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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.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Release the Beast Open Water Swim

Happy Memorial Day!

I kicked off the morning with the Ozark Open Water Swim at Hickory Creek park on Beaver Lake.  The swim this year was called Release the Beast and is a fundraiser for the AquaHawgs kids swim team.

I participated in this race two years ago when it was in September.  They moved the race to be earlier in the season so that it didn't conflict with the Long Dam swim in August.  The race distances are .6mile, 1.2 mile, or 2.4 mile.  I elected to do the 1.2 mile distance again which is a one loop course. 

The course is laid out as a straight out and back along a buoy line.  The weather conditions today were dramatically different than in 2010.  For starters it was in the upper 70's versus 54 at race time! The water was also a little chillier which made it a wetsuit legal race.  (Side note: I highly recommend TriSlide for any wetsuit races!)

There was a brief pre-race meeting to go over the course and logistics for the different distances of the races.  This was an event that was open for both Masters swimmers as well as Age Groupers (otherwise known as kiddos!)  The Masters got a head start on the kiddos by 5 minutes or so.  We all headed into the water and self seeded ourselves.  The race director let out an air horn and signaled the start of the race. 
The race site and course...the buoy looks a long ways away!

I swam next to my friend Britt for a few minutes and then I felt like we switched sides and was gone.  I was a little panicky for the first few minutes until I could find some open water.  The water was super choppy from the wind and it was a little frustrating at first.  Eventually, I settled into a rhythm and plodded my way to the turn buoy.  As I neared the buoy, I was surprised to be in the wrong lane of traffic! I had drifted to the left of the buoy line and it was as if I was headed into oncoming traffic.  I shifted to the right and was pumped to make it around the buoy. 

There's something about a swim race that is just interesting.  There's so little exterior noise to process...it's just you and the water.  I tend to hear bits of songs in my head and have pep talks with myself.   The first pep talk was during the first few minutes of the race.  The crush of people is always overwhelming and it takes some reminding to know that I can do it.  The next big one was during the return trip.  The distance between the turn buoy and the 2nd buoy just seemed to take forever.  It felt like I was zig-zagging and not getting any closer to the buoy.  I ended up doing some math trying to calculate what distance would be left when I got to the buoy to distract myself and keep focused. 
Rocking my ToughChik hoodie!

The last buoy was about .3 miles out and I equated that to about 10 minutes more of swimming.  I don't swim with a watch and during the entire race had no clue of how much time had passed.  I was really surprised to see the clock at the end and see that I had done the event in 34 minutes and some change.  That was almost a 10 minute improvement over my time in 2010.  I'll take that kind of a PR!!!
Congrats to Britt! She's training for IronMan Wisconsin...truly a beast!

Britt did awesome too...she did the 1.2 mile and killed it for coming off of being sick recently.  After I told her that I thought she had ditched me on the swim since I had lost her after a few minutes.  I think I started pulling left towards the buoy line and she stayed on the outside edge of the course.  Either way...fun times with friends!

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