This past Sunday, I swam for the first time in open water! It was the experience of a lifetime. Everything from being surrounded by beauty, the friendly staff, and an amazing race myself…I am completely hooked on open water swimming 🙂
The morning started at 5am. I set my alarm EXTRA early to be able to take the subway…but low and behold, subway delays (classic Queens on weekends!). If I took the subway I would be cutting it real close…so I ended up uber pooling to the start (my poor wallet), which turned out to be the best decision ever
Having time to spare before a race is seriously the best. I will happily sacrifice 1, 2 even a few hours of sleep just to not be in a rush in the morning. I grabbed an ice coffee, picked up my bid, and got to hang around the beach at sunrise before getting ready to race ❤
Then it was time to get ready. I found it funny that our chip timing was an ankle ring…I guess there’s no better way, but I did slightly feel like I was on house arrest 😉
I took off my clothes, stretched, took one last sip of water, and headed to the start where people were warming up in the ocean. At first, I was reluctant to warm up because I wanted to save my energy for the race, but being somewhat clueless at how these things work + FOMO made me jump right in. I’m SO happy I did, because after a few strokes I realized that I can do this…the currents were calm, the water wasn’t too cold, my nerves definitely calmed a bit.
Side note – I was one of the ONLY swimmers NOT in a wet suit…definitely made me feel a bit newbish. I just don’t feel like buying a suit right now, and I’m plenty comfy in my speedo 🙂
Next, the race director welcomed us and gave us some directions. There were several events going on, the main being the aquathon (swim+run). I was in the minority of those who just chose to do the 2 mile swim (there were also 1 mile and 1/2 mile options). The swim only had 3 buoys, one at the 1/4 miles, 1/2 miles, and 1 mile, where we’d turn around.
Finally…we were off!!! Between the energy of sprinting at the start and the chilly water, I definitely went out fast. Stroke by stroke, I tried to get into a rhythm, but it was clear that this wasn’t going to be anything like lap swimming. Some highlights from the swim:
- Swimming straight was the toughest part. If I did more than 8 strokes without looking up, I’d find myself way off course. I stuck by a dude who matched my pace, but I think he was doing the same with me and we just zig zagged all around :p. I ended up getting into a groove of looking up every 2 breaths to spot the buoy, finding that most efficient.
- Energy wise, it was the best race ever. I was amazed that I didn’t feel sore AT ALL at any point…I made an effort to sprint the last mile because I was so feelin’ it!
- The ocean is just beautiful…period. So SO beautiful. I do wish I took more time to soak in the novelty of being so deep in the ocean for once…I remember looking to the side during my breaths, and seeing the sun glistening on the open water which went for miles and miles…that image is forever in my heart.
- There was definitely some marine life (possibly a jellyfish?!) gracing by me but I was too in the zone to worry.
- I got SO dehydrated…having salt water in and out of your mouth really does a toll.
My final time was just at the hour mark..(haven’t gotten my official time yet), which was my goal! And better yet – I ended up coming in 3rd place overall! Which was such an awesome, humbling surprise. It came with a pretty dope plaque and basking in glory on a podium 🙂
Overall, I LOVED this race so so much. Having good results was just a tiny portion of it – I loved the relaxed feel of it (200 racers total!) and having an organized, fun outlet to swim in open water! I will definitely be seeking similar events out in the future 🙂