Today the Tyr Playa Del Run race series hit Huntington Beach. In addition to the 1K swim/5K run Aquathlon I did, there where also 5 & 10K runs, a mile swim, and a kids beach sprint. Tyr will host another 3 or 4 of these events at area beaches over the summer.
I ended up entering this race at the last minute. I figured the 1000 meter ocean swim would afford some quality training for the San Diego International Triathlon I am doing in a few weeks.
Tyr put on a pretty cool event. It wasn't overwhelmingly big, but it wasn't too small either. There where plenty of volunteers and everything ran smooth. I even had the privledge of being called out by some dude at the Clif Bar booth for sucking down a Powerade, which is "filled with high fructose corn syrup" and will "kill me". He was then gracious enough to trade it out for the new Clif sports drink, which was actually quite good.
As far as the race goes, I have some good news and some bad news.
The bad news is that I had my worst in-competition swim of my career. And what makes this especially annoying is that for the most part the swim went pretty good. The coaching is definitely paying off. It's just that the strangest thing happened about half way through.
I was swimming along north, breathing to the right to sight off the beach and avoid mouthfuls of sea water from the swells coming in from the left. The first 100 meters through the shore break to the first buoy had been a little tough, but the 400 meters since had been fine. I'd been cruising along, and happy with my forward progress as I watched landmarks on the shore slide by - a lifeguard station, a snack shop, a palm tree. But at 500 meters, I realized there was a problem. I had made my way parallel to another lifeguard station, but I was not getting past it. Ten strokes, then fifteen, but the lifeguard station was still there.
Again, I'm not a great swimmer. But this little "situation" I found myself in went way beyond a lack of swimming skills. Clearly, darker forces where at play. It's as if the ocean currents where conspiring solely against me, because as I looked around, swimmers not 30 feet from me where swimming along without a care in the world.
I swear I'm not making this up.
Eventually I got out of whatever crazy current I was in and started moving forward again. But I had been left way behind. I think I may have been the last out of the water because I had my own private escort of 4 lifeguards on jet skis and surfboards for the last 100 meters, most likely bringing up the rear.
I'm assuming the guy on the beach behind me is giving the "water is all clear signal"
This would probably be a good time to mention that I forgot my watch so I had no idea how long I had been swimming. But as I ran up the beach I saw Mary and asked her what time it was. It was 8:50. The race had started at 8:15. I had been in the water for 35 minutes. Ugh.
I was pissed off in that reluctantly competitive sort of way. On the one hand it didn't really matter - it's not as if I had any chance of winning anyway. But on the other hand.....yeah, I want to do well and I certainly didn't want to come in last.
I made my way into the transition, stripped off my wetsuit, pulled on my shirt and shoes, and set off for the run.
I ran hard. I was on a mission and as I started passing people my dignity began to creep back. I run along this part of the beach all the time so I knew exactly where I was relative to the course, which was great for pacing.
I don't remember much else about the run except that I just kept moving. I crossed the finish line at 59:02.
And that brings me to the good news. I may have run my best 5K ever.
I say "may" because like I said, I didn't have my watch. And there where no split times. However, assuming the race started on time, I was in the water for 35 minutes. Transition had to have been at least 3 minutes as I had a little trouble getting my shoes on wet feet. So that means I did the run in 21 minutes or so. My best 5K time previous is about 23:30. I'll have to list the run as a personal best with an asterisk next to it.
Running into the finish line. I may be looking at the clock doing some quick math trying to figure out what the heck is going on.
Despite a good showing on the run, I still came in 83 of 111. Is what it is, I suppose. But I'm definitely due a good swim for my next race.