Sunday, May 21, 2017

Jordan Lake OWS

The 2017 edition of the Jordan Lake Open Water Challenge really happened a few weeks ago. These Jordan Lake swim races are usually some of my favorite events of the year. This year these will likely be my only races, so I should enjoy them more. This year I was signed up for the 1.2 mile race, there was also a 2.4 going that only had one guy in my age group. Se la vie

It was a beautiful day to swim open water. A bit chilly for the drive out, what you would expect for May. Water was wet suit legal, around 70* and the air temp was much colder than that.

Nice calm water & sunshine

Had a good crowd

ready to swim, I guess
I felt prepared coming into this race. It is the only time this year I get to break out the wetsuit, which is still fairly uncomfortable. I got the wetsuit on just in time to head over to the start area for the prerace meetings.

The 2.4 milers took off first, then the 1.2 mile men started 4 minutes later. I was kind of in the middle of the width, near the front of the crowd. Before I knew it we were swimming!

I took off too fast. Lately I've been working on keeping a wide stroke, it's very efficient for moving water, but my arms aren't used to the workload yet. I looked around and was actually leading the race at one point, then saw some other people pass me to the left. So I must have started out like a mad sprinter.

It totally caught up to me quickly. There are two sighting buoys before the first turn, and by the time the first sighting buoy got there, I was getting dizzy and felt my throat closing up like I was having trouble catching my breath. For the first time in years, I had to turn over and backstroke for a bit just to get my heartrate down. THIS WAS NOT COOL. Mentally it sent me into a downward spiral. I'm hanging onto my "athlete" card by a thread anyway since I haven't been able to run this year. The way I felt in the first part of this race made me want to cut up that card and move on entirely.

Eventually I did settle down into a more consistent rhythm, but all the way into the first turn I would still have to backstroke every now and then just to keep my calm. After the first turn everything went smoothly. No trouble sighting, never had any kind of body traffic getting kicked around or anything. I just tried to be consistent and finished strong.

Finish 1.2 miles: 39:02, 74/196 overall, 47/146 men, 5/15 M40-44

My goal time in 1.2 miles is always under 30 minutes. New year, new water, new conditions, new competition. Based on the overall results I am relatively pleased with my time. Four minutes faster and I was into an age group award, that's usually the secondary goal. Anytime I finish in the top third of the field there's no reason to complain. Well, my wetsuit has a hole in the crotch, I can still complain about that. My breathing problems and shaken mental state, sure. But I feel good about the end result.

Recently, I convinced one of my friends from work to join my Masters team. She joined a relay team for Ironman Raleigh as a swimmer and wanted some open water practice races, so this was her first race in open water. Jennifer did really good. There were lots of other RAM members out there, but I didn't get as many pictures as I wanted.

Me and Jennifer, she's only 5'2"

The finish line scene

Pretty open water

KC always has her eyes closed when we face the sun for a picture
Overall this ended up being a good day. I put the top down in the convertible for the drive home, then looked down and the car said it was only 55*. Oh well, I was still comfortable. Super proud of Jennifer for finishing her first open water race, she had some wetsuit trouble as well. KC finished 2nd overall in the 2.4 mile, plenty of other RAM teammates won overall and age group awards. Since I did not take an award, I skipped out in time to make it to church to sing. Put this one in the books, I'll try to start out slower next time.


Abby said...

Great job - I find swimming to be the most difficult sport.

Unknown said...

I do miss OWS. Sometimes. I've been walking and yoga lately.