Sunday, June 01, 2008

Beeeg Week & Open Water Race Report

Tuesday pm: bike
20.4 miles/1:28:38/13.9 MPH
Iron Horse Trail with Zach

Wednesday am: run
8.0 miles/1:13:55/9:15 average pace
Iron Horse Trail solo

Thursday am: bike
24.6 miles/1:40:55/14.6 MPH
Iron Horse Trail solo

Thursday pm: swim
2450 y/54:30
Master's Class

Friday: rest!

Saturday am: run
10.0 miles/1:29:15/8:56 average pace
Lafayette-Moraga Trail with Zach

Sunday am: swim
1200 yards (appox)/30:27
Del Valle Open Water Swim Race (See report and pics below!)

Sunday pm: bike
50.1 miles/3:37:52/13.7 MPH
Iron Horse Trail (literally, the entire Iron Horse Trail from Dublin to Martinez) with Zach

TOTALS for the week:
24 miles run
95.1 miles bike
6050 yards swim

TOTAL training time for the week: 12 hours 50 minutes


Del Valle Open Water Swim Race Report

It's only been 4 weeks since we joined Tri Valley Masters, and due to some scheduling issues I've actually only been to 6 practices. Still, we felt the friendly pressure to participate in their annual Del Valle Open Water Swim Race. There are two distances to choose from (they are not at the same time, so many did both) .75 or 1.5 miles. Of course, we chose .75 mile course. I was pretty nervous, but I knew this would be a huge confidence booster. If I could do this swim, then I knew there was a good chance I can do the 1.2 mile swim in my Half Iron race where I get to wear a wetsuit, AND I still have two more months of training. My only goal was to finish. Looking at the previous years' results (and my standing in the slow lane at practice), I knew I'd be among the slowest swimmers, but that's ok.

Link to course map: here (see Application Form)

We got up about 6:30 and threw on our swimsuits and some warm clothes over top. I made chocolate banana protein smoothies and we headed to the lake. It's been really mild ("cold" to us Californians) here lately so jumping in a lake at 8 am seemed weird. Luckily, it was at least a sunny day. The temperature was about 50 (brrrr) and the water was announced to be 68 degrees (double brrrrrr). And, of course, this is a "real" swim event which means no wetsuits. We saw a bunch of people we know from Master's, and it was a big help to have some support. It was good to hear that others were nervous too!

We reluctantly stripped off our over-clothes and waded into the water with a few minutes to go. It was cold, but not horrible.They waved the 3 Minutes To Go flag and we got all the way in and swam out near the starting muffins (bulbous buoys marking the deep-water start line). I wished Zach good luck and took a few warm up stokes. Goggles and nose clip were good to go. I was a ways back when the horn went off but that was ok- I wanted to avoid the crowd which would obviously pass me anyhow.

Can't really do a play-by-play of the swim, so here's just some random thoughts. Well, I actually felt really good!! I wasn't nervous or panicky at all. In previous open water swims, I've always had a moment of panic but not this time. I had a good stroke going, I was sighting well, breathing was not a problem, I was doing good! I was stoked to see the first buoy, which we didn't exactly round but rather just passed by. The second one we rounded, but there wasn't a back up by the time I got there. The stretch to the final buoy was very long, in fact I couldn't even see the buoy for several minutes until I got within 100 yards of it. After rounding that one, it was a straight shot to shore. Unfortunately, my goggles were pretty fogged up so I couldn't really see the finish area. I just followed the splashing swimmers ahead of me until I was close enough to see the crowd on shore.

For most of the race, there wasn't much of a crowd around me, but I did have some company. I tried not to spend too much time looking down into the deep, cold lake below me.. not that you could see very far through the cloudy water. I also tried not to think about how far I had to go, or that there was nothing I could hold on to if I needed a break, or what would happen if I got a cramp, or if the lifeguards would notice if I started flailing in panic. I know I said I didn't panic, but that doesn't mean these thoughts didn't briefly enter my mind! But I was really good about pushing my worries aside immediately. It really helped to have a positive thought like "This is so cool." I also focused on the pretty mountains and trees that surrounded the lake when I breathed or sighted. It also helped to find a nearby swimmer and remind myself that I am not alone out there. All in all, I maintained my composure and crawled along. I knew I could breaststroke or float on my back if I needed, but I never did! That was cool.

I guess I tried to swim a little faster as I approached the shore, but since I didn't know exactly how far it was I didn't push too hard. I didn't want to cramp up at the last minute in front of everyone! I finally saw the ground below me and swam until I touched with my hand. Then I got up and sort of awkwardly ran/waded toward the shore and the finish chute. I heard Zach yell out "Go Jen!" and a few people were clapping and stuff. It's no Boston, I tell ya. :P I stopped my watch and it said 30:25. Wow, I had no idea it would take that long! I figure with the weaving and what not I covered a little extra distance. Zach and some of the others finished similarly "slow" compared to their pool times, so I guess that's just how it goes. I placed 7 out of 7 in my age group, I was definitely one of the last few out of the water. Still, YAY!!! I did it!! :) It was a super fun day, and I'm so proud of myself. I can't believe how far I swam out in that big cold lake with NO wetsuit! Awesome.

Testing the water: a brisk 68 degrees

A little nervous

The first part of the course: see the tiny orange buoys on the right of the picture? Probably not. Basically, we swam across the lake to the corner of this picture area. Those are the start muffins closer in on the left.

Then we swam across to this orange buoy (if you can't see it, it is straight out there practically across the lake), then to the finish line here on the shore

We did it!

Some of our Tri Valley Master's friends
Relaxing on the beach


*aron* said...

CONGRATS!!! that is so awesome. your whole week of training is awesome! where is that lake?

one of these days our paths will cross on the iron horse trail if it hasnt already :)

Debbie said...

Congrats!! You were busy....! For some reason I couldn't get past the chocolate banana protein smoothies on your report...that sounds very good!! Yum.

KK said...

Great Race, Jen! Just remember that when you wear a wetsuit it is good for dropping a couple of minutes of your time. You will have great open water swims the rest of the summer, no doubt! It's all about the confidence booster.

Hilarious about the "it's no Boston." I laughed out loud at that one.

Good God you had one heck of a training week. I feel lazy compared to you :).

Thanks for sharing, as always.

Michele said...

Brrrr 68 is cold and would be wetsuit legal in a tri.
That is some training week you had. Great job.
Chocolate banana protein shakes are my fav.

Anonymous said...

Great swim and the biking, wow!

Dragonfly on the Water...

Arcane said...

Every little confidence builder helps along the way.

jahowie said...

You are an awesome athlete!! 68 degrees?!?! That had to be rough. Thanks for posting the pics.

Mir said...

Jen, you are so awesome! I am constantly amazed by all the hard work you put in, and it's obviously paying off. Nice swim!

ShirleyPerly said...

68 degrees -- Oh my, that's cold!!

But you did great and especially with no wetsuit. The lake looks really pretty. Is that Lake Del Valle? Back when I used to live in the Bay Area, my best friend used to go there on weekends.

*aron* said...

do you know of any good hill spots for hill training on our side of the bay?

Ewen said...

Good on you Jen! I reckon you swam at least a mile - not saying you're a zig-zagger - just the course must have been long :)

Not being able to stand up is always a worry - as is the chilly water - you're both gamer than I am.

12 hours 50 of training is huge! Well done.

Judi said...

Good job Jen!