I’ll be honest, I’ve had a really tough year, training-wise. I’ve had to defer two big races and wound up pulling out of my last triathlon mid-swim. I’ve been getting my ass handed to me weekly in roller derby training. I have been battling a lot of nagging injuries. It’s just been a tough season to swallow.
After the Montclair Tri breakdown, I cried and pouted and then decided to fix what I could. I have spent almost every weekend since then driving way the heck out to the Chesapeake Bay so I could do open water training with a group. I have been working hard and seeing progress but I was still worried about my upcoming experience at Nation’s Triathlon. When I learned about the HarborFest event, I knew I had to do it! 750 m, with support, in the Potomac. Perfect training opportunity.
It was originally schedule for last weekend but was rescheduled due to the potential of bad weather. Of course, the weather didn’t happen and that just left me feeling nervous for another week!
I arrived around 7:20, signed in, picked up my shirt, and proceeded to try to figure out the course. They were offering a 5K (!), 2.4 mile, 1.2 mile, and 750 meter option. Unfortunately, the buoys were not quite set so none of it made sense until just before we started.
We began in waves, with the longest distances going first. There was about 10 minutes between waves so I had quite a bit of time before my wave began. It was a water start but we had to enter from a pier. I was worried about jumping in so I took the weenie route and climbed down the ladder. I was not alone and I am not sorry I did it! The water was 82 degrees but it still took a minute for me to acclimate. I did some bobs with deep exhales under water, per my swim instructor’s advice and that helped. Before I knew it, we were off!
The course was a right angle triangle with the pier and the shore making two sides. I did okay sighting on the shore going out and even across the hypotenuse but was way, way off along the pier. I have no idea why it was so hard! Oh, maybe it’s because that is where the weeds were the thickest and I was constantly stopping to scrape them off! Seriously, that was some junky water! I saw two snails floating on the water that were the size of a peach and I somehow managed to cut my thumb on something! Gross!
I had absolutely no freak-outs during the swim. I had to cough once because I felt like I was getting choked up like last time but I didn’t stop. Honestly, this wasn’t as heavily supported as I thought it would be. There were just a few kayaks and they were for rescue only, no breaks. If I had known that going in, I might have canceled. As it was, I’m thankful I didn’t need to use them. I just focused on moving from buoy to buoy and then it was over!
When I exited, I saw that the elapsed time since the first wave start was 48 minutes. I don’t know what time I entered but, if the scheduled ten minute waves were accurate, then I swam it in 18 minutes. I am more than happy with that! Heck, even if it turns out to be 28 minutes, I’m still happy because my main focus was just completing the swim.
At the end, I did not feel overly tired or queasy. If someone said, “okay, now go and ride for 16 miles”, I would have been okay with it!
I desperately needed a “win” on my books – something where I trained hard and then performed as expected – and this definitely fit that need! There is still more work to do before next month but I am not positive that I can finish my race!