Swim Fest was amazing, and I absolutely recommend it. Since it wasn't really a race, more a training day, let's get the goal stuff out of the way first, shall we?
- Outstanding – < :50
- Exceeds Expectations – :56
- Acceptable – 1:02
- Poor - > 1:02
- Dreadful – DNF for nonmedical reasons
- Troll – vomiting (or worse) in the water
My official finishing time for the 2250m swim was 1:02:23. Rounding down, that gives me a grade of Acceptable. For someone who has scarcely swum once a week since April, and even less over the fall and winter, Acceptable is exactly what I deserve. What I'm actually most proud of it how I paced myself. The course is three loops, and I had each loop within 90 second of each other!
My other goals were to be calm and have fun, and I nailed both of those, too. I plunged right in, zero anxiety, and just swam. As for the fun...yes, totally. A day with friends, a swim, and a burger. Basically a dream day, no?
Liz picked me up at o'dark-thirty, picked up Emily at o'dark-forty-five, and then we were off for Luray. Having the sun come up behind us was neat, and seeing the mist roll over Shenandoah is always beautiful. Once we got to the race site, we set up our home base on the top of a hill, with a great view of the lake. Emily had never swum open water before, and was signed up for the 750m, and Liz was signed up for all 3 distances, so they were first in the water. Since the 2250m didn't start for a few hours, I wandered over to the Team Z tent for a little bit, said hi to Caroline, and then wandered around a little more.
I practiced some pre-race nutrition, just to make sure everything was going to sit well. I started getting some nasty burps about midway through my swim, but I think that has more to do with me swallowing air than my nutrition. I had the breakfast of champions (Pop Tarts) as we headed out of Northern Virginia, a pouch of Skratch chews and a bottle of the Sport Hydration about 90 minutes before, and a VFuel gel with some more water right as we were heading in. Way too many calories for a typical one hour swim, but this was more about testing, and i'm pleased with how it went. I've tested similar before long bike rides, and I'm feeling really confident about how my stomach will handle this amount of calories at these intervals for Williamsburg. Oh! And I had my Skratch Hyper Hydration first thing in the morning, and the Wellness as we were riding back home. This combo is quickly becoming my "must do" before outdoor events. Obviously its a huge amount of sodium, so unless you're like me and have had this much stipulated by a doctor, I don't recommend it. I'm not a Skratch ambassador or anything, although I'm starting to think I should apply to be. I've simply found that the products sit well in my stomach, and have the necessary sodium for me to manage my POTS symptoms.
This event is fantastic for beginners, I have to say. There are tons of SUPs and kayaks, and because it is a loop course, you're never really far from shore. Far being a relative term, of course. Swag for the race included a medal and a super soft race shirt. I am loving the trend of my most recent races having these soft shirts. They get so much more use than the stiffer ones. You could also pay to upgrade to a big beach towel if you wanted, which came in loads of colors.