Sunday, July 20, 2008

TEAM WRIGHTHOUSE - THE SWIM

Today was the debut of Team Wrighthouse. We did our first triathlon team event. I did the swim, Karen did the bike and Rebecca did the swim. You can read about their adventures on their blogs (links at the bottom of this post and on the side rail)

OK, so my plan was to do the swim as fast as I could from the start for as long as I could go. A new concept for me, Mr. Pace-Yourself-So-You-Can-Finish). By the 4th buoy I was wondering about the sanity of that plan. My lats and triceps were screaming and I was sucking in about as much water as I was air on every breath.

But to backup for a moment: The swim course was two laps to the sixth buoy and back with a run up to the sea wall in between each lap. Today's race was a pretty small event, there were only 13 of us in the water which meant there wasn't going to really be a pack to gage my progress. And judging by who all was there I knew I was one of the slowest swimmers.

My start wasn't as good as I was hoping for. Team Mango always does a running beach start and although my knee is on the mend I didn't want to chance popping it out running into the water. So I walked/jogged into about knee-deep water then swam from there, which put me in last place at the start.

But I was determined to swim as hard as I could, so off I went. By the first buoy I was passing people. By the third I could see a small group of swimmers just in front of me. By the fourth I was hoping to make it to the next buoy without my arms falling off. And by the time I reached the sixth buoy on the first lap I was in survival mode. But there were a couple of swimmers right in front of me that I just had to try to catch.

All the way back I kept having negative thoughts about how I wasn't going to be able to swim another lap. About how tired I was, about how dumb it was to go that hard at the beginning. I began to slow down. All those negative thoughts were really getting to me.


(The video of the finish of lap 1 of the swim race.)
But my goal for the race was to not hold back at all. To try to go 100 percent at all times. My stroke had shortened because I was tired so I made my arms extend on the reach and forced them to extend on the push which made them really burn. There was one swimmer just ahead of me and I made it my goal on lap one to catch that swimmer before the beach run up. I think I caught the swimmer just before the beach. I was exhausted as you can see in the video. She passed me as we went around the cone marker by the sea wall shouting out a good-natured "Ha, I beat you." comment as she went by me. It's all for the fun, right?

My first lap time was 11 minutes and something. Slow for most swimmers, but hey, I've only been swimming for what, 9 months?

So back in the water my first goal was to over take her again which I think I did by the second buoy. I then spotted another swimmer about a buoy ahead of me and made it my next goal to catch him. My arms were like rubber. I was drinking so much water I think the water level dropped a few feet. My head was swimming (figuratively and literally - I was dizzy)

By the fifth buoy I was about 20 feet behind him but gaining slowly. I crossed over the rope so I could make the turn faster. (we had to make a counter-clockwise turn around the buoy, which meant we had to swim over the rope)

After I made the turn I saw that he had gained a little distance on me so I pushed a little more. I was surprised at my resolve to go so hard when my body was screaming to stop. By the fifth buoy I was gaining on him. Only 10 feet in front of me.

My arms were dead. I stretched out my stroke and slowed a bit. I started using my legs more trying to give any kind of relief to my upper body. I was on the verge of throwing up but I told myself "Do not slow down. Keep swimming even if you throw up!" A quote popped into my head that I thought I read once. Something about if you're not swimming in your own puke you're not swimming hard enough. It was a gross thought, but I was not going to slow down.

By the third buoy I was right behind him. I didn't want to draft him because I knew I would slow down and just hang on his feet. Two swimmers came at us head on about then. He pulled up to a stop and then went to the right around them. I had to put on the brakes as well and took an emergency turn to the left. He managed to gain a few feet on me.

By the last buoy I was just to the right of his feet. With every stroke I was gaining inches. Then I was by his knees, then by his waist. Finally, we were side by side.

Either he bumped me or I bumped him I'm not sure. We bumped again just before shore. In the video you can see him stand up and look at me. Hey, bumping is racing, right?


(In this video I'm the swimmer on the left as we come up to the finish of the swim race.)

He stopped in waist-deep water to run up. I kept swimming until my hand hit the sand. I knew he was going to out run me from the beach but I had made my goal to catch him. I was dead tired but happy. My overall time was 21 minutes, which meant my second lap was a minute faster than my first. Wow. That was a miracle. I walked/staggered up the beach to where Karen was waiting on her bike. Off she went. You can read about her great bike race on her blog here: Havin'fun in Hawaii.

You can read about Rebecca's awesome run on her blog at Rebecca's Page.

It was a great day and a we all had fun. It was fun watching Karen learn a couple of transition lessons and to see Rebecca push her way around the course. We did help Rebecca some, but that's OK, it was a family effort. And thanks to Karen for taking the time to take video of my swim just before her bike race.

4 comments:

Bruce Stewart (施樸樂) (ブルース・スチュワート) said...

Very interesting account of your swim. I forgot that the swim might be two laps, which means it is at least the distance to the Pea buoy and back. Your time is not bad, I remember going that in my early swims. Try and get under 20 next time. Pity I don't get the chance to do these races now. I just cannot gauge how fast I would go if I did it. Training alone and going flat out in one of these races isn't the same.

LeAnn said...

First place!!!!!!!!! Woohoo!!!!!!

Giovannni Paciello said...

Randy, Karen and Rebecca: YOU'RE THE BEST!!!!!!!!!
CONGRATULATION!! WHAT A TEAM!!!
With Aloha,
Giovanni

BreeWee said...

oh I missed it! I would have loved to see the family all going full on in that Mango! Way to go!

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