About 2 weeks ago, we had our 1st OWS even here on the Mississippi Coast. My husband has been over to Pensacola for the 5k/10k OWS they hold over there, but this was my 1st stand alone open water event.
Leading up to the day, I was so excited to just be swimming! No worries about biking or running!
My excitement dampened as the week progressed because we were inundated with rain and wind as a cold front blew through. We awoke to 47F outside with water temps somewhere around 69-70F.
Mother Nature was has certainly been laughing her ass off this year.
The race brochure stated the 1/4 mi and 1/2 mi swims would go BEFORE the 1 mile and so I had planned to swim with 1 of those groups as a warm up. I’m not really sure what happened, but at 8:00 it was announced that all 1 milers needed to get in the water and wade to the starting buoy….
Obviously we missed a key bit of info as my husband didn’t even have his swimsuit on, much less his wetsuit!
So off he runs (at least someone got a warm-up!) to change and off I go into the frigid muddy water known as the Mississippi Gulf.
My plan was to draft off my husband for the first few hundred yards. I figured by then he’d be at full speed and I wouldn’t be able to hang on to his feet any longer. I had to take what I could while the getting was good.
Well, its nice to have a plan and all….
I see the familiar black and green wetsuit running towards the beach, into the water, and to the starting buoy just as the horn fires. The familiar feet and toes are LONG gone before I can get through 2 pulls.
Now the thing about inaugural races is that there are always kinks to be worked out.
The thing about racing an inaugural event is that you, the racer, get to experience those kinks!
1 mile in the open water is a long way and a swimmer really needs to be able to sight well. Add a little chop, waves, and current to that mix and it becomes even more essential.
4 buoys over a 1 mile triangular course really wasn’t enough. 2 of those buoys were at the turn so there was a lot of swimming with nothing to guide you in any direction.
The lifeguards were not all that familiar with OWS events and 1 actually ran me over…..nothing major and I kept right on moving, but still….
And then there was just the very unique experience in and of itself. As a triathlete, I’m accustomed to a TON of folks in the water and I never realized how much I use those people for sighting. We had about 40 out there on this day and I felt like I was totally alone.
It was very different from what I’m accustomed to when swimming in the open water and while it didn’t bother me, I could see how it could be a bit unnerving if someone wasn’t very comfortable in the water.
All in all it was a great experience and fun day.
He really is part fish!
I only managed a mere 1.02 miles since I can follow directions a bit better and don’t get quite so lost, a-hem…
30:30 and 8th OA/3rd in my AG.
A huge improvement over the 39 minute 1mi OWS last year and with a hell of a lot less effort as well.
Nothing like seeing all that work in the pool paying off and it was the perfect confidence booster for Gulf Coast 70.3 the following week over in Panama City Beach…..
which meant another OWS in a much rougher, unprotected part of the Gulf of Mexico.
Ahhh, if I had only known then what I know now….
but that’s for next time
Swim Happy, My Friends!