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Pacific Open Water Challenge - SwimOther


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Long Beach, California
United States
International City Racing
71F / 22C
Overcast
Total Time = 25m 57s
Overall Rank = 22/33
Age Group = 30-34
Age Group Rank = 1/5
Pre-race routine:

I APOLOGIZE IN ADVANCE FOR HAVING THE LONGEST RACE REPORT FOR THE SHORTEST RACE. SORRY...I'M VERY WORDY! :)

Well, I don't have a routine, as this was my first race EVER! I wasn't even sure I was going to do it. I really wanted to but didn't want to unless I could get a triathlon wetsuit for it. Last week I got on wetsuitrentals.com and was planning to rent one, but waited. This week when I got on I learned that the man who started the company passed away and they are temporarily not renting. I called Triathlon Lab who sells, but does not rent. I called REI but they didn't have the suit I wanted in stock. I know LA Tri Club loans them out, but didn't know if I could get them in time. I tried on two suits at Tri Zone but wasn't happy with the fit. So, as of Saturday afternoon, I had mentally ruled out doing this race. When I was discussing it with my husband that evening, he brought out his old surfing wetsuit. I tried it on, and it fit. I went to the pool to test it out and it was akward. I didn't like the tightness at the shoulder, but I could swim in it so I began entertaining the thought of doing this race.

The night before I got out my new and unused super cool transition backpack and began packing. I know I was nervous because I packed 7 swim caps, but not my best pair of goggles! I WAY overpacked, but better learned what to pack for my tri in September. I finally fell asleep around midnight, planning to get up, go check out the race and THEN decide whether or not to go through with it.

I woke up early, pounded some coffee and yogurt, and headed out. My race, the half-mile, wasn't until 9 am, but I wanted to see the one-mile race at 7. I got there and was nervous. First parked in the wrong lot, then fixed it. Then stood in the wrong line for registration, and fixed it. I got registered, got my first offical chip for my ankle, first cap and first goody bag. Then went for my first body marking, which turned out to only be my hand. I then went near the water to watch people warm up for the mile.

I ended up recognizing BTer Katrina from her avatar. It was nice having someone to hang out with and talk to, though I do feel bad that she had to put up with my nervous pre-race chatter! :) We watched the mile swimmers go to see the course. It didn't look too bad. I had a banana, an energy bar, and some gatorade in the meantime. I probably didn't need it, but figured this was a good chance to try out pre-race nutrition, so I did, and it all worked out well.

After a while the 1-mile swim started so we watched part of that. Somewhere in all of this I had to hit the porta-johns 3 times. Yay for nerves. I started stretching then getting my gear ready. I made a quick call to my husband to bring my dark goggles...only packed the light ones. Called him right back to bring my goggle spray. I then realized the spray was in my pocket the whole time. Once again...my nerves were f-ing with me!

When it was time to warm up, I decided to leave the wetsuit in the car. There were a ton of age group swimmers that were going without wetsuits, and even some of the grown ups!
Event warmup:

Katrina and I went to go warm up. We swam out to the lifeguard boat and back. My arms felt good. The water was a little clearer than in the bay, but not bad. I was trying not to think about the depth or what could be swimming below, but it was hard not to. My goal was not to panic as a result of it.

We realized that neither of us had ever done a running start into the ocean, so we tried that. Boy, I'm glad I did. I learned two things. One, don't dive too early or you'll scrape your knee on the bottom. Ouch. Two, don't run too fast into the water or you'll be winded for the beginning of the swim. Glad I learned this before my actual race.

We swam out to the lifeguard boat again, then I saw that my husband and kids had arrived and were on the beach looking for me! I went up and said hi and got hugs and kisses! I love that! My family rocks! We hung out waiting for the pre-race meeting, then headed over to the start. I wanted to turn and run and not do this, but I was in it now. I had four people there that weren't about to let me wuss out...and I'm glad they didn't! ;)
Swim
  • 25m 57s
  • 800 meters
  • 03m 14s / 100 meters
Comments:

The men's race went off right at 9am, so Katrina and I went to get with our wave, which I thought they said would be 5 minutes later. Turns out that we were in the same wave as about 18 pre-teen age group club swimmers from Mission Viejo. Total cuties, but definitely made me feel like an old chick! ;)

I got my watch ready to time the race, and saw that we had two minutes (or so I thought) until our start time when they yelled "ten seconds ladies." In a "holy sh*t" moment I got my goggles on fast as the horn went off. I didn't have time to worry about where to be in the group, because the group, and I, were running toward the water. Well...I was actually slowing jogging, so as not to get winded like I had in warm up.

I ran out until water was at my upper legs and dove in. I then realized I was behind a line of the little girls. Great. Struggled to find a piece of water for myself. Passed many of them along the way...although judging by the final results, they found their way right back around me eventually! By the time I got a little space, there was the first orange buoy! Hooray! I rounded it and looked for the white buoy. It was freaking far!

At this point we were swimming parallel to the beach, heading east away from the Belmont Pier. I was a little nervous about the whole open water thing, but there were quite a few people around which helped. For a while I was just following the line of girls, until I looked up and realized they were veering WAY too far left. I started to correct to the right, but that put me more alone in the water. Yikes...not cool. Luckily the super fast aquathon guys were rapidly approaching and seemed to have better sighting skills than the girls, so I started following them. At some point my breathing was a little rapid, so I did about 15 seconds of breastroke just to catch my breath. Also, this was the part where the swells, although small, were most obvious. I haven't really done a swim like this in swells, so it was good practice.

The swim to the white buoy seemed to take a LONG time, but I got there. However, right before I got there a guy and I totally ran into each other. I stopped a second to say I was sorry, then thought...what the hell am I doing??? I'm racing here...this is expected...quit with the manners and get moving!

I thought the next white buoy was straight out to sea, but it was out and off to the left. Crap. It was a lot farther then it had looked on land. Oh well, just kept going. I did start to feel a little nervous at one point knowing I was swimming out deeper and deeper, but I calmed myself down and got over it.

About halfway to that buoy I realized that I was about half way done. This was a huge boost to my confidence. I had done half easily, I could do the rest, no problem. That was a great feeling.

I finally rounded the next white buoy and was now heading parallel to the beach again, but toward the pier. The girls were off ahead of me...I couldn't see where. At one point I flipped on my back for a second to see that there were a lot of orange caps (my wave) way behind me. That was cool. I was nowhere near last, and I liked that feeling. At this point several of the men and women from the wave after me were catching me, I started keeping pace with them which was good.

The swells weren't too bad on this leg, because I breathe primarily to the right, so I wasn't breathing into them as I had on the way out. At this point I was in that zone. I love that zone. That point where everything clicks and you feel like you could go forever. I was probably two thirds of the way done, feeling strong, and forgetting about the things that may swim below.

At the orange buoy, I made a right and was now heading back to shore. That was a great feeling. I picked up my pace, but it was too soon to sprint. The pier was just to my left, and several aquathoners were to my right. Didn't see any other orange caps around me at this point. I looked toward the shore and saw the finish chute. Somewhere between here and the last buoy I started veering off toward the pier. Oops. This time, can't blame the preteen girls...they were already back on the beach enjoying their energy bars! :) My bad! I corrected back toward the aquathon guys and just kept with them.

As we passed the last orange buoy, I knew we were close, so I began sprinting. In a tri I couldn't do this, but I have nothing else to save energy for, so I might as well go balls-out! It finally happened, my left hand hit sand...what a glorious feeling! I stood up, popped the goggles up and began my slow, and suprisingly not too dizzy jog up the beach.

I saw my husband smiling and taking pictures. I saw my kids playing in the sand, then looking up and cheering! No one else in an orange cap was near me, so no reason to run too fast. I passed over the timing thing and was so happy and relieved. I had done it! I was afraid I couldn't, but I had.

A volunteer took my timing chip off and I looked back at the water. There were a lot of orange caps still swimming! Woo hoo! I was nowhere near last! That felt even better than finishing. I began walking around in a goofy, winded, tired, but excited, confused state trying to figure out how to get around the transition area and 5K area to my family. I finally figured it out. I then realized I hadn't stopped my stopwatch. It was still going. Oops! Hope that timing chip worked!

It took a while, but I found my way back over to my smiling, happy family. I was going to dry off, but I was freaking HOT! I saw several swimmers coming out including Katrina! Woo hoo! Yay Katrina!
What would you do differently?:

I think that a tri wetsuit would help my time, so I plan to have one by September. I would also not blindly follow others without losing sight of the buoys. Otherwise, I think for my first OW race I did a pretty good job!
Post race
Warm down:

I was still burning up, so I grabbed sunglasses, my bottle of Endurox, and went in the water. It felt SOOOOO good to just sit and chill in the ocean. It was funny because the 5K swimmers were getting in to warm up and all complaining how cold it was! I was basking in the cold-wonderfulness of the water. I stayed there a while. In retrospect, I should have swam a little to warm-down, but the thought honestly didn't occur to me. I was just pleasantly drifting and listening to the nervous chatter of the 5Kers. They were trying to figure out the course, so I was explaining how ours was.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

No wetsuit and lack of OW experience.

Event comments:

This was the innaugural race and my first race, so who knows if it was put on well. It sure seemed to be! It is the kick off event for Long Beach's Sea Festival. After the 5K there was supposed to be a kayak race, a paddle board race, and a canine splash and dash. There was also a pier daze festival, which we didn't stay for.

Since results for our race weren't posted yet, my husband, kids and I headed over to Chuck's for breakfast, but there was a HUGE wait. Same deal at Shorehouse, so we headed to Hof's Hut. I was giddy with the perma-grin and rapid talk. My husband was cracking up at my sheer goofyness. We ate breakfast and it was the best biscuits and gravy I ever had!

After breakfast my husband dropped me back off at the race venue. I went to the results booth and was STOKED! I took first place in my age group! Woo hoo! (Of course...do I have to admit that there only five of us? Nah...I didn't think so!) ;) My time was 25.57. I didn't realize until my husband pointed out that my daughter's birthday is 2/5 and my son's is 5/7! And my race number was 57! How random is that???

I came in 22 out of 33 overall in the women's race. That includes the age group girls. If you count only the females old enough to buy beer, then I was 4th out of 17, which isn't too shabby for my first race. So, I proudly wore my medal...in fact...I may never take it off! :)


Profile Album


Last updated: 2007-07-01 12:00 AM
Swimming
00:25:57 | 800 meters | 03m 14s / 100meters
Age Group: 1/5
Overall: 22/33
Performance: Good
Suit: 2 racing suits, no wetsuit
Course: The course was a big rectangle. We had a run entry, swim out to the first orange buoy and hang a left, hang a right at the first white buoy, hang a right at the second white buoy, long straightaway to next orange buoy, hang another right and head past last orange buoy to the finish chute.
Start type: Run Plus:
Water temp: 64F / 18C Current: Low
200M Perf. Average Remainder: Good
Breathing: Average Drafting: Below average
Waves: Average Navigation: Average
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? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 5

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2007-07-01 2:51 PM

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Master
1281
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Long Beach, CA
Subject: Pacific Open Water Challenge


2007-07-01 5:41 PM
in reply to: #867834

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Veteran
253
1001002525
Florida
Subject: RE: Pacific Open Water Challenge
Don't take it off until you get another - for your first triathlon
2007-07-01 5:56 PM
in reply to: #867834

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Master
2492
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brummie land
Subject: RE: Pacific Open Water Challenge
what a brilliant race report and a great swim! well done
2007-07-01 6:24 PM
in reply to: #867834

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Expert
658
5001002525
Central New York
Subject: RE: Pacific Open Water Challenge
Congratulations on a total success! It's so great that you got to share that with your family. You'll definitely get a bit of buoyancy (and therefore speed) from a wetsuit, so expect to see a nice drop when you get that squared away.

Sounds like you've got the bug now.
2007-07-01 10:56 PM
in reply to: #867834

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Subject: RE: Pacific Open Water Challenge
and who was worried about racing?  the first place finisher??  Congratulations!!!!!!!
2007-07-05 3:13 PM
in reply to: #867834

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Subject: RE: Pacific Open Water Challenge
Loved the race report! Congrats on a job well done!


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