What a BEAUTIFUL day for a swim!
We got up, grabbed Big & Toasty Sandwiches and iced coffees from Dunkin Donuts, and hit the road. Not the best pre-race breakfast, but I didn’t care. I was hungry, and they looked so good!
We headed South toward Swim Miami 2011.
We showed up, and parking was a mess. We were supposed to use the garage, but it ran out of tickets. So, we hit a surface lot nearby. We walked into the race, and there were no signs indicating where to check in. I finally found it, only to learn that they ran out of the right color cap AND they ran out of small and medium t-shirts. Oh well. I decided to hit the bathroom. They had NO port-a-potties. There were TWO stalls for all female participants and spectators. This is a huge pet peeve of mine…
After finally making it out of the bathroom, I realized that everyone had body markings and timing chips. These weren’t even mentioned to me when I checked in! I found the body markers, who pointed me in the direction of the timing chip tent… they had also failed to mention how many waves there were or when the waves started.
Masters women was the LAST wave. We got out to the dock where they promised we’d be able to see the turn around buoy… not true.
Anyway, I chatted and joked with the other women about how lost we were going to get, and how no one should follow me 🙂 The air horn sounded and we were off! I made it to the buoy that was described as our first right turn… and stopped when I heard whistles. They failed to tell us there was a buoy that was the exact same as the one at the turn, about halfway down the course. I was a little frustrated, but I rejoined the pack. We were swimming RIGHT into the sun, and sighting was awful.
I returned to what I thought was the right course. After a few minutes, I spotted the buoy. Instead of hitting the yellow cylinder buoy, turning right, swimming 30 yards, hitting the orange triangle buoy, and heading back to shore (as we were instructed in the pre-race breifing), the two buoys were moored on the same line! It was so confusing. I swam hard into the turn around and headed back to the pier… or so I thought. It was in a marina, boats were moored everywhere, and sighting/swimming straight back was impossible! I think I took the long way around a few boats. A nice volunteer directed me back to the right channel. As I settled into the final push, when I could FINALLY see the finish line, I saw swimmers filtering in from EVERY direction! I was not the only one to have gotten lost. I sped by a few people and touched my timing chip to the finish tag.
I started talking to the girl that finished behind me. She had been terribly lost, too. It seemed to be the theme of the event.
I headed over to the timer’s table and grabbed my results. 24:23? Awesome! That’s a 1:25 pace! That also makes zero sense for how lost I was, and how much time I spent looking for the right course and correcting my course. So, I’m fairly certain that the course was short, too! … but I tied for first in my age group!
Sorry. I just complained a lot.
The weather was gorgeous. The water temp was perfect. The post-race spread of bagels, oranges, and melons was ample. The other swimmers were fun. I enjoyed getting in an OWS before my first tri this season. Races like this make me appreciate simple, well-marked courses even more 🙂
I’m dreaming of the day when every open water race has buoys and balloons like the La Jolla Rough Water Swim…