friday night swim race (2.4 mile)

general.

Second and final swim race of the year.  This time entered into the 2.4 mile swim, using it to see where things are at for the Ironman swim.

This race was eye opening, and pushed a lot of limits mentally.  It showed a side of me that I've never seen before ... I decided to call it, and leave the race before the last turn.  It's something I've never done in competition, and it took me a while to see what I learned from this race.

As I've mentioned before, swimming is a big challenge for me.  Mostly due to lack of experience, only starting to swim 7 to 8 months ago.  It sucks.  I mean, coming into every swim race or triathlon, my head is already telling me that the swim is going to suck, it's going to be a struggle, and I'll be at the bottom of the barrel at the beginning.  Bam, motivation gone, and it's only setting myself up for failure.  I don't know why my brain does it.  I know since my accident in 2015 I've been dealing with a handful of mental health problems, and getting help with all that.  I just don't know how to change that mindset, and I don't think I'll ever really improve in the swim if I don't flip that switch ... as well as developing my upper body and just keep working at it.

results.

2.4 mile (wetsuit) overall:  DNF


the swim.

I felt really good, and strong for the first mile of the race.  Everything was feeling good, and I was staying in my box keeping a good comfortable pace.  Ran into a couple of spotting issues, the sun  happened to shine right in the way of the buoys, making visibility a little difficult.  Caught myself swimming wide on the first straight a couple of times.

After finishing the first lap, I knew something was wrong.  In the cycling world, we like to throw around the work 'bonk', when we hit the wall.  Sudden fatigue, and loss of energy because you most likely depleted your glycogen stores.  I'm not sure if swimming uses the same term or not, but after that first lap I hit a wall that I was fighting through up to the first turn.  I felt incredibly dehydrated - which is kind of funny being surrounded by water you can't really drink - and my body was shutting down.  At 3,527 yards, I decided to call the swim off.  697 yards shy of finishing the 2.4 mile swim.  To be honest, I don't even remember flagging the kayaker down to inform them I'm pulling myself out.  It's like all my mental check and balances just suddenly disappeared, and allowed that tiny voice to reach the surface.  Anyway, I got on the boat to take me back to shore, and I chugged like four bottles of water in a matter of seconds.

I was disappointed with myself.  And when I got back to shore and turned in my timing chip, I was emotionally gone.  It felt like I failed.  It also made me very worried for Ironman.  I felt really alone, and I really wished I had someone there to help me.

I know it was the right call.  I knew my body was shutting down, and if a kept going things would have only gotten worse, and could have made for a more dangerous situation.  Do I regret it knowing there was only 697 yards to the finish.  At first, yeah, I regret the decision.  Now, I'm comfortable with the decision.  That's racing, and that's life as an athlete.  You have your good days, and your bad days.


soap box.

I would like to comment on the logistics of these Friday Night Swim Races.  It's held at Lake Meridian Park in Kent, Washington.  As the name of the race shows, the race is held Friday night, and you pretty much need to be there by 5:15pm, and that's right in the middle of rush hour.  Living further north, it takes me about an hour to get to the park which is about 30 miles away from where I live, and that's with minimal traffic.  During rush hour ... yeah, good luck.  Then the races themselves start at 6:30, so it's right in the middle of dinner...

So in order to keep my sanity, I need to leave before rush hour ... so hitting the road around 2:00pm, to get to the park by 3ish, then wait, and pray the amount of fluids and snacks is enough to make it to the start.  And when everything is done, not getting home until 9 or 10 at night.

It's really an inconvenient race, which is disappointing.  If you don't already live or work in the south end of western Washington, you're kind of screwed, and placed in a disadvantage.  I honestly don't know why they hold this event Friday night, and not Saturday or Sunday morning (when the weather is much cooler).  I think it's asking a lot of people holding it at the day/time they do.

I know this event is totally by choice, but there aren't too many swim races that you can do to train and practice things in race conditions.  I didn't even want to do the second race, or the first for that matter, largely because of everything I just mentioned.  And the fact that I was competing in the Ellensburg Triathlon the very next morning!  But my coach wanted me to do it, and thought doing the 2.4 mile race is important for Ironman.

But whatever, it is what it is, and there's no changing it.  I know going forward I most likely won't be participating in these races in the future, unless it's moved to the weekend or something.

Okay, off my soap box of complaining 😝.


photos.


takeaways.

  • Still have issues with my goggles foggy off, and drastically reducing visibility.  Literally broke up the packaging of a brand new anti-fog pretreated goggles.
  • Despite being hydrated before the start of the race, not sure how I got dehydrated during.  I knew the temps were hot, and a lot of standing around in the sun in a wetsuit surely didn't help the situation.  This is a mystery.
  • Form and technique was improved drastically compared to the last swim race, and previous triathlon swim.
  • Stayed in a comfortable zone.
  • Tried drafting behind other swimmers, didn't really feel any difference.
  • Learned that some swimmers can be total assholes in the water, and completely oblivious to what's going on around them.  I mean it's not that fucking hard to see what's around you people, honestly.  You don't need to just swim over people, push, or cut people off.  It's cool to find a hole and take it, but seriously, that shit can be dangerous.
  • Don't need to do these swim races ever again!