Skip to main content

Etown Open Water Swim Recap

Hello again!

We all obviously know that I've been away for a while so let's just move on shall we?

One of the things I've been doing in my absence has been swimming...a lot. Or at least a lot more than I ever have. I signed up with a relay team for Ironman 70.3 Muncie and I was dumb enough to be the swimmer so I spend about 4 days per week in the water in hopes to not be pulled from the race due to not making the time cutoff (which is a very real possibility). Since it's warm enough to be wetsuit free I'm trying to take advantage of as much open water time as possible and that included signing up for a 2k swim at Freeman Lake in Elizabethtown (just like the movie, except this was real life and we were all less attractive).

This wasn't a race, it was officially called an open water swimming clinic so very few of the people there had the normal intensity that can be seen in races. There were the serious athletes of course but I think we all knew we weren't really out to "win" anything and that made the atmosphere a little more relaxed. The Colonel and I got there nice and early so I could attend the pre-swim meeting and get some time to warm up. I was hoping since I'd done open water before I wouldn't have those same jitters as that time I swam in the river. I'm not sure it was quite that bad but I was still stupidly nervous.

We had the opportunity to warm up for about 20 minutes before we were off so I made my way down the dock and just sort of stood there. One of the local coaches talked to me a little telling me I would be ok and to "swim like an alligator".

*Side bar: "Swim like an alligator" refers to the need to see where you're going in open water. The idea is to swim with your head more forward than down and bring your eyes just above the water's surface to see when you take a breath.

I sat on the dock for at least 10 minutes just wiggling my feet in the 81 degree water and trying to talk myself in. The only thing that really helped me was talking to a guy possibly more terrified than me about how to sight and the differences between a lake and a pool in my humble opinion. Once I talked him off the ledge (literally, he jumped in the water soon after we finished talking) I felt like an idiot to not get in and take my own advice so I slid in, holding onto the dock and held on for a few minutes. I finally let go and just bobbed in and out of the water practicing my breathing and then finally took a few strokes out and a few back. It was going to be an in water start so I tried to spend as little time as possible treading water for a couple of reasons. First, the obvious, who wants to expend extra energy? Second, I just generally hate treading water. Lastly, I can tread for about a minute before I suddenly panic that I'm drowning, then I have to flip to my back and float, then I have to talk myself down, then I can tread for another minute. It's quite ridiculous.

I stood on the steps in the water with a few other ladies some of whom happened to be in my tri club! It was nice to meet them and have some people to chat with for a while. They were all doing the 2k option too. Before long we made our way out to the start line and the 4k swimmers were sent off. About 30 seconds later the 2k swimmers were sent.

I got a really nice spot right along the buoy line and since there were only 25 in my wave and I happen to be slow, I had pretty clear water with no contact the whole way. 3 strokes in I realized I forgot to start my watch so I paused and took care of it then started on my way again. It took probably close to 250 meters before I found my rhythm and could manage more than fast shallow breaths but once I got it everything was smooth. My sighting was solid and even though I was in last place in my wave I was feeling really good and still positive. Near the turnaround point at 500 meters my left shoulder really started to feel tight and sore. It had been bothering me for a few days but not enough to do much about it other than rest a little. I also could feel the inside of my arms chafing against my tri top which I'd never worn for a real swim before. I made the decision to stop after 1k at that point since it really wasn't worth hurting myself more. The course was a 1k loop so it was easy to just swim to cut it short.

I told one of the volunteers I was coming in early and they told me I was doing great. For a second I doubted my decision to call it early but knew I was doing the right thing. I made it past the finish line and after face planting trying to walk up the incredibly slick boat ramp was told I was the winner! It was funny since there weren't actually any winners and because I was kind of a cheater. Since I understand priorities I immediately grabbed the fruit and drink before my towel.

Overall it was a beautiful day, great swim and I'm really glad I did it. For anyone local or semi-local I'd definitely recommend this swim and check out their triathlon they're putting on in September! I learned a lot, including but not limited to:

  • My tri top chafes....a lot
  • My tri shorts are too big when weighed down by water
  • I still hate treading water
  • Open water swimming is significantly more monotonous than pool swimming but still significantly more fun
  • Helping others (i.e. giving advice to more nervous people) is a great way to help yourself
In the evening after the swim I went to our monthly tri club social and had a ton of fun and then got really wild and had a cucumber cocktail at Drake's at 9:30 p.m! So what about you? How was your Saturday? Oh yeah, and did you miss me?


  1. That's so awesome you're getting so much better in the water.
    I feel smarter now I know about the alligator swimming :)


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Year 30

Is this thing on? I've been struggling with a bit anxiety out of nowhere over the past year and a half so in an attempt to keep my head from spinning I'm going to try my return to writing.

I turned 30 in February and it's seriously been my best year. Suddenly I stopped caring so much about things, and more about *gasp* my family and friends. Weird right? But in caring more about people, I also started to care less about their opinions on my life choices. That said, I am going to provide you with a VERY brief rundown of the 3 major life events happening right now:

We are buying a house! Maybe... Yay right? Back in October I found this really great house under a lease option contract that we ended up snatching up. It's in a nice, established neighborhood where *most* people own and genuinely take care of their houses. Not at the Hank Hill lawn level but I'm talking seasonal outdoor decorations and it just happens to be the neighborhood other parents bring their kids t…

Burn the Past

One of my old pastors used to say "God gave you two ears and one mouth so you could listen twice as much". I've always been a pretty decent listener. I was always in the top 5 during games of Simon Says and with a mother like mine, you needed to do your best to prevent her repeating herself. But one area where I really struggle is listening to what God says to me and what direction to go in my life. I'm a control freak. There, I said it. There have been times in my life where I've had to schedule not only when I would have free time but what I would do during said free time. I've literally put "watch tv" on my calendar. So is it any surprise that when someone says to "let go and let God" I have trouble leaving my entire life and existence to someone other than myself? Not only that, but someone who isn't a someone at all? To someone I can't see, don't understand, don't know how to listen to and just have to have blind faith…

Guess Who's Back

Sometimes my thoughts get really overwhelming and when that happens I usually have to do something active and relatively creative. I've been using coloring books since before they were cool and strangely baking is still a big go-to for me but there's also writing. Today while lamenting to the husband he suggested I write a blog to try to just get shit out. So that's what I'm doing.

We are moving back to Louisville. Yay? I guess that's still TBD. I love Louisville, I really do and I have for years but like a weird, slightly dysfunctional, long term relationship, love just wasn't enough. I felt trapped and suffocated. I had created this identity box for myself and while it worked for a while it eventually turned into my coffin. It was tiny and I didn't feel like it could fit everything I wanted to be a part of my identity. 15 months ago I was exercise and non-profit worker Rennay. That's it. When we moved I realized it was a true clean slate. Absolutely n…