Saturday, June 9, 2012

Race report: Great Salt Lake swim 2012

It's strange when you train for something for so long. The event comes and then goes just like that. You spend so many hours preparing for something that seems to last for only a few minutes. That's how today's race was.
The waves didn't really seem so bad until you got out in the open.
The weather at the Great Salt Lake marina wasn't as rough as originally expected, although there were decent-sized waves from the wind. Apparently, a few support boat volunteers ditched Josh, so he had to square that away, forcing us to get off to a bit of a late start. 

By the time the race started, I was already a bit psyched out. Just swimming out to the starting buoy proved to be a challenge in the 3-to-4 foot swells. The first 700 yards or so were the toughest. Although I wasn't having as difficult of a time sighting as last year, the waves made it very hard to see Black Rock and the finish line. However, a giant red arch above the finish line in the distance saved me from getting too far off the course. The same waves kept me from getting any real rhythm and breathing was hellish with waves crashing into your face with the stinging salt. At the pace, I was going, I thought for sure I'd have a disappointing finish time.
Heading out to the starting buoy
However, something clicked a little over half-way through and I started getting into a nice groove. I passed a handful of swimmers that darted out ahead of me earlier, and for once, it seemed like my few ounces of open water experience paid off. By the time I reached the beach (which seemed to appear in front of me out of nowhere) , I took my time standing up and trotting to the finish line. Last year I almost vomited from getting up too fast, and fortunately, all was well this time. 
Just before the start. BRING THE PAIN!
Jen was waiting there for me with some mouthwash after I received my medal. Then, I realized I forgot to stop my timer. I'm not sure how much time ticked off after I finished, but when I stopped it, the clock read 31:10. I'm almost certain the real time was at least 15-20 seconds faster, but either way, I still topped last year's time by over 2 1/2 minutes despite much more challenging conditions. I didn't get under 30 minutes, like I wanted to, but I'm certain if the weather was better, I certainly would have. I haven't seen the official results, but Jen says I was the sixth swimmer out of the water and the fourth male. I'll certainly take that considering there were about 35 swimmers.

We took off pretty fast after the race, and I didn't get to see Rachel finish, but I'm sure she did just fine. She was a bit nervous about the swim, even though she did the same route earlier this week in 8-FOOT swells. I also got to chat with Chad for a few minutes, which was nice. He finished just before me. Blast!
I'm the dude on the far left.
P.S: Here's a shout out to Josh, who once again, organized a heckuva race, despite having to adjust to a few speed bumps. Nice work!

Total distance: Around 2,250 yards

UPDATE: I just got the official results and I finished 10th out of 28 swimmers (4th out of 11 males) with a time of 31:01.

8-mile swim next year?
Josh is all smiles after organizing another successful swim


  1. Great job! 4th swimmer in is awesome. I was one of the last but with those waves I felt great. I found the hardest part not having the buoys to sight and give you a mental motivator for your progress.
    Goals can be a mixed blessing. They motivate you but they can also make you crazy waiting and wondering if you can do it. The 8 ft swells made me more nervous because it was the first time I felt the water owned me. Kind of rattled my confidence.
    I feel great now and more confident than ever for my 5k in August.
    I'm so grateful to be a in an open water swimming community full of outstanding individuals. We totally have to swim this summer. On to Deer Creek!