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.

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