I had been quite worried about my open water fitness going into this race and was more than a bit nervous (OWS Issues) but had actually had a strong workout week (a steady and strong track workout on Thursday and a longish brick (bike to run) on Saturday).
Woke up at 5 (of course) but forced myself to stay in bed. It just looked cold out there. The pets had other ideas, breakfast. Got out of bed about 7 and went into the kitchen. Ke had puked all over the place in the night and I hadn't heard anything. GOOD MORNING!!! (More on him later as I was ready to kill that bloody cat.)
Walked Te, ate some breakfast, got my gear together and the headed out to GL about 8:20. Checked in, #514, and then walked over to one end of the gym to get some coffee. D was already there and it was nice to catch up with him. Another woman started talking with us too, she had gotten there too early as well and had just been hanging around. Saw E, TT, and M too. TT asked if I had ever swum competitively. I told her only in junior high. She saw my time from last year and was impressed. Hunh! That's pretty cool.
Pretty soon it was time to get out there as the half milers were going to start. I was the first swimmer into the water to warm-up. It was cloudy and only about 52 and the water was kind of chilly. Nobody wanted to be the first so I went. Then all kinds of people were warming up. I watched as a mother duck swam through all of this with 8 ducklings behind her. There was a collective "awww" and someone said "she makes it look so easy!" As so she did.
Pretty soon the lead half-miler came in, IN ABOUT NINE MINUTES!!! The next swimmers were about half a block behind, just about 2 minutes behind. Wow! Stunning performance. Then it was a steady stream of swimmers until about 9:30 when we were lined up. Still one half-miler to finish though and we had to wait for them to finish.
I lined up on the outside right and thought I was surrounded by fast fish. The start horn went off and I immediately crashed into someone. It took a bit for me to work myself free from the tangle of arms and legs and get into open swimming room. I ended up to the outside angling in towards the buoy line. The sun was starting to come up but the water remained fairly dark (I remember from last year how bright and bubbly it was). The outbound swim felt like it took forever but it was just over 12 minutes and then back.
I was swimming strongly by this time and felt like I had something left to give at the end. My stomach, however, was getting really uncomfortable. Turns out that it was full of air. About .75 miles in I belched rather impressively while under water and then I felt much better.
This finish was both harder and easier than last time. I had trouble sighting the finish. Even though the lake was flat calm all of the chop from the other swimmers was making seeing things harder. But I swam all the way until my hands touch the stairs at the edge of the lake, stood up, climbed up, someone yelled my name (M maybe?), and then I ran into the finish chute without being dizzy. My watch said something like 26:xx, 2 minutes slower than last year.
I was taking off my suit and drying off when D came up. He had had a rough start too and said he didn't get his rhythm until the half-mile turn around. Personally I felt pretty "maytaged" with my core muscles kind of sore (they were after this week's track session as well). Mostly I was out of fuel and went to Sunflower for breakfast once I finished showering. Coffee with some sugar started restoring me. So it was interesting to feel how depleted I was after my track and brick workouts over the past few days.
I thought I was about two minutes slower than last year I guess and I was feeling a bit bummed about that. Overheard two guys talking about their swim. One guy was agonizing that he was 15 seconds slower than last year. Still, I had a great time and a good reminder about mass swim starts—let the whacking begin!
And what about the cat?
Stopped at WF to pick up some things for dinner. Also some chocolate almond milk. Put everything away except for the almond milk. Went to answer the door. Came back and there was almond milk all over the counter and dripping on the floor. Did I split the carton? Was it damaged in transit? No. I picked it up. There were four, perfectly placed, fang holes. Damn cat!
Official times are out and I swam an 25:59. I looked up my time from last year, 25:15. 44 seconds off and I know that I was not working as hard as I did last year. Very cool!!!
The first place half-miler finished in 9:39, second place came in at 11:16. Very impressive.