Hi There Everyone!
Hookay, I first feel compelled to say… WOW, what great input I received on yesterday’s post! I was actually pretty nervous about publishing my honest and blunt thoughts on the Healthy Living Summit, but it seems I am talking about something that really needs to start being said…. the “elephant in the room” type of situation. I plan on writing more along the same lines tomorrow for a WIAW post, so look for that in the morning
For now though, I wanted to tell you about the open water swim I did on Sunday right after leaving the summit!
I participated in this event last year and it was a fantastic time, so when I saw the race was on the same day as HLS, I did my best to negotiate attending both. After some major stress from getting out of Boston- traffic issues mostly- I came home, basically threw my stuff from the weekend into my house, grabbed a snack, and hightailed it to the race with only a few minutes to spare.
Since my legs have been feeling like utter crap for months now, I have not been participating in any races (except the 5k obstacle run) and let me tell you, I miss everything about races so darn much. I love the anticipation before the event, the crowds, chatter, nerves, camaraderie, the sense of excitement mixed with anxiety about what is to come…
Then the actual race comes and (usually) I feel great during it, perhaps a bit stiff in the beginning, but then I loosen up, find my stride, get into the beat of the song that is playing from my iPod, use other people as motivation to keep going when I am feeling exhausted. The second wind and bliss I feel surging through my body during the race, when I know I am close to the finish and am so tired, but able to push through and finish with all that I got…
God I miss running, racing, feeling good, just everything.
Sorry for that tangent, I just felt compelled to express such feelings right now, especially when I just participated in a race, albeit swimming, but I experienced some familiar emotions on race day!
Swimming is still something I can do without my legs screaming at me for a break, and I craved those race day feelings. Although I have literally not swam since this time last year (oopsie) I decided, “what the hell, let’s see how it goes!”
This event took place in a small, protective cove inland of a nearby harbor, so it was a very safe place to conduct such a race. Basically the course was a huge one mile loop and the people who opted to complete two miles swam around the course twice. I swam this with my friend and we actually debated the two mile... sooo so glad I didn’t though, the one mile distance managed to kick my patooty.
Even though I am still in good shape, especially cardiovascular wise, I assumed I would be relatively okay during the swim even after not getting in water for about a year…. Ehhh not so much! While overall the race was alright, I would have done much better if I actually practiced swimming more than ZERO times in the past 12 months.
Here are some prerace shots, courtesy of my friend’s dad with a stellar camera… what a difference an amazing camera can make!
My friend and I who competed… she actually swam in college, therefore is in much better swimming shape than me, and ended up doing well!
The race began at 12 noon with the 2-mile group leaving 10 minutes before the next wave of 1-milers took off. Even with the wet suit, the water was uncomfortably cold and I was not looking forward to submerging my head in there! Ahh well though, you do what you gotta do, plus I must remember I volunteered for this I always remind myself of the whole volunteer thing when I start complaining about races, conditions and such.
At precisely 12:10 the horn blew, I took a deep breath of anticipation, and dove into the water to begin the swim. Anyone that has done a triathlon or open water swim before, knows what it’s like right at the beginning- a whole lot of people fiercely kicking and moving their arms and bodies around you. It’s safe to say the start of a swim race is utter chaos and I got kicked ermm everywhere, at one point or another. It’s to be expected though, and eventually I broke free from the surrounding crowd and attempted to find my groove.
As I said earlier, the whole not swimming for a year thing came back to bite me and I did tire pretty early on. Honestly though, I really wasn’t too concerned about this, as I was doing the race purely for FUN and to experience the vibe of an organized race once again.
I went on my back and took breaks when I needed to, pushed on ahead when I was stronger again, and slowly but surely made my way to the finish line. One thing that was interesting during the race, and amusing now that I look back at it, was the number of times my hands and body hit jelly fish. There were tons of them there that day (the non-stinging kind) and I freaked out a bit each time I struck one of their gross, emm jelly bodies. I started to freak myself out as I though about what else could be “lurking” below the surface, waiting to take a bite out of me (dramatic much?) but I managed to calm myself down and get through it.
In the end, I actually added about 4 minutes from last year’s time. I think that is a combination of not swimming for a year, and the fatigue I am still experiencing. However, I am really not perturbed by this and just getting out there again and seeing what my body can do in a race, felt familiar and fantastic.
I cannot wait to get back to my fierce and fighting athletic self… or I hope I can that is.
-What are your favorite aspects of a race day? I miss pretty much it all, a whole lot.
-Have you ever participated in an open-water swim? How do you handle the beginning, when everyone is thrashing about all around you? Triathletes can add input here too!
-Do you get a bit flipped out by the idea of open-water and the ocean, not really knowing what is lurking beneath?! I sure as heck do, but I do my best to calm myself down. Plus I am in the ocean constantly and nothing has ever happened (furiously knocks on wood) it’s all in my head!
See you all tomorrow for a WIAW post! Have a most delightful Tueday