Today was the big 2.4 mile swim, my first one since IM AZ nearly two years ago and only my second time swimming the distance in open water. I mosied on down to Chesbro Reservoir in Morgan Hill to meet up with a bunch of friends for the race.
Photo stolen from race website
I have to say, I’m going to feel spoiled in Ironman with all the buoys…all these OW swim races this summer have involved 4 or less turn buoys for 1+ mile swims so my sighting gets lots of practice!
The swim today had 3 yellow turn buoys – the straightest path between these buoys and the double orange start line buoys made for 1.2 miles. We swam 2 loops to make up the 2.4 miles. As you can see in my little marked-up map, there were 3 orange sighting buoys that were not in a straight line between the yellows + 2 irrelevant red Muscle Milk buoys that marked the course for the youth swim. Suffice it to say, it made for some interesting navigation.
I went into this race a bit sleep-deprived (thanks to husband snoring) and with an achy back (thanks to dog’s agility fun match last night) so my attitude/motivation might have been lagging a little. But the reservoir was warm (68 degrees) and clean and all my friends were doing it so I sucked it up, jumped in and swam to the start line.
Loop 1 – The Warmup. I kept a nice light pace throughout the first loop of the course, just focused on sighing well and swimming with good form. I was more or less alone by the time I hit the red buoys but I expected that with a race this small. When I cleared the last yellow buoy and turned back to start the course again, I made a small boo-boo in sighting for the red buoys instead of the orange start buoys (which we had to pass through again) – this cost me a little bit of time before I realized it but at least I didn’t have to turn around and swim back for them.
Loop 2 – The Draft. My instructions for the 2nd loop were to find someone and draft like mad. Somewhat difficult when there’s almost no one around you but I did spot a woman with no wetsuit, meaning she’d gone off in the wave 5 minutes behind me. Sounded like a perfect draft of someone faster than me and I latched onto her toes. Unfortunately I think she slowed down quite a bit in her second loop but every time I tried to swim away from her, she was right at my hip. So it was easier to just cruise on her feet. The sun came out for the 2nd loop making the return sighting very difficult and it helped to just follow someone else.
At the final yellow buoy, I dropped my draft and sprinted for the finish line at shore. Mary cheered me in as I ran up the boat ramp and I was grinning the whole way with what I knew was coming.
I swam this race 24 minutes faster than my IM swim at Arizona. Who says hard work in the pool doesn’t work?! Even with a slow draft and poor sighting, I am delighted!
The day got even better as I met Jennifer right before she went in for the 1.2 mile swim. We caught up a bit more after her race (which she did GREAT in!).
Nigel came in 2nd in his AG in the 2.4 mi wetsuit swim. While he waited for me to finish, Mary talked him into doing the 1.2 mile wetsuit race with her so he signed up. And ended up finishing as the 1st place man! He got to make 2 trips to the podium and take home a bunch of wine!
One more day in my rest week and then training kicks up a notch again – I can’t wait!