating, Mike was holding off as many guys as he could, Chad was working his way up, Duke was occasionally getting lost, and Berto was out to run down anyone he could. The guys had to do 3 laps of the campus for their 5k. Each lap  I tried to intercept them at different spots to cheer, harass, and/or warn them that someone was gaining on them with my best distance estimate.

Ultimately Ken won the whole thing, Chad cruised in after him, Mike held onto third with a really strong run, Berto was our next guy in after catching Duke, and Duke came in a little after him. I think our lunchtime crew basically finished with no one else in between so that’s a pretty good showing for our imaginary team :) We all hung out for a while talking about the race and watching other people finish for a bit and then we all scattered. Some of the more enterprising guys went for a bike ride to supplement their morning’s mini race… I went in search of a nap to make up for my early wake up. I’m still waiting for a multisport event with swimming and napping, I feel I may be dominant in such a combination.


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