Friday, April 10, 2015

Marin Swim & More

I did my first multi-sport event of the year on Saturday.  It was a Splah & Dash event - a 500 meter open water swim followed by a 5k.

This was an unusual event because it started at 1:00 in the afternoon.  Nice because I got to sleep in and go out to breakfast with my husband to celebrate his birthday.  But the 1:00 start time brought with it some complications.  What do you eat before a race that starts at 1:00? Also I had to drive through San Francisco and across the Golden Gate Bridge on a beautiful Saturday afternoon - which meant lots and lots of traffic!

But I got there with plenty of time to get organized and hang out with Meredith and Christina before getting in the water.

Christina, me, and Meredith - before wetsuits.
This was a pretty low key event.  No set transition area.  Just put your stuff in the grass.  Um, OK!  We all laid out our towels with our running shoes and then poured ourselves into our wetsuits and headed down to the start area.

Wetsuits on - ready to get into the COLD water.

For this event, we were able to walk down the shore and get into the water up to about our knees - which in no way prepared me for how cold the water was.  They counted down to the start and we were off.  Well, some of us were off.  I waded in up to my chest, and I could not go any further.  I stood there and honestly considered turning around and getting out.  It was that COLD.  I tried putting my face in the water and it took my breath away.  I was standing there actually saying out loud, "I can't do this" when Christina came from behind me, grabbed my arm, and told me that I could.  So I tried.  I took a few strokes out towards the first buoy and one of the kayakers came over to me to see if I was OK.  Honestly, I was fine.  I wasn't hyperventilating.  I wasn't in any danger.  It was just soooooo cold that I didn't know if I wanted to go any further.  Then I decided that I'd feel like a real ass if I got out of the water after driving all the way up here, so I just went for it.  I probably wasted a minute trying to talk myself into it.  But once I got out to the first buoy something happened.  The water was actually warmer than it was near shore.  And I was able to swim normally.  It wasn't my fastest swim, but it was probably the best open water swim I've ever had.  I could look ahead and see a lot of people struggling, including one girl going about as slow as me.  Only she wouldn't put her face in the water - she had even taken her goggles off and would grab every kayak along the way.  Like I said, I wasn't swimming fast but at least I was swimming - and I was grateful that I wasn't in a state of panic like this other girl.

Feeling like a rock star coming out of the water.
Next it was time to try to find my land legs, strip off that wetsuit, and put the running shoes on.  And yes, I did sit down on my towel in my "transition" area to put my shoes on.  I'm not used to going straight from the swim to the run and there was no way I could have gotten my shoes on while standing. 

Just getting started on the 5k.
The run (or walk for some of us) started through the park, then went up a giant hill out of the park to some city streets.  Honestly, I wasn't ready for how hilly this course would be but I made the best of it.  I did a little running on the downhills, but I could tell my hip wasn't thrilled with it so I stuck to mostly walking.  On the way back to the park, it was a huge uphill on sidewalk, then back down on a trail into the park.  And finally I was heading to the finish line.

Happy to be done!
Overall I felt like I had a good race.  My official finish time was 1:11:30 which was faster than my goal time of 1:15.  Swim time was clocked at 18:25 and my run time was 53:05.  If I had to guess I think transition time was included in the swim time, but I'm not positive.  I think swimming with Masters has helped build my endurance. So even though I still struggle in the open water, I don't get out completely gassed like I used to.  I'm much more relaxed in the open water (once I get going!), so I'm not using as much energy as I used to - which definitely helps with the rest of the race.  I felt strong on the run/walk portion of the 5k which is a good confidence boost for the Moraga Tri in two weeks.


  1. I'm laughing because our summaries of the race sound so familiar! Do you really think your transition time was included in our swim time? That would make my actual swim much better than I thought. I've tried to compare with my Garmin but I totally forgot to hit the buttons as i go tout of the water. I didn't remember until I had already started the run.

  2. Nice work! I've had a nagging thought in the back of my head that I'd like to try a triathlon someday... never mind that I haven't really bike or swam in a decade ;)

  3. Way to go!! Sounds like a fun race - except for the freezing water. I am trying to complete the Ironman distances in 30 days - my swimming is pathetic.

  4. Well done! The water for my half Iron was 52 degrees and it took me like 5 minutes to convince myself to actually swim in it. Way to overcome!