To give you a more complete picture of my lack of preparation, in the month leading up to the race, I completed no more than five swims, each consisting of 2,500 yards or less. The race around the island would be 2 miles--or 3,520 yards--long. Furthermore, all of my "training" was done in a 25-yard chlorinated pool whereas these 2 miles would be swum in the salty, murky, turbulent waters of the East River.
But never mind all that.
Fortunately for me, instead of making me panic, nervousness makes me talk. And because I knew how poorly prepared I was, I started talking at least before the race. "Boy I sure hope I don't drown," was my favorite mantra, even though I knew full well that, as a lifelong swimmer, my chances of drowning were about slim-to-none. I just needed to remind myself (and everyone around me) that I wasn't prepared to race this swim, so merely finishing should be achievement enough.
Meaning, shut up and swim.
By the time I stood, burning the soles of my feet on the concrete sidewalk leading up to the starting dock, I had successfully managed to quash my competitive spirit. I wasn't ready for this race. I wouldn't be winning any awards. And frankly, I should be satisfied if I could get to the finish without too much trouble. And I was pretty happy with that outlook.
That is, until I hit the water.
What I like best about open water swimming is how it can become a bit hypnotic. With no walls, no flip turns, and no lane lines, you fall into this rhythm of stroking, breathing, and sighting that makes swimming seem easier than it ever feels in a pool. Sure, the waves tossing your body around like a rag doll and occasionally smashing you right in the face when you were about to take a breath. But you can ignore most of that, eventually, and just count. One, two three, breathe. One, two three, head up.
God I love open water swimming.
Long story short, I finished the race without too much trouble. The worst part was probably the fact that I couldn't see the final "finishing line" dock in time, so I didn't finish with an "empty tank." Swimmers were already lounging around on the grass beyond the finish chute by the time I got there, but not too many, so I figured I might not have finished at the very front of the pack, but at least I wasn't last!
Here's how the race panned out:
|Race Length||Finishing Time||Overall Place||Gender Place (All Women)||Age Group Place (F20-30)|