This morning, after getting up 3 times to feed Moana last night, my alarm went off at 5:30 and I thought I wasn't going to be able to coax my body into actually getting out of bed. But of course I managed, making a beeline to my espresso machine. I'll spare you the details of the challenge in getting Moana up and fed and changed and packed in time to get out the door in time for a race... suffice to say we went through several diapers and an extra clothes change before finally driving off only ten minutes later than planned. I even ate half my breakfast. Call it a success because we got to the beach in time for the pre-race meeting and instructions.
It was cool being down there because I saw a bunch of swimming friends I haven't seen in a long time... lots of people I used to race against all the time and it was especially fun to show off my beautiful daughter! I know people were shocked that I was actually swimming the 7K this morning, but that was half the fun of completing the event. :)
The race started uneventfully with a guy whistling. Then when none of the swimmers on the beach understood the significance of his signal, he frantically yelled "GO!" which finally lit the fire and everyone ran into the water. There were only maybe 30-40 swimmers in this event, so it was pretty low key.
Our paddling escorts were out in the water already, just past the first turn buoy which was maybe 1/2 mile out. I had a good first half, getting myself in a little pack with friend and long time swimming rival, Jana. I've been racing Jana for the whole 4 years I've lived here. She's a great swimmer. Super friendly. And though I've been close a couple times, I've never been the first one to step foot on the beach when we are racing in the ocean. Last time we raced the Double RoughWater (2 years ago) we were neck and neck most of the way until she pulled it out at the end and got me by 2 minutes. So this morning, to be on her feet, felt like a huge accomplishment. Here's a little video Scott took of us out there. I'm in the yellow cap. Jana in pink. I don't know the guy in the green cap. At one point he stopped to grab a drink from his kayaker and Jana took advantage of the opportunity... surging off to the left in an effort to drop him. It worked. At that point I was thankful that Bob and I had done those long swim surges because I was able to match Jana's surge before we settled back into pace.
Jana and I stayed together around the turn-around buoy, swimming side by side, stroke for stroke. I was psyched to be near her and knew that I was feeling fine. It was a great day for an ocean swim with the conditions being pretty calm. The water was crystal clear and I saw 2 spotted eagle rays at the bottom of the ocean on the way out... and then again on the way back! Scott saw a pod of like 50 spinner dolphins playing in the water nearby and tried to take video, but it didn't turn out. :( The only downside to today's swim were the stingy things that were getting all of the swimmers. I don't think they were jellyfish. Maybe man-o-war? Or some type of stinging sea lice? I lost count of how many times I got stung, but I'm starting to get a bunch of itchy welts all over my body. And possibly a fat lip? The worst sting got me right on my bottom lip. Argh!
Anyway, after the turn around, Jana and I started to split up, following our own escorts rather than each other. I could see her off to my right as I was breathing, and to my shock and awe, I was pulling away from her. Slowly but surely, the gap was created and then it was just me against the ocean... headed for the beach. Scott did a great job leading me right to the final buoy and to a strong finish onto the beach.
I was exhausted at the end. 2:02 was my time, which is exactly what I did it in 2 years ago. I don't feel like you can necessarily compare ocean swimming times from year to year as the conditions and current always dictate final times, but nonetheless, I'm pleased with the 2 hours. I don't know what place I was overall, but I think I might have been the 5th woman?
I'd love to be really proud of my age group win, but considering there were no other gals in my age group competing today, the win loses some of its luster. But I did get the bottle of champagne at the end so that's cool.
Moana was a doll the whole time for Andrea who was watching her while I was in the water. Amazing how I thought about her so much while I was swimming. I just couldn't wait to get to shore so I could see her at the end!