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Harborfest 1.2 Mile Open Water Swim - Swim

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National Harbor, MD, Maryland
United States
WaveOne Swimming
Total Time = 48m 44s
Overall Rank = 26/55
Age Group = F 35-39
Age Group Rank = 3/12
Pre-race routine:

I slept fitfully and woke up for good around 5am. I drank a cup of tea and about 2/3 of a bottle of nuun, and finally decided to take a quick shower around 5:30 to try to help wake myself up. I also wanted to braid my hair when it was wet, so it would stay put better. Once I had showered, my stomach decided it was ready for a bit of breakfast, and I had a chocolate Rip Van Wafel and about 3/4 of a banana. I'd never been to National Harbor before, so J and I headed out around 6:30 so we would have time to fill up the car, do the drive, and find the place. Super easy ride in.
Event warmup:

There was no warm up for this race. I stood in line, got body marked, met twitter friends Megan and Liz, sunscreened up, and waited around until they called the 1.2 milers down to the dock.
  • 48m 44s
  • 2112 yards
  • 02m 19s / 100 yards

I told myself I was going to take the first quarter super easy, second quarter easy, third quarter medium, and last quarter hard. While I never really pushed hard, I do think that's pretty much how I executed. I had a moment of anxiety when it was time to jump off the dock, as it seemed so much higher than I was expecting. Someone behind me said, "you're okay," and I suddenly realized I was holding up the line of swimmers trying to get in the water. I jumped in, and the water felt great! The current felt strong, as I was being swept right up to the front of the start line. Not where I wanted to be! Suddenly they were counting down "3, 2, 1" and we were off!
I kept my head up for the first little bit, wary of being kicked in the face. Just a couple strokes in, I decided to just put my head down and swim. During the swim to the first buoy I sighted often, probably every 3-6 strokes. I felt like there were people all around, and I didn't want to get hit. While there was a little bit of contact, I probably only caught a couple light arms and punches or hard kicks. As I got to the first buoy I was feeling more comfortable with the number of people around, and was getting the hang of how to peak for the buoy as I swam along. The buoys were the most congested part of the whole race for sure. There were a couple where I swam right on top of them and got pushed into them even more by a swimmer cutting across. No big deal though...just breathe to the other side and keep going!
The last straight away finishing the first loop was quite weedy, which was gross. It would go into my mouth, wrap around my neck, and slide over my arms in a super creepy way. Icky!
And then suddenly I was halfway done and on the second loop! The swim to the first buoy on the second lap seemed to take forever. Maybe the current changed? It was at this point that I realized I wasn't having any contact with people anymore. Maybe the occasional person, but nothing like lap one. I moved it up a gear, into my "medium" swimming tempo. Onward I went, and then I was in the last quarter, and fighting a bit more current. I felt like I was going nowhere for a bit there. Sighting was a bit tough too, as sometimes I lost sight of the orange buoy. Finally I was on the last stretch, searching for the green buoys marking the finish line. It was weedy again, and there was a dude that was really intent on swimming quite splashily right near me, so I put on a bit of speed and moved away from him. I did a fair amount of weaving off course on this stretch, as I seemed to be getting pulled a couple different ways. But then there were the finish buoys, and it was over! I called out my number and hauled myself up the ladder onto the dock. All done!
What would you do differently?:

I would have loved some tinted goggled, as I still had a little bit of leaking in the last bit, and the sun was just awful. I also think I was riding with my head a little high, so I would have wanted to focus on body position more. I could have swam faster for sure, but I wanted to pace more like for a triathlon rather than a standalone swim race. Not bad at all for a first time OWS race!
Post race
Warm down:

None. They had a shower set up on the dock, so I washed off the super gross and stinky Potomac as best I could. The white parts of my kit were brown. Ew. I had some water and hung out on the deck waiting for Megan and Liz to finish. They both were planning to run afterwards, so J and I packed up and headed out in search of bagel sandwiches.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Swim technique and limited OWS experience. I think another round of lessons would help make sure I keep my technique in good shape. Masters would probably be a good way to keep swimming fun and fresh for the winter. More practice in open water would also help. I don't really know what to do with currents or anything, so I need to focus on that moving forward.

Event comments:

This event was well run, and I would do more by them again. I'm especially interested to try out some of their Wednesday evening or Sunday morning swims, where you pay a fee to come swim with others on a marked course.
While I was slower than I thought I would be, since I have only trained in the pool I didn't have a good idea of how that would translate to open water. Now that I have a starting point, I'm looking forward to improving. I couldn't be happier with how things went today!

Last updated: 2016-06-16 12:00 AM
00:48:44 | 2112 yards | 02m 19s / 100yards
Age Group: 3/12
Overall: 26/55
Performance: Good
Suit: Coeur Sports Lakota Kit
Course: Rectangular course, 2 loops
Start type: Deep Water Plus:
Water temp: 82F / 28C Current: Medium
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting: Average
Waves: Navigation: Average
Rounding: Average
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 3
Physical exertion [1-5] 3
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? No
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks?
Post race activities:
Race evaluation [1-5] 4

2016-08-07 5:59 PM

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Falls Church, Virginia
Subject: Harborfest 1.2 Mile Open Water Swim

2016-08-08 10:14 AM
in reply to: #5194328

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Subject: RE: Harborfest 1.2 Mile Open Water Swim

Nice swim, Laura!  3rd AG is great, as is finishing in the top half of the field!  Weeds, ugh.  Gross brown Potomac water, ick.  Way to stay focused and execute your race plan as planned!

2016-08-09 7:08 AM
in reply to: #5194328

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Englewood, Florida
Subject: RE: Harborfest 1.2 Mile Open Water Swim

Nicely done, Laura. Congratulations on a great day!

2016-08-09 9:33 AM
in reply to: cdban66

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Subject: RE: Harborfest 1.2 Mile Open Water Swim

Congratulations Laura! I'd say an AG placement and top half OA finish was a very successful first OWS race!!  I don't envy the swimming in the Potomac though!!

2016-08-09 11:15 AM
in reply to: amd723

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Subject: RE: Harborfest 1.2 Mile Open Water Swim

Fantastic! Waita put yourself out there. I mean, you listed OWS experience as a limiter, a 1.2 OWS is one way to get some  

2016-08-09 1:04 PM
in reply to: Asalzwed

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West Chester, Ohio
Subject: RE: Harborfest 1.2 Mile Open Water Swim

Well managed!!  Getting kicked/ punched or otherwise pummeled in OWS is always disconcerting.  The fact that you got hit early in the first loop and kept on going without incident shows you are made of steel and not easily messed with!!


Excellent swim!

2016-08-09 4:50 PM
in reply to: QueenZipp

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Subject: RE: Harborfest 1.2 Mile Open Water Swim
Congrats on 3rd place! Sounds like a fun race.
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