Saturday, September 10, 2016

What A Difference A Shore Makes...

Here on Oahu we had two long ocean swim races this past week. Monday (Labor Day) was the Waikiki Roughwater Swim on the south shore (2.3 miles, supposedly), then today was the 5K up on the North Shore.

The Roughwater attracts ~700 swimmers each year, many of whom come from California or Australia. It has the feel of a 'big' race in that it goes off in waves and well, it's just a 'big' race with a lot of people. I've done it a few times over the years, though I often skip this one. Mostly b/c logistically it's a bit of a challenge for those of us who live here (hello, have you tried to park in Waikiki recently??) It's point to point and when you finish, you have to walk back 2+ miles to your car, or find a friend and hitch a ride. The plus side I suppose is that we get to race people who we don't know. I'm not 100% sold on this being a 'plus' as honestly I have more fun racing people I do know, but I suppose its fun to stretch yourself sometimes and race new people.

Before the race I heard the announcer say that the current was neutral so should be a good day out there. I don't think he 'lied' necessarily, but clearly he didn't have all the information when he told us that. After we got out there it was clearly the strongest current I'd ever swam against in Waikiki... Just nuts. Long story short (because this could seriously be loooong!), I was over it by the time I walked up the beach to the timing mat... It took me 1:32 to get through that swim, solidly 30+ minutes longer than ever before. The funniest part was that even with that time, I won my age group (23rd OA female), which is just a testament to how ridiculous the current was. Apparently they were pulling hundreds of swimmers out... putting them in boats because there were so many who just couldn't even swim against that current anymore. Crazy. An Aussie Olympian who just swam the 10k in Rio didn't even make it under an hour. Hearing all that made me a bit less salty about my own personal slowest swim, because well, I didn't get pulled out. #smallvictories Actually, I was sort of stoked to win my AG there. They give big umeke bowls to age group winners at that race and I have one from 2006 (that I still use as a fruit bowl in my kitchen!) so to earn a matching one 10 years later was a secret goal. Let's give that a hashtag #longevityinsport!

Fast forward 5 days later and ~100 mostly local die hard swimmers showed up on the North Shore to swim 5K from Sunset Beach to Waimea Bay. (Not my file. I don't wear garmins during swim races!)
As I was swimming this morning I started thinking about all the things I like better about this race vs the Roughwater. Mostly what it came down to was that racing with a smaller group of friends is way more fun, and hello, when you finish this race you're on the North Shore vs in Waikiki! #KillerTacos

This race seemed to fly by. I did it in 1:19, a full 13min faster than the Roughwater, which is hysterical given it should be ~20min longer! Won my age group again, which was cool because it meant I could get in a photo with the cool kids (and Hudson, lol!) To be fair, some Aussie guy showed up and stole Hudson's blue ribboned medal... Apparently he didn't get the memo that this was just a local race... ;)
Anyway, fun day today for sure. I'll miss swimming on the North Shore. Winter swells will start arriving soon and making it not suitable for swimming up there until next spring... So, until next year...

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