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Hi, I'm Whitney! I am a middle of the pack runner who discovered the fun of triathlons in 2009. Join me in my adventures in life and training. I run with the Rush Running team and enjoy the fun that comes with such a supportive group of friends who understand what running means to me. I'm newly discovering road biking and the fun that it entails.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Firecracker Open Water Swim

Happy 4th of July! What better way to start the day than an open water lake swim.  Jeff and Deb Spencer hosted the Arkansas Masters and friends for their Annual Firecracker Open Water Swim.  The swim has two distance options...long and longer! The race was billed as a 5K or 2.5K but during the safety briefing they said that the distance was actually 3.6 miles and 1.8 miles. 

Heading to the dock with swim buoys.
 The group had about 25 people swimming including lots of kids.  You can tell that I did not grow up as a swimmer because I was so shocked that these kids were going to do the full 5k+ swim.  There were probably 6-7 of us just swimming the half distance.  The full course option was an out and back to a small island in the main channel of the lake.  We were all suited up with our own personal swim buoy attached at the ankle.  This was to help the safety boats keep track of us but also to help since this area of the lake wasn't actually closed to boat traffic.  We started at 7AM which helped since there wasn't a ton of boat traffic out that early. 

Destination: that little tiny island a mere 1.8 miles away!
We began from a boat dock by the Spencer's cabin.  It didn't take too long before I was settled into an easy pace.  I stayed calm and didn't have that initial panic that I normally get during open water swims.  It probably helped to not walk in from the shore because I had no clue on the water depth.  The water was much clearer in this area of the lake so that was a welcome change. 

After maybe 20 minutes or so, Jeff Spencer came up by Jet ski and asked me to try heading more towards the right of the island.  It was like I had an internal compass that only wanted to go to the left of the destination! No matter what I did I kept drifting towards the far left of the main group.  I was lucky to have a kayaker near me at all times which really helped me feel safe since this was my first lake swim of this type of distance. 

The water wasn't too bad...temperature was great and there was very little chop.  My only problem was that the island destination was like an Oasis mirage...it just never seemed to get any closer.  There were even a few moments where it seemed like I wasn't even moving forward in the water.  I was so relieved to finally finish and even though I wasn't overwhelmingly tired I don't think I would have wanted to do the return trip.  I got into the return boat and was surprised that we didn't head immediately back.  That's because there were still a few people swimming...which means I WASN'T LAST!!!

My time for the 1.8 miles was approx. 1 hour 4 min.  My previous longest non-stop swim was at the One Hour Postal Swim in January where I swam about 2950yd in the 1 hour.  This was a great confidence builder for me around open water swimming.  I owe my friends a lot of thanks because they reassured me and encouraged me to give it a try. 

1 comment:

  1. Wow, I can't even imagine swimming that far. Great job! Especially the part where you weren't last. :-)