Saturday, July 25, 2009

Into The Great Wide Ocean

This morning was the third swim of the North Shore Swim Series. It might be the most technical of the four- it goes against the current and against the wind chop in a point to point 1.6 miles. For that reason, it's got the smallest turnout of all the swims because your less confident swimmers aren't usually so psyched for this one.

The big question for this race is always "Inside or outside?" Meaning, which route is faster? Since there are no buoys except the ones marking the start and the ones marking the finish, it's up to each swimmer to figure out the route they want to take. On the inside, you have to worry about shallow reef and rocks and surf crashing on your head. Outside I think you deal more with current and chop.

I am a firm believer in staying inside.

So as the horn sounded and everyone started sprinting, I had a choice to make. I started off heading toward the inside route, but noticed a big group of swimmers who were more along the outside than I wanted to be. Decision time for Michelle. Do I stay with the group or stay with my own plan? I stayed with my own plan. And consequently ended up completely alone.

Actually, that's not true. For a while there were a couple of swimmers right on my feet. But then they dropped off. And I was alone.

I swear, there must have been 400 people who started today and I knew we were all swimming toward the same goal, but the ocean is a pretty big space and swimmers can really get spread out when there isn't really a set course to follow.

I got that Tom Petty song in my head... Into the great wide ocean... Ok, I know those aren't actually the words, but my version was more fitting for the day. And I like to sing songs to myself when I'm swimming long in the ocean.

Anyway, I didn't actually hit any reef in the shallow water I was swimming in, so that was good. And while I wasn't looking at anyone's feet, I did see a huge turtle and an eagle ray! That was really cool. And there wasa lifeguard on a paddleboard sitting right on the surfline pointing in an effort to get me to go outside of the break. In the end, I totally think I did it right because I beat several swimmers who have been coming in ahead of me in the previous races. Though I will admit it was boring. Swimming alone isn't nearly as much fun as swimming in a pack.

Last time I posted about these swim races, a couple people asked how I could possibly know who I was swimming with in the middle of a swim race... here's my answer...

See how clear that water is? This was our finish line today. (Thanks, Trish, for the picture!) When the water is as clear as a pool, and people aren't wearing wetsuits, and we all wear whatever cap we want, all you have to do is know what your swimming buddies look like and you can pick them out in a race. :)


X-Country2 said...

Could Hawaii BE any more amazing? :o)

DC Running Mama said...

I heart Tom Petty!

Angela and David Kidd said...

I can't even imagine what it's like to swim in clear water and without wetsuits in open water. I usually can't even see my own hand.

What happens if you swim into shallow reef? I have this image of swimmers all of a sudden being "beached" but that can't be right.

Regina said...

OMG, after swimming this weekend in the putrid waters of the Hudson River, I can't even read your's like pure torture.

Charisa said...

I LOVE your water - sooooo pretty :)


OMG - that swim looks amazing!! Maybe my swim times would improve if thats what I swam in!!! :)

I'm new to your blog and can't wait to read more!

Kate Parker said...

stupid question, but do you get scared alone. in the ocean. far from shore? 'cause i know i would.

looks gorgeous. as always.