Today was the second swim of the North Shore Swim Series races... 4 ocean swims that serve to satisfy our craving to race in swimming. This is my sixth year doing the series and I absolutely love it. Unfortunately, I missed the first race this year because I was in Tex-ASS.
I'm sitting here feeling a bit dissatisfied (an understatement) about my result today so that's my warning to you about this post. (Also, I'm finishing my second beer. So you know this will be straight from the heart. Lol. What is that rule about not drinking and blogging?*)
So the truth is, I've been taking my swimming for granted. I swim pretty well. I know I am not the fastest SWIMMER swimmer, but I am fast enough for triathlon and have probably become a bit complacent as of late. I should know better, but it is what it is and my eyes were opened today. I mean, my eyes are open every M-W-F morning when I show up at the pool and get my butt kicked by Nalani and our two ex-collegiate swimmer guys, but I've become so accustomed to being the 'slow' one at swim practice that I've just come to expect to be beaten by them so most of the time I just do my thing and hope to make the interval (which I always do because, um, I am the one who picks the intervals.)
Anyway, about today... you know, because of this whole complacency thing, I did not give a second thought to this race this morning. I didn't think about it all week. I didn't cut back on any other workouts because of it. I didn't wear my TYR speed suit **. I'm not telling you this to make an excuse for why I lost today, but just to give you some insight into my errors. I made the mistake of thinking that I could just show up and win my age group. I knew that uber-swimmer Miki turned 40 this year (phew! She beat me every swim last year- I was 2nd, 4x), and I knew that there is another gal in my age group who is pretty fast, but she hasn't beaten me in a couple of years so I was not particularly worried about her. I swear, and I am embarrassed to admit this, but I just ASSumed that I was going to win my age group. And you know what they say about people who ASSume.
So I warmed up well this morning and when the horn went off I sprinted. I found myself some feet and felt like I worked pretty hard to stay on them. I didn't look up and sight a lot, but again, I was on this gal's feet and it seemed to me that she was a competent swimmer so I let her do the sighting. I ASSumed she was doing a fine job because every once in a while she would do a couple of breast-stroke strokes for some extra sighting. Fine. I stayed on her feet. My stroke felt long and strong and I felt good so I ASSumed that the reason there were so few swimmers around us was that we were just swimming faster than most of the others. Lol.
I wondered briefly if this gal I was drafting off of was in my age group. She did not look like a young gal to me but I couldn't really see her that well. I just knew I did not know her. This is a small island and though most of us know each other, that doesn't mean that new people don't move in... but honestly, as we were approaching the finish, I felt no urge or desire to try to sprint by her or run by her up the beach. I just didn't really care. She beat me by 3 seconds.
That is not like me.
But whatever. I ran up the beach and crossed the timing mat and then saw 2 gals I knew standing there and was immediately a bit disappointed. If they were standing there, that meant they'd already finished, which means they beat me. Not taking anything away from these two gals, because they are good swimmers... but on a good day, well, I would expect to be ahead of them. That's all. So I thought I was swimming well, but clearly not as well as I thought I was.
I checked the results. Um. Ok. The gal I was drafting off of was indeed in my age group. And, um, she was third. Oh my. I hope this doesn't come across like I am a sore loser. I don't see it that way. I did my best today. I got beat fair and square. BUT 4th in my age group is not an acceptable result for me at these races. The only other time in 6 years that I have placed 4th in my age group I was 7 months pregnant!
I swear, I tried not to let it bother me... But then I had 3.5 hours on my bike (into a stiff headwind most of the time) and I spent that time beating myself up for my fourth place finish. Why do I suck at swimming now? That was my main thought.
But the truth is, I don't suck at swimming. HOWEVER, there are some other (new) fast gals here in my age group now. I checked the results and the gal I drafted off of today lives in the next town over and posted a good result at the first swim two weeks ago. Ok good. So the fact of the matter is that I'm going to have to put my game face on for these races if I want to place better in the next two. Perfect. I needed some motivation. I needed a swift kick in the butt. And I got it today. So now it's GAME ON. I am going to SWIM. And I will show up at the next race with a better mindset and will be ready to race! Perfect.
*Scott said the rule is 'not more than 3 beers before blogging', so I'm good.
**Nalani said that wearing a speed suit at these races would be like wearing a ball gown to a BBQ so we just didn't do it. Nor did most of our competitors.