Monday, July 26, 2010

Race Report: Peaks to Portland 2010

This is our life happening ... and it is happening right now. - Michael Chabon

That is my main reason I like doing open water races.
In those moments of the race, I live fully in the present.
Painful or exhilarating, I and everyone in that race, is right there.

Honestly I was feeling a bit complacent about this race, for many reasons, the biggest of which was that Kathy was unable to swim. She's been out for the majority of the summer with a back injury. It just hasn't been the same to train without her. I was, and am, feeling sad about this.
Kathy and I at the finish.

However in balance of this, our group had well over 20 swimmers join the 192 that completed the race, many of whom swam for the first time.

Julie taking a moment.

Peter, Claire and Bowen.

The morning was foggy and as we headed over on the ferry Peaks couldn't be seen. Even as the race started, Portland was not visible through the fog.

The start was modified several times in the days before the race. The final iteration turned out to be a good one. Four waves of 50 swimmers spaced by 3 minutes staggered by speed, fastest wave first. We had lots of room and I didn't get clobbered by any other swimmers. There was lots of space for at least 500 yards, almost the entirety I spent swimming arm for arm with Peter. Thanks dude! And then the kayaks closed in on us. I had to yell to one who crossed immediately in front of me. But he kept going. My arm hit the front end of his boat and I had to yell back at him "Don't cross the swimmers!" Someone later said I should have dunked the front end of this boat.

Karen my kayaker found me shortly after this just when I was starting to wonder, quite calmly I might add, if I would be swimming the rest of the race unescorted. She was great -- cheering, encouraging and rallying me on to the finish. Note the distinctive hat!

My arms hurt for much of the race. In retrospect I think my suit was too tight -- too new still. However I experienced none of the leg cramping that I have in past years so the change in training and pre-race nutrition seems to be working.

The water was cold, much colder than it has been at Crescent Beach. I don't know if this is just subjective or if it truly was colder. Even though I forgot my hoodie, the two caps I wore were just right to keep me warm enough.

We took a straighter route to the beach this year. I didn't feel any push of the tide and I'm not sure of whether this is due to the route we took or the timing of the tide. Most people I talked also didn't feel any push so I think it is the latter.

I had one guy (without a kayak) who trailed me for nearly the entire race. I have to say I admire his stamina. He looked like he was working quite hard keeping up a rapid cadence. Just as we entered the boats I stretched out my stroke and picked up my kick and was able to shake him loose finally.

Final stats: 2nd AG, 7th woman (7/78) and 36th OA.
Time: 53:38

Suggestions for next year:
Have the kayaks line up in numerical order: odd number one side, even number the other. This way it should correspond to the speed of the swimmers and reduce the chaos.

Can we please have water and gatorade through the awards ceremony?

Love the award towels!! Much better than a plaque.


Anonymous said...

Great Job. This was my first year. I think I'll wear a wetsuit next year. I've heard that speeds you up a bit.

MaineSport said...

Good work, Alina. It's also great to see Peter out there. I completely agree with the kayaks at the start- not that that's what is keeping me out of the race...

Swimming for ME said...

@Steve - I'd love to get rid of the kayaks completely. Now that would be a fun race!
We'll get you in that swim sooner or later I just know.

FFigawi said...

Congrats Alina! Glad you didn't get totally run over by the kayaks.

Caratunk Girl said...

Awesome RR! That race has been on my radar for a few years now. Congrats on the 2nd place AG finish!

Ange said...

Great RR Alina!!! I kayaks.