Yip Yip Yip! The North Shore Swim Series has begun!
This is a classic series of 4 ocean swims that are put on every summer by the Waikiki Swim Club. And they are so much fun.
I remember showing up at these swims for the first time 5 years ago... I had moved here the previous fall but still didn't know too many people. My goal during these races was to find friends. Seriously, what better place to meet like-minded people than at the local races? By the 4th and final swim, I'd met an entire new group of friends (including the gal who would be my Maid Of Honor at my wedding!) and my social life just exploded with activity. Goal accomplished.
Anyway, this series is a staple on my race calendar. I did this first race last year when I was 22 weeks pregnant. Amazingly, Moana and I placed second in my age group. :) She was totally born to be a swimmer. I remember thinking (last year) that next year was going to be so much fun... bringing my baby to the races with me...
So this year, I got to bring my 8 month old daughter with me! Yes, Moana is 8 months old today. Can't believe it. One of these years I'm going to be blogging about how Moana did her first open water swim race...
575 people showed up to race this morning! They sent the girls off first this morning so at least we didn't have too massive of a start, but it was still pretty big. Can you find me in this picture? Somebody is pointing at me.
These races aren't like the pansy triathlon swim races where there are buoys every 100 meters... No. This is like, Here's the start buoy. Get yourself from here down to Pipeline as fast as you can, any route you want. There's another buoy to mark the finish, but other than that, you're on your own to navigate the currents, breaking waves, and the rocks (if it's low tide). Love. It.
Today the water was the calmest it's been of any year I've done this swim. No breaking waves at all at the start. There were a few that we swam right through but they weren't the toss and tumble you kind. I lined up at the front, next to my long time swimming rival, Jana. The horn sounded, and we took off at a dead sprint.
Jana and I swam stroke for stroke for a little while, and then, since I'm no dummy, I eased up a bit and tucked in on her feet. Another gal tried to do the same thing, and she and I had our own little battle for rights to Jana's feet. I'll admit that I used my elbows. But I won that battle. Then I don't know what happened to that gal? I think she got on my feet for a while and then dropped off at some point.
A few minutes later another gal joined us- she'd been off to the right more than we were but we eventually met up and formed a little group of 3. It actually appeared to me that she might be going just a little faster than Jana, so I jumped over to her feet. Apparently Jana saw this move and thought "Oh no you don't!" so she and I battled for Trish's feet. Jana used her elbows (and whole body for that matter!) and she won that one. I dropped back to Jana's feet and then went around the other side of her.
We stayed like that until the finish buoy was in sight... it was a brutal effort on my part. We were killing ourselves by this point. I can't remember working that hard since last time I raced Jana. All I could think was that this was so cool. So cool that we were battling the way we were and pushing each other to our breaking points in a friendly way. Of course I wanted to beat her, but at the same time I was just really glad it was such a good race.
Right at the end we both got caught up in some shorebreak got pummeled. It was a frantic effort toward the sand for both of us and as we were running (stumbling might be a better word here) up the hill to the timing mat, I was laughing and Jana grabbed my elbow as if to say "No you don't!" The whole scene seemed so funny to me because witnessing it, you might have thought there was a million dollars at the line for one of us... when all that was really waiting were bragging rights. But we were both going for it.
In the end, it was:
Less than a second. I thought that was awesome. Jana didn't. She immediately started yelling at me for drafting off of her. She was serious. Hmmm? Last time I checked, drafting was the name of the game in open water swimming. No?
The thing is, I have a lot of respect for Jana. I think she's an awesome swimmer. And I know she is wicked competitive. Just like me. I wasn't interested in our rivalry turning ugly, so I gave her a few minutes afterward to calm down and then went to talk her down from her anger by telling her how much I enjoy racing her. Last time we raced, I beat her (again, running up the beach) and she accused me of cheating because I was wearing my Blue Seventy PointZero speedsuit. She said real swimmers don't wear the 'cheat suits'. Ok. So I told her that I specifically didn't wear my speedsuit today in her honor. She wanted a fair race today and I think I gave her one. Though I did tell her that for the next 3 races I won't draft off of her.
Don't worry, I'll find someone else to draft off of and it'll still be a good race. Stay tuned for the next swim race report in two weeks. Tomorrow, it'll be a bike race report. Should be an interesting one. ;)