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Wild Fish Two Mile Swim - SwimOther

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Salem, Massachusetts
United States
B&S Fitness
68F / 20C
Total Time = 1h 29m 59s
Overall Rank = 70/74
Age Group = W40-49
Age Group Rank = 0/
Pre-race routine:

Signed up to do this race for practice for IMFL as I'm not a big fan of ocean swims.

Hung out with the kids a bit before putting on my wetsuit

Put on wetsuit and chatted with BT friends

Event warmup:

Took a gel, swam out to last buoy and back, overcast and raining decided to change from mirrored goggles to tested them out worked better so went with them. Water was chilly at 63 but didn't get ice cream headache. Two of my least favorite types of water to swim in..ocean and good for me.

Decided to use tempo trainer set for 1.07 as I wanted to keep my turn over up instead of fading as I tend to do
  • 1h 29m 56s
  • 3520 yards
  • 02m 33s / 100 yards

Race plan was to try to swim harder than IM effort more like Oly and start picking up pace at 1000 yards to go. Practice sighting, contact, and see where my swimming is currently.

Course is an oval squished a bit diagonally and we swam counter clockwise.

Swim start off we go, contact, feeling calm, all is good. Get behind a guy doing what I guess is military survival stroke. Wondered if drafting off him might be good as he was making a lot of drag but his kicking was wide and hard so decided to get around him.

Saw another guy who seemed to be swimming TI sweet spot..on his side doing wide whip kick really hard.

First loop was uneventful and stayed in good place mentally. Tempo Trainer at 1.07 I was able to keep up with. The top of the oval felt the current pushing me along and on the way back current was pushing everyone towards the wall where the park was. I figured next loop I'd aim left of the buoy to use current to help me.

At far buoy the 1 miler lead racers caught me as they start 10' after we did. I did some math and figured I was slower than I the fastest folks do ~22' and started 10' after me guessing I was about 21-22'+ for half of the first loop.

End of the first loop came upon a man who I was able to draft off of. He was a violent kicker so he made a lot of bubbles and was easy to find. Issue was I kept swimming up on him. Obviously we swim basically the same speed as we did first loop in same time. I tried to get around him but it was hard...lost him on the turn to second buoy...but should have stayed on his feet as he finished 3' ahead of me. Lesson learned ideally draft someone a little faster is better but drafting off someone my exact speed will save energy.

Two guys doing military swim style caught me at the turn. I was a bit discouraged that folks that didn't "swim" were as fast as I was.

I hit my lap button on my Garmin as I wanted the data to see how first and second loop compared. I didn't want to see my time as I swam but I did...43:?? which just hit me in the gut..disappointed with my performance again. It through me into a mental spot I struggled to get out of.

Next 20' I had a mental dialogue that went some thing like this...trying to get in neutral or positive place again

Not again...why can't I get better
2 years ago you would never have done this race look you are doing it and are comfortable and calm
Those military guys that don't swim are faster than you
Why can't I finally figure out the swim thing
I'm going to have as much fun as possible and forget time
Am I last?
Why are the kayaks following us?
I don't think I'm last and I'm not stopping to ask or look
Swimming is so frustrating
I'm bored
Am I having fun?
This needs to be fun to do this
Try to negative split the swim
That non swimmer guy keeps zig zagging in front of me
At far turn buoy I'll try to pick up the pace, should I adjust my tempo trainer or just ignore it, if I adjust it how should I do that?
It's Libby's birthday why are we here? Have fun your family is here for you.

Once I got to the far buoy I could enjoy the current's help and started to pick it up and my mental demons were overcome and the mental shit was over for the most part.

Made the last turn towards home and slower, zig zag non swimmer, other military guy,passed me. Dang can't let that guy beat me, tried hard to catch him...push push and see what I can do....last 1/2 of loop claves felt funny like they might cramp but didn't.

Libby's is waiting for me to finish..I'm the swimmer in front

Swam hard and got to swim exit...saw the clock 1:29...ran to the finish to cross the mat under 1:30...looked back and saw 2 swimmers in the water. My goal was come in better than 3rd from last...after looking at last year's results.

Fitness wise I felt good...I have done more consistent swimming for months than in past years.
What would you do differently?:

Draft off that man I caught end of lap 1 as he finished just about 3' faster than I did.

Swimming and I have this thing..hard to put it into words. I don't dislike swimming as many think, I dislike that I work at it and don't improve. Last night I finally came up with a thought that helps explains it.

I'm a bad swimmer for a triathlete. I have had 4 swim coaches; TI swim coach took private lessons winter '04-'05; triathlete swim coach '06-'07; professional triathlete couple '07; National Master's record holder '08-'10. All have helped me improve my technique, but none have made me really get faster especially the last 3-4 years. Most folks swimming slower than 1:40/100 yds have technique flaw. Now with videotaping coaches say my stroke is relatively good ie no major flaws but I don't get any oomph from my stroke. I'm done with paying lots of money for coaching that doesn't help. After having some probably 30+ private swim lessons, if I was going to get it, I would have been by now.

Here is the thing..I'm not good at swimming. Most things in life that I work at over time I get better and I enjoy the challenge of improving. This is why swimming is so frustrating for me, I work on it but don't improve, it's annoying, I'm embarrassed & it bugs me deep down that don't improve after trying many different things/approaches. I work hard and take it seriously. In my life I don't recall anything I have done for 7 years and still am bad at it..normally I improve or lose interest and I'd stop doing it. With tris if I want to participate in them I have to continue to swim.

I had thought I had been swimming faster based on my Garmin and ows I've done last month even though Garmin is a bit inconsistent. I was optimistic that maybe I'd do better than my normal but yet again I was disappointed.

I wish I could just accept I'm slow and very BOP for triathlete and move on but it isn't the way I work. I could say my goal for IMFL is just sub 2 hours but that would be a lie as even with my track record of swimming over 7 years it is hard to give up the idea that maybe next race I maybe I'll be better or somehow something will click and I'll get the ahhh moment but my optimism is waning.

I'm not sure if my Garmin distance is right. Was course long? Did I swim off course? Or both factors true? I wish I knew someone else that had a Garmin to see what their distance measured to compare.

Difference in pace based on race distance or Garmin distance is quite a bit...if 2.0 miles means 2:33/100 yds within seconds of my last two IMs and if it was 2.19 I swam 2:20/100 yds. I try to look at it that 2.5 months out from IM and this was training. First and second loop were pretty close in time for me as I tend to fade. Second loop had to swim to shore beyond the last buoy so would be slightly longer.

loop 1 43:06, 1.08 miles
loop 2 46:40, 1.1 miles

I wish I could get it....folks who started learning to swim 6 months ago to do tris mostly swim faster than me....argh!
Post race
Warm down:

Ate a banana, drank some water to get salt water taste out of my mouth, talked with family & friends

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Poor natural swim ability and yes I have missed some of my long swims over the last 6 weeks.

I did it which is I don't really like cold or ocean swims

Event comments:

Great venue, super tech shirts and string bag

If you enjoy ows races this is a good one

Last updated: 2010-08-15 12:00 AM
01:29:56 | 3520 yards | 02m 33s / 100yards
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/74
Performance: Average
loop 1 43:06, 1.08 miles loop 2 46:40, 1.1 miles Based on distance I swam 2:20/100 yds Did I swim long or was course long or a little bit of both? Supposed to be 2 miles Tempo trainer 1.07 which was perfect until I picked up pace at far end of course then it was to slow
Suit: DeSoto T1
Course: Swim counter clockwise Course sort of oval that was squished diagonally
Start type: Wade Plus:
Water temp: 63F / 17C Current: Low
200M Perf. Average Remainder: Average
Breathing: Drafting: Bad
Waves: Navigation: Average
Rounding: Good
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Below average
Mental exertion [1-5] 3
Physical exertion [1-5] 3
Good race? Ok
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks?
Post race activities: Average
Race evaluation [1-5] 3

2010-08-23 8:01 AM

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Subject: Wild Fish Two Mile Swim

2010-08-23 4:00 PM
in reply to: #3058234

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Williamston, Michigan
Gold member
Subject: RE: Wild Fish Two Mile Swim

I get it.  Thats is how I feel about running.  I try and try and I don't get better and I get injured.  I think I am more at peace with it than you are with your swimming

When I am home next week lets go to a pool where I can watch you better than in open water and maybe I can think of something.  Worked once before  

2010-08-23 6:55 PM
in reply to: #3058234

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West Chester, Ohio
Subject: RE: Wild Fish Two Mile Swim
I get it.

It is a mental game we play with ourselves every time we get in the water.  "Will I find the AHA moment today?  Will XXX click in my stroke?"

We chase down that mental monkey, thinking we have conquered it in some small part......then we see our times and wonder once again if we really have learned how to swim.

My hat is off to you, first for chasing down the monkey and doing an ocean swim to prepare for IMFL.  Second for being honest about the frustrations you have in swimming.  Congratulations for chasing the mental monkeys out of the water.
2010-08-24 8:15 AM
in reply to: #3059927

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Charlottesville, Virginia
Subject: RE: Wild Fish Two Mile Swim
I think it's going to click one of these days, don't get discouraged.   It's tough for a lot of us, that just picked up swimming really when we got into tri's.
2010-08-24 9:55 AM
in reply to: #3058234

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Extreme Veteran
Subject: RE: Wild Fish Two Mile Swim
All that matters is you swam a two mile race and didn't sit on the couch that day....its a lot more accomplished than most folks..first, last or somewhere in between... you swam..and think of the role model you are for your kids for trying and continuing  to try!
2010-08-24 1:33 PM
in reply to: #3058234

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Subject: RE: Wild Fish Two Mile Swim
cool race.  i think it speaks volumes that you are still attacking this "issue" after 7 years.  many people would have said screw it and quit long  ago.   i don't think you she be embarrassed at all either.  many many people can't swim 50 yards let alone 2 miles.   keep on keep'in on and it'll come.

great job kathy.

2010-08-25 7:56 AM
in reply to: #3058234

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Montague Gold Mines, Nova Scotia
Subject: RE: Wild Fish Two Mile Swim

Great work getting out and racing an event that is well outside your comfort zone.  You battled your demons out there and came out on top (again) so despite the frustrations, it is still a victory!

2010-08-26 12:54 PM
in reply to: #3058234

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Subject: RE: Wild Fish Two Mile Swim
Girl, you are what IRONMAN is ALL about!  You go out there and do what seems impossible...over and over again!  

I get the frustration in the pool too.  I'm a decent swimmer, not afraid of the water or things in it, but slow to improve.  I've been working with my coaches since November, and not really getting faster, although I did finally break 2:00 per hundred in a couple races this year.  Finally. After trying for 2 years (swimming masters before I joined my tri team) The times don't really gel with the effort put in though.  I swim with lots of folks that just kick in the water.  Some just started swimming and are already swimming faster than me!!!  My brain just doesn't seem to be able to get my body to do what my coaches say to do!!!  I truely believe it is the hardest of the three sports because of the technique involved.  It's like bloody golf!!! 

Please know you are a BIG inspiration to those of us going for our 1st IM, and we appreciate that you share your thoughts so freely. Even though you aren't feeling the groove in this IM training at the moment, know we appreciate what you are doing out there day to day!!!  Take a break from blogging, get your kiddies all squared away for fall, and I'll see you in Panama City Beach!!!
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