Wingman and I left early this morning to drive to Amagansett. He knew where we had to go. I am pretty much clueless when it comes to driving on the south fork. If I have to go anywhere off of 27, forget it, I need a guide dog or something to get me there. Needless to say with my human GPS in the car, we made it there no problem. Even got there a little earlier than I expected.
Made my way to the registration table and signed up for the 1 mile race. They gave me a white swim cap and a t-shirt. Wingman took this time to nap in the car. Next time you see him, feel free to ask him about how I made him get up early on his day off.
The time comes for the swimmers to line up. The 2 milers will head out first, then the 1/2 milers, then the 1 milers with each wave spaced 5 minutes apart. The course is basically a large triangle. It was a little rough heading out because of the sun so I had to use a boat to attempt to site as the buoys were hard to see. I swam in a pack which wound up being a big mistake. I was so far out to the right and had to swim a diagonal to get back on course. Now I just focused on making the first turn to get out of the sun. I seemed to get to the first turn rather quickly and was feeling really good. At least now I didn't have to deal with the sun and could see all the buoys. I decided to swim close to the buoys so I would go the shortest possible distance. I was getting nervous because I would see clusters of swimmers way out to my right and it had me thinking I was in the wrong place, but I kept looking around and knew I was on course.
The 2nd leg of the swim seemed to take forever. No matter how much or how hard I swam, it seemed like the final turn buoy was not getting closer. But I kept plugging away. I was still a little nervous about not being near many swimmers, but since no life guards were correcting me, I kept the line I was swimming.
When I finally made the final turn, the life guard tried to tell me something. Since I wear ear plugs when I swim, I can't really hear a thing. It sounded something like this "wah wah wah wah strong current wah wah right." Just like the teacher in the old Charlie Brown/Peanuts cartoons. You can't understand a word she says. At this point I could see a swimmer about 15 yards ahead of me in a white cap. She looked like she was either tiring or struggling and her head was bobbing around. It was as if there was blood in the water. I went into attack mode to reel her in. I didn't want to find out that I lost by a few seconds to someone in my age group that I could have overtaken. I figured it was OK to go all out to catch her since I did not have to bike and run afterwards. As I closed in, I noticed a life guard paddling out towards me. Apparently I must have looked like I was going to cut inside the buoy so he was subtly telling me to swim a little more to the right. This altered my move as I was going to pass between the buoy and the woman. Now I had to swing out to the right and pass her on the other side. Once the pass was complete, I kept swimming hard as I did not want her to get her second wind and pass me. I swam scared the rest of the way. And to add insult to my efforts, Sinead blew by me like I was standing still. Crap. She was swimming the 2 mile race and passed me on her second lap. This was due to the 2 milers starting 10 minutes ahead of us. Oh well, can't win them all.
As the water got shallow, I had to figure my strategy for getting to the beach. I usually swim as far as I can and then run. This beach had rocks in the water so I wanted to do as little running as possible. I think when I finally stopped swimming and stood up, I was maybe knee deep in water. At this point I ran to the shore and found the right timing chute. I looked at my watch and was surprised at the time. It felt like I was out there longer than I was. Overall I was happy I did this race and will certainly be back next year to improve my time.
Wingman is getting to be a good spotter now. He said he can pick my swim stroke out of a pack of swimmers. I told him it must not be that hard. All you have to do is find the swimmer that looks like it is losing a wrestling match with an alligator and you'll find me.
Next weekend is the Timberman sprint in New Hampshire. Looking forward to a nice short race to see how all of my training is coming together. But first, on tap for tomorrow Wingman and I are heading out for ~4 hours of biking.
And one more funny item (note it's from 2004 - not that old). It's nice to see this mother is concerned about jackhammer noise and her unborn child: