Today was the Popoia Open Water 1.6mi race. Yes, 1.6 miles is plenty far to swim. Put it this way, the swim leg of a Half Ironman is 1.2mi. For a swimmer like your's truly, 1.6mi isn't that long, but it is long enough. Long enough to get plenty tired, long enough to need to trust the swimmer brain to pace correctly. Turns out, though, it wasn't the length of the swim I should have been concerned about.
It was the open water part.
I'm as comfortable in the water as a person can be. If swimming was a video game my Confidence Bar would be full. I've found all those crystals (red orbs/coins/horns). Better have after over ten years of competitive swimming. So I'm not intimidated by being out away from land. This morning's fun came from the surf.
Surf was rocking today. The last race I did out here stayed relatively close to the shore, which means the water was calm and flat. This race took us out and around Flat Island, where the water is not so much flat as it is rough and choppy. To be honest, I don't think it was that bad. Like, in a kayak it would probably have been alright, if a little rough. But in the water, trying to swim, trying to breathe, it felt brutal a few times. Put it this way, if it was possible to get sea sick while swimming, and I was so inclined, it would have happened.
So I swam. And swam. And pushed myself. And measured technique. And remembered not to forget to kick. And for some reason had Tenacious D stuck in my head. Got passed by a few fifteen year olds from the local swim team. Jerk kids. (15 year old took second with a time of 36:25. Little punk did butterfly for the last 100 yards. Which is something I would have done if I had thought of it. Punk.)
|Dirtbag Post-race gasping|
At this point I could pop my head up and see the final buoy, so I turned it on and really went for it. I dug deep that last 1,000 yards. The water was calmer, so I was able to bring my stroke to bear and get technique working that had somewhat fallen apart in the rougher stuff. Strong kick, long strokes, and in I came. 41:05 was the official time.
|Envelope of Winnings|
This put me 21st overall. More importantly, this put me first in the Men's 26-30 age group! My first first! And second podium. And it was pretty much dead-on to my predicted time. Which really thrills me because at the halfway point, when there was some Dirtbag Battering going on, I was sure I was going to be way off.
|I'm Number 1...or 21|
Next Sunday is the Firecracker Sprint tri and then it's off to the mainland for the Dirtbag and Stitches Annual Summer West Coast Family Tour.