Last weekend I was supposed to race 2 miles in the open water. My dad and I have done this race the last four years and Matt joined last year. As you can see from the title, I didn’t swim.
After waking up in the morning on Saturday, I saw it was pouring rain. I thought it was summer time and I’m going to be swimming in the water anyways so it really didn’t matter. As long as it wasn’t thundering or lightening they weren’t going to cancel the swim. Dad, Matt and I went to the ferry station got marked up (I was lucky number 7) and boarded the ferry. By the point of being of the ferry I was already pretty drenched. My clothes (including rain jacket) were soaken wet. My core temperature had dropped a little bit and I wasn’t warming up. If anything I was continuing to get colder.
The swim itself goes 1 mile out into the Long Island Sound and then 1 back. You get into some deeper, colder and more choppy water out into the Sound.
I was bundled up but poor packing on my part was also an issue. I had known it was pouring rain (my two eyes showed me that) and thought a rain coat and sweats would have sufficed. IThough even both of those were not enough as the rain had soaked through my cotton sweats and I could have used a sweatshirt under my rain coat to protect me from the wind. Maybe if I had had appropriate and rain pants and had been able to stay warm I could have done this race. The wind blowing directly onto the island made the temperatures feel colder (though it allowed huge negative splits for the racers…both Matt and dad had great races).
At 8:20 (with a race start of 8:30), I made the executive decision not to swim. I was shivering before entering the water and being cold before a swim race for me, is like being thirsty before a road race. Nothing good can come out of it.
Was there a possibility I would warm up during the race and all would be fine? Yes. Was there a possibility that I could come out of the 2 mile swim, half delusional and hypothermic as I did 3 years ago? Yes and that is something I never want to repeat in my life.
Preblogging world I did this race three years ago and came out hypothermic. The conditions were similar and I had thought nothing of it. My body and core never warmed back up despite swimming two miles. I had come out of the water unable to talk, half delusional and was immediately assisted into the medical tent. I really don’t know how I finished the race or the next series of events. What I do know is that I layed in the 90 degree sun with the medics for about an hour before warming up enough to be able to talk coherent sentences.
I don’t need to write a novel about how serious hypothermia is and I will never regret not doing this swim. Am I bummed? Yes of course but I don’t regret it. I could have easily decided to risk it made it a mile out, gotten so cold that my body shut down. Would I regret being in the water then? Honestly this isn’t a big deal for me. Many people DNS races for various reasons and I’m not going to cry and whine about it.
What could I have done differently?
Wind breaker and hoodie underneath a rain jacket to protect myself even more from the rain and wind. Even then I’m not sure I would have been able to maintain a high even core temperature to start the race.
I’m upset, sure, but I know I made the right decision and I can’t live my life worrying about individual races.
Questions for you:
Have you DNS a race before?
Obviously this race but there was a road race a couple of years ago that I didn’t do as well. My legs were feeling very injury prone and I had no interest in risking it.
Do you like the rain?