Monday, April 30, 2012

Peluso Open Water Swim Series Race #1 ...

After Ironman 70.3 Texas, I knew I needed to get some more experience swimming in open water. During that race, it took me 38 minutes to find my swim groove. It was ugly. And I really don't want to experience that again.

So, in an attempt to face my fears, I registered for a local open water swim series, which consists of three 1500m races, one each in April, June and September. Then, I looked at last year's results and I freaked out. These people were CRAZY fast. And I was going to get schooled. (Note: I later found out that last year's races were 750m, not 1500m. While the times were still fast, I should have been able to hold my own.)

Yesterday morning was the first race in the series.

Thanks to our nerves and our OCD tendencies, Sally (who's training for IMFL) and I showed up about an hour before we needed to. The course wasn't even set up yet. The site was beautiful.

looks can be deceiving ...

But, due to several recent rainstorms, the water levels were crazy high (9") and the current was wicked fast. Like "this swim is not for beginners" fast. Fan-freaking-tastic!

a buoy with a wake. never a good sign ...

I was not feeling good about the situation. We had been hearing all week how challenging the conditions were going to be and how there was a chance the event would be postponed. I knew deep down that it was going to be rough, but, I didn't want to just chicken out. It was one thing to get there, warm up and decide that it was unsafe for me to swim, but it was another to just bail all together. And we all know, I'm not the quitting type.

(Note: this video does not accurately show the current. Or the extent of my anxiety) 

So, we decided to get in the water and give it a shot. But, before we did, a few things were brought to our attention.
sexy. i know ...
  • The race would still be two loops, but shortened from 1500m to 600m (not a good sign).
  • That yellow buoy (pictured above) would be a pull out point. If you dropped back to it, you were out.
  • The water levels were high, the current was strong, but there wasn't a lot of debris, so the race would go on. (Doesn't seem like the best reason to not reschedule, but OK.)
  • Anyone who got in the water for warm up and decided not to race could defer to a later event.

Anyway, we got into the water.

And started swimming.

In place.


Sally and I looked at each other and pretty much in unison said, "There is no way this is happening."

And we bailed. Swam to shore and took off our timing chips.

It was kind of demoralizing at the time. I don't like to give up, but I knew that it was going to be a total fail. If I was able to swim to the turnaround, I don't think I would have had the strength to do the second loop. And I know that I would have been really embarrassed if I started and then got pulled out the water because that little yellow buoy and I became best friends.

So, instead, Sally and I hit the pool for a timed 1500m. And we crushed it.

30:44 - Way faster that I've ever swam a 1500 before.

It kind of made that embarrassing walk out of the river worth it.

UPDATE: This video is from the actual race. Proof that I was not exaggerating.


Sally said... was hilarious!

Unknown said...

hmmm, makes me think of one of those endless pools. you just kind of stay in one spot.

Marlene said...

That's insane! Good call for sure. Nice work on the 1500!

Unknown said...

OH. MY. GOSH!!! I have never in my life seen anything like that! Those people are literally not moving. YIKES!

You made the right choice by skipping that one my dear. And just think - you PRed! :) WOOHOO!

bobbi said...

Dude. No forward motion whatsoever! Insanity. Nice job crushing it in the pool (which was clearly the right choice!)

Laurie said...

Great job in the pool. That video was crazy, it would be like racing on a treadmill.

Jessica (Pace of Me) said...

whoa. you are one smart lady. i cannot even imagine signing up for something like this in the first place! your bravery with getting into this sport totally inspires me. great job at the pool!!!

XLMIC said...

"A buoy with a wake. Never a good sign..."

That cracked me up almost as hard as the video of people swimming in place :)

Good call...and great job on your pool swim!

Running Ricig said...

That is a nightmare. Currents freak me out and I don't even swim competitively! Sounds like you made the right decision and at least you got a swim in!

ajh said...

That is crazy. I would be going backwards - super embarrassing!

Anonymous said...

That video looks like a joke! Wow...I can't believe the current- those people aren't even moving! Good choice to bail for sure - even me as a 30+ year swimmer would have bailed!

Carrie said...

Crazy video! No one was moving!! Did those poor swimmers ever finish, or did they just fish them out?