I pegged this race as perfect timing in my final build to Uberman. I didn’t know about it until my friend Man who I have been staying with in San Diego posted about it on Facebook.
The event is geared towards relay swimmers but they allow 20 solo swimmers to take part as well. Thankfully I saw his Facebook post and signed up straight away (with coach’s permission of course!)
I had to get a new wetsuit before I left Australia and since I had come out of winter, there wasn’t much chance of getting any swims in the ocean. I’m not as tough as some swimmers I know and I wasn’t prepared to swim in 10-12 degree water so I had to wait until I came over here. My first swim in it was two days before Superfrog so this was perfect for a better test on how it was going to go over a long distance and what adjustments I would need to make for my nutrition and fit of the wettie.
Michael, my husband had come over earlier in the week. Again, perfect timing. So he was able to provide support for both me and Man as we did the 1 mile loops. It sounds a lot, 10 x 1 mile but since it’s mostly a relay event, they need the swimmers coming out of the water each loop. Plus then they can keep track of how many people are in the water and if there is anyone they need to find once the event is done with.
This event had a very old school feel to it. Paper timing that was then transcribed onto the wall of a tent so you could check what lap swimmers were on then their overall time. No chip timing. All hand written. Love it.
Again, the swell was decent each lap. I much prefer to get into the water and stay in there as I have now learnt! The getting in and out of the water is fine as I understood why it needed to happen that way, but I would have preferred to just keep swimming. Plus when the tide was changing, the water got a lot rougher and harder to get out each lap.
I spoke with another Ultraman Ohana (family) athlete Alin who was doing the solo swim. He said we needed to do loops in under 36 mins to make the cut off. Crap. I hadn’t thought that closely about it. I just thought, 6 hours, I can do that. But then the reality of the actual time hit me. I thought I would be able to do around 30 mins per lap but I now have to make sure that I was! I had no goal time except to make cut off. Alin asked if I was aiming for 5 hours. I said sure, if I can make that happen but my first goal is always to have fun. I figure that takes pressure off me if I don’t make my time goal.
I broke the swim down into 10 laps and even said to Michael a few times how many laps I had left to go as I was doing them. Thankfully he understood what I was talking about and also was keeping track in case I got confused to where I was at. A very likely scenario! Plus I couldn’t rely on my Garmin as I don’t necessarily swim in a straight line so the distance may be a bit off when I was getting close to the end!!
The swim started at 7am. Since I had not managed to replace my goggles I lost at Superfrog, I wore my blue lenses goggles. Not ideal when there is a strong sun but not much I could do about it. The first couple of laps were pretty uneventful. I managed to sit on one guys feet on the 2nd or 3rd lap for the longest time I have ever managed to draft! I was so proud of myself! There rest of the swim I tried to grab feet but they were either too slow, too fast or swimming way off course so I decided to keep trying but mostly swum solo.
Michael was great with the feeds on the beach. I alternated between a gel and baby food with electrolytes, salt tablets and water as this is my plan for the Catalina swim portion of Uberman. This worked well for the most part but I realised that I was getting hungry during my laps so I would need to feed more regularly in the Uberman swim. Good learnings!
The other big learning was my wetsuit cut up my neck so I will need to tape it. Body glide works really well for short distances but the longer swims I clearly need something else to help me. Another good learning!! 🙂
About lap 4 or 5 my time started to blow out a bit. I was looking at my Garmin each lap so I knew where I was at. This was the point that the tide was changing so getting out was more tricky and I was struggling a bit. I didn’t panic as I was doing roughly 30min laps before that time so I knew I had enough spare time up my sleeve if I kept at the same pace.
My aim in races like this is to keep as consistent as possible so a few minutes here and there aren’t a massive deal.
I kept thinking, it will be better once I am over half way. And it was. I was on the down part of the pyramid that I pictured in my mind, heading to the home stretch. The last lap was awesome. I looked at my Garmin to see that I had about 37-ish mins to make it under 5 1/2 hours. Game on. Plus I was just wanting to get it done! My arms had a constant ache to them from swimming for so long, they weren’t getting any worse but just ached a bit so I was keep to finish it off!
I managed to zoom through the last lap in approx 30mins so I was stoked with that. One of my fastest laps for the day!! Yeah!!
I came running up the beach, faster than I was jogging before (learnt that lesson from Superfrog, don’t run too fast in and out of the water!!) as I knew I didn’t have to go back in again!! All done.
I found out later that I had also managed to snag 2nd female overall too. There were two women who came equal 1st so I came in 2nd. There was no prize giving so I just have bragging rights. I’m okay with that.
Plus I got another medal for finishing to add to my collection!
Pretty successful racing over here as a couple of warm up races before my big one. Very glad I was able to do them. Met some really fun people, had a great time and experienced two very different types of races.
I would recommend both of them to anyone who finds themselves over here at this time of year!
Now for the final preparations for the BIG ONE!!!