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2014 Ohio River Open Water Swim Recap

Remember that time I swam in the river and had a panic attack and had to sing It's a Small World over and over while a kayaker looked on and pitied me? No? Read about that here.

Anyway, I tried it again yesterday and thankfully did much better! I don't panic in open water anymore (hallelujah!) so I already had a huge advantage over the last time. The swim wasn't until 9:15 so The Colonel and I just woke up like we normally do for work which was a nice change over the normal before dawn wake up calls. Unfortunately we woke up to rain which was going to continue throughout the morning. I've never swam or raced a tri in the rain so this was new territory but I just pretended it was a run and reminded myself that weather is always something we just have to put up with. We got to the site and saw a couple from church I'm trying to court into friendship with us so it was fun getting to chat with them. The husband will be an Ironman in a few weeks so definitely a little out of my league but they're really nice and one of the very few couples we both like.

August 2012


Anyhow, we stood in the rain for a while waiting around and finally started filing into the water. It was another in water start, which I hate but I was in the last wave since I was only going 1/2 mile. It's rained for a couple of days now so the current was stronger than expected. I held onto the dock while the 2.4 and 1.2 mile swim waves went off and whenever I'd let go I'd drift down river. I hate treading water. So I held on until we got the 30 second whistle then went out to the start. When I did this swim in 2012 there were only 2 of us in the wave which meant I "won" 2nd place. This year there were about 7 so I knew my default award wasn't going to happen. I've become pretty comfortable with bringing up the rear.

How's that for streamline body position. No wonder I'm so slow sometimes!
We took off and I tried to go slow for the first hundred or so like normal to warm up. My breathing has really been bad this year so I've taken to extended warm ups which have really helped. Unfortunately the current was even to my initial warm up speed so I literally went nowhere for about 30 seconds. Winning.

I had to hammer hard right away instead which got me wheezing pretty quickly. It's probably time to get that inhaler. I muscled through for about 200 before I started getting lightheaded and knew I wasn't getting enough air. I called to a kayak and cursed myself as I rested, wheezed and coughed to catch my breath. I really had the chance the put up a good time this year and was so angry that once again my body turned against me. I took off again after a short break but asked the kayaker to stay close which he did. After another hundred I needed another short break which ticked me off but caught my breath quicker and promised not to stop again. I hit the turn at about 400 yards and was thrilled to be swimming downstream. It had probably been about 15 minutes which is about how long I take to warm up when running and my breathing reflected that. I had a solid second half and was only passed by a couple of the 1.2 swimmers. 

There are 3 things I do when coming out of a swim to ensure I don't look completely terrible. First, I wipe my nose. Just in case! Second, I adjust my shorts because I have enough baggage underneath that it often shifts during transport.
Finally, I put on a cheesy grin and sometimes a pose just so I have at least one picture where I look like it was easy.

I came in under 30 minutes which is decent for me but not great. I can blame the current for a little bit of it, my ridiculously reactive airway for a little more and ultimately myself since I didn't take advantage of the 6+ minutes of warm up time I had before my wave started and maaaaybe because I haven't swam since Muncie almost a month ago. It was a fun time though and I'm glad I redeemed myself. Now thinking about redeeming another first race in a couple weeks. We'll see how that goes.


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