My first open water swim was a success!! It was completely weird, and I learned a LOT in those 20 or so minutes yesterday morning. My first impression: salt water tastes nasty. Plechsppppth. (that's me spitting out disgusting salt water taste all day yesterday). Besides that, a completely awesome experience.
My mother-in-law Melanie has done several triathlons in San Diego and around southern California (plus lots of road races, including a marathon) and has always been my mentor for running and now triathlons. She is amazing. She was very patient with me and offered me a ton of great advice, as always, and made the experience very fun. She has loaned me her tri suit, since she might not be doing many tris for a while due to a back/neck injury, which sucks. :( For those who don't know (I only learned about it this weekend), the tri suit is basically a swimsuit with bike shorts attached. You wear it through the whole tri, so you don't have to change at all. It's sweet! She also found me a wetsuit to use for the day- it was a sleeveless Quintana Roo one. The night before we talked a lot about running and biking and transitioning techniques, then Sunday morning I got an immersion course (ha ha, pun!) in open water swimming. She had me wade out and float, since apparently that's how tris start (at least the San Diego one). I always though you all ran into the water at the beginning! Anyway, we floated for a bit (which took no effort due to floaty wet suit and salt water!) then we were off.
In the picture above, you can see our course. We started on the shore on the right of the pic, and swam to the boats on the left. We stopped just short of the boats, and Melanie (who has done this swim several times) estimates the distance at about 400 meters to there. Sighting is hard. Eventually I was swimming in a pretty straight line, but it took a few corrections at first. I was sighting on the sails of the boat, and a couple times when I looked up I didn't even see the boats! Ooops. But I got my bearings and swam and swam. It was weird not stopping every 25 meters!! I couldn't really see anything in the water, just my arms. I never got panicky or anything, but once I did feel really tired and did a couple breast strokes to get a few continuous breaths. I have no idea how fast I was going, but I felt fast and strong! I didn't even have to use my legs- the wetsuit kept them at the surface of water and I was just moving them out of habit. Melanie told me not to kick hard because in the tri you need to save your legs for biking and running. The whole thing was over pretty fast, and I was back on solid ground and feeling like a friggin pro. Oh, and having really random tricep cramps! Ha ha, weird.
Melanie gave me a few more tips- swim until it's too shallow to swim anymore, because that is more efficient than standing up and running in the water. Smart! She also had me practice running out of the water and peeling off the wetsuit to the waist while running, then explained about the transition. It was all so helpful! I am so pumped for the triathlon now, this was a total confidence-builder. :) Here's a few more pics:
Before the swim, looking simultaneously cool and dorky:
After the swim, feeling very cool, looking very dorky:
Allright, I do have runs to report too.
Zach and I did our long run Friday night, since I had to leave early Saturday for San Diego. That kind of schedule-swap usually causes me a lot of stress, but I am proud to say I handled it well.
Friday 14.0 miles/2:05:46/8:59 average pace
We did 12 miles together, taking it kinda easy since it was pretty warm (80s). I finished very strong- miles 10-13 were around 8:30-8:45, and my last mile was 7:56. I hadn't ran farther than 12 miles since Boston, so it was nice to get to real LONG run territory. I felt great.
Saturday 3.0 miles/28:30/9:30 average pace
I hit up the treadmill at the hotel Saturday afternoon, just because. Why not.
TOTAL miles for the week: 33.0
PLUS approx. 2750 meters swimming - including super awesome open water swim
PLUS uh, no biking. :( Well, I did ride to work three days, and last night we went out for a little short ride, but nothing that could count as training. Oh well. No strength training either.
Feeling really good with my Half Marathon coming up in 3 weeks. Feeling very confident in my ability to run a strong race, feeling a bit unsure about getting a PR (which stands at 1:44:54, an 8:00 pace). Gonna work on speed this week, and do some visualization and stuff.. try and get my mind ready. I think my body's good to go.