Race Expectations: HarborFest Half Iron Swim

August snuck up on me, and just like that, it’s a race weekend!  This Sunday is HarborFest, and the event offers 750m, 1.2 mile, 2.4 mile, and 5k options.  It is billed as being perfect for triathletes looking to experience an open water environment without having cycling or running after.  After my swim at Lake Anna, this is a natural next step, no?  My race come September in Reston has a 1500m swim, so I picked the Half Iron 1.2 mile option, figuring in this case that more was better.  Perhaps it’s because I’m hoping this race will just give me experience, but I don’t feel too nervous yet.  We’ll see what happens race morning, though. 

Seems fitting with the Rio Opening ceremonies tonight to look back and remember the time J and I spectated the Women's 1oK swim at the London games.  Photo by J

Seems fitting with the Rio Opening ceremonies tonight to look back and remember the time J and I spectated the Women's 1oK swim at the London games.  Photo by J

Setting goals this season in general has been tough.  I don’t want too much pressure, and I don’t know my abilities or the events well enough to even have reasonable expectations.  That being said, I don't want to go into this with nothing.  I mean, I’m not Haley Anderson or anything, but swimming is currently my strongest of the three disciplines.  According to WaveOne Swimming, HarborFest is an opportunity to “challenge yourself, invigorate your dedications to swimming, and unlock your undiscovered potential.”  Those all sounds like good things, right?  So... goals…I has them:

  • Enjoy! 
    • Swimming in open water is hard to do around here, so I want to make sure I appreciate every single second I’m out there in the water.  That means keeping a positive attitude.  This also means controlling my imagination, and not letting panicky thoughts ruin my day.
  • Sight!
    • By the end of the race I want to have a feeling of what it is like to sight for buoys.
  • Goal Times – so I guess I have to admit that I have some times in my head, even though they are based on my pool swims.  I have no idea if they are realistic, but better to write down a goal and miss making it than pretend I don’t have these numbers jockeying around in my head.
    • Outstanding –  < 40:00
    • Exceeds Expectations – 42:00
    • Acceptable – 47:00
  • Why yes, my goal system is based on the Hogwarts O.W.L. grading system.  So nice of you to notice!  With that in mind, I also have a few markers that can be considered Failing Grades.  Don’t forget, though…if you get a Poor O.W.L. you can repeat. #ravenclawsome
    • Poor -  > 50:00
    • Dreadful – DNF for nonmedical reasons
    • Troll – vomiting on a fellow swimmer

I guess it’s pretty obvious by now that I’m trying to take an easygoing approach to this race.  I'm not tapering at all.  Although, to be quite honest, I haven't been as consistent with my training of late, so my volume has been lower than usual.  Even still, I head into this race with purpose.  I want to experience a pack of swimmers.  I expect to have a full contact swim, a gear malfunction, and a mouth full of water.  I want to swim, not just survive.  I want to get out of the river knowing that 5 weeks from now I’ll be able to do the same thing followed by a bike and run.  Best part about this?  First time at a new race distance means an automatic PR!

Who else is racing this weekend?  Do you ever do standalone open water events?