After several years of not racing the Allen Stone, I decided I would go for it.
I have been swimming the most consistently since actually competing in swimming, so it made sense. The last time I competed was 2013. I raced from 2010-2013, with one year breaking a tibia, two years placing in age group, and one year winning overall. So I have a history with it.
Dad and I arrived around 7, warmed up, and relaxed. The Allen Stone Braveheart is a memorial to Allen Stone, a fallen seal and those after as well. They read the names of fallen seals, and it’s always heartbreaking. They have parachuters come in as well. The 5kers go off and then we have about 30 minutes until we do.
At 8:15, we lined up at the beach, and we were off.
The first 1000 meters runs in soft sand. It’s crowded, and I entered the water as 55th overall. It went by in a blur. I tried to run as fast as possible without hurting myself. Looking back, the beach 1k is something I can improve on.
Then it was time to enter the water. You wear an ankle timer, so the beach run and swim are recorded. We ran over a mat then were off to swim. Swimming in open water is always weird because nothing about it is consistent. You get toppled by waves, kicked in the face, swim over hot and cold spots, and wonder what is swimming underneath you.
Despite swimming in college, I know it’s my weaker event now. I knew I needed to make good time in the swim to even place. Placing wasn’t the goal, but it’s always nice.
It felt like the swim was taking forever. Honestly, I thought I was swimming slower than the pool. Finally, I saw the buoy and swam into the shore. I could see a few women running on the beach in front.
I entered the transition, which went surprisingly smooth. I’ve done transitions before but not since the race in 2013 (and truthfully I hadn’t practiced either). But I was in and out in less than 90 seconds. I felt proud. I don’t stress in transitions, which I think has helped me. The more I stress (with anything), the easier it is for me to mess up.
A volunteer told me I was 12th women. I thought I could at least reel in two women during the 5k on the boardwalk for a top 10 finish.
During the first mile, I caught two women and breezed by. The course is out and back so around 1.3, I could see the leaders coming back.
The first women were 3-4th overall, and I knew there was no way I could catch up.
Immediately in front of me, there was a woman about 15 seconds in front and another woman about a minute. I thought I might be able to catch them.
It was scorching and humid, and I was cooking on the boardwalk. I don’t know if it had been a stand-alone 5k if I would have gone much faster because it was so hot with no shade.
I hit the turnaround and passed another woman. As I headed back, I could see a couple of women a few minutes ahead.
Since it’s on the boardwalk, you can pretty much see the King Neptune Statue and the end at the turnaround. It felt like a very long 10 minutes.
As I kept running straight, I could tell I was gaining on the 2nd and 3rd place women. I just ran as hard as I could and tried to catch them.
Ultimately I finished about 20 seconds behind them.
I crossed as 4th woman and 10th overall. I’m happy with the result. No one passed me (male or female) in the run, and I had a better swim average than I thought.
This is the only type event of this nature I’ll do, and I have no interest in biking.
Questions for you:
Have you ever done a multi-sport event?
Have you swum in open water?