As far as race reports go, this one is kind of boring. No drama of flat bike tires. No hills to run up. Not even a major battle at the swim start because they sent us off in small, manageable waves that were nicely spaced out. Basically I showed up, swam 3.1 miles in 1 hour 35 minutes, and when I got out of the water there were giant boxes of Oreo cookies to greet me instead of my bike. I could get used to this.
In Training Peaks, Jen had told me that a 5K is a long way so don't go out too hard. FOR ONCE, advice from Jen that didn't include kill yourself to get your goal and suffer like a pig. I'd never, ever swam this distance before, either in open water or in the pool, so this was unchartered territory. But, it's not that much longer than an Ironman swim and my biggest concern was that I would get crazy hungry while I was out there. I tried to avoid this problem by eating two very large bagels before the swim AND I stuck a Hammer gel in my bathing suit in case I needed a mid-swim snack. I approached this swim as more of a practice than a race - because let's be honest, I am not the world's greatest swimmer and I wasn't going to be winning any prizes today.
The swim was 3 one mile loops in Lake Audubon in Reston. Small lake, no waves whatsoever, and there weren't too many weeds. They started us off in small waves of about 15-20 people, there were lots of buoys to mark the course. I managed to draft off of some feet for much of the first loop and things felt really, really easy. I could do this forever was my thought. The first loop came and went and I was on my own for almost all of the second loop. Before the start I was wondering out loud if it was possible to get lapped in this sort of swim and about halfway through the second loop I got my answer - YES. It was like these people had grown fins or something and they literally flew by me. It was also around this point that I started to realize that even though swimming is a low impact sport, it's not exactly painless. My hips and lower back and rear end were getting sore from kicking, I felt like my quads were lead weights being hauled around in the water by my arms. My arms were starting to feel tired and my ankles were sore (??). This went on through the third loop, though my arms got a bit more sore because at that point I no longer wanted to swim forever, I was ready to be done. I was getting hungry too, but this was a race and there is no stopping to take nutrition, especially when you only have a half a mile left until the finish and you're not biking or running afterwards.
I came out of the water after my third loop and started running up the ramp past the timing mats, then I slowed down and stopped - what was I running for? What's the rush? It's not like I need to have a speedy transition time, there IS NO transition. So I walked over to the food table and ate Oreos instead. I came in 7th out of 10 in my division - haha, swimming is obviously not my sport, even though I love it.
I did actually ride my bike later. After we got all the lake muck washed off, we headed out to Purcelville, VA to do about 50 miles of riding in hot, humid weather. Besides being a sticky, sweaty windshield for bugs, the ride was uneventful. Good company, lots of talk of ice cream and slurpees, and quiet country roads in a beautiful part of the state.