Our winds have been up the last few days... 15-25mph is pretty windy around here... according to the news it was gusting to 40mph on Friday/Sat and I can verify based on my bike ride the other day that this indeed seemed to be accurate. I really have been trying to embrace training in these types of conditions because I know they make us stronger... and you know what? Sometimes it's windy on race day. Better learn to deal.
So the Double Roughwater swim was this morning and I was mentally preparing myself to deal with some of the worst wind chop I've experienced... I'd way rather mentally prep for the worst and then be pleasantly surprised if it's not as bad as I imagined. It was pretty bad today, BUT not quite as bad as I'd envisioned (I'm good at envisioning the worst!) so it was all good.
In the 12 hours prior to the swim I had two people tell me about a new gal that has apparently moved here... a new swimmer gal in my age group?? Hmmm. (It's a small island so news travels fast!) Ok. I am undefeated in my age group at this race and my goal was to keep that streak alive, so I'd be lying if I said I was unconcerned, but I was pretty confident in my swim fitness so I was thinking I'd be fine. I figured out which one she was before we started and I'll tell you the evolution of my mindset during the swim b/c I think it's pretty classic. :)
So like 30' into the swim (total guess on the time I was not wearing a watch so really I have no idea but we were maybe half way to the turn buoy) I'm swimming stroke for stroke with this new girl and feeling frustrated... and pissy. She is faster than I gave her credit for! I was NOT lollygagging yet here she was and I could not shake her! Argh! WTF?!? So those feelings only lasted a minute or two and then they evolved into no no Michelle this is good for you! Some real competition in ocean swim races is something I've been missing since my old rival Jana moved away... this is super! I'm going to be extra motivated now knowing I have someone to RACE! That thought also lasted like a minute or two then I it morphed into something like UM NO WAY BITCH I OWN THIS RACE YOU'RE NOT COMING INTO MY BACKYARD AND TAKING IT FROM ME...
Anyway, I must say, I've never even really met her and I am sure she is in no way shape or form a bitch at all but don't fault me for having these thoughts. It was a race after all! In good news (for me!) not too long after my mindset changed, I managed to pull away from her. The coolest thing was having a ton of confidence in my training... in the last week or so my swim finally popped right into place... after sucking all fall, all of a sudden last Wednesday it all came right back and I was finally hitting splits like I was before Canada... and this past week I had one of the best swims I'd had all year. So I KNEW my fitness was there. I also knew that as soon as we rounded the turn buoy things were going to get U.G.L.Y. The whole way out we were swimming with following seas (ie like a tailwind)... very strong following seas though- like to the point where it was hard to actually swim normally b/c the water was moving so strongly with you that it could throw off your normal rhythm. I knew from training experience that as soon as we turned around, it was going to suck.
I rounded the channel buoy and sure enough, it was like being blasted. I just felt like a rag doll in that water. I knew though that everyone else was dealing with the same conditions so I just did the best I could to relax my stroke, reach deep, keep it short, etc. It was so relentless though- several times I actually dove under the water and did a few breaststroke pulls... mostly b/c I just wanted a short break from the chop on top. It was so peaceful down there! And in the quiet under water I could hear a chirping/whistling which made me wonder if dolphins were near? Or maybe it was a dolphin whistling a warning that a shark was circling nearby?? No that did not actually cross my mind though maybe it should have. Afterward Scott (he was my escort on his surfboard) told me that the first time I dove under he freaked out wondering where the hell I was... he is smart though and by the second time I did that he knew what I was doing so he didn't stress it. I could see too, every time I took a breath, that he was being blasted in the face the whole time by that chop... squinting his eyes and turning his head, etc. He told me he would have liked to have been able to dive under too. :)
So of course I got the shit kicked out of me during the second half of that swim today, but relatively I was doing great. I had lots of thoughts about how GLAD I was that I train in conditions like these because nothing took me by surprise today. It was ugly and it was rough. But I passed like 4 guys in the last bit of the race and put ~4' on my new rival in the last ~4K. And I'm not that tired right now. All good signs that leave me feeling rather satisfied that the work I've done in the last 6 weeks has been good.
Now for some fun pictures! Top 4 women this morning:
Moana was in love with the fish that Vicky won for 1st place OA Female and asked Mommy why didn't YOU win a fish?? Um, because I'm not fast enough sweetie.
My other training partners Mark and Steve both won their age groups today too. Here's Mark with his champagne! Pretty nice really I have Nalani and Mark and Steve to train with every time I get in the pool. I am lucky too that they are willing do all the long BSC workouts I write, most of the time without complaining too much. ;)
And my athlete Gene finished this swim for the first time today too. Last year he told me he wanted to do it so it's been on the bucket list this whole year. I awarded him a BSC swim cap at the finish! He definitely earned that one today.
So there you go. Another long training day in the bank! Funny if I take a step back I'd say I'm in decent shape to do an Ironman in 13 weeks... my recovery was super quick and easy from that 26 mile jog last weekend and this swim today didn't hurt me at all... So on the outside it may appear that I am Ironman ready BUT I am not. Am I ready to finish an Ironman right now? Yes. Am I ready to race one right now? Nope. So that is what I am going to work on changing in the next 13 weeks. Real Cabo training starts tomorrow and I am motivated!!