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Naples Island Swim - SwimOther

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Long Beach, California
United States
66F / 19C
Total Time = 55m 30s
Overall Rank = /
Age Group = W 35-39
Age Group Rank = 5/6
Pre-race routine:

This was a race that I only truly committed to doing at about 9 pm the night before. Actually, this was to be my first “A” race of the season. I did the swim portion of a 16 week Oly training plan to get ready for it. However, I hurt my toe this week, and thought I’d be out. I was pretty sure I was going to scratch this race, until the night before when I decided that I wasn’t ready to take a DNS. The toe, combined with some open water issues I’ve been having, had me doubtful. Then I remembered three things: (1) there are no scary creatures in the bay, (2) I’ve done this race before, so there are few surprises, and (3) since I’m a swimmer, this should be an easy event, even if I’m feeling off. So, I decided to race.

Since I decided to race late, I didn’t do some of my usual pre-race routines. I didn’t have a proper taper…in fact because of the jacked up toe, I didn’t train at all this week. I knew this would leave me feeling flat. Since I figured I wasn’t going to race, I didn’t focus on hydrating throughout the week either. In fact, I felt dehydrated the last few days, which isn’t good. I did not stay off my feet the day before…in fact I spent hours walking around a museum. I didn’t watch what I ate the day before…including having a bunch of shellfish and cocktails the night before (although that was a blast, and totally worth it!)

I was able to sleep in later this morning than most races and got up at a comfortable 6:15. I was actually awake sooner because there was some major seagull fight outside our window. Don’t know what that ruckus was about. Quick shower, then got ready and came upstairs. Willis was already up, so I hung out with him. Had my usual pre-race breakfast, but couldn’t eat much. I think the big, late dinner was the reason. This is the first race where I had DVR so I was able to watch coverage of a triathlon while I stretched and ate…not some lame MTV dating reality show, or whatever.

By the time I left, Chandra, Scott, and Linda were all up. I drove down to the bay. I got checked in and a cute light blue t-shirt! :) I hung out for a little while, and then saw Chris and Wendy, so I talked to them. As it got close to race time I started stretching and getting my goggles and caps ready.
Event warmup:

I was surprised to see so few people warming up. After a while I knew I didn’t want to push it and not have time, so I went ahead and got in, after stretching. The water felt coldy, cold, cold! In this race, wearing a wetsuit means not qualifying for age group medals, so most of us weren’t wearing them. We all complained a lot to each other and laughed as we got in.

I got in and swam out to the buoy line and back several times. I didn’t feel panicky at all, so that was a good sign. I treaded water for a while talking to a nice guy and comparing stories. We have done many of the same races. As I was out there I saw the Westy coming down the street!

I got out of the water and was really dizzy. I get dizzy sometimes after open water races, but never after the warm up. That concerned me. I dried off, but then heard them calling my race over to the start line. As I was walking over, the kids came running up to me! They had just arrived. I had to go, but waved to Scott and Linda as I got lined up to start. I got close to the front of the group, but not right at the front as I do in triathlons. In triathlons, I am a stronger swimmer than a lot of people. But, in a swim race, I’m not as good relative to the field of athletes. Triathlons are also full of good runners and cyclists who “get through” the swim to get onto the events they like. I like racing with them…not these hard-core master’s swimmers! ;)

The race director explained a few things about the course, and then started counting us down…
  • 55m 30s
  • 2063 yards
  • 02m 41s / 100 yards

The horn sounded and we were off in the water. I didn’t run exactly because I was worried about hurting my jacked up toe. Plus, I had wrapped it in waterproof athletic tape hoping to keep sand out. Since the nail had gotten lifted up off the nail bed when I hurt it, I didn’t want sand being able to get between the nail and skin.

As soon as I could, I dove into the water. There was a bit of a scrum, but not too bad. The field of swimmers seemed to widen out very quickly. I stayed closer to the back of the pack than I usually like to be, because I didn’t want people hitting my hurt toe with their hands.

Right away I could tell that I was not in top form today. With swimming, I can tell almost immediately how my body is going to be. As I feared, I was feeling flat. I tried not to go out too hard, but I always do. After several minutes I decided to slow up my pace a bit and get into a better rhythm.

I decided right away that I was going to try to draft as much as possible. It helps me save energy, helps me go faster, and helps obscure my view of the water below so I don’t see any shadows that I misinterpret as something scary. Right away I fell in behind colorful-suit lady. She couldn’t swim in a straight line to save her life! This is frustrating because that adds time. I am lucky to be someone who is able to swim in a straight line, and is good at sighting. Following her would make me feel safer, but would add time. I decided to side with feeling safe.

We got to Treasure Island and were now swimming along the south side of it. There were giant houses and boats off to our left which are pretty easy to sight off of…but colorful-suit lady kept swimming in her little zigzag pattern…and I followed.

I felt discouraged. I was five minutes in to what I figured would be a 50 minute-plus swim and knew I was off…knew I didn’t have gas in the tank to swim the way I wanted to…and I really wanted to swim back to shore. I think this is common. A lot of racers at some point or many points in their races consider scrapping it and going back when things aren’t going their way. Funny thing is I’ve thought about it in almost every race at some point, but never actually done it! It’s just a mental hurdle, I guess. So, I focused on finding my groove. Then someone hit my sore toe behind me and I stopped a second, but then kept going.

Zigzag colorful-suit lady was going at a slightly faster pace than I felt like keeping, so I saw wetsuit-guy off to my left, and decided to catch a ride off of him. Luckily he was able to swim straight!

As I was getting near the opening to the canal, I could feel my little toe bandage riding up. I stopped a few times to check it. I finally realized it was going to come off…and it did. However, my kick felt a lot better without it.

As we headed into the Rivo Alto Canal, wetsuit-guy started swimming left, until he saw the lifeguards and popped his head up. I stopped to and told him to go right. That’s when he realized he was being followed! ;) We headed into the canal and I was glad to see the swimmers weren’t as tightly packed as they had been two years ago.

I got to the first bridge easily. At this point there was black-racing-suit-woman up a ways and I felt good. I was about 18 minutes into the race and was ready to keep a faster pace, so I ditched wetsuit-guy and fell in behind her. She ruled. She had an even pace and swam straight.

I kept with her until the second bridge, then saw a guy up ahead and decided to quicken the pace to catch him. I did but he drove me nuts. Not only could he not swim straight, but he would also vary his pace. Erratic-swimmer guy would go faster, so I’d speed up, and then he’d slow down so that I had to stop not to hit his feet! But, there was no one right ahead of him to ditch him for, so I got in his slipstream and went with it. At some point I smelled a weird, brackish smell. Gross.

Near the third bridge I started to notice pain in my left shoulder. I could tell that my fairly new tri suit was chaffing my skin. I hadn’t used body glide, because this usually isn’t a problem…but it is a longer swim than usual. I was only a little over half way done, so I knew this was going to hurt the rest of the way!

I kept following erratic-swimmer guy under the fourth bridge, then we made the right out of the channel. I swear we hit a wall of much colder water here! Brrrrrr! I checked my watch. I had hoped to come in under 51 minutes, which was my time in 2007. I really had hoped to come in under 45 minutes. However, I was now 42 minutes into the race and knew that both goals probably weren’t going to happen. As I followed erratic-swimmer guy out of the channel and into the turning basin, I got a bad calf cramp in my left calf. Really? I can see the finish line and I get it now? This sucked! I had to stop and let him go. I had to tread for a minute or two stretching out my calf. A lifeguard on a paddle board came up to see if I was okay. I told him about the cramp and said it was no biggy…though I watched two people pass me in the process. Grrrrr.

I started swimming again and the calf was twingy. This sucked because I like to sprint at the end, but didn’t want to cramp again. I sped up my arms, but without a faster kick, it wasn’t that effective. Plus, there was no one to draft off of now…but I didn’t care. I could see the big orange buoy and the finish line. I checked my watch again and saw there was no way I was going to beat my 2007 time. Grrrr.

I swam the rest of the way then stood up when I felt sand. I thought I’d be dizzy so I took a second to center myself. I was okay. I pulled off my caps and goggles and jogged toward the finish chute. I knew sand was getting on the hurt toe, which I worried about, but what do I do? I heard the kids start screaming “Mommy! Mommy!” and they were running on the beach toward me. Cute! I checked my time and had gone 55:30. Damnit! That sucked! I knew there was no chance of an age group medal with that time. At the end I checked and saw that I was 5th in my age group! :(
What would you do differently?:

First of all, I should have been careful in the days leading up to the race. I could have hydrated better, slept more, and eaten food that is easier on my stomach. The biggest reason for the slower time is that I was following people with bad sighting skills instead of swimming on my own. Since I feared getting panicky if I was out there alone, I compromised a lot of time to follow others. By the time I was in the turning basin I was fine with swimming on my own, but it was too late to make up any time. If I had flat out raced this, I know I could have gone under 51 minutes. But, since I haven’t spent as much time in the open water as I should have prior to this, it was more important that I not panic than it was that I get a faster time. Oh well. Lesson learned.
Post race
Warm down:

After I was done, I sent Scott over to find my stuff. I didn’t want to get more sand in my toe than necessary. I got to a shower and cleaned it out and got dressed. Chris came over and we both talked about our races. Scott gave me the burrito he had picked up for me! Yum! Then Scott, Linda, and the kids had to go, because Linda had to get her rental car back to the airport.

After they left I hung out on a bench, drinking my Endurox, ate my burrito, and watched the 2.5 mile swimmers start coming in. I ended up not warming down because of the whole sandy toe thing. In swimming, it’s not a big deal. When I run or bike, the warm down seems to be much more critical. Also, wetsuit-guy came up and asked me if I was the swimmer following him. We talked about races for a while and had a few laughs.

I got some coffee and headed home. After saying goodbye to Linda we went out to the pool. I enjoyed floating around on my floaty chair with my coffee. Ahhhhh! Later I had my post-race nap and post-race massage that I consider absolute necessities!

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Inconsistent training, lack of open water training, lack of a proper taper, dehydration, eating rich food the night before, lack of sleep, cold water, a hurt toe, ocean creature fears, and a calf cramp.

Event comments:

This is my second time doing the Naples Island Swim. It was more organized than it had been in the past. It's a fun local event in a great swimming location. It is the perfect open water swim for someone who is not quite ready for waves, current, and chop...but still a fun course for those who are more advanced. I'll be back to this race again in the future!

Profile Album

Last updated: 2009-04-07 12:00 AM
00:55:30 | 2063 yards | 02m 41s / 100yards
Age Group: 5/6
Overall: 0/
Performance: Below average
Suit: Danskin Trisuit
Course: swim across channel to southwest corner of Treasure Island, along southern side of the island, into the Rivo Alto Canal, counterclockwise through the canal, across the turning basin back to the beach
Start type: Run Plus:
Water temp: 64F / 18C Current: Low
200M Perf. Below average Remainder: Below average
Breathing: Average Drafting: Good
Waves: Navigation: Average
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Average
Mental exertion [1-5] 3
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
Good race? Ok
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks?
Post race activities: Below average
Race evaluation [1-5] 4

2009-08-16 11:07 PM

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Long Beach, CA
Subject: Naples Island Swim

2009-08-16 11:21 PM
in reply to: #2352310

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Northridge, California
Subject: RE: Naples Island Swim
Good job fighting through the obstacles and getting out there, Jocelyn!   Glad you did it! 
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