Well, I finally made it to an international swim. Got the right airport and everything. Christiansborg Round was a 2K swim around the Danish Parliament, in downtown Copenhagen. What a great event! Over 1000 (1033 to be exact) swam in the 2K, 93 in the Mens 40-44 age group.
The race started in Frederiksholms Kanal. I swam past the Black Diamond, continued along the waterfront, under Knippelsbro Bridge, past the Stock Exchange, Højbro Plads and Gammel Strand, and concluded in the straight in Frederiksholms Kanal. The water was incredibly (for me) cold. The day prior they measured it at 16 degrees Celsius, or about 60 degrees F. When I jumped in (it was an in-water start), I thought my diaphragm would seize up. Sure I wore my wetsuit, but it was sleeveless, and did not keep the cold out.
The water was interesting. Sure I knew the water in the canal came from the sea, and would be salty, but I don’t think I’ve ever swum that distance or amount of time in salt water. After a while, the taste was starting to get to me. Nausea, per se, didn’t come rear its ugly head, but I felt that anymore time in the water, and I would have to fight that demon.
There were two times when I had to stop, or, rather, flip over to my back and do a modified easy backstroke. The sensor that the race directors handed out was a velcro’d affair and the strap started to come off at about the 500m mark. I slipped the end of it into my watch strap and was good to go. I surely didn’t want to spend the 600 danish kroner or whatever outrageous sum they’d charge me for not returning it at the end.
The other ‘easy backstroke’ point was when one of my goggle lenses filled with water and stung my eyes. I work long and hard getting my goggles right, and I’ve got something like 14 pairs, most of them the Speedo hydrospex that seem to fit my head and eye sockets best. Still, I always seem to have a goggle problem in anything longer than 1000m. This incident happened at about the 1500m mark.
There were also two sections of what I could only call forest. At these points I got entangled in weeds and vines, to the point where I had to let my recovery hand drag a little to allow loops of vines to slip off my arms. However, I never did stop even when I was seemingly encased in the vegetation!
Which leads to the subject of navigation. Again I relapsed into my comfort zone–breathing only on the right. In essence, I was blazing the trail, and cutting through the vegetation myself. A few times I looked to the left and saw the experienced (read: smarter) swimmers drafting off each other way to the left, close to the canal walls. I would adjust my line to go meet them, then a few 100m later I ended up back too far right. I probably really swam 2200 or 2300 meters, based on my zig-zag course.
My goal was 40:00, and I finished at 40:46. I think I could have beat my goal with better navigation and bilateral breathing, which is what I’ll work on between now and the next swim. Whenever and wherever that will be.