Tiki Swim 3! Race Report

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Sorry it’s taken me so long to get this out but I had to come to grips of my 5th place finish over all.  I was disappointed I felt I could have had 1st or at least 1st in my age group.  I sulked a little bit and I was disappointed in my performance.  I questioned myself after I saw the results of if I swam my hardest which I didn’t.  I asked myself if drafting in the lead pack was the smart thing to do, it was.  What could have cost me a first place or second place finish by 3 minutes on a 1.2 mile swim.  I was 6 seconds from 3rd and 1 second from 4th.  Ultimately I made too many small mistakes that added up.  I lost track of why I signed up to begin with and that was to swim a 1.2 mile race and feel like I could turn around and pedal 56 miles.  I did reach that goal and ultimately that’s what was important.

Sunday morning and I was up at my usual time for 4:30AM I was nervous I had never done just an open water swim race with an ocean entry.  I had practiced entries all the time with swim buddying various tri’s over the summer which really helped me stay calm.  The drive up to Oceanside was great it gave me time to calm the nerves and get into the right state of mind.  I kept saying that 1.2 miles is nothing I should be done around 28-30 minutes.  When I arrived I was really taken back by the small amount of swimmers for the 2.4 mile and 1.2 mile swims.  I think total there was 200 spots so the field was small.  I will say that it was a strange feeling knowing that I was probably in the top 10 swimmers for the 1.2 mile.

The Race: 34:33 finish time.  1:31 100M Pace
The surf wasn’t coming in that bad there were some big sets but nothing big.  Brian gave some quick course announcements before the start and HORN!!!   I did a brisk jog to the shore and quickly started dolphin diving through the surf and was quickly the leader out of the surf but I misjudged my last dolphin dive and the bottom was farther down that I expected and then I saw the first person manage to get by me.  I wasn’t worried I just stayed relaxed and swam my race.  I could spot the first buoy in the distance and I was drafting off the guy who had passed me.  As we rounded the buoy we merged with some of the 2.4 milers that started 30 minutes before us.  Then as I looked to the left on my next breath I spotted another orange cap to my left who was a little bit in front of me.  I felt OK with this.  We were the lead pack of the 1.2 milers and I was settled in drafting off the guy in the lead.  The current happened to push us back towards the shore so we really had to work to get around the buoy on the mouth of the harbor so that it was on our right.  It was probably this that cost me some of the time.  I was still OK with this since I was still in the lead pack at this point.  We all had a solid pace going into the harbor and this is where the buoys now had to be on our left and we could hug the rocks if needed and we did.  I knew we were on the last 500 meters but I should have studied the harbor a little bit more so I could tell where things where.  Then I could have known when I needed to hit the jets and pass everyone since I had drafted basically 80% of the distance and I felt great.  By the time I knew where things where and were we were there was only 20 meters or so left which wasn’t enough time for me to get past the guys.  Exiting the water I saw that we were the first 3 orange caps out of the water.  The 2 people that got 1st and 2nd chips times must have started after us because at no time did we get passed by any other orange caps.  I did cut myself on the foot pretty bad coming up the jagged boat ramp so I think I’m going to have to get some socks to wear.

Reflection:
I thought long and hard if I made the right choice to draft most of the race instead of swimming my swim.  I did, my goal was not to put out so much effort that I wouldn’t have enough in the gas tank to bike 56 miles.  You can’t win a triathlon in the swim, but you can certainly lose.  If you put out too much energy in the swim you won’t last on the bike or the run.  You might be able to recover on the bike but you will suffer enough to where you should have just relaxed a bit on the swim.  I was still top 5 and I’m still among the top competitors in the swim in the 30-39 age groups.  Im’ happy with that.  Oceanside Ironman 70.3 look out cause the Hammer is coming.

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