By a mean trick of the calendar, the poet ended up signed up for two races over Labor Day weekend, so I wasn't looking to add any to the schedule. But on Thursday afternoon, Melissa mentioned to me that there was an open water swim race at the reservoir on Saturday morning, starting about two hours before the poet's sprint was starting in the same location. So a quick email to Sonja, complete with begging Bambi eyes, and I was in. I love swimming.
It was lovely to roll out of bed about 15 minutes before I needed to show up to register, and there was a pretty short line so it didn't take long. The website advertised chip timing but when we checked in, all the volunteers seemed mystified so no chip timing it was.
I shook all the remnants of Mirror Lake out of my wetsuit and climbed in. OWS races at the reservoir have a small roped-off area for warm-ups in the shape of a circle, and I am amused every time I see it. Lots of athletes circle-swimming in a tiny whirlpool. I waded in, did a few laps around using only my left arm, and climbed back out.
The 2.4 mile swim was going off first (there was also a 1.2 version) so I smooched the poet goodbye and squeaked on over. We had a bet going for Saturday's race on what would be faster: my 2.4 mile OWS or the poet's 17.3 mile bike leg of his sprint triathlon, so I was revving myself up for a big hard swim when I noticed that I was standing next to the guy who leads my lane at masters. He did IM Canada the weekend before, so I was surprised to see him, but when I asked him why he wasn't at home covered in donuts, he said, "I just love swimming." I completely understand.
When the buzzer went off, I made the split-second decision to abandon my "swim really hard and fast" plan and switch instead to the "swim 2.4 miles on Mike's feet" plan. I've been swimming on his feet 2-3 times a week for the past six months, and I know that he's just enough stronger than me that I can hang.
An open water swim race is relatively boring to recap, but it was lovely. It was a two-loop course and I wasn't wearing a watch. I did learn that I have zero ability to swim in a straight line as I kept getting dropped off Mike's feet and having to paddle around to find them again, but other than that, it was unremarkable. It felt like a pretty solid effort, a bit harder than how the swim feels when a bike comes after it, but also certainly manageable. And every time I breathed, I was either looking at the mountains or the sunrise. I felt peaceful, blessed even, happy just to be in the water, doing what I love in my own backyard. I had the thought several times that there was no place in the world I would have rather been then in the water, watching the sunrise, chasing big ol' feet. (I'm the second swimmer with the terrible head position and inability to sight properly).
There was a funky little turn at the end of the second lap and then we were headed to the blow-up arch that means you're done. I swam until the water was about six inches deep, and then stood up and tripped my way through the finish. The first thing I did was thank Mike (and his feet) for dragging me around. He laughed and said that at every turn buoy, he looked back and there I was!
I wasn't wearing a watch and there was no clock at the finish, but the poet said he thought I swam "somewhere around an hour." I was pretty thrilled when the final results were posted.
I broke an hour (59:51) and was the sixth female (out of way more than six). I'll take that any day.
I drove home and hopped on my bike to ride back and spectate the sprint triathlon. The poet had a ridiculous day full of PRs, but he might drop in to recap it later this week so I won't spoil the surprise.
Oh! Puppies say hi.