Race Report – Fort Ritchie Swimfest

fort ritchie swimfest

The weather was a far cry from last weekend.

As I said to Anne when I got out of the water after my 2250, I needed this race.  I didn’t know how much until I finished.  But let’s start at the beginning.  Saturday was the Fort Ritchie Swimfest.  It’s a series of “races” in Lake Royer and participants choose to do the 750m, the 1500m, or the 2250m.  If you haven’t already guessed, it’s a 750m course and the races are looped.  After each loop, you get out of the water, run along the beach, down the dock, and jump back in.

Some of my friends did all three races, and I’m considering it for next year, but I opted for just the 2250m.  Given my recent races, I figured this was going to take me an hour, and I just wanted it to go smoothly.  The water was warm enough that I could have gone sans wetsuit, but wanted the additional practice in my wetsuit.

This was definitely a leisurely day.  Lots of sitting around as friends raced.  Poor Anne managed to slice her foot open right before the 1500m, so ended up not racing, but she’s awesome and was there to watch all of us finish.

Finally, it was my turn and I squeezed into my wetsuit and headed into the water, careful of the foot slicing possibilities.  I made sure to get good and wet so that the water wouldn’t freak me out, though it was in the low 70’s and pretty perfect for wetsuit swimming in my opinion.

I set out for the first loop, working on staying on course and also trying to keep my pace up.  I have a tendency to sit back on the swim, and while I don’t need to go all out, I should definitely try to push a bit harder than I have been.  I continued my tendency to pull right, so I just set myself up to aim a little left of the buoys, which kept me mostly on course.  I managed to figure out a good pattern of breathing and sighting, which was awesome.

I got out of the water for the first loop and glanced at my watch, expecting to see around 20 minutes.  I was at 16 minutes.  An amazing first loop!  But I couldn’t let that sway me.  I just had to keep going, not push too hard to try to break some arbitrary time goal.

Lap two went just as well, though during the run along the beach, my wetsuit had sagged a bit.  Mostly just an annoyance.

I made it out of lap two and glanced at my watch.  34 minutes.  8 minutes faster than my 1500 last weekend.  That felt amazing.  Just that moment made this whole swim worth it.

During the third lap, I felt myself sitting back a bit too much.  I was just swimming, not pushing and racing.  This was not how this race should go.  So I picked it back up and cruised on into the finish.

Final time – 51:17

I was expecting an hour and finished almost 9 minutes faster than that.  This felt amazing, and I definitely needed the mental boost after last weekend’s race.  It was awesome to have Anne still there at the finish to blurt this to as well.  And we stayed and cheered in the rest of our friends.  I’m so proud of everyone who swam.  There were a number of people who were nervous about the distance they had chosen or nervous about the OWS in general, and everyone conquered their fears (and Anne went back Monday after her disastrous wound had closed up and conquered the lake as well) and it was a generally awesome day.

A Message on the Observance of Memorial Day

Robzor / Pixabay

Memorial Day.  The official first day of summer for so many of us.  But today, take a moment to remember the reason for the holiday.

Memorial Day is a time to take stock of the present, reflect on the past, and renew our commitment to the future of America.

Today, as in the past, there are problems that must be solved and challenges that must be met. We can tackle them with our full strength and creativity only because we are free to work them out in our own way. We owe this freedom of choice and action to those men and women in uniform who have served this nation and its interests in time of need. In particular, we are forever indebted to those who have given their lives that we might be free.

I don’t have to tell you how fragile this precious gift of freedom is. Every time we hear, watch, or read the news, we are reminded that liberty is a rare commodity in this world.

This Memorial Day of 1983, we honor those brave Americans who died in the service of their country. I think an ancient scholar put it well when he wrote: “Let us now praise famous men . . . All these were honored in their generation, and were the glory of their times. Their bodies are buried in peace; but their name liveth for evermore.” As a tribute to their sacrifice, let us renew our resolve to remain strong enough to deter aggression, wise enough to preserve and protect our freedom, and thoughtful enough to promote lasting peace throughout the world.

Ronald Reagan, May 26, 1983 (Source)


Friday Link Love

Just in time for a long weekend (for some of us, anyway, a list of links that piqued my interest over the past few weeks.

These are basically things that I bookmarked in my feed reader with the intent to share.  No specific timeframe.  Just things I liked.

Back to My Roots – Blogging has become such an industry that I see so many formerly great bloggers selling out in order to get more readers (but not necessarily more engaged readers), or to make more money have more opportunities.  That’s one way to go about it, but if it’s not your full-time job, why destroy a fun hobby?

A Lesson in Sharing – Along the same lines, what happens when your blog becomes an overshare?

Breakdown of the Brazilian Wax – Plus Size Style – Emmie’s writing is fabulous.  She has written one of my favorite race reports of all time, and this post does not disappoint.

Still Enough – But she does serious pretty darn well too.

You’re Not Broken, and You’re Not Weak – Staying on the serious train for a minute, I loved this post from Wil Wheaton.  Right now, there is a photo floating around that shows a picture of nature and says “This is an anti-depressant” and then over a photo of a pill it says “This is shit.”  Yeah, that’s great, except that walking through trees isn’t going to help anyone who doesn’t have the energy to get out of bed thanks to their depression.  Mental illness does not equal weakness.

Lessons Learned in 100 Miles – Great bike reminders for the advanced beginner.  You know how to ride your bike, but what else do you need to know?

Go learn a new skill with Scoot Stitches!

Nobody Likes a Pushover.  Oh Wait, Yes.  That’s Exactly Who They Like – When you’re a people pleaser, it’s hard to break yourself of that trend.  But you should.  Meredith also talks about this here.

Why the Low Fat and Low Cholesterol Phase Was a Huge Fail – As delicious as those low-fat cookies were, my diet is so much better now that fat has returned to its rightful place.

How I Came to Love Special Olympics – If you aren’t regularly reading Andi’s blog, you should

All the Other Megan Kirbys and Me – Change the last name and I could have written this.  There is a “me” who teaches at a local school, and the other day, I got a teacher catalog for her in the mail.  At my house.  How does this happen?

And to end on a high note, the ladies of Ghostbusters are a riot.

Finally some recipes, if you feel like cooking this long weekend:

Up Next – Fort Ritchie Swimfest

This is not the lake I will be swimming in, but it’s pretty. xuuxuu / Pixabay

Last Saturday, it was in the 50’s and raining.  This Saturday, it’s going to be in the upper 80’s and humid.  This weather is ridiculous.

This Saturday, I’m going up to Lake Royer for the Fort Ritchie Swimfest.  This is one of the best events of the year, because it’s a low key swim practice in real race conditions.  Except that I don’t have to bike or run afterwards, of course.

The race is offered in three distances and you can do one race, two races, or all three.  The course is a 750m loop, so the distances are 750m, 1500, and 2250m.  For anything more than a single loop, you get out of the water and run along the beach, then jump back in off the dock.  This year, I’m doing the 2250.  The past two years, I’ve done the 1500.  So it’s three loops for me.

I don’t mind the idea of the looped course because I know it’s coming, plus it’s kind of nice to be able to get out and grab a drink of water at the well placed table before getting back in.  It also helps mentally break up the race.  And for a lot of people, it also offers an out if they’re nervous about doing the full distance.

This will definitely be my longest swim to date, though of course I’ve done much further distances in the pool.  But I’ve never just done a continuous 2250.  I’m actually not sure I’ve done more than a continuous 1600, if I think about it.  Still, I’m not particularly worried about the distance.  I may not be the fastest swimmer, but I’m capable and competent in the water.  Plus this race is wetsuit legal, so floating is super simple.

After last weekend’s race, I’m glad to be getting back into open water so quickly, so I can really see if my issues were related to the weather or if I just need to get a lot more OWS work in before my next race.  I can’t say I’m looking forward to the early morning, but it will be a fun day with friends and great practice, so I’m glad to be doing it.  And it’s the perfect way to kick off the holiday weekend.

Wednesday Workout Recap

This week was definitely a swim focused week.  The joys of taper, I guess.  And it’s the area where I probably have spent the least amount of time.  Some of it has to do with what I gain from improving the swim, I guess.  Obviously, the race didn’t go well, but less water falling from the sky would be helpful.  But in general, even if I manage to speed up my swim, how much time am I going to cut off?  Five minutes?  Ten if something magical happens and I get really fast?  It’s going to be  much easier to cut 5-10 minutes off of my bike time.  But I’d still like to be strong in the swim.

Monday – Rest Day

Tuesday – Structured swim workout.  This is the first one I’ve had in a while that wasn’t part of a physically coached swim.

Wednesday – Easy 30 minute bike

Thursday – Team Fight swim, though I only did part of the workout, maybe 1500m.  Wanted to save my body for Saturday

Friday – Rest Day

Saturday – RACE!

Sunday – Rest.  AKA cleaning the house.  Which is still a complete disaster.