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Dam 5k Open Water SWIM - Swim

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Lake Travis, Texas
United States
85F / 29C
Total Time = 1h 23m 52s
Overall Rank = 12/31
Age Group = Women 18-34
Age Group Rank = 2/4
Pre-race routine:

Woke up around 6:30. Ate some PB crackers, took a shower, and got dressed. Drove to the race site only getting lost twice. Stood around and did check-in, listened to the race brief, hit the bathroom one last time, etc. Got my hair wet in the water so I could put my swim cap on. Waited around for things to start....
Event warmup:

Uh...nope. 5000m was going to be plenty, thank you. I did have to swim out to the start buoys if you want to count that.
  • 1h 23m 52s
  • 5000 meters
  • 01m 41s / 100 meters

This will be a short RR...I PROMISE! How much can you write about a race that lasted less than 1.5 hours?

First thing that is important to mention is that this race was governed by pure swimmer types. Hence, they were following some obscure rules for some kind of open water swimming or something or other. That meant:

NO WATCHES or HRM or anything else that could give you time/pace info
NO DRAFTING (okay, fine I didn't care that much, I never draft anyway!)

I did stick my GPS in my swim cap hoping to get the actual distance and see how straight I swam. However, it didn't work properly and I got no data :( Bummer. If I'd gotten caught, I would have been DQ'd.

Okay, so the race...

THE OUTBOUND PORTION: I took this nice and easy. Sighting was cake because the buoys were supposedly right below this HUGE white house that you could see the whole time. I swam very straight the whole way across. I was trying to stay bilateral breathing but found myself slipping into every two every now and then. I was probably working SLIGHTLY harder than I wanted to...which is to be expected due to race adrenaline I suppose. No problems on the way out. Bumped into a few people here and there, but usually was on my own. I actually thought everyone was in front of me because I turned around a few times to see if anyone was behind me and I couldn't see anyone :(

THE TURNAROUND: This went well. I had done a good job sighting so I was right by the first turnaround buoy. I had the buoys to myself so I rounded the first one, swam the 100m to the second one, and turned for home. As I was swimming to the second one I noticed that I saw no one going inbound yet and that there was a pack of about 6 swimmers about 50m ahead of me. Could I be that close to the lead pack???? And was about when I realized that I had NO idea what to use to sight back to the other shore. I certainly couldn't see the buoys, what was I going to do?

THE INBOUND PORTION: This is where life went to hell in a handbasket. The PLAN was to swim easy out, and harder back if I felt okay. Well, I felt okay. So as I turned for home I shifted into my higher gear. Problem is, so did the waves! OMG...choppy as choppy gets. I have never done an open water swim with so much chop. Chop was coming from the left/front. Breathing to the left side was downright impossible. And even breathing to the right about once out of every five breaths all I got was water. Grrr...all my extra energy was going to be wasted fighting chop! I look up to sight and I can't see a damn thing. No other swimmers, no kayaks, just choppy water and WAY in the distance the other shore. But I can't tell WHERE on the shore I'm aiming all looks the same! Shit. Plow my head down and keep on going. Maybe I'll see some other swimmers eventually. They DID have a few boats out there watching for us so I figured if I got too far away someone would reel me in. A couple of minutes into the inbound portion something long hits me in the face. I start freaking out thinking it's wire or string or some crazy water junk until I realize it's one of my goggle straps. How they heck did THAT fall down onto my face? Fix the strap and keep on swimming. I see a few swimmers in the distance and have no choice but to follow them. Every time a chop hits me I feel like I am stopped dead in my tracks and need to start up my momentum again. And they are only a second or two apart. I am now working HARD...breathing every two pretty well throughout. Pretty soon a kayak comes up to me and tries to point me towards the right. Okay, fine...I'll go that way. I swim some more and she comes BACK and KEEPS pointing me to the right. Which isn't starting to feel right, but I can't see a damn thing so I keep following where she points. Pretty soon I see sand underneath me. Could I possibly be close to shore? I look up...nope, shore is still FAR away. Then I realize it's a low sandbar in the lake. Uh...I didn't pass that on the way out...I MUST have drifted too far right. So I kinda start up back to the left. I pass a white water hazard buoy...must be for that sandbar! That same kayak is still hanging around. I figure as long as I can see her I won't get too far off. Still can't see the finish buoys. A couple of other swimmers reappear and I try to follow them for a bit. But the rest of this leg was pretty much blindly swimming and fighting through waves. At one point there is a lot of splashing water around me...kinda like rain. I think it's the kayak trying to get my attention. So I look up. Nope...wind and waves have kicked up so badly it's spray from the waves...great. Next the big toes on both of my feet go numb. Um...can we say, weird? FINALLY I see the finish buoy. Yes, singular...I have NO idea where the other buoy went at this point (find out later the wind was so strong it blew away). But I also see a kayak near them...paddling INTO the current...and, uh...he isn't able to make any forward progress. Oh, this is going to take FOREVER. I have now ceased to care about racing. All I can think about is getting the HELL out of this chop. I swear I was hardly moving forward at all. Finally I could see the shallow bottom and knew I was at least moving forward, but it wasn't easy. Finally cross the finish line and drag myself out of the water. There's a crowd standing on the shore and I ask if it's always that choppy. The RD says yes, but every other swimmer I talked to said that it isn't usually that bad and all the other races held there recently had much better conditions.
What would you do differently?:

Navigation. I really should have looked at the shore before leaving to find something to sight to. I was just so antsy to get in the water and get going that I forgot. I should have thought of it when I realized the only way to get to the other side was to keep and eye on a big house.
Post race
Warm down:

Walked some stuff back to the car, ate some clif bars, stood around chatting with the other swimmers. About 10-15 minutes after I finished I went back to watch some other folks finish. One swimmer was literally not making ANY forward progress at all as she/he tried to get to the finish buoys. It was like she/he was swimming in an endless pool! A bunch of people behind me ended up WAY off the course. I could see the white buoy I remembered passing. And honestly, it wasn't THAT far off course. I think I swam fairly straight. I wish I had the GPS!!!!

Eventually went back to the hotel to take a shower then went to HOOTERS for wings and beer! Yummy!

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Navigation and the choppy water.

Event comments:

Fun, small race. I would have liked to see more kayaks and boats out on the water. It got downright dangerous as the chop built up. I would also like to see them measure the course...I think it was a tad short. I don't think I swam that fast. I'm thinking it was a few tenths of a mile short of a 3.1 mile race. But the folks were nice and I enjoyed the challenge.

Last updated: 2005-08-28 12:00 AM
01:23:52 | 5000 meters | 01m 41s / 100meters
Age Group: 2/4
Overall: 12/31
Performance: Good
Suit: My polyester try bathing suit...the blue one
Course: ONE out and back. You basically swam across the lake and back. To make it EXTRA fun there were only buoys at the start and the turnaround. NO intermediate buoys. You basically had to use houses on the far shore to sight because you couldn't see the buoys until the last couple of hundred meters. Out into the sun, back with the sun sorta at your left and behind.
Start type: Wade Plus:
Water temp: 75F / 24C Current: High
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting:
Waves: Below average Navigation: Average
Rounding: Good
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Average
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
Physical exertion [1-5] 3
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? No
Plenty of drinks?
Post race activities: Below average
Race evaluation [1-5] 4

2005-11-05 5:20 PM

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Evergreen, Colorado
Subject: Dam 5k Open Water SWIM

2005-11-05 5:43 PM
in reply to: #278876

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Peoria, Arizona
Subject: RE: Dam 5k Open Water SWIM
COngratulations on a what appears to have been a great race for you, despite the LOVELY conditions! Was certainly more difficult than my race... It had nice BIG blue lines below the CLEAR water!

Congratulations -- have a GREAT off Season!
2005-11-05 5:46 PM
in reply to: #278876

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Williamston, Michigan
Subject: RE: Dam 5k Open Water SWIM
Great race JEN   congratulations!!!!  hope you had a great time...gotta look out for that current!!
2005-11-05 6:34 PM
in reply to: #278876

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Subject: RE: Dam 5k Open Water SWIM
Great job in tough conditions - sounds like the name about sums it up!
2005-11-05 9:22 PM
in reply to: #278897

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Austin, TX
Subject: RE: Dam 5k Open Water SWIM
Wow. *If* I could finish 5k in the water, I'm sure it would take me at least another 40 minutes beyond that. Nice swim!
2005-11-05 9:53 PM
in reply to: #278876

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Frisco, Texas
Subject: RE: Dam 5k Open Water SWIM

Great job, Jen.  1:40 pace in choppy water...fantastic. 


2005-11-05 10:43 PM
in reply to: #278876

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Frugal Gear Geek
having fun with the kids
Subject: RE: Dam 5k Open Water SWIM
nice job, and do not sell yourself short about the distance you swam. If the chop was that bad comming in, you probaly flew on the first leg with a lighter effort. Just glad the chop was worse on the return leg after pacing the way out. Would have realy sucked if you went hard on the first leg only to get slapped in the face with all that crappy chop. Enjoy your off month
2005-11-06 7:43 AM
in reply to: #278876

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Whitsett, North Carolina
Subject: RE: Dam 5k Open Water SWIM
Congrats on your finish Jen!  Way to hang in the tough conditions! 
2005-11-06 8:21 AM
in reply to: #278876

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Subject: RE: Dam 5k Open Water SWIM

Awesome Race...super time!!

Congrats on doing a very long choppy ows race!

2005-11-07 6:46 AM
in reply to: #278876

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Subject: RE: Dam 5k Open Water SWIM
You kick so much *** I can feel it from here. Great job!
2005-11-07 7:13 AM
in reply to: #279358

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Subject: RE: Dam 5k Open Water SWIM
Nice job. Good thing it was that small, it seems like avoiding drafting in a big crowd would get pretty annoying.


2005-11-09 11:23 PM
in reply to: #278876

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Dyess AFB
Subject: RE: Dam 5k Open Water SWIM
Nice race Jen. Sounds like it was pretty challenging. Great job!
2005-11-10 8:21 AM
in reply to: #278876

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Vestavia Hills
Subject: RE: Dam 5k Open Water SWIM
Wow. I would have been cowed by the length of the swim alone - add to that the inability to sight the finish bouys and a wicked chop? Freak City next stop for me ...

Congrats on a smokin' swim time and the swimming through some difficult water.

2005-11-10 8:24 AM
in reply to: #278876

Subject: ...
This user's post has been ignored.
2005-11-10 2:32 PM
in reply to: #278876

Subject: RE: Dam 5k Open Water SWIM

Great race report Jen!

I was litterally out of breath just reading the report. 

Congratulations on finishing!

2005-11-10 5:06 PM
in reply to: #278876

Subject: RE: Dam 5k Open Water SWIM

Very well written, thanks for the report.

But no drafting or watches in OW?  Never heard of that

Way to push through that race

2005-11-10 5:21 PM
in reply to: #278876

Extreme Veteran
Subject: RE: Dam 5k Open Water SWIM
Somebody's gotta say it...

That's a long DAM way to swim. Congrats on finishing, never mind the speed, which was impressive!
2005-11-10 6:45 PM
in reply to: #282769

Evergreen, Colorado
Subject: RE: Dam 5k Open Water SWIM

Click on the link...then hit the 'Rules' tab on the left...guess it's open water rules....

2005-11-11 12:02 AM
in reply to: #278876

Subject: RE: Dam 5k Open Water SWIM
Interesting,  Looked up FINA and they also prohibit drafting.   I understand that, but the watch thing as aiding performance, I don't get.

And a 3.1 mile swim - AWESOME
2005-11-11 8:40 AM
in reply to: #278876

Subject: RE: Dam 5k Open Water SWIM

Dayum! What an exciting race report, complete with dangerous conditions!

I love that it was organized by those pure swimmer types! We have some here but I haven't gotten involved with them yet. There's an event that goes across the bay from St. Pete to Tampa but I digress... A 5k open water swim is impressive; but 5k in nasty conditions? You are a freakin' aqua nymph!

Way to go!!!!

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