Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Washington’s Crossing [and one week till the bay!]

I'll be honest.  I'm a little sick of swimming.  I woke up Sunday morning and wasn't really super excited about the idea of getting the wetsuit on again, and swimming... AT ALL.  Also, I'd done this event before - the 2015 Washington Crossing - and didn't really have a great swim, so I wasn't too optimistic about it.  I was, however, excited about having brunch with Paula and Andrea, so I gathered my stuff together, made some iced tea, and drove to national harbor.
I got down to the dock, found Andrea and Keith and checked in.  I brought salt tabs that I wanted to try out after the cramping last week at the Reston swims, and took those along with my ginger pills.  I had no trouble pulling my wetsuit on today, and remembered to liberally apply the tri-slide around my neck.  I was ready to get this thing over with!
Jenny, Paula, me, Tommy, Andrea, Keith
We met up with a few other people and all got ourselves ready and talked strategy for how to execute this point-to-point swim.  Keith is Andrea's swim coach, so we listened for some good tips both for this swim and next week at the bay.  I'm still not sure if or how I will carry extra salt tabs and/or gels... something to think about over the next few days.
After the safety briefing we all boarded that boat in the right-hand side of that photo, to be taken to the Virginia side of the river.  The website advertised this swim as 1.3 miles, and then the pre-race email that was sent out said it was 1.4 miles.  As I normally swim quite a bit off course, I wondered how far I would actually swim today? 
I haven't really found a pair of goggles that I love.  I have been using the same brand and model for years, but lately they haven't been fitting on my face as well.  You can see me about to jump off the boat, adjusting them and hoping they would do the trick - these are the ones I've selected for the bay swim also.  The water temperature was right at 70 degrees but felt fine as I jumped in and started swimming over to the start area.
And then we were off!  I hit "GO" on my Garmin and joined the masses.  The suggestion for this swim was to swim close to the bridge as the currents would be going downstream and naturally carry us where we needed to go.  I kind of listened and made a point to breath to my left to keep the bridge in my line of sight.  I was a good 50-75 yards to the right though.  Not a problem now, but I wondered if that would mean I'd end up too far downstream later.
After awhile, I was wondering why I hadn't felt my Garmin buzz with the normal 500yd interval that it's set to record.  I looked up and while the timer was going, it said I had traveled 0 yards.  ZERO.  What?  Ugh.. so frustrating.  I stopped once to adjust my goggles, and was surprised to realize I could stand up in the middle of the Potomac.  Only a 2 second stop because...gross standing on the bottom of that river.  Still nothing on the Garmin.  In fact, it only recorded 122 yards for that entire swim!  I hate not having that data!
That's Paula finishing up... her longest swim ever! Yay!
As it turns out, I never got swept downstream and had a pretty decent path to the exit dock.  I was surprised to see only 43 minutes on my Garmin and wondered if maybe the time was messed up also?  Alas, Andrea's teammate, Jenny, got out just before me and confirmed the time, and Andrea was right after me and confirmed the time also.  Yes, I needed double confirmation.  WOW!  This was literally half the time that I did this swim last time.  And even if I swam exactly point to point without any deviations, it should have been 1.3 miles.  This means that I swam under 2 min per 100 yards for the second week in a row.  We dried off (no chaffing!) and cheered in the rest of our friends.
Tommy, Paula, me, Andrea, Keith
We all did it!  Time for brunch.  The results ended up giving me a third confirmation that I did that swim just over 43 minutes (43:38.9), and even using a worst-case (but realistic) distance of 1.25 miles, which is what Andrea's watch recorded, I still swam 1:58/100yd.  The good news is that there was some decent chop on the river which is closer to bay conditions than the Reston lake, but I am trying not to get too optimistic that I'll be able to have a repeat performance.  Really, just finishing the bay swim will make me happy and I'm hoping conditions aren't too horrible.  I guess we'll find out Sunday morning.  But, I was still quite pleased with this swim and headed home for a lazy rest of the day on my couch.

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