Sunday, June 26, 2011


19 Days until Chelan Man and my triathlon training is going along nicely. 350 or so miles of swimming, biking, and running. It has been a while but I am now up to running 10 miles, swimming over a mile consistently, and routinely biking 30-45 miles.

Today's little bit of training was G.L.O.W.S (Green Lake Open Water Swim), a one-mile race.

Was I nervous? Yep.

Am I always nervous? Yep.

Nervous despite the fact that I have been routinely swimming this distance and longer.

Could I do this? Would I have the energy? Would I panic at the mass start? Would I be able to swim with high intensity?

Turns out the answers are: "Yes," "Yes," "No," and "Yes." :-)

So how did it go?

A blast!

Sunny June morning here in Seattle, one of those days that Puget Sounders are so thankful for given that summer doesn't really start until after July 4th. Email from the race director the night before saying: 1) get here early as it will be crowded, 2) water temp is 64.5m and 3) because of the cold water swimmers wearing wetsuits would be eligible for prizes. Hmm. So, normally someone wearing a wetsuit would not be eligible? This is a rule/norm/practice I need to know more about.

Sj and Cr picked me up at 8:15 and we found parking very easily. Check in was easy too as there were no lines. "Are you wearing a wet suit?" "Yes." "Is it a full suit?" "Yes" "OK, then I don't need to mark you. What size shirt? Take your pick." Then it was time to meet up with the CL team to get ready. Picture taking, suiting up, nervous talking, bathroom visits (it is axiomatic that as soon as you get zipped into your suit that you will have to pee), and worrying about whether or not my new optical goggles would leak. AK and KK rolled up on their bikes to watch the festivities.

At 9:00 am the half-mile race started off from the other side of the lake. A distant surging of arms and white water that gradually trickled closer and closer. As we wouldn't be going off until after the last half-miler came in, somewhere around 9:30, I jumped into the water to warm up and to test my new goggles. They worked! I could see. The water felt wonderful too, maybe a little warm.

Pretty soon the last half-miler came in and we were moved to the start area. Announcer announced "Keep the buoys on your left" and "I will say 'Swimmers on your mark' and then the starting gun will go off." Not even seconds later he said "Swimmers on your mark!" and then "BANG!!!" and we were off.

Lots of people around me. I could see feet everywhere. Feet flashing up and down. Feet and torsos thrashing around me. People cutting in front of me, colliding, stopping and starting. It took a little bit to establish a rhythm but I did. No panicking (as I did at Issaquah) either (all the practicing and warming up helped).

It is difficult to say much about the first half mile. There is a particular sensory deprivation that happens in murky water. The water is green and you cannot see much beyond the tips of your fingers. Unless other swimmers are immediately upon you they exist as shadows until you catch a glimpse of their heads and windmilling arms when sighting. Three quarters of the way over my left ear plug went missing and the water rushed in. That was going to be a problem later on. Then the last buoy was next to me. I flipped on my back, went around it, flipped back over and started towards the finish.

Not sure why this is but the second half of this race seemed to go faster than the first. The sun was in my eyes. I spent less time sighting and, consequently, swimming a not-so-straight line, and felt an interesting surging as people around me started gearing up for a sprint to the finish. It was infectious and they took me with them. At least I think I was sprinting but haven't a clue. In my sightings the finish arch came up faster and faster, the bottom of the lake began to resolve itself in my vision, and soon my hands were scraping the bottom. Feet down and wobbled up the steps to the finish line. Hit stop on my watch, looked up at the clock and saw 25:11 so I am calling my time that which means that I had the following stats courtesy of Triathlon Conversion Calculators: 1 mile in 25:11, 1:25 per 100 yards, at 2.3 mph.

AK shot this as I was waiting in the finish chute line, looking seriously for all the world like a rather grumpy over-stuffed sausage.

(photo courtesy of PuddleThumper, 2011)

Truth is I was just trying to stay upright. :-P

Pretty soon I was checking in with the other members of the team, all of whom had a great time.

This race confirmed that I DO need earplugs. :-)

Home then, quick post-swim breakfast of spaghetti, and then on the bike for 20-miles of power segments on the very crowded Burke Gilman trail.


40-45 mile bike ride interrupted by a search committee meeting followed by a brick to a 6-miler. Should be fun but I can't wait to put my wetsuit on again. After Chelan it will be the Swim For Life in August. 2.24 miles from Medina to Madison Park.

In the meantime, I'll wait for the official results wearing my new t-shirt. :-)


sjohn said...

You need to post your finish photo, you have a huge smile on your face.

sjohn said...

you need to post your finish have a HUGE smile.