Wednesday, September 20, 2006

THE SWIM: Cranberry Country Triathlon

Sunday morning came along quickly and I bounced out of bed and into the shower at 5:30. Wanted to be in transition by 7 for an 8:00 start...The 30 min. drive was uneventful - I love Sunday morning driving to races...the roads are always so empty and you feel like a warrior out there so early. Even though I registered Saturday (thankfully as registration closed by 7) I still needed to get body marked so I took care of that first thing. The weather was overcast and cool but not cold or windy. The forecast called for a 30% chance of rain so I was hopeful it would hold off. It was PERFECT race weather.

Everything at this race was pretty well organized. The only issue I saw was that transition was HUGE and also pretty far away from the my T1 and T2 times look like I was lounging by the concession stand for awhile. The upside to this was that we had a lot of space on our racks for everything...and once again, as luck would have it, I ended up at the end of a rack. Score. I set everything up, chatted with my rack-mates and helped a few of them with suggestions to questions they had. And then I walked around to get a feel for the SUPER long run from the water to transition...and to make sure I understood the bike out/bike in and run out/finish configurations. Glad I did this as it was kind of confusing. Once I had it, I went back to my rack and got my swim stuff. Time to warm up.

It still had not hit me that I was about to race the longest distance of my tri career. I felt ready physically. Not super strong, rarin' to go ready, but prepared. I really wanted to peak for this race but with all the crap going on, I found myself exhausted and just wanting to get it over with. I think that morning I felt kind of sad about that...I'd worked really hard for this and yet my mental exhaustion was translating into body exhaustion. I tried to fight it, to stay in the zone, to not grow weak and to stay sharp...I tried all week and I think I mostly taper was smart, I ate reasonably well...but I knew I just wasn't "ON" and I also knew that I couldn't beat myself up for that. It is what it is. You're here, just do it. I think that's when I started to feel more nervous. Usually I'm excited nervous, READY nervous...this time, I just felt a little SCARED. But I was going to do it.

So I always opt to get away from transition as soon as possible...too many people going thru too many emotions and freak outs. I still don't have a wetsuit and the water was 76˚F so I was ok with that - and I still feel like not having to struggle into it saves me all kinds of stress and anxiety before the start! The air was also pretty warm so it was no problem. Wanting to spend some time in the water, I headed over to the pond and got in. The in and out areas were really small and only a few people were in the water...not sure why. But I always take about 10 minutes of easy swimming mixed with a few sprints to get my HR that's what I went to do. As I got about 50 yards out, they started calling everyone back. It was still like 20 mins to the first wave. I was annoyed! I swam a little further as there were still people out further than I was...and then turned with them as they came back toward me. I have no idea why they wanted us out...but I took the opportunity to sprint and elevate my HR so as not to shock it at the start.

Then we proceeded to stand around for the 20 minutes until the start. I was in wave 4 (?I think?or was it 3?) caps...there were 5 minutes between each wave so people took advantage of that and jumped in for a quick 2-3 min. warmup in each wave - I did the same. At the time, I did wish I could've done a bit more but didn't let it get to me. And then we were OFF!

Pool renovations had kept me out of the water so I had not done any swimming in more than a week prior to this race. Surprisingly, I felt good right from the start. Usually ANY time away from the pool leaves me feeling like I'm swimming in molasses. I started, as I now have become accustomed to, on the edge of the pack on the inside line next to the buoys (counterclockwise course so I was on the left)...and toward the front. As usual, everyone started off REALLY fast...but I picked a moderate speed and held it to the first buoy, making sure to not go anaerobic but also pushing a bit to get things going. A few of the fishies took off but more of them evened out or fizzled and by the third or fourth buoy, I started to catch them. The course was nice - warm water, deep and clear, no shrubbery, and the pond was really small....the buoys were really close together (maybe 40 yards?) so sighting was a snap...and it just made the 0.9 mi. go by quickly. I got into a good groove early and felt pretty strong. I think I swam pretty straight and even caught a few of the folks in the wave ahead of me. That's always exciting!

As I approached the swim finish, I could see the bottom but misjudged how deep it was and tried to put a foot down. Whoops! it was deep right up until the last 3 or 4 yards so it was deceptive. Alas, I got out and made my way up the steep hill and thru the maze of fencing...and jogged almost 200 yards (but what felt like MILES) to my bike in T1.

Even though the swim is my strongest and favorite of the three disciplines in triathlon, I always breathe a sigh of relief when it's over! I feel like it's the leg I have the least control over...and I stand the most to lose (i.e. drowning!) if things go wrong!

Total swim time: 26:30 (roughly 1:40/100 yards...getting faster!)
Rank overall: 289/540 out of the water

ONTO T1...


Blogger Jessi said...

That is a FAST swim, nice work! Wow, imagine how fast you'd be in a wetsuit... :)

10:27 PM GMT-5

Blogger christine said...

wow....that was some swim!!

11:08 PM GMT-5

Blogger 'Zilla said...

Whew! I'd say YOU'RE a fishie too!

(Waiting for Flatman's complaint about teasing out the RR! :-)

6:11 AM GMT-5

Blogger Flatman said...

Flatman's official complaint about teasing out the race report.

Smokin' fast swim. You are no are a SHARK!

9:46 AM GMT-5

Blogger Cliff said...


I am just a guppy compare to you :)

11:44 AM GMT-5

Blogger Bolder said...


she's out of the water ladies and gentleman... it's all about the bike now!

great swim.

7:24 PM GMT-5

Blogger Scott said...

We are so connected... one of my favourite sayings is "it is what it is". Great swim recap Spence... with everything that's going on with you and you're still competing... so good for you! I can't wait for the rest of the recap.

6:59 PM GMT-5

Blogger Flatman said...

um...did you just quit racing after the swim or something????

4:56 PM GMT-5

Blogger Joe said...

Great ranking in the swim!

10:59 PM GMT-5


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