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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. 

The Course

The Course

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.

This was three years ago.  You can see how cold I was.

This was three years ago. You can see how cold I was.

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? 

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Allen Stone Run-Swim-Run Race Recap

The Allen Stone Run Swim Run has the most importance to me.  It was the first race I ever took first overall and it will always be hard to not compare myself to that. Allen Stone was a fallen Navy Seal, and this race is always well put together and a tribute to the fallen Seals and Seals in our area.   I’ve had so many different experiences from it.  Winning the race completely, DNFing because I developed a stress fracture…having a good strong finish…then this year…not having a great finish but not being injured either.

The night before I didn’t sleep that well.  I was nearly shook awake by my alarm when I normally wake up at the same time (5:30).  Dad and I drove to the race and were a little late…they were reading off names of fallen Seals and so we had to wait longer to get our bibs (respectable).  We got our bibs around 7:40 and for the 8:15 start, I did a 2 mile warmup and headed down to the beach.

The 1k run on the beach

Once the race was off, into the 1k run on the beach we went.  People were elbowing each other and pushing and shoving.  It was like post collegiate cross country.  I tripped and fell flat on my face.  Not a fall but fell and nearly got trampled.  The rest of the 1k was uneventful and I just did what I knew I was strong at and ran…I ended up tying with the first female into the water.

The 1k swim in open water

Which shocked my entire body.  The water, a cool 62 degrees due to upwellings sent my body into literal shock.  I was very close to saying no way.  I’ve had hypothermia before and even during my favorite race, it would not be worth it to me.  I allowed my body extra time to adjust to the water and then started swimming.  After that, I felt okay but the currents…being kicked in the face several times and my general unenjoyment of swimming kept it from being that fun.  The swim seemed to take forever and seeing the orange buoy was a glorious moment in my life and I headed into the transition area to change and start the 5k.  (Incase you wondered I was 16th female getting out of the water.  Yes 15 more females passed me).

If I looked any cuter a shark would have come up and gave me his number

If I looked any cuter a shark would have come up and gave me his number

Transition:

I tend to be rather calm in transitions.  I don’t rush because then I’ll get flustered and be slower.  Off I went.  I think it took me roughly 1-2 minutes to take off my goggles and cap, put on a shirt and socks and shoes and get out of there.  Seemed good to me.

The 5k on the boardwalk:

The run started off really slow.  My legs felt like literal jello and they were freezing.  I was defeated when my watch was reading a 6:30 pace on flat ground.  I shouldn’t have been since it was windy and I had just ran and swam…but it is what it is.

As the 5k progressed, my legs started to feel better and better.  My miles progressively got faster (6:39, 6:37, 6:10).  I ended up passing 10 of the females and getting 6th overall.  My final time for the 5k was 20:10 and an above 20 minute 5k will never really be something I’ll be overly thrilled with anymore.  Not every day can be your day and not every race can be your race.

allenstone1

To give you an idea of how physically cold to the bone I was, I finished the 5k run in 85+ degree heat and was shivering from the swim. 

I think part of the reason I was upset about this race was because this race does have a lot of emotion for me.  I’ve won, I’ve lost, I’m injured…I had high expectations for this race and although it wasn’t a goal race it’s still no fun to not have a good race there.  I’ll move on though and have a good race another day.  I’m still due for a 5k PR eventually.

Questions for you:

What is your favorite race of all time?

Racing in cold or hot? 

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