Yesterday I took part in the Cedar Island 5K, an awesome little (fewer than 100 swimmers) 5K swim at the Jersey shore. The swim was organized by what appeared to be triathletes. Normally that would make me either a) go the other way or 2) listen intently for triathletisms. This one ended with a third option: enjoyment!
This race really was well organized. The check-in was quick, no ID required. Got marked quickly by smiling volunteers. Even got called back to get my goody bad as I had turned the wrong way. And talk about a goody bag. One of the best (granted, my OW resume is strange). Lube (I should have used it), sunscreen, a pair of running socks (!), technical shirt, gel (raspberry), and something else I can't think of now. Oh, and it all came in a nice canvas shopping bag.
The drive up took longer than expected. I learned a little something about Google maps. If you ask for directions, it'll give you the time it'll take you at that moment in time. When I first was alerted to this swim by the incredible marathon swimmer JC, my Google inquiry said it would take me 3 hours. No problem! So Sunday morning I did some honey-do chores around the house, fixed crap, cleaned crap, yelled at the kids, typical dad stuff. Around 11:00 (I had planned to leave at noon for a 3:00 to 3:45 registration) I went to Google to do the directions again. Surprise! In current traffic, the trip would take me 4 hours. Yikes!
So I grabbed my crap and left. (More on my need of a go bag later.) The drive up did indeed take me four hours. I got to the Avalon Yacht Club (say it through your nose while channeling Ted Knight) at about 3:15. What a long and relatively boring drive.
Upon arrival I texted fellow marathon swimmer JC, and then met him after we both registered. Fellow marathon swimmer Rosemarymint showed up, and thank God she had diaper rash ointment. Yep, I had forgotten that. Also my flip-flops. Yes, I was the dork in sneakers and socks and Speedo Endurance suit walking around. Also, I had my high-tech white plastic bag to put all my crap in. I am one styling marathon swimmer. On my long-ass drive home, I thought long and hard about the need for a go bag. I don't want to show up again at a swim without needed stuff. (I also would have appreciated lotion. Anyone else's skin dry up like a piece of paper after swimming? It's like all the moisture from my body is wicked out.)
The 5K was an in-water start, which I love. The triathletes in their wetsuits (actually, fewer in wetsuits than expected, but still way more than half were fully clothed) mostly near the front. I hung out toward the back, so as to avoid as much of the crush as possible. Didn't matter. Boy, did I think I couldn't swim straight. Holy crap! I don't know how many times I got run over. I'm sure some of it was me not swimming straight, but Jeez Louise, I'd see them coming at me then swerving away. It was incredible.
My one and only complaint about this swim was the size of the buoys, and the relative scarcity. There were only 4, at each corner of the rectangle. And they were so small I couldn't see them (20/15, guys!) until I was about 300 meters from them. The swim could have used a couple intermediate buoys between the long stretches.
The water was relatively warm, I gotta think it was in the low to mid-60's. It felt wonderful. I could have swum in it another loop or so. How come I always feel like I can swim more? I feel, during the swim, that I am pushing my hardest, but when I get out, I immediately think about maybe doing another loop or two. Anyone else feel like this?
There was a definite push from the current. The swim was scheduled at a time to take advantage of the incoming tide. I could feel it on the long stretch. So much so that my second half was faster than my first half. Oh! I haven't told you my time yet!
1:11.58. Definite push from the tide. That's almost two minutes faster than my "flat" 4K in Texas last month. Felt so good. My first half was 39 minutes. Second half much faster. I was really pushing it. But still, why did I not feel totally spent? All I felt was hungry and thirsty.
OK, here comes #2 complaint. Sorry. But I gotta say it. No water or anything at the finish! They had water AND champagne available at the half-way mark. But nothing at the finish.
Still, well worth it. Even with the 4.5 hour return drive through a thunderstorm. (I hate driving on dark highways in pouring rain, especially with the hundreds of people returning from the Jersey shore.)
So, in the end, Highly Recommended. A. (And no triathletisms...)