Monday, September 22, 2008

So I Can Swim . . .

I went for my open water swim yesterday morning . . .

and all is good.

Getting there yesterday though I had my doubts.

It was a morning of signs-that-point-to-that-maybe-this-isn't-such-great-idea-after all.

Night before we had attended Tara's daughter's 2nd birthday party.

I know.

You are thinking: 2 year old birthday party, whatever.


The party was not so much for Ellie. Started at 4pm: we left at 10pm. And that is only because I was designated driver and I wanted to go to bed. Ryan and kids were a bit argumentative about--in their opinion--cutting the night early.

So I went to bed around midnight. Ugh.

I got up around 6 am. I wasn't meeting the group at Red Top Mountain Lodge until 8:30 am but I like to have time to wake up.

I left at 7:30 am and headed up hwy 92 to 75. I note, a bit unhappily, that the temperature displayed on my dash is 59 degrees. Great. I am going to be cold.

Did I mention I don't have a wetsuit?

Well, I don't.

And for the record I would really appreciate if everyone else racing at the South Carolina 70.3 next weekend would also NOT wear their wetsuits. You know. Just so it is fair.

Oh. And it would also be great if everyone else would race on an entry level road bike rather than their regular fancy tri bikes.


Never hurts to ask, right . . .

So yeah, anyway . . . I figured my race in a week might very well be in the high 50's at the start so I might as well get use to it. It will be good practice, I told myself. Maybe even build character, I thought. Right? Isn't that what miserable situations do????

While driving I was checking my phone for messages and my phone died. It would power on and say "Welcome to T-mobile!" And then it would say "Goodbye!"
No, not goodbye.
No, no, no, no. . .

I have terrible luck with all electronics: Garmin, mp3 players, computers, etc but cell phones are the worst. I just don't understand it. Do not ever lend me anything. I will break it. I will try not to but apparently me and careful are archenemies.

The good news is that my phone is not broken after all.

Apparently, you have to actually plug in the phone charger for it to charge your phone. Just saying in case you didn't know that either. Der.

At any rate I didn't have my phone to drive up to meet the group for an open water swim in North Georgia. And I was by myself. Not having my phone in situations like that makes me nervous. Not that my phone has the power of Wonder Woman's bracelet or her lasso of truth but I like knowing that I can call people. You know, like 911.

So while I am fiddling with my phone I realize the exit I needed to get onto 75N from hwy 92 was closed. I obediently followed the detour-- South!!!

I wanted to go NORTH!

I kept looking at all the people going north and desperately wanted to be one of them. I hate that I'm-trapped-on-the-freeway-going-the-wrong-way feeling. Especially when it is for real.

Finally the next exit appeared (5 miles down the road) and got off and back on 75 so I could go north. Very frustrating.

After about 5 minutes I saw the sign for my exit "Glade Road Next Exit". Oh so happy am I. Almost there!

But wait. What's this? No, no, no, no. Exit Closed. Are you kidding. Why? Why does the universe not want me to swim? Why does my phone not work so I can't at least call someone ask what to do.

Detour. Again.

So I unhappily pass the Glade Road exit and get off at the next exit--about 5 miles down the road-- and go back SOUTH down 75 to the south bound Glade Road exit--which at the time I wasn't so sure it was going to be open. But it was. Thank you baby Jesus.

So I get to the lodge surprisingly on time. Happy am I to see Sarah's car and then I spot Wes as I am paying my parking fee. Relief washes over. People. I know. Yay! Rest of the group though does not show. . .

I was also happy to find that I was not cold. And the water was perfect. Could have even stood to be a little colder. I imagine that Wes and Sarah were maybe a little warm in their wetsuits.

Touching creepy lake bottom was still, well, creepy. But that was absolutely the only terrible thing about the swim. Rest was good. Well, I could have been much faster but I wasn't really trying for fast yesterday (and no worries, I wasn't). I just wanted to get an idea of what a long open water swim felt like.

At first I was confused about where we were swimming. Once I understood where and which pile of rocks I became more comfortable and stopped using Wes as my sight object. I was surprised to find, once at the rocks that we had just swam 800 meters and it had been 15 minutes. I thought I had been swimming for only 5 minutes. Cool. Time flies in open water.

I say this because 5 minutes in the pool will feel like an eternity to me. In the pool I don't even consider the distance until I am at the 1000 yd mark. In the pool that is usually 17 minutes in and even then I think: Oh sweet baby Jesus. I have to go another 1000 yds (at least) and I am so unbelievably bored. See, and that is why I was worried about the swim. I thought it was going to feel like forever. I don't even mind if it takes forever. Just so long as it doesn't feel like it. Anytime I have to consider time I have a problem. I just don't appreciate the feeling of time creeping by. I like it to fly by. Even when having fun.

Though I will say that looking up while swimming in a lake definitely lends itself to the feeling that you are not moving. After noting this sensation I started counting strokes and looked up every 20 or so just so I felt like I was making some headway. Worked much better.

Oh, and best of all I didn't have to worry about counting laps. I have such a hard time with that in the pool.

So anyway. We swam to the rock and back and then Wes and I swam to the dock and back. Sarah swam to a log or some other point in the cove while we did that.

Since there was only 3 of us we tried to stay together for the most part. So I did some back tracking a few times. Swim ahead, swim back and then ahead. It was all fine. Wes says easily the distance was 2000 meters and we swam for 45 minutes total. Since I know I can do that distance in the pool in under 35 minutes I should hope that in the race my time in the water will be a good bit less than 45 minutes but if it isn't, 45 minutes didn't feel at all like forever so I suppose it will be what it will be. But, yeah. I hope it will be faster for reasons previously stated.

I don't think I have talked about time goals specifically for this race other than to try and finish under 6 hours. And that is mostly because I just can't fathom doing anything for any longer than that.

So that is my goal: sub 6.

Geez that sounds ridiculously like forever.

Based on what I do in training I know I am capable of faster but putting it all together, well that is the mystery and most decidedly, the hard part. So yeah, I hope to be faster than 6 hours but am not optimistic about it.

If you wanted me to break it down I would say my goals are this:
under 40 minutes for the swim.
3 hours and 15 minutes for the bike.
one hour and 50 minutes for the run.
That leaves me 15 minutes for transitions, potty breaks, melt downs, fixing a flat(that I won't know how to fix), and whatever else might come my way.

Best-case-scenario-dream-race that isn't going to happen? Oh well, that would be this:
35 minute swim
3 hour bike
1:45 run <--- okay really I want to run sub 1:40 and I could if I didn't have to ride my damn bike and swim before it. But apparently in a triathlon they require you to do those things first.

But that ain't gonna happen so I'm not even considering it because I think I will be lucky just to finish in one piece.

And I promise.

I will be happy if do.

Finish in one piece that is.

So now I just have to try and get through this week on minimal workouts and not ruin myself. And that is going to be hard. Very, very hard. This great fall weather is leaving me jonesing for a 21 mile run.

Oh, and one last thing, the pictures are not from yesterday. They are from 2 weeks ago and are for Lala and those that only read my blog because they like to look at pictures. We did go to the lake yesterday but my camera was uncooperative. Again. I am not so good with electronics.


  1. I don't think I've ever swam with anybody that would rather tread water for five minutes rather touch the bottom! LOL... Yes, we must remember that those 45 minutes included waiting at the rock for a couple of minutes, then swimming back to Sarah and then back to the rocks again and backtracking at least twice. Guaranteed that was over 2K, more likely 2.2K.

    If they get the distance right, based on my swim time at Florida, I would say 35 minutes is a very good aggressive time for you. You may just surprise yourself there. I was on your feet for a bit yesterday and then the next thing I knew you were gone! Pulled away!!

    Thanks so much again for swimming with me yesterday. That's one of the things I love about blogland. Friends pop up to help you out about anytime!!

    See ya in SC...

  2. Yes! It was lots of fun and I am sure you were well over the 2000m because based on my swim time, I was at about 2000. Thanks for making sure that I wasn't dying!

    And if I could give you any advice, it would be to sit in your living room, spread out a towel and change your tire. There is a great video on BeginnerTriathlete that will walk you through the whole thing. Hell, I'm sure if you asked any of the NAMC dudes would show you. Preferably the back tire, as you'll have to mess with the chain and cassette.

    You need to know how to do this and if you are in a race, you will be incredibly pissed if you get a flat and don't know how to change it. You are uber competitive with yourself and I want you to have a good race. I doubt you'll need it, but it's a good skill to have and it makes you feel much more confident.

  3. Glad to hear you had a good swim. I chose to be lazy and sleep in, instead of metting up with you guys.

    Its hard to believe its now less then a week to go

  4. Despite your warning against lending you're more than welcome to my currently unused-for-a-year wetsuit for your race if it fits. (I am 5'4") I think it misses the water by now. :)

    Shoot me an email if you think it might fit.

  5. This may be a dumb question, but do they sell swimming shoes or some sort of foot covering, so you don't have to touch the icky bottom? Or would that be against the rules? I totally understand not wanting to touch. I shudder thinking about it. We'll be thinking about you on Sunday. Don't forget to have fun. Love ya!