This distance was a little farther this year (1500 meters) and I was a little faster this year (27:04) but considering how much work I have put in at the pool, I am not sure I am pleased with the investment of time.
And okay, okay...maybe I have not gone to the pool that much in the past month, but I was at Masters during the winter when it was 40-degrees and raining.
The thing is, open-water swimming is much different than pool-swimming. When you stand in the lake on race day and peer into the distance to sight your turn-around buoy, it always looks so far away. This course was two 750-meter laps but yet it looked intimidatingly and frustratingly far.
I am tempted to point out that the shirtless man standing a mere few feet behind me is a South African gold medal Olympic swimmer with a really awesome accent. But anyway, I still could not believe I paid money to subject myself to swimming in this gross lake.
When spotting a camera, I managed to smile. But even I could not make it look convincing.
My friend, who won the race in a mere 20 minutes, is also in this picture. She claims it's "no big deal" because she has "been swimming her whole life." When the race started, I was kicked and hit and a few bodies literally swam over me. It was a crowded and unpleasant start for those of us not in front. I immediately took the opportunity to blame my mother. Maybe if she did not let me quit swim team when I was young kid, I could swim in the front with my friend.
Although, in my mother's defense, it would still have been unlikely. I suspect my friend liked swimming when she was young. I bet she was very good at it. I bet she wanted to go to practice every morning.
I know I was not born to be a swimmer. I was born to be a trail runner who dabbled in road running. But before triathlons, I was riddled with injury all the time. If I want to run for the rest of my life, swimming in this gross is lake is simply what I need to do, even if I am never able to finish in 20 minutes.
After the pandemonium thinned out, I concentrated on my stroke. Stroke Stroke breathe left - stroke stroke breathe right. Spot. Stroke stroke breathe left - stroke stroke breathe right. Spot. It was very boring.
But finally, I finished! 7th place, out of 42 females.
After the race, I was horribly bloated. It hurt to breathe.
I need to figure out how to not swallow air and water when gasping for my life.