Saturday, August 15, 2009

EHVOR Swim Challenge

So this morning I lined up in the water for the East Hampton Volunteer Ocean Rescue Swim Challenge. This is the 2nd year they are running this race series. There was a race back in July in Montauk and this one was held in Fresh Pond in Amagansett. You have 3 swim options to choose from - 2 miles, 1 mile, and 1/2 mile. Since I am training for a half ironman, I opted for the 1 mile swim. My friend and uber swimmer Sinead was racing in the 2 mile event.

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:


  1. Nice swim today! And I am certain that it was more than one mile! OR it could be that I was one of the idiots swimming too far to the right on the 2d leg of it. Great seeing you! See you in the water again sometime soon, and good luck with the end of the season! :) Kerri

  2. Sue, good swim, I was happy to see you on the shore before AND after the swim! You ROCK.. swimming is eassy for me, like breathing.. so I really appreciate how well you did in the open water, out of your element..keep it up.. I will be happy to acompany you on any training swims in the future.. and BRAVO Chris, next time, in rubber!