Last year, the team went to Long Beach for our first Open Water Swim. I had many thoughts:
“How deep is that water? How buoyant will I be? How come there’s no lifeguards? Will I be even slower than I already am? If I stop, how hard will it be to tread water? That water looks dirty. I think the water is too cold. How fast is everyone else? I need some floaties. I hope water doesn’t get in my goggles. I heard it’s good to pee inside your wetsuit if you pee. What if a shark gets into this bay?”
This morning, all those thoughts were gone! One year of open water experience, like the coaches have said, from repetition, you get more and more comfortable and better over time. I was actually looking forward to it! The team met at the Venice Pier parking lot to suit up into our wetsuits, then jogged a mile south along the beach to calmer waters. After some briefing (we were plit into first-timers & experienced), we took on the Pacific Ocean.
The waves were minimal, but the water was COLD. We had to do laps along the shore – swim out to 50yds, turn right for a few minutes, back to shore, run back south. I ended up doing that five times. First loop had the initial shock of cold and weirdness of having to do this again. Last time I wore my wetsuit was for the Carpinteria Triathlon back in September, so I was a little rusty. Laps 2-4 I got back in the groove and felt great the whole time. Most of the time though I was looking for other first timers in the ocean just incase they needed some help. Final lap, I caught up to my teammates Elsa and Yvonne, who were guiding another teammate Bernie to shore. I completed the triangle formation around her and helped her through. It was an amazing experience helping out others who probably had the same thoughts I did last year. That’s exactly what this team is about, helping others. That’s exactly why I come back to TNT year after year. I seriously love this!
After the swim, we ran a mile back to our cars, and suited up for our run. The hour run was a loop around an alley/street named Speedway, with some marked areas of “pick-ups” for some speedwork. At first I was a little concerned because I just ran the Austin Marathon last week! What recovery? I didn’t run this week though, only swam and biked. Surprisingly, I felt fine and was able to run 6.65-ish miles for an hour, which translated to a 9:05 average pace! Sweet! No initial shin splints or muscle aches either! Win win!
Oh, wanna see something funny? Here’s my first real open water swim experience in Hawaii back in 2007, snorkeling Hanauma Bay… with am embarrassingly bright yellow life vest! Look at that body position!