We had another ocean swim race this morning up at the north shore. If you remember my experience from a couple weeks ago, you'll remember that a fire was lit within me and I made a decision to up my effort in the water before the rest of the ocean swims this summer. And I did. I've showed up at morning swim workouts with bells on the last two weeks. Ready to work. Ready to push it. Believing in myself. Focusing on form. (You get the picture.)
So I'd like to say that I was supremely prepared for this morning's race... well, I pretty much was. I won't lie. Yesterday was Scott's birthday and we went out last night and tied one on (what does that mean, anyway?) I wasn't crazy hungover this morning like some people were, but I didn't bounce out of bed like I might have had I not had that third glass of wine last night... anyway... let's ignore that little fact, shall we?
The swim this morning was a point to point, through some rocky spots, against a current (but it wasn't really that bad of a current). Navigation on this course can be a challenge and it's everybody's question... inside or outside? Meaning which line do we take? Where is the current best/worst? The only rules here in these point to point races is 'stay in the water' so as long as you don't get out and run on the shore, you can take whatever line you think is fastest to get to the finish buoy. Fun to add that element of strategy! I was asked multiple times after we finished this morning, "Did you go inside or outside?" And the answer, honestly, was that I did not know. Anyway, I'm getting ahead of myself.
Two weeks ago the winner of my age group was a gal named Robin Lyon from Flagstaff Arizona. When I saw her name on the results I was like, "Robin Lyon!?!? I know her!!" I used to live in AZ and trained with Robin and her husband all the way back in 1995 (when we all lived in Scottsdale). Crazy small world. Anyway, I was bummed that I missed her at the race because we've completely lost touch... but low and behold, guess who's still here?? Yep! Vacationing for over a month, apparently. Nice, huh? Anyway, It was great to see her this morning and catch up on the last 6+ years since we haven't seen each other...
I knew Robin was a fast swimmer- she and Nalani finished in the same time zone last race (when I was about a minute and a half back)... but we lined up next to each other this morning and as we were chit chatting about her lazy vacation, the horn sounded and all hell broke loose and 500+ swimmers all started sprinting in the same direction. I put my head down and joined the group... it was a white water MESS with all the kicking and sprinting and I was looking forward to getting those first 200 meters over with so I could just settle in with my pack.
But the pack I became a part of included Robin... I could see her, right behind me actually... and it was then that I decided I was in it to win it this morning. Hangover smangover, I'm fighting for this today! (I've been asked before how I know who it is that I am swimming with in these races... well, our water is crystal clear and we don't wear wetsuits, so you can tell by someone's cap or suit if you know what to look for!) So I didn't 'settle in' like I normally would... no, I pushed and pushed and pushed and stayed right in there with my pack. At one point, maybe half way through the swim, I already felt like I might puke right there in the water, but I looked to my right and saw that Robin and I were swimming side by side, stroke for stroke, and on my immediate left was Nalani! It occurred to me at that point that THIS is what I love about racing... duking it out full force with people who you absolutely love and respect. And I tell you what, while I was thrilled (and ok, a bit surprised) that I was right in there with these gals, I vowed to not give this race away... I was going to fight with everything I had to beat them both to the timing mat!! This was racing at it's best!
So check out the picture below... toward the end we had to navigate around those far rock islands... the key (if you're brave enough) is to go on the inside of both of them. It's shallow and you're right on top of some rocks and have to take care not to land on top of one, but it's the fastest route so this is where our group went...
So I made it safely through the rocks... still killing myself to hang with this pack of maybe 6-7 swimmers, including Robin and Nalani and I don't know who else... and then Robin abruptly took a cut to the right and surged at the same time... started her finishing kick!! Ok, come on, Michelle! GO GO GO!! But alas, given that I started my finishing kick 35+ minutes ago when the horn sounded, I just didn't have it to up my pace any further. I got dropped by the group. Darn! BUT, I kept at it and pushed as hard as I could alone to the beach and was supremely happy with my race and my effort!
Here we are just after finishing congratulating each other on an awesome effort. I was probably telling Robin about how I just couldn't go after she surged right...
To my surprise, Robin was not first in our age group today... that other gal Anna actually was! I don't know this gal but I'd certainly like to meet her! Maybe next time... anyway, so I ended up 3rd in the age group, with only 40 seconds separating the three of us. I was 60th OA and 25th female (most of those fast females being 14 year olds. Ha! Those little kids can SWIM.)
So I learned a good little lesson today... and that is that I don't need to actually win to be happy with my race. (Ok, I knew this before but it became as crystal clear as the water we swam in today) I just have to try to win and that makes me happy. I gave everything I had today. I have no excuses about the current or the line or the rocks or the chop or anything else... I swam as fast as I could and the people who beat me are just flat out faster. Fine. Knowing that I gave my all was supremely satisfying!
And in good news, there's one more race in this series... in two weeks we will all go duke it out again (Robin will still be here and I would guess Anna will be as well) so THAT is going to be fun! I am giddy just thinking about getting to race with these gals again. :)
Another thing that made this race super fun was that Scott and Moana came up too! Moana just loves loves loves the beach and the ocean these days so she had a ball. Here's a video to prove it (and see what I'm talking about with the clear water???) The beginning of the video is of swimmers still finishing in the bay...
I neglected to mention earlier that I saw two turtles while we were swimming (that's what happens when you keep your head down- you see the turtles you're swimming over!) Mark saw a ray and there was a pod of spinner dolphins playing and showing off for us in the bay. (Just in case you weren't jealous of the swim conditions today I figured I'd throw that in about the sea life... ;)
Not surprisingly, Moana fell asleep within about 30 seconds of being put in her car seat on the drive home... Scott dropped me off about 1/2 way home and I ran the rest of the way. Boy, there's nothing like topping off a great swim race with a 2+ hour run in the middle of the afternoon on a hot Hawaiian summer day. Um, Ice bath, anyone??