Good afternoon! Yesterday I participated in the first annual Shoreline Swim in Madison, as part of the Clean Lakes Festival.
I was equally excited and nervous leading up to the swim; I had chosen the 1.2-mile option (there was also a 2.4-mile and a 200-yard guppy swim), and it has been a few months since I've swum that far. I knew I was capable of swimming that distance, in a pool especially, but this would be my farthest open water swim (OWS) ever! I have been getting weekly OWS practice with my swim group, but we don't focus on swimming continuously, often focusing on drills.
So there I was, excited and nervous on Saturday morning - I got up super early (5:25!) and headed out of the house by 6:00am. I also got this really great picture of the sunrise over the capitol -
Then I walked to Law Park where the race was held. There were just over 80 people signed up, so check-in was a breeze. I found an area to set up my things, and started the (arduous) process of putting my wetsuit on!
Then it was time to warm-up in the lake, and then get out of the water for the pre-race meeting. They explained the course, the 1.2-mile swimmers were to make one lap around the course, while the 2.4-mile swimmers would be making two laps. I sometimes have trouble seeing the buoys from the shore, and figuring out which way to go, so I was a little unsure of the course.
We headed back into the water for the in-water start. The countdown began, the blow horn sounded, and we were off! I didn't line up on the edges like we discussed in OWS practice because I didn't really realize how we were lining up until right before we started. However, it wasn't too crowded in the middle, and I only got swiped a few times before everyone settled into their own space.
It seemed like it took FOREVER to get to that first buoy!! I kind of thought the course was more out-and-back, so I kept telling myself, just make it to the buoy and you're halfway done. Nope, it was a rectangle, so a left-hand turn to the deeper part of the lake to the next buoy. From this point on, I was kind of swimming solo, so I started to lose confidence that I was going in the right direction. I had to stop swimming a few times and kind of bob up and down to see the group of people in front of me or the next buoy. I was also pretty tired and feeling the lack of distance swimming!
When I finally made it to the next to last turn, I asked the kayakers if I all I had to do now was swim to shore. Yep. Thank goodness! I turned my head and saw a group of swimmers behind me, so I tried to pick up the pace and make it shore as quickly as possible. I haven't quite gotten the swim/run out of the water down yet, I kind of lumber out of the water and try not to slip on the rocks near the shore haha. As I made it out of the water, I hear the race director announce, "And that rounds out the top 3 of the 1.2-mile swimmers!" Woohoo, that's me!
After stripping off my wetsuit and grabbing 1/2 a banana and an orange slice, I headed to check out the results. I was indeed 3rd out of the water (2nd female) out of 30 finishers, with a time of 39:03. My pace was 2:02 per 100 meters (I assume meters). I'm a little disappointed by my time, because I KNOW I can swim faster (I did the Madison aquathon swim of 1000 meters in 17:17), but I also know I'm still getting used to swimming in open water, and I haven't swam long distance in a while. So overall I'm very happy with the experience as a whole. It was a great way to spend a Saturday morning, a really organized event, and really great open water swim practice.
Celebratory brunch with a peach mimosa was definitely in order! (drinks after any kind of fitness event is definite a Yes in my book.)