Melanie Price’s completion of her 42 km Lake Ontario crossing yesterday morning in Coronation Park must have been fresh on my mind, because that’s where I drove to first this morning. It was about ten minutes out from the race start, so I got to pass the exit point of our swim. The 4 km felt like a really long drive. By the time I got there, conditions were absolutely perfect. You couldn’t have asked for a better morning for the start of the fourth annual L.O.S.T. Race.
Registration was quick, got a water bottle, and…
…numbers on the hands. I got a power of two!
Rob Kent with the pre-race meeting.
This time I actually remembered the Vaseline and applied it generously to my shoulders and jawline.
I managed to snag a photo with Melanie Price. She looked so fresh I would have no idea she just spent over 18 hours swimming yesterday. YESTERDAY! She’s my new hero.
The race its self was great for me. Since the last two weekends I’ve been going sans-wetsuit, I figured it wouldn’t be much of a challenge to put it on for this. I was going to debate whether I’d enter the naked class or not on the way down, but since I forgot my wetsuit anyway that decision was made for me. I’m glad it worked out that way.
The start was pretty relaxed. No pushing and shoving, and there were no restrictions on drafting. I didn’t find many people to draft behind, but when I did it was a welcome relief. I set the auto-lap timer on my GPS for 500m this time, which is probably the ideal distance for me. Since I swim near 2:00, that makes it very simple when the beep goes off. If I’m right on 10 minutes I’m right on pace. It worked perfectly.
I started off fairly easily, and tried a few different things out. This time I kicked MUCH more. It felt right, and I could feel my feet wanting to come out of the water. It might not have helped much with propulsion, but I was much flatter. I credit the one swim I had during the week. Last Wednesday I made it in to an early-morning session with Ayesha, and it helped me find my form again. At the beginning of the session I was struggling to push 2:00, and by the end I was doing solid 1:50s. Still slower than the 1:42s I was hitting at my peak earlier this year, but for one hour that’s a great improvement.
Sighting was a little tough, but checking out the GPS track it looks like I was actually really straight!
My 500m splits worked out really well. Every time the lap timer went off it looked like I was getting faster and faster. I lost a bit of time by stopping to check my watch, but it was well worth the help it provided with pacing. I think we had a bit of a current helping us. It felt much faster than usual. My splits broke down like this:
1: 9:57 (1:59 per 100)
2: 9:52 (1:58)
3: 9:57 (1:59)
4: 9:28 (1:53)
5: 9:27 (1:53)
6: 9:16 (1:51)
7: 9:04 (1:48)
8: 5:15 (1:45 (over 300m))
For the last 700 m I was experimenting with a totally different breathing pattern that I picked up by watching someone as she was completing the 10k race last week. She was taking two breaths on the same side, then took three strokes and took two breaths on the other side. Every second or third sequence of three strokes she would sight. When I watched her she looked very mechanical and structured, so it appealed to me. It worked awesomely for me. I was in need of more air because of all the extra kicking I was doing, and that definitely supplied it. It was a bit harder to maintain a straight line, but I think with a bit more practice it might be a good strategy for me. Considering my last splits I think it’s something worth exploring!
My final (official) time of 1:12:25 may be slightly misleading though. Aside from the perceived current pushing us ahead, I think my sighting was a little too good. I may have cut the course slightly short, by swimming directly to the pier instead of following the shoreline. There were a few times one of the kayaks was nudging me over toward the shore. I definitely stayed inside where she was pointing, but… When I overlapped my GPS track with a straight line in Google Earth, it showed that the actual distance I covered was 3.7 km. Not a huge difference, but I technically still haven’t completed a full Ironman distance swim.
This was a super fun event with a huge turnout. For the final results and a full writeup, check out the latest post on the L.O.S.T site. I’m going to join them as soon as I can, they really seem like a great bunch of people to swim with. Two of the people I spoke to often come from Barrie and Ottawa to swim with these guys. I need to HTFU with the drive—it’s really only a half hour from downtown. Even Wilcox and Musselman Lake take that long.
After the race I got a ride back to the car from Steve, who I had just met on the way to pick up our bags. He was at the event last week and entered the 10k race. He wasn’t able to finish it before the thunder (he was only 1000m from the finish), but I learned a lot about some of the swims he’s been doing this year, and what he has planned in the future. He’s been doing a lot of swimming in the NYC area, and this year he’s going to swim from New Jersey to Manhattan. Awesome. He went from not being able to swim not so long ago to this.
Before this chat I was thinking about only entering the 5k swim in Welland next year. Now I’m thinking 10k might not be out of reach at all. Today I felt like I could have gone forever. Maybe I actually can! With 10k open water swim being in the Olympics it’s actually quite an approachable distance. Almost like the swimming equivalent of a marathon.