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Chesapeake 4.4 mile Bay Swim - Swim

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Stevensville, Maryland
United States
80F / 27C
Total Time = 2h 07m 43s
Overall Rank = 82/224
Age Group = F 35-39
Age Group Rank = 10/36
Pre-race routine:

Brad, Craig and I left the hotel in St. Michaels around 8:45 am or so and stopped off at Panera in Easton to get breakfast and something for lunch. We arrived at the park and ride to meet Laura Cortina around 9:30 am and then hung out in the car until 10:15 am. It was convenient they had port-o-potties right there for us to use.
We took the shuttle to the beach, hit the bathrooms, got checked in, and found some shade under trees with the masses. We got our things together and I had my second bagel with PB. We heard from the announcement they were going to be starting the pre-race meeting so we did bag check and walked over to the meeting site.

The meeting took about 20 minutes which included thanking the sponsors and volunteers, race instructions and the National Anthem. Unfortunately there was no shade near the meeting site and we were standing in the sun (at 11:30 am). We were told they were starting the race 15 minutes early so we started to get our wetsuits on.
Event warmup:

Once I got my sleeveless wetsuit on, I got in the water to get some water in it/get cool. The water temp seemed perfect. I put a GU in the side/back of my cap and we got in line to cross over the timing mat. It was nice the 4 of us were all in the first wave.
  • 2h 07m 43s
  • 7081 meters
  • 01m 48s / 100 meters

There was a strong 20+ mph wind coming out of the west which meant a nice push to the other side of the bay. It also meant large waves/swells. I managed to get in between the bridge spans with no problem. I felt good, wasn't bored and the water temp was nice. I made the turn under the bridge and remembered why I love this swim. It is really amazing to be able to swim between the two bridges. I could feel the push from the wind/waves, but it also meant a mouthful of water every so often if I would breathe into a wave. I tried to pay attention to what the RD told us in the pre-race meeting in terms of where to swim/expect the tide. It was confusing and I just swam. I tried not to stay too close to the pilon just to be safe.

I hit what I thought was the 1st mile buoy and was feeling pretty good. Before I knew it, I was at the first feed boat, which we were told was at mile 2. The time was super fast and I felt the boat wasn't really at mile 2 even with the push from the wind.

At times, the waves were just crazy. I would look up every so often to make sure I was in a good position between the two bridges and to see if I could see the next boat. The only thing I saw was wave after wave. It definitely reminded me of St. George...not as insane, but it was up there.

I hit the 2nd feed boat at mile 3, but the mileage didn't seem accurate. I was trying to keep myself from getting too bored, by enjoying the swim/water and singing songs in my head. It's kind of crazy to think you're swimming between the bridges and I rarely saw other swimmers. It was comforting seeing the support boats/kayaks along the course though. I passed the 3rd boat and didn't stop as I was feeling good. The stretch between the 2nd boat and the right turn felt like forever. I tried not to get too consumed on wanting to get there faster than I was moving. While I swam most of the swim in the center of the bridges, the last section I found myself over along the right bridge in the shadow. I would feel myself getting a little to close to the pilon and then self correct. The water conditions also seemed to be different here. I didn't really feel the push from the wind, but it was more of a wave pool feeling. The waves just felt like they were tossing me around. Finally I saw the neon orange buoy and a kayak which meant I was almost ready to turn.

I made the right/left turn to get out from the bridges and the water was so warm. I could see the shoreline and it was shallow enough for people to walk. I just kept swimming until my hands hit the bottom and then somewhat stumbled up the chute across the timing mat.
What would you do differently?:

Not really sure. I trained less this year than I had in 2013. I think the conditions were more challenging this year than 2013, yet I had a 15 minute PR.
Post race
Warm down:

I walked through the finish chute and grabbed some water, my swag and then found Brad and a firetruck shower.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Not sure. I didn't eat/drink during the swim, but I don't think that limited my performance. My energy felt good the entire swim.

Event comments:

I love this race. It's a really well run, safe event. The amount of boats in the water were fantastic. The post-race activities were great. I appreciate the firetruck shower. The bag pick up was a complete debacle. It appeared the truck didn't get there much before the swimmers. The bags were supposed to be organized by number on the ground, but they were one huge pile in no order. And they were still actively unloading the truck when I got there. That was a bit frustrating. That aside, I still liked the finish line area. It's nice to be able to grab drinks from Hemingway's and be right on the water. I also like the medal we received as cheesy as that sounds. We didn't get one in 2013. And the wicking polo race shirt is nice...way nicer than the one we got the last time.
If you are considering this race, I say go for throwing your name in for the lottery. It's really an amazing event. And it was so nice to be able to share it with Brad, Craig and Laura who all enjoyed it.

Last updated: 2016-01-27 12:00 AM
02:07:43 | 7081 meters | 01m 48s / 100meters
Age Group: 10/36
Overall: 82/224
Performance: Good
Suit: sleeveless
Course: Swim from the beach to the bridges. Left turn to get in between the bridge spans. Swim east until you turn right/left to then swim along the bridge end to the shore near Hemingway's.
Start type: Run Plus: Waves
Water temp: 75F / 24C Current: High
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting:
Waves: Navigation: Good
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? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 5

2016-06-14 10:13 AM

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Subject: Chesapeake 4.4 mile Bay Swim

2016-06-15 12:17 PM
in reply to: #5186842

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Falls Church, Virginia
Subject: RE: Chesapeake 4.4 mile Bay Swim
Wow, great race. Sounds like those waves were making themselves known, but you kept it smooth! I know you didn't take any nutrition during the race, but how would that work if you did? With the waves I'd be worried about getting a mouthful of water!
Congrats on a great race and thanks for sharing.
2016-06-15 2:32 PM
in reply to: #5186842

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Washington, DC Metro
Subject: RE: Chesapeake 4.4 mile Bay Swim

I am in awe of your Aqua(wo)man superpowers!  Congrats.

2016-06-15 2:54 PM
in reply to: #5186842

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Subject: RE: Chesapeake 4.4 mile Bay Swim

Nice swim.

This is on my list of races to sign up for, along with the Potomac River swim

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