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Great Chesapeake Bay Swim - 4.4 Mile - SwimOther

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Stevensville, Maryland
United States
Great Chesapeake Bay Swim
93F / 34C
Total Time = 00m
Overall Rank = wDNF/620
Age Group =
Age Group Rank = 0/
Pre-race routine:

sat in the shade, put on a lot of sunscreen. made the "too hot for a wetsuit call"
Event warmup:

melted while walking to the start. I'm so not a summer person.
  • 00m
  • 7744 yards
  • / 100 yards

I was standing in the water (it was HOT!) when I realized that meant I was going to get slammed by everyone who wanted to sprint the first bit. Since that was NOT my race plan, I walked back up the beach. When they sent us off, I gave it a second and then got in and worked the plan: smooth and easy to conserve energy until AFTER the channel.

We swam from the beach out past the jetty, and then under the spans. It's the coolest freaking feeling. So I swam, overanalyzed my line and the effect of the current, thought about how "flat" bays are not nearly the same as "flat" lakes and pools, and tried to keep a nice, steady pace. 27 minutes into the race, the eventual winner passed me like I was a water aerobics lady. So I'd been swimming for 27 minutes and he'd been swimming for 13. I refuse to do that math.

Anyway, onwards. Sang to myself (mostly beastie boys), enjoyed the warm water and the million water temp changes, and kept right as suggested (which turned out to be bad, I should have been left).

When I got out to the channel, holy freaking crap. All of a sudden, I was swimming and going backwards. OK, I trained for this, time to turn on the jets. Jets turned on. Now I am going exactly nowhere, but drifting towards the south span. Let's see, do we have more jets? sure. I started making some headway, but realized that there was no way that level of effort was sustainable. So I switched to sidestroke (which, power with less effort, plus my head is high enough to see). I looked at the red caps of the faster swimmers ahead of me, and the yellow caps of the slower swimmers like me, and watched which way they were all picking lines and who seemed to be heading in a productive direction. I picked a spot on the north span that was ahead of me and across the big lane, and basically hauled ass aiming at that point. I took a couple of sidestroke breaks to breathe hard, and got myself across. I could see the two mile buoy and the feed boat, so I set that as my goal and focused. I told myself that if I couldn't keep myself in the channel and they pulled me, fine, but I was NOT giving up. I saw at least one person quit and get a ride.

At this point, the "flat" water probably had a couple feet of chop - the waves were coming from my rear right, and the current was pushing from my front left. A totally odd feeling, and it made it very hard to get any sort of rythym. I was happy I'd practiced short choppy strokes in addition to long pretty pool strokes. I eventually made to the feed boat, had my nutrition (Justin's nut butter, chocolate hazelnut and honey almond, mmm) and a couple shots of hot water. After a little rest, I headed off.

It stayed choppy for a while but the current decreased after I crossed the channel, and I felt like complete and utter ass until my nutrition kicked in. I got another bit of energy, and then all of a sudden, settled into a really nice groove in the slightly flatter water. Even when the chop kicked back up, I still felt strong and smooth and awesome. I was joking with the kayakers a little, flew past the three mile bouy, past the second channel, and into some relatively nice flat water.

Just when I finally felt like I really *had* this (one mile to go! I can do that!)....

  • ... a kayaker came over and said, I'm really sorry honey, we have to pull you, there's a really big thunderstorm coming in.

  • what?

    are you f*cking kidding me?




    so he told me to grab his bow and he'd tow me over to a powerboat for a ride to the pier of shame. that was super awkward, and since the boat was about 100 yards away, I got him to let me swim over while he collected other people. I climbed onto the boat, got a towel and some water (and the nice boat dudes ignored that I was obviously crying, and mentioned that neither one of them was crazy enough to swim half as far as I'd gone, and that I looked like I "had it in the bag"). While we were sitting on the boat heading back in, you could see major lightning over the bridge to the east. So we listened to the race radio, got some gossip (there was apparently a probably fatal heart attack about an hour before, and they'd actually had the EMTs over doing CPR on a floating board in the water before the pulled the guy into a boat. this race is SERIOUS about safety). We then watched some guy ignore instructions to get on a boat, climb out to an embankment instead, ignore all efforts to get him into a boat until they sent the police boat over. Dumb*ss. Then again, if they pulled me with about a 1/3 of a mile to go, I would have been even more pissed off.

    What would you do differently?:

    change the weather?

    no, seriously, I've already got plans for what need to happen in training next year for a better race.
    Post race
    Warm down:

    afterwards, we did the usual find people, find stuff, get rained on, make a plan, make a new plan, find other people, find cars, sit in traffic... I will admit to feeling better about being so far over my projected time once I found out a fast first timer friend was too.

    What limited your ability to perform faster:

    1) work interfered with way too many swims. I was adequately prepared, but more would have been better. all the hard 50's and 100's on really short rest paid off, as much as they sucked at the time.

    2) lack of recent experience in non-lake open water. it took me forever to really hit a good rhythm in the chop.

    Event comments:

    I'm disappointed, but can't be angry. The RD made the right call. I just wish either the storm had held off for about 43 minutes, or I was faster.

    Last updated: 2011-05-31 12:00 AM
    00:00:00 | 7744 yards | / 100yards
    Age Group: 0/
    Overall: 0/620
    Performance: Good
    Suit: skin
    Course: point to point from Sandy Point State Park, Annapolis to Heminway's Marina in Kent Island. Stay between the world's largest lane lines and you are A-okay.
    Start type: Plus:
    Water temp: 78F / 26C Current: Medium
    200M Perf. Good Remainder: Good
    Breathing: Good Drafting:
    Waves: Navigation:
    Post race
    Weight change: %
    Overall: Good
    Mental exertion [1-5] 5
    Physical exertion [1-5] 5
    Good race? Yes
    Course challenge Just right
    Organized? Yes
    Events on-time? Yes
    Lots of volunteers? Yes
    Plenty of drinks?
    Post race activities:
    Race evaluation [1-5] 5

    2011-06-14 9:10 AM

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    Worcester, MA
    Subject: Great Chesapeake Bay Swim - 4.4 Mile

    2011-06-14 11:24 AM
    in reply to: #3548066

    User image

    Subject: RE: Great Chesapeake Bay Swim - 4.4 Mile

    Nice job anyway. I was pulled out just before the 4 mile buoy too....but I'm with you as it was getting smoother and I'd hit the ADRENALINE zone from seeing the shore now. Definite finish for us i think so I'm KEEPING MY TEE SHIRT..LOL! 

    I think this "first time" swim was needed for me for sure. I really had NO idea what current was but definitely have a better plan for next time. (plus maybe half the nerves....)


    best of luck next year....1, getting in  and 2, getting across...

    2011-06-14 11:31 AM
    in reply to: #3548446

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    Worcester, MA
    Subject: RE: Great Chesapeake Bay Swim - 4.4 Mile
    they've extended the guaranteed entry for $300 donation deadline until July, so I'll be taking the rest of my budgeted charity contributions for the year and sending them that way.     There's a note up on the lin-mark website.

    I wore the shirt to drink with my running club last night. 

    Hope to see you there (and at the finish line!) next year. 
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