Saturday’s Open Water Etch-A-Swim reveals a cruise ship on one of the buoy loops (forgot to turn it on the first loop)… but look! straighter lines!
We did it! The team did a 2.4(ish) ocean swim this morning! Everyone met at the Manhattan Beach Pier, talked about the day’s schedule, then proceeded to the shore. We ran south 2 miles (in our wetsuits), and 1.5 miles (for the 70.3 team) to a little past the Hermosa Beach Pier. Luckily, the waves were tolerable enough to tackle on one try, and we had to swim far enough to the point where the water was a little calmer. If you add that, plus the zigzagging, that’s where the extra 0.4 came from. This was definitely the most challenging swim of the season. So many factors come into play – the distance 2.4 miles, or 4224 yards (that’s 169 laps in the pool!), challenge of sighting (no close buoys to help you swim in a straight line), ocean current and choppiness (it was so bad at one point, I had to stop and throw up because I was so seasick from the ocean movements). There were so many times though that my imagination would wander and think there’s sharks or other sea creatures below me ready to snatch me up! I was so far in the ocean, with NO ONE around me that it freaked the hell out of me! One more motivation to finish the swim faster – survive!
It does have its advantages over a pool workout though – no walls to stop your rhythm, the wetsuit makes you faster, and it’s closer to the real 2.4 of an event. I was considerably more confident in open water, it was a great way to practice my pull and breathing techniques. There were little bursts where I was sensing the water, and getting a better glide through it. Sure, I took some rest periods, but not as much as I used to. When the Manhattan Beach Pier came closer and closer, it just felt like it would never end! Do you ever drive to Las Vegas, and when you initially see the lights from The Strip from the freeway, you think you’re almost there, but in reality you’re still 45 minutes away? Well, that’s EXACTLY what it felt like. So close, yet so far away! I eventually made it to the shore, with no problems with the waves, and yessss, I did my little celebration dance in the water! Coach Brad even found some kelp, and as you can see from the photos above I rocked that kelp boa pretty well, don’t you think?
This morning was the team’s first open water OCEAN swim in Santa Monica. We met at the Santa Monica Beach parking lot off the end of Ocean Park Avenue bright and early at 7am. As we were setting up our transition areas, I could already hear the waves crashing. Yes, I was nervous! We suited up in our wetsuits and walked over to the shore. Like the Long Beach swim, we were split into beginners and experienced ocean swimmers. *waves crashing*. Coach Brad gave us some pointers and described what we will be experiencing out there.
The waves were much larger than yesterday, where some of the experienced swimmers got a head start. Sure, they looked kinda small from the shore, but when you’re in the water and your head is the only things sticking out, a medium wave looks HUGE from that perspective. I tried several times diving under the waves, but I guess the wetsuits were so buoyant that I didn’t go far enough. Yes, dragged back to shore. All of a sudden I was back in shallow water. Coach had explained before the swim that there’s this part in the water that you can just get stuck if you don’t power through a few minutes under and through the water.
You have to remember that this was my FIRST ocean water swim. I wasn’t used to being under water for that long, holding my breath. There were times where I was underwater, panicking what direction I was heading, how deep I was, so when I finally surfaced, my heart was racing. After several tries, I had to go back. I didn’t even get to finish the scheduled lap, but at least now I know how it feels. We will have more chances to conquer this in the future, from Santa Monica to Manhattan Beach. Bring it!
Here’s the team after the swim!