1st double sprint, 1st ocean swim tri, 1st time consuming approximately 1/2 gallon of ocean water...well maybe not QUITE that much.
Another great event run by Setup Events. This one, down just south of Wilmington, NC was a double sprint. The race format was as follows:
375 M swim
1.55 mile run
12.4 mile bike (2 consecutive 6.2 mile rides)
1.55 mile run back to the swim
375 M swim
As noted, there is a reason - especially for folks like me - why the swim is first. But more on that in a bit.
It was a beautiful day - 6AM wake up to get to the two transition spots and get ready. Sheila got herself set up on a primo spot on the beach between the finish line and the swim start. One thing I noticed early on...man there is a lot of sand on the beach (DUH!?!?!) ...I'm gonna have a lot of sand on my feet for the run and ride...
Note to self, there is a reason experienced folks bring buckets to fill with water, so you can clean your feet off effectively. Scrubbing them with a dry towel is like a serious pedicure exfoliation - and not at all effective..but at least I thought to bring the towel.
The ocean was angry on this day, but not as angry as it reportedly had been in the past. And - no jellyfish. One of the guys from Setup Events provided that little bit of commentary as I made my way to the beach to set up my swim to Run 1 transition. That's reassuring.
Big waves, but only about a 65-70 M swim against the tide to the first turn buoy. I had done a prep swim on Saturday to get used to the water (salty, murky, angry) and to make sure I didn't try to breathe underwater like I have been known to do. Just past the first turn was a Coast Guard cutter...more for photo ops purposes than for anything else I suppose. Make the 1st turn and 250M to the next turn which is in to shore. The tide helped keep me relatively straight - as I tend to stray to my right when I swim, so there was that. Seemed like it was fairly quick, but - hard to tell actual time.
Jog to transition and to get ready for the run, scrub my feet - no dead skin left that's for certain - and strap on the shoes. Make my way out and rinse out what little salt water is left in my mouth. Good, easy to follow flat course 1.55 miles to the bike...great support and awesome folks out there for 8:30 AM on a Sunday.
Get to the bike and notice - there aren't a lot of bikes left on my rack...hmmm apparently my swim was slower than I thought. Oh well - the bike is flat and only 12.4 miles - good transition and I am off. Use the first mile + to spin out the "run" from my legs and then shift into the big ring. Thanks TrySports - it shifts perfectly, smoothly and I pick up the pace. My legs took longer to get up to "speed" but I get going indeed. Do the two laps and head back in for run, part deux.
Changeover again - bike shoes off, run shoes on and head out to run. Course seems flatter, and familiar - well of course it is - I just ran it the other way...so it goes by quickly. Get to the run to swim transition, change up - take off the garmin (it is NOT waterproof and I would be so unhappy if I dove in with it on) and make my way over the beach 250 M to the swim start again
Running on sand, in any situation is more difficult than on pavement or packed gravel, doing so after running 3.1 miles and biking 12.4 (and having swum 375M before that) well...it was interesting. I almost fell down more than once due to my grace and coordination.
As we near the start of the swim area a volunteer says, "go past the start buoy before you head out to sea"...out to sea? I'm not going out to sea, nor do I intend to go out to sea I'm going out to that turn buoy - or at least I hope - turning left and swimming to the next turn buoy - no out to sea! What's with the out to sea?!?!!
So - interestingly enough, it is quite possible I should have paid a little more attention during my "Oceanography" class sophomore year of college. While the tide was "going out" as we hit the water the second time, the waves were bigger, steeper, breaking earlier and more often and seemingly saltier. I SWEAR the first turn buoy was moving away from me, but it wasn't, the arms were tired and I was a little bit as well.
Make it to turn one and sight the next buoy - 250M, 5 laps in the pool is what I tell myself - a technique called "chunking" breaking the race into manageable "chunks" - and I make my way across to the final turn, in towards shore...woo hoo!!! as I turn, I take a couple strokes and turn to breathe. Apparently I ordered one mouthful of Atlantic Ocean water with that breath - which due to the volume and unexpectedness of it, I swallowed...sputtering and coughing, I flip over to catch my breath...as I do - I notice a lifeguard to my right...STANDING IN THE WATER...not treading water, not on a surfboard....STANDING. The water is about 4-5 feet deep (tide was going out remember) but running through the water is a waste of time (slower and much more draining) so I regain my breath and get swimming. I wish I had the wherewithal to time my swimming with the waves a bit better, a little body surfing right about now would be great.
Make it in to 2 feet of water - yes I was swimming in 2 feet of water - and stand to run in the final bit to the finish - well slog through the water and then start running.
What a great event! Seriously. This will go on the permanent list of races to do - just need to not drink ocean water - or at least a little less.
Also important to note, we saw Sandra and Matt Clancy at the race - they both had an awesome race - Matt who was in my age category crushed it and did awesome - even after having to run and get a spare set of goggles - Sandra - I believe this was her first tri after giving birth to their first child last year did awesome as well...always good to see familiar and friendly faces.
Time was 1:23:17...both swims took me almost twice as long as I expected them to - but the run(s) and the bike were right on track. It was a blast. Will add some pics to this blog over the next day or so.
12 down - 28 left, nearly $9K raised for LLS.