Monday, August 1, 2011

Sebago Challenge

Last Saturday I took on my 1st straight open water swim race at Sebago Lake in Maine (Knocking down my 11th state to complete an event in and 5th this year).  It was a 3K race in some of the roughest water I have ever swum in.  This was also my longest straight out swim without stopping (I have swum farther at Master's practices in the pool with many breaks and Survival of the Shawangunks had more total swimming, but interspersed with runs).

I had originally signed up for the 5K swim, but dropped down to the 3K as I just didn't get the needed volume in.  About 200 meters into the swim, it became apparent this was the right decision as it was quite windy off shore.  The course was a basically a counter-clockwise rectangle which involved swimming the circumference of a cove (the only calm water swimming of the event) on the 3rd turn. 

When I reached the 1st turn, roughly 500 meters off shore, I thought about turning around and swimming back to the beach as I just couldn't find any type of groove.   After I made the turn I had the wind at my back and was able to get moving a little quicker, though tough fighting through the waves.

Boats and kayaks lined the corridor during the next leg which was somewhere in the 1/2 mile range.  Sighting was pretty tough as the buoy was really far away and the boats where moving around quite a bit.  After I passed the next buoy I made my way into the cove, was able to relax a little, get into a groove, and make up some time.  Sebago lake is a very clean lake and you could see the bottom even when you got to over 20 feet deep.  This was nice change after swimming in the gross lake at Appleman in Littleton 2 weeks earlier.

After exiting the cove, you make the long trek back, but closer to shore this time before the final turn to the beach.  There was a fairly strong headwind here and while using breast stroke to site I think I may have actually been swimming faster then freestyle.

1:22:31 later I was at the finish and glad to be done with the swim.  My original goal was to finish somewhere between 1:05 and 1:10, but with the wind and rough water that just wasn't happening.

I can't lie, I was not overly impressed with how my swim went and was really hoping for a much faster time.  On the long drive home, as I thought about it more and how my training and competing in endurance sports is going in general, I look at my swimming as one piece of the overall puzzle.  Swimming has made me a better athlete and the cross training benefits have been phenomenal.  I feel stronger when I am swimming regularly and have more energy.  So even if I never get faster swimming, I am happy with the net result.  

Christine and I after the swim. I did the 3K and she did the 5K. 

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