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Nav-E-Sink or Swim - 1.2 Mile - Swim

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Rumson, New Jersey
United States
Split Second Racing
61F / 16C
Total Time = 32m 33s
Overall Rank = 20/125
Age Group = All Women
Age Group Rank = 10/65
Pre-race routine:

Checked the radar to see if thunderstorms were still around (they were, but isolated). Drove over there at about 5:10, arriving a little before 6:30. Thunderstorms everywhere, and the worst area was right near Red Bank where it was pouring. The race had been delayed from 8 to 9 while I was driving, so I got a great parking spot where I sat for the next two hours on and off (getting out to pick up my packet around 7, and use the port-a-potties a few times), trying to nap. Around 8:30, I got out and went through the rain to the tent to see what was up and whether we'd be starting. I ended up waiting there until the police showed up to brief the RD on conditions at 9. Fortunately, there was a window for us, so he announced a 9:30 start.

Food: a Clif bar at 5 plus about 24 ounces of water over the next few hours, then a sleeve of shot bloks at 8.
Event warmup:

Zero. Sitting in my car forever. Did a few arm circles while testing the water just before the race start.
  • 34m 33s
  • 2112 yards
  • 01m 38s / 100 yards

We started off on the beach. At an informal race meeting beforehand, we'd all agreed to let the RD send us off as one wave, to maximize our chances of getting in before any more thunder or lightning turned up (and the tide was changing, too). Since we were turning left, I put myself near the extreme left of the line, where the crowd seemed thinner, behind several guys. I was conservative because I didn't know how fast the field would be and didn't want to get trampled. I shouldn't have worried. The gun went off, I splashed in, started swimming and had a beautiful gap all the way through the first turn. I could see other people around me, but there was no contact at all and I was able to get into a groove. When we turned left around the dock, I felt like there were some waves slapping into me from both directions, like they were colliding with the boats, but only enough to be annoying. When we turned around the other side of the dock and headed to the point, my Garmin vibrated to tell me it was timing out, so I paused to switch it on for real. There was some very small chop with some larger swells (from the boats, I think) on the way out, but only enough to be annoying. I was able to keep up a smooth pace and felt very zen in the water - not thinking, not stressing, just swimming. When I turned around the green buoy to head back down the river, everything changed. There was a persistent 1' chop that had me taking in water every breath. Sometimes I put my hand straight through a wave, sometimes it got me on the breath, and sometimes it got me when I looked up to sight. While it was possible to find a rhythm in the chop, periodic larger swells kept disrupting it. I did a lot of heads up breaststroke to get my bearings and reset my breathing. The conditions were tough, but I never felt like I was in danger - my frustration at not being able to swim normally just made me angry. I was able to adapt somewhat and power through the chop, getting into a rhythm, breathing further into my shoulder to protect my mouth, and clamping down on my breath whenever a wave hit. I only choked once, very near to the final buoy, and was able to swim through it. When I turned for home, I was relieved to get back into the protected harbor and tried to pick up the pace and catch people (I was in a bit of a void, so I caught no one). I did manage to stay ahead of one woman who clearly cut the green buoy and was coming in at an extreme diagonal. I was really angry that she wasn't on the course and was determined to edge her out. Turns out, she was doing the 2.4, so she wasn't my problem, but I did get out of the water ahead of her and quickly trotted over the line.
What would you do differently?:

Given the conditions, I think I swam a great race.
Post race
Warm down:

Returned my chip, walked back to the car to dry off and get my time (since I hand't switched on my Garmin properly at the start), then back out in my rain coat to chat with Christine and watch Peter come in. We chatted until I was just too cold to stay out there anymore, so I grabbed food and left to drive the 70 minutes back home.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

The weather was the obvious obstacle. I had been worried about water temperatures ahead of time, but that turned out fine. Instead, the problem was having to wait out those storms in the cold, and then swim through a rather choppy course. I stopped more than half a dozen times and did heads-up breaststroke on the way back, just to stop getting slapped in the face by waves for a minute.I obviously would have gone faster if I'd just swum through. I also think the waves occasionally forced me off-course - while I was often on target, a few times I found myself really far to one or the other side, and had trouble correcting. My sighting game has been on point lately, so I think the direction of the chop or the swells pushed me off-course at various times.

Event comments:

This was a good race in bad conditions. The start had to be delayed 90 minutes due to thunderstorms. The RD still did a great job pulling it off and getting us in the water quickly once it was deemed safe. I think post-race would have been more fun if it hadn't still been raining and increasingly cold.

Last updated: 2018-05-27 12:00 AM
00:34:33 | 2112 yards | 01m 38s / 100yards
Age Group: 10/65
Overall: 20/125
Performance: Good
Suit: new blue speedo
Course: Out from the shore past the dock, then a loop to the left around some buoys and back to the harbor.
Start type: Run Plus: Shot
Water temp: 0F / 0C Current: Medium
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Good
Breathing: Average Drafting: Good
Waves: Below average Navigation: Below average
Rounding: Good
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
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? No
Post race activities: Below average
Race evaluation [1-5] 4

2018-05-27 12:48 PM

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Subject: Nav-E-Sink or Swim - 1.2 Mile
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