This morning was the second of the North Shore Swim Series races... it was a triangle swim in Waimea Bay... supposedly 1.2 miles but may have been just a little long? Who knows. I almost always question the distances of open water swims because, really, who knows how long it actually is? I think race directors guess a lot. In the end, it doesn't really matter.
In the winter, Waimea Bay can look like this*.
Lucky for us, it's not winter.
In the summer, it's usually like a beautiful lake in this bay. Our start line today was between these rocks.
They did actually put a couple of buoys on the course today which was nice, but one of our turn points was a Giant Black Rock instead of a Giant Orange Buoy so it wasn't like they totally gave in and made it easy.
Anyway, the women started 5 minutes behind the men today, which always presents a challenge half way through the race when your goal goes from stay on her feet to don't get kicked in the face by that guy doing breaststroke.
If you've been reading my blog and remember from two weeks ago, there was a little confrontation at the end of the first race- essentially, I got yelled at by a gal I regularly race against for drafting off of her and then passing her at the end. In an effort to keep our rivalry friendly, I told her last time that I would not draft off of her for the rest of the races. I did not say I wouldn't draft at all, because we all know that's the name of the game in swim racing, but I did keep my promise not to draft off of her. So today, she and I lined up on opposite ends of the start line and when the horn sounded it was an all out sprint as usual.
The first 15 seconds were pretty tough on me as I got pummelled over by a whole bunch of high school swimmer girls in string bikinis. A dream come true for many men I suppose, but I wasn't so thrilled about it at the time.
It took me a while to get into a groove and find some feet that I liked. About half way through I saw a bunch of white water up ahead and figured I knew just who was making all those bubbles... only one local swimmer I know kicks like that in open water swim races... I confirmed it was the gal I thought it was by checking her cap and the tan lines on her legs from her cycling shorts, and then felt quite satisfied with myself for finding her. Tucked in comfortably on her feet, I figured I must be doing just fine if I was here with her.
That nice ride lasted for just a few minutes and then the swim course turned into an obstacle course and the name of the game became Maneuver Safely Around All These Men.
From that point on I was pretty much on my own, though I could see White Water Kicker up there a couple body lengths ahead of me, I just couldn't get to her because of all the men in my way. But then I look off to my left and lo and behold, there's my good friend and training partner, Nalani! She was nice enough to wear a very bright suit this morning so there was no mistaking that it was her. Just like we do most mornings of the week, Nalani and I swam side by side and pushed each other right toward that finish line. We ran up the beach together and she got me at the line by .4 seconds. Love it.
In the end, I came second in my age group behind a gal that is Uber-Swimmer, and ended up about 25 seconds ahead of Jana, who, I am happy to report, could not find a reason to yell at me again today.
In good news, this race didn't kill me like the last one did. Afterward I still had the energy to get my long run in, so I ran for a couple of hours along the north shore. It ended up being quite a hot afternoon, and I tell ya what, a dip in the ocean sure was sounding like a good idea as I was finishing up that final mile. So I took my last gel (to make sure I didn't bonk while floating on my back) and jumped right in, running shorts and all. Lucky I live Hawaii. Yes.
*By the way, I totally stole these pictures off the Internet bc I did not bring the camera today. And I did not bring the camera today because it died last week. Grrr.