Monday, July 8, 2013

Aktiv Swim Series - Race Recap

Friday night  we headed to the Welland Flatwater Recreation Centre. Doug wanted some open-water swim practice so we went early enough for him to get a swim in before the race started.

Here he is after his 600m swim - all ready for Gravenhurst next weekend.

By the way, Doug and I usually swim together in open water. It was surprisingly hard to stand on the dock and watch him get smaller and smaller as he swam further and further away. I was much happier to have him within reach.

Once he was safely back on land, it was time to get ready for my race. I was a little nervous because I have not had much practice with swimming in the evenings and was worried about my blood sugar. As a precaution I had set a 50% basal rate starting at 4:30pm for two hours. The race was at 6:00pm so I figured that would help avoid lows. My blood sugar at 5pm was 9.0. At 5:30pm it was 8.7. It seemed to be pretty steady and the low basal would hopefully keep it that way.

I tucked two gels into my bathing suit just in case...

Modelling the lime green swim caps that we were given to wear. For the record: it totally clashed with my blue nail polish and blue and yellow bathing suit. 

Testing out my new goggles that I just bought. They are not prescription because I normally wear contact lenses during triathlons and I learned the hard way last summer that contact lenses + prescription goggles = a very fuzzy landscape. I wanted to give them a good test run before Gravenhurst to check for leaks. 

They fit nicely and didn't leak at all. Lesson for next time: wash off eye makeup before evening swims or you come out of the water with some pretty funky racoon eyes. 

Warming up my muscles and getting used to the still slightly chilly water temperatures. At least I wasn't the only person not wearing a wetsuit. 

Janice and I splashing around before the start. 

We had a mass start. They forgot to bring the horn so the organizer stood on the dock and yelled "Ready? Go!". There were 19 people swimming the 1.9k race and 12 swimming the 3.8k. The course was 1.9k long so the longer distance swimmers had to swim it twice. My goal was to not get lapped. 

Almost at the finish. I totally thought I had decent sighting technique. Apparently I lift my entire head out of the water. Gonna have to work on that skill. 

The hardest part of the race was that we had to heave ourselves up onto the dock and run to the timing mat in order to register our time. Upper body strength after a hard swim is not my forte. Laughing while trying to get out probably didn't help. 

I struggled halfway up and then fell back in. 

After that I gave up trying to maintain any semblance of dignity. I flopped down on my stomach and rolled my way on to the dock. 

Seriously?!? It's wet and slippery and I'm freaking tired. And I could hear the clock tick tick ticking away as I struggled my way up. 

Made it! 

This is the only photo that gives a sense of the race course. The bridge in the distance is 500m. We swam 950m out and then back again. 

Don't slip, don't slip. 

Done and done! I finished 12/19 with a time of 36:53. I beat a bunch of the wetsuit swimmers too. According to Christine, my coach, swimming in a wetsuit is like running with rollerblades. It's a wee exaggeration I'm sure but I'm glad I can keep up with folks who have an 'edge'. 

My post-swim nose honk that I apparently always do but never noticed until Doug started taking pictures of it. By the end of the summer I'll have an entire gallery of nose pulling pics.  

I'm really happy with how it went. It's hard to judge pace out there in the water but I felt like I maintained a decent speed the entire time. I pushed hard but not so hard that I struggled to breathe and I was still strong at the end (just not strong enough to get out of the water!). When I passed the bridge and had about 400m left, I asked myself if I could now get out and hop on the bike for 40k followed by a 10k run. I decided that I probably could but that I would definitely need to pace myself in order to survive. 

My post race blood sugar was 6.9 which was pretty freaking awesome and my pump survived the mass start with all the kicking and flailing. 

Blood sugar a few hours later was 22.0 which was totally not awesome. It took hours to come down despite a few rage boluses. Apparently I'll be needing a post-swim basal increase to prevent THAT awful feeling from happening again. 

All in all it was a great evening of swimming and I will absolutely do it again in a few weeks.


  1. Awesome!! I love all the pictures, you look so excited!

  2. Amazing!! I was one of the few people swimming without a wetsuit at my triathlon a few weeks ago. Like running in roller blades, huh? Guess I'll have to give it a try.

    I would freak out at having to swim 1.9k in open water. :-/ You continue to amaze me.

  3. Well done! That's a fantastic open-water time for 1.2 miles. And it's totally true about wetsuits--although roller-blades might be a bit of a stretch. Not only are you more slippery, but the neoprene helps keep your hips higher in the water for better streamlining and power. The only downside is that the wrong wetsuit can be a bit constricting.

    Okay, sighting. Yeah, your head is up quite a bit, which means that you're probably really dropping your legs whenever you sight. I find that looking on two successive breaths helps me keep my head lower *and* sight better. I don't have to interrupt my stroke by raising my head quite so much to see, since I can get a quick, vague sense of what I want to look at on the first breath and then verify what I'm looking at on the next one. Then I can go another 10-15 seconds until I sight again.

    The 1500 meters this weekend is going to feel so short!