Distance- 1.6mi (map here)
I should be disappointed by this time. Just over a month ago, in what felt like much more difficult conditions, I managed a 41:06 over the same distance. The difference though, and the reason I'm not all that disappointed, is I'm out of shape. I've been in the water, not counting yesterday, three times since my last race, the dopely-swum Firecracker Triathlon. This does not a good time make.North Shore Challenge, a 2.3 mile swim in the other direction down the coastline in two weeks. I mention the direction because I think that will have an impact on my time. I'm all about swimming by feel, but I don't have a lot of feel right now. I heard many of the swimmers talking about the Chun's race as having plenty of current against us. I didn't notice too much except for one part, but I think that has less to do with me being a He-Fish and more to do with my touch not being where it should be. But, since the North Shore Challenge flows in the other direction, maybe the currents will be kinder. On to the race report!
|"Stretching" aka "I will not smack the girl behind me"|
After brief announcements, "Be nice, don't kick each other, if you feel lost sight on the church tower, watch out for Dirtbag, he's super-fast and good-looking*," we were sent out to the start. This is not as easy as it sounds.
Check out the name of the starting point again. Chun's Reef. Now imagine 600 swimmers gingerly picking their way across a shallow, pointy, underwater playground of ouch and damnit. It was a water start, we had to get out between the buoys and tread water until everyone was ready. So I took my time skulling over the reef. No reason to hurry like some of the Type-A's out there and have to tread for ten minutes. Do-de-doo. Finally everyone was out and ready.
There are worse places to do an open water swim than Hawaii. Like nearly everywhere on the planet. The water is clean and clear and warm, the reefs are pretty, there are fishes aplenty, and when you pop your head up to sight, its still great to look at. I set a strong-but-sustainable pace and got to work. An open water swim, even one of this size, spreads the field out quickly. Some people go closer to the shore, some go further out, some are fast, some are slow. It is possible feel very alone for a while if you don't take the time to look around. This brings us to a new feature of Dirtbag Fitness-
Things You Think While Open Water Racing:
- "Oh! Fishes!"
- The same line to one song over and over and over and over
- "Is that an old anchor down there?"
- "Where is everyone?"
- "Seriously, am I somehow lost? Am I headed to Molokai?"
- "More fishes!"
- "I wish I could get this song out of my head."
- "ROCK! Must swim around. Where the hell did that come from?"
- "I should be thinking about swimming this race and not about how my blog will read when I write it."
- "You know, I think I've only seen one of the three guiding buoys so far. Am I lost, or just oblivious?" (Answer- Oblivious and way to the right of two of them.)
- "Hey! Swim caps. I'll just catch that group then." (that was my swim ego)
|Dog + SUP= bored wife photo-op|
|Up and across the line!|
So my final time was over six minutes slower than the last time I did this distance, but I'm ok with that. I set out to make it a training race, a workout, and that's what it was. I came in fourteenth in my age group and would have only placed in the top three of Men 25-29 if I could have shaved time off my PR. Meh, I'm ok. Looking forward to the next swim. Much thanks to Background Profiles for their support. Speaking of support, Super Awesome Wife has decided to take a sign to th next race reading, "Spousal Support Team, brought to you by Dirtbag Fitness. We have snacks. Sponsored by Background Profiles." She'll have a cooler with drinks and snacks and welcomes all non-participants waiting a the finish.
Oh yeah, after I finished and was waiting for the rest of the swimmers, Super Awesome Wife and I watched some spinner dolphins playing a few hundred yards off shore. Which means now you get gratuitous pictures of dolphins!
*I made one of those up, can you tell which one?