I was scheduled for two swims this weekend, a 2-mile swim on Saturday and a 5K swim on Sunday. I did the 2-mile swim, the Wild Fish swim. Water was “unseasonably cold” as one local put it. One swimmer’s watch said 58F. The harbormaster said 62-63F. All I know is it was cold.
The swim was 2 x one-mile loops. I was freezing until the first turn buoy, maybe 300m away. Then I felt fine. There were cold spots on the last third of the loop, enough that it was shocking. But otherwise I felt strong. Last year I did this swim in some seconds over an hour. I felt so good yesterday that I thought I might do it under an hour.
Nope. Over an hour. A bunch. 1:15-1:16. Like, way slower.
It dawned on me that I might not be recovered from last weekend’s marathon. I re-thought Sunday’s 5k. Especially due to the water temp. (Both swims were in Salem, MA, but in different bodies of water.) I decided to opt out of today’s 5k. I mean really, what I did in the past 8-9 days was basically run a marathon last Saturday, then yesterday I did the equivalent of running 8 miles, and then expected myself to run a half-marathon today. I’m not too bright.
I was one of four men in the 2-mile race who swam without a wetsuit. Unfortunately, that swim doesn’t differentiate results based on skins vs. suits. But I very easily found the other three men unburdened by neoprene; two were in the 19 and under, skinny little shits. But I give them lots of respect because they did it without wetsuits, and they swam fast (50:04 and 50:22, although check my note at the bottom about the timing). The other guy I spoke with prior to the start. He was in the 40’s age group. I was the only skins swimmer in the 50-59 age group. One wetsuited guy came over to me as we were all wading out for the start and fist-bumped me. “Much respect for doing this without wetsuit.” Thanks!
My son told me that five swimmers, all in sleeveless wetsuits, all male, turned around prior to the first buoy and returned to the start. They all quit, claiming the water was too cold for them. /insert shocked face emoji here/ I couldn’t believe it. The water really wasn’t that bad. Better, the sun was out. So your back was warm and your mood was great due to the beautiful weather. Why quit before you’ve even gone 200 meters?
Anyway, I felt strong. I even passed some folks. At one point during the first lap, I saw that 40-something skins swimmer next to me. I was excited. Maybe I can beat him in? I kept my head down and swam like the wind. My God, each buoy was coming and going so quickly. I felt like I was on line, swimming straight. More than I’d felt in a long time. This swim felt better than any other since my 5k in Croatia in 2015. I started to think that maybe I could swim this under an hour.
On the last leg I passed a woman swimming the event with a snorkel. Yes. One of those snorkels that goes from your mouth, straight up past your nose and over the center of your head. Well, she didn’t have to turn to breath, but she had to raise her head high to sight. I ended up 3 or 4 minutes ahead of her.
Just as I was coming up to the beach, a neoprene-clad swimmer caught up to me. I ran up the beach ahead of him, but he ended up passing me at the end. No biggie.
I hung out at the end. Last year I managed third place somehow. I got a pint glass which I still love using. I noticed this year pint glasses only went to firsts in each race and sex, unfortunately. I even thought for a moment that I might be able to buy a pint glass from someone or from the race organizer. By the end I forgot to stop and ask a volunteer about buying a glass. Damn.
Finally they called out the male 50-59 group. I did not make the podium this time. In fact, I’m way at the end. Sixth place possibly. Maybe fifth.
You see, I believe North Shore Timing erred in my finishing time. The 2-mile swim started exactly five minutes after the first event (half-mile swim). The race clock at the finish arch started with the first event, and the RD counted down our event so we started when the clock hit 5:00. NST has my final time as 1:20.24. But as you can see in the left corner of the picture below, the race clock was at 1:20-something when I ran under the arch (the timer sensor was on the corner right after the arch). There’s no way it took me 5 minutes to walk five feet from the arch to the sensor!
Zoomed in:I wrote to NST so hopefully they’ll look at the times again. I think they probably just forgot to subtract the 5:00 from my time. Possibly from everyone’s time! Bottom line, I have no idea my final time, but I think it is in the 1:15 to 1:16 range. Still way too slow.
And yes, I did have the same issues with the salt water. My throat started to burn like it used to when I had heartburn/acid reflux really bad. Continued all day; I had to take Pepto before bed. Ugh. Cold (-ish) water I’ve got down. Salt water, not so much.