Swim the Bridge 2012 was the weekend before the HyVee Tri last year so I opted not to do anything longer than a 500. This year, the race was moved earlier to July 28 so I decided to do the 1.2 mile. Matty J and Braxton did the 500. Because of flooding and water quality warnings, I’ve avoided open water swimming this year. Apparently, the pools haven’t been so great this year either, but that is another story.
It was a chilly morning, but the water temp felt great. They guys did their race, then it was my turn. Because an Olympic triathlon is just a 1500 meter swim, this would be my longest swim race ever at 1.2 miles, even beating the 1650 yard swims I did as a kid! I was nervous, mostly because I hadn’t had many training swims which causes my vertigo to act up when I get in a pool, but I took my Bonine and hoped for the best.
This race has a complicated entry with lots of rocks and concrete pieces. As I entered for the race, I was so focused on not cutting my foot (I did last year) that I didn’t pay any attention to where I lined up. And I did jam my toe on a big piece of concrete. Then I looked up and saw a pile of elbows attached to men in wetsuits right in front of my nose. If the water is not freezing cold, I equate people in wetsuits to people who panic and will grab other swimmers. Uh oh. (okay, to be fair many of us lifelong swimmers have some pretty strong opinions about wetsuits. The race was wetsuit legal though those in wetsuits weren’t eligible for awards. And I understand that this race is an ideal place to test out a new wetsuit to see how it performs prior to a race where wetsuits are appropriate, but I digress.)
I knew I was about to be smacked. And kicked. I was also right in the middle of the pack. I know better, but fortunately I’m not frazzled by some obstacles in the water. It was a group start for the 1.2, 2.4, and 5k races. I really don’t think I stopped getting constantly kicked and elbowed until after 500 meters. Once we hit the turn to head right, I felt much better and the last straight stretch before the turn right to the finish felt amazing, despite bouncing around a bit in the rough water and swallowing some. I maintained a slow, steady pace, my breathing and heart rate felt good, and my motion sickness medication did not fail me!
My time was 39:28 which was 2nd in my age group and 6th for women overall for the 1.2 mile. I will probably do the 1.2 mile distance again next year. The idea of a longer race is really appealing, but the thought of having to climb out of the water on the scary rocks, then get back in via the scary rocks to do more than 1 lap is enough to make me think twice. I was happy with my swim and I’m so thankful that there is a swim only race available in central Iowa and highly recommend it!