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Horsetooth 10k Swim - SwimOther


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Ft Collins, Colorado
United States
George Thornton
75F / 24C
Overcast
Total Time = 3h 27m 18s
Overall Rank = 54/83
Age Group = F25-29
Age Group Rank = 5/6
Pre-race routine:

Where to start? I guess I’ll start with my Friday afternoon motivation! So I have my sister’s condo in Littleton all to myself. I’d gotten my short taper run done by early afternoon. Stopped at Wild Oats to pick up lunch. And now was nicely settled on the couch. What does someone watch when they are going to swim 10k the next day? Obviously, “On a Clear Day”. It’s about a guy who decides to swim the English Channel after his life sorta takes some turns for the worse. Maybe not the greatest movie, but if you’re trying to psych yourself up for long distance swimming it ROCKS!

So after the movie I was going to take my time packing up because I thought the pre-race stuff started at 6pm in Ft Collins. I looked at my paperwork and it started at 5pm! Yikes! So I rushed around the house packing and showering. Jumped in the car and headed towards Ft Collins. I had enough time to stop at a Super Wal-Mart on the way up for a few forgotten items and still made it right on time at 5pm for the start of check in. Got my check in done and then sat at a very lonely table 7 forEVER waiting for the rest of the table to show up. They assigned you to tables so you could meet your paddler if your paddler wasn’t someone you knew.

Finally people show up, but not my paddler. I was harboring a secret hope that my paddler would be a hot, single, 30-year old male. The waiting was KILING me! Finally right as the race meeting starts he shows up. He thought the number 20 (my race number) was his table number! And unfortunately, he WAS male, but definitely married with three kids! Drat. Can’t win ‘em all! His name was Charlie and he seemed to be a swell guy. He’d never volunteered as a paddler in this race so we were going to be in this together for the first time!

Race meeting DRAGGED on. No info I hadn’t heard yet. They showed some pictures of the reservoir and that it was a tad low. But that means warmer! 70 degrees probably. And they GPS’ed the course and figured by extending it into the finish cove they could still get the full 10k.

They finally cut us loose and I went to the Motel 6 with my friend Melissa and her boyfriend. Melissa was swimming the race too and she’s FAST!. Her boyfriend was paddling for her. We basically just got our stuff together for the next day (um…swimsuit, goggles, cap? And some gels…much easier than a tri!) and went to bed. Was in bed by 10pm but didn’t really fall asleep until 11pm.

Up at 4am. Showered (gotta shave the legs before a race). Ate some breakfast. Lubed up with sunblock, loaded the car, and we’re off to the venue. At the venue I hit the bathroom again then checked in. Then basically stood around for about 45 minutes waiting for the start.
Event warmup:

At 0650 they let people in the water to warm up…yeah, right. I hit a gel about then too. When they waved the 3 minute warning flag I started wandering into the water. With two minutes to go I took the plunge and swam the 25 yds out to the start line. Treaded water for 1.5 minutes until the air horn went off.


Swim
  • 3h 27m 18s
  • 10000 meters
  • 02m 04s / 100 meters
Comments:

I’d seeded myself in the back since I did NOT want to take off fast. Air horn went off and I set out at a nice leisurely pace. At this point you had no paddler. To avoid congestion at the start the paddlers wait about a half mile down in a big section and hook up with you when you get there.

I took the first half mile REALLY easy. Just swimming along warming up. I had been chilly when I was treading water waiting to start but I warmed up VERY quickly. Really never felt cold all day after the treading at the start. I was not too worried about finding my paddler. In reality, you were just supposed to swim and they were supposed to find YOU. All the paddlers help each other out shouting out numbers. I knew what color his kayak was (lime green!) and he knew I was wearing a yellow cap, red bathing suit (red suits are faster you know…unlike red bikes which are not…blue bikes are faster), and I was #20. So I was about one-third of the way through the crowd of paddlers when I spotted a kayak off to my right that seemed to be following me. But the color wasn’t quite the right green. Oh, silly me. I never looked at the kayak through my tinted goggles! Yup, that’s him. Yay! I found my paddler!

Off we go! It took me awhile to get used to having the paddler next to me. Yeah, we’d talked about our general strategy, but this was a first for both of us. He was hanging out a little far ahead of where I would have liked him to be. Kinda made me feel like I was chasing a rabbit at first. But finally I was able to just settle into my own pace and ignore him. He was holding a straight line for me, but there is still this warm fuzzy you get from looking up and sighting once in awhile so I did sight some still.

I hit the first mile point at 31-32 minutes. The miles were not marked, but the course map showed where the mile marks were so you could sorta guestimate. Like, okay, the first cove is about a mile. Of course, I couldn’t remember exactly WHERE on the cove. Which is why I say 31-32 minutes. Perfect really..exactly the pace I had wanted to go! Felt good, was swimming smooth, nice long pulls.

Somewhere in there I peed for the first time. I think it was around 25 minutes. Sheesh. Must be hydrated. This would become a theme. I peed SEVEN times during the race!

The nutrition plan was simple. Gel with water every 40 minutes. I was wearing a watch and so was Charlie so hopefully between the two of us we’d remember! Hit the first 40 minute mark and it was the roughest. At first he wanted to just throw me the hammer gel by itself but I figured it would sink so I had him throw me my whole bag. It had my gels, my spare goggles, my Vaseline in case I started to chafe, etc. So I had to dig for the gels but that was better than them sinking to the bottom! Here’s where I ran into my first problem of the day. Never practiced eating a gel while treading water! This is harder than you think! I’d always eaten them hanging onto the side of the pool but you were not allowed to hang onto the boats. D’oh! Lesson learned! After each gel I had him throw me the water bottle on a string. Took a few slugs (not too many…I already had to pee again) and was off. This one took awhile because of the confusion with the bag vs. just the gel, but we got more efficient.

Took off swimming again still feeling nice and smooth. RPE was right about 4/5. I wasn’t bilat breathing too much. I think open water swimming takes a lot out of me. Had to breath every two and was swapping sides every few. So it went something like 2-2-3-2-2-3 or 2-2-2-3-2-2-2-3 etc. etc. From what I could tell, once I got away from all the rest of the swimmers I was holding a pretty straight line. There were no buoys until Mile 5ish so you just basically had to swim along the shore and follow the pack.

Around Mile 2.5 (another cove) things started to feel harder. I had my second gel stop which went slightly faster, but I still felt like I was wasting too much time. But around this time the motor boats in the center of the lake started to wake up and every few minutes I would get pummeled by boat wake. I had peed again at like 55 minutes (sheesh). Somewhere around 1:10 or so Dori from “Finding Nemo” wandered into my head, “Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming. Swimming swimming swimming swimming.” If you’ve seen the movie, it’s funny. If you haven’t, that joke is lost on you. Thanks, JANICE (foolproof) for putting this lovely idea into my head. That occupied at least 5 minutes of my day.

Next couple of miles are sort of a blur. I know I peed several times. I know I had another gel stop. But it was getting hard. I really felt like I was battling the water every second. Didn’t feel smooth anymore. Felt like I was struggling. And it showed! I found the “halfway point” give or take 5 minutes at 1:45. Dang. Guess the secret goal of 3:15 was out the window. How’s less than 3:30 sounding? Hit mile 4 (per Charlie and his map) around 2:20? So I was holding a constant pace…about 35 minutes/mile with gel stops. I passed one or two people but for the most part I didn’t see much of anything. When I would pop my head up I would see lots of paddlers out ahead of me. Scattered dots.

I haven’t talked about the weather! It was overcast with a few holes in the clouds so the sun would pop out every now and then. Pleasant really. But I didn’t need the tinted goggles. They were overkill. Oh well. I could still see fine so I didn’t swap them out (they ARE my most comfy pair!). But at least the overcast wasn’t enough to freeze us but enough to keep the sun off!

So, eventually my ankle started to hurt from all the pointing (aka kicking). I would try to flex it once in awhile to shake it out. But when I would flex it I could feel my calves balk a bit like they wanted to cramp. So I just did it once in awhile. At 2:40 I made my last gel stop. I didn’t think it would be worth stopping again so I told Charlie I thought I could make it in on this one. He said he thought so too and that he thought we were almost at about 4.75. This is the first stop where I could see the ONE buoy on the course. There are some confusing coves right before the cove you enter so they put this buoy out to warn you not to enter any coves until after you pass the buoy. So I could see it WAY out in the distance. I started swimming again and it just didn’t seem to be getting any closer. So I wanted to MAKE it get closer. So I decided to start speeding up. If I couldn’t see the buoy getting closer I felt like I would never finish. So I kicked it up a notch. Oh good…feel smooth again. It hurts more, but smooth. That’s okay. I felt like during the “dark miles” I had dropped below the RPE 4/5 I was supposed to be doing so this small increase in speed put me back where I was supposed to be. But still…the buoy seemed to only creep in slowly. Guess it’s one of those depth things. When something is far away it’s hard to see the line of sight, but as it gets closer you can see it moving.

I passed somebody at this point then I came up on another guy. He proved more difficult to pass. I SWEAR as soon as I came up alongside him he sped up! I pushed harder trying to get past him. Fought with him all the way to the buoy then I said to myself, “Enough of this shit. It’s less than a mile from here to the end, I’m dropping this guy!” And I kicked it up another notch. Even started KICKING. He finally fell away and I kept up the speed. This guy came and found me after the race and said, “Boy, you have one heck of a finishing kick! You came out of nowhere from behind me and then I figured why don’t we race? So I tried to keep pace and finally you pulled away. Next thing I knew you were a couple of body lengths ahead and then 5 or 6 and I’d lost you!” Teehee. Total highlight.

I had a good clip going as I entered the cove and could see the finish. Even Charlie said later that he could feel the difference in speed. He had to paddle faster! Saw another guy ahead of me but never managed to catch up. It was a nice flat swim across the cove. BIG finish area to aim for unlike most of the day where you were just pointing your noggin’ off towards the far end of the reservoir. My arms were tired but I was SO ready to be done so I kept my fast pace going. I had the song from Nadia stuck in my head. Ever seen that movie? It’s good. It was the song from near the end where she’s doing the balance beam with an injury so the team can win. Apparently, it motivates me because I was hauling. I sprinted the last 100!
What would you do differently?:

1. Nutrition. Gotta practice this. Treading water while trying to eat a gel is hard. Should have had a gel flask or something. Also, I may have stopped too often.
2. More effort the middle miles. I had WAY too much left at the end.
Post race
Warm down:

You had to “swim” across the line even though it was in knee deep water. So I swam across and then just came up on my knees. SO not ready to stand up yet! The catcher guys were there and tried to help me stand up. I was kind of dizzy and in addition to that my ankle was wenching. The first step on my right foot (the bad ankle) I almost went over and they had to catch me. They handed me over to another guy. They told him my name and I think he was just supposed to stay with me until I wasn’t going to fall over. Which didn’t take long. I walked about 10 steps and the ankle revived. They handed me some amino vital and tried to hand me a luna bar but I wasn’t ready yet. I just stood there sipping for a few minutes and looked at my time. My lats were totally trying to cramp up on me. THAT is a weird feeling! Then I went to find Charlie to say thank you. I mean, really…this man volunteered his whole morning to paddle a boat across a lake with me! I chatted with him for awhile then found Melissa (she’d come in right around 3 hours…speedy) and my dry clothes. Put the clothes over my bathing suit (I was almost dry anyway) and stood around chatting with folks for about half an hour. Ate a Luna bar not because I was hungry (I wasn’t at all) I just figured I’d better start the recovery so I could race tomorrow! Glanced at the results, then Melissa and her boyfriend drove me back to my car.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Lack of experience at this race distance. I had no idea what I was getting into so I raced conservatively. Also, the lack of experience with handling nutrition at this distance a race cost me several minutes.

Event comments:

Wow! I had fun! I have been looking forward to this race all year! Fairly well organized and just a whole lot of fun. I am still hooked on this long distance swimming thing!




Last updated: 2006-03-07 12:00 AM
Swimming
03:27:18 | 10000 meters | 02m 04s / 100meters
Age Group: 5/6
Overall: 54/83
Performance: Good
Suit: NOT WETSUIT LEGAL!
Course: Start at the south end of the reservoir...swim to the north end. Very simple.
Start type: Deep Water Plus:
Water temp: 70F / 21C Current: Low
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Average
Breathing: Good Drafting:
Waves: Navigation: Good
Rounding: Good
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 5
Physical exertion [1-5] 5
Good race? Yes
Evaluation
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] 5

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2006-08-14 4:30 PM

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Champion
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Evergreen, Colorado
Subject: Horsetooth 10k Swim


2006-08-14 4:55 PM
in reply to: #511400

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Pro
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Broomfield, Colorado
Subject: RE: Horsetooth 10k Swim
What an AWESOME swim Jen!  And the fact that you followed it up the next day with a 1/2 IM is just NUTS.  You are an amazing athlete!  Love the stories, and you just crack me up!
2006-08-14 5:14 PM
in reply to: #511400

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Master
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Colorado
Subject: RE: Horsetooth 10k Swim
Um yeah, you are more crazy than I am...  GO GIRL!!!  Not every day I know someone that would do that and follow it up with a 1/2IM!  impressive woman
2006-08-14 6:21 PM
in reply to: #511400

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Master
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Plant City, FL
Subject: RE: Horsetooth 10k Swim
You are freaking awesome Jen!!  3 hours in the water without a raft and umbrella drink is just crazy, but to follow that with a 1/2 IM, I think we need to have the AF look into your psych profile!!
2006-08-14 6:58 PM
in reply to: #511400

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Frugal Gear Geek
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having fun with the kids
Subject: RE: Horsetooth 10k Swim
good thing you suggested I read the swim first. Saw it there and was going to skip it, because I know you can be very long winded BTW, I would suggest using gel falsks and cut the gel with water 1:1.... first the flasks can float, and no extra stuff to handle like the tops.
2006-08-14 7:25 PM
in reply to: #511400

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Champion
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Williamston, Michigan
Subject: RE: Horsetooth 10k Swim
Glad you had a gppd time fish girl   MAybe we should just call you Dory now   swimswimswimswim   Hope the body is OK


2006-08-15 4:54 PM
in reply to: #511400

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Expert
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Adrian, MI
Subject: RE: Horsetooth 10k Swim

In reality, you were just supposed to swim and they were supposed to find YOU. All the paddlers help each other out shouting out numbers. I knew what color his kayak was...

Just to weird!  Amazing.  Huh!

Wow.  That is a well told story.   I can relate (sort of ) with what you wrote.  I can just "see" how your feet would get sore... yuck.  Arms tire.  Yeah, how deep were you pulling?  I'd imagine that after, I dunno, 2 hrs that your stroke would be rather short?!

Awesome job, Jennifer.

2006-08-15 8:01 PM
in reply to: #511400

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Elite
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DC Metro, slowly working my way to NC
Bronze member
Subject: RE: Horsetooth 10k Swim
WOW.   Great job!  And that's pretty neat that you get your own paddler!  (I'd love to get that just for a 1K swim)
2006-08-15 8:16 PM
in reply to: #511400

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Extreme Veteran
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Subject: RE: Horsetooth 10k Swim
The whole "10k swim" thing is still boggling my mind. I don't even like to RUN 10k regularly..that is an insane swim distance! Congratulations on finishing and finishing well! The Half the next day may raise doubts about your sanity as Wendi's already mentioned but hey, we're good at reinforcing that sort of thing around here...you go girl!
2006-08-15 8:31 PM
in reply to: #512803

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Veteran
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Worcester, MA
Subject: RE: Horsetooth 10k Swim

holy crap.  you are freaking amazing, and totally my new idol.

 congrats on a great weekend of racing.

2006-08-16 12:14 AM
in reply to: #511400

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Extreme Veteran
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Plymouth MA
Subject: RE: Horsetooth 10k Swim

very cool!!  Loved the RR!



2006-08-16 10:01 AM
in reply to: #511400

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Master
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Frisco, Texas
Subject: RE: Horsetooth 10k Swim

Jennifer,

Awesome....just awesome.  And to have a kick left at the end!  Then race a HIM the next day.  You deserve a little rest this week .

Congratulations.

TJ

2006-08-16 10:26 AM
in reply to: #511400

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molto veloce mama
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Subject: RE: Horsetooth 10k Swim
amazing. that is totally amazing. you did a fantastic job. can't even imagine swimming that far.
2006-08-16 1:05 PM
in reply to: #511400

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Expert
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Denver
Subject: RE: Horsetooth 10k Swim
Freak!   I don't know how you even got out of bed the next morning, much less did a HIM! Nice job on the swim!
2006-08-16 3:35 PM
in reply to: #511400

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Crystal Lake, IL
Subject: RE: Horsetooth 10k Swim

Amazing.  Are you kiddin me?  Unbelievable.  You are incredible!

I had brutal issues standing after a two mile swim, I can't imagine how hard that would have been after a 10K!  Of course, you're way more hoss than I am so there you have it.

 

2006-08-16 4:54 PM
in reply to: #511400

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Master
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brummie land
Subject: RE: Horsetooth 10k Swim

i don't know you well enough to call you crazy but wow! amazing swim and what a superb race report.

http://www.swimtrek.com

just a thought



2006-08-16 7:31 PM
in reply to: #513898

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Champion
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Evergreen, Colorado
Subject: RE: Horsetooth 10k Swim

Oh my goodness!  That site is AWESOME!  Dammit...the trip I would want to do next year (German Lakes) is the same weekend as the HIM I'm doing!  Guess I'll have to look at some other ones....

Awesome....

2006-08-17 8:57 AM
in reply to: #514009

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Champion
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Albuquerque, New Mexico
Subject: RE: Horsetooth 10k Swim
jldicarlo - 2006-08-16 7:31 PM

Oh my goodness!  That site is AWESOME!  Dammit...the trip I would want to do next year (German Lakes) is the same weekend as the HIM I'm doing!  Guess I'll have to look at some other ones....

Awesome....



I think you've just proven that two major events on the same weekend isn't a problem!
2006-08-17 9:50 AM
in reply to: #511400

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Expert
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Earth
Subject: RE: Horsetooth 10k Swim
I can't even fathom swimming a 10K, great race. 
2006-08-17 7:05 PM
in reply to: #511400

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Extreme Veteran
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Blaine, MN
Subject: RE: Horsetooth 10k Swim
nice blog... interesting attempting to eat gus in the water.. i usually use both hands to squeeze them out... cant imagine doing it in the water.. and going straight for 10k seems nearly impossible to me... maybe the paddler should have a gps watch or something or a compass and you could just follow him...  were you prepared for the HIM the next day.. did it ever enter you mind?
2006-08-17 8:35 PM
in reply to: #515203

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Champion
8766
5000200010005001001002525
Evergreen, Colorado
Subject: RE: Horsetooth 10k Swim

were you prepared for the HIM the next day.. did it ever enter you mind?

I'll probably get in trouble for admitting this...but about an hour into the swim I thought about packet pickup for the HIM...BAD Jen!   My mind should have been totally on swimming...but when you swim that long sometimes it wanders....



2006-08-17 10:23 PM
in reply to: #511400

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Champion
19812
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MA
Subject: RE: Horsetooth 10k Swim

Awesome job!

I can't even imagine wanting to swim 10K or 5K even...you rocked it!

Interesting RR and a glimpse into a sport I doubt I'll ever compete in.

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