Sunday, July 02, 2006

Dave Reynolds Biathlon non-report

Up at 4 AM, then a 2-hour drive to the Delaware shore.

It was supposed to be a half-mile swim. This was the finish turn buoy.

This buoy marked in the distance is the HALFWAY buoy. The start buoy is an equal distance farther down the beach.

It was a non-wetsuit event. The ocean water was very cold and despite appearances, rough. The buoys were small (basketball-sized) and very hard to sight. I did the walk down the beach a half mile with the other starters, got in the water, and fought my way freezing nearly out to the first buoy, doing mostly Tarzan strokes to try to see it. I found myself drifting far from the buoy, behind most of the other swimmers. I was already cold and struggling, and it felt like I was swimming in place.

I gave up. I told one of the lifeguards that I was going in, and turned back for the beach. Even returning to shore was difficult.

I got back to the beach after about 7 minutes elapsed (though it seemed much longer), and I think that it would have taken me at least 35 minutes (judging by when the other people came out of the water) to have finished the swim. It was some consolation that at least two other fit-looking men DNFd and were walking back in the same direction, though I'll have to check the results later.

I have another almost identical event at the Delaware shore in 3 weeks. My confidence is shaken. I have a lot of work to do before then. Damn.

16 comments:

Mojo said...

I know the feeling of shaken confidence, my friend. Swimming in the ocean is an entirely different animal. The ocean is a violent, angry, foaming at the mouth type of beast! The pool is my very best friend.

My only advice is to never turn around and look back. Keep fighting, even if you feel you are making no progress. Eventually you'll get there! It may take an hour but only you can make it or break it.

Downhillnut said...

That sucks. But hey, we can't accuse you of only posting glowing successes. Don't you hate it when you think you've come SO FAR and then realize you have even further to go?

This is something you will overcome. Looking forward to reading about it :)

triathlonmom said...

Nancy,
The swim on the 22nd is in the Delaware Bay (think calmer). It will be way different than today's ocean swim at Rehoboth in the Atlantic. I am an ocean swim nut, since that is my favorite part and having grown up swiming at Rehoboth, I just want to say, I'm glad you have a healthy respect for the ocean. It is OK you didn't feel comfortable and didn't want to continue. You'll become more confident as you practice more, but most importantly remember that the Ironman Swim you are training for is in the Gulf of Mexico, right? My experience is that it is a much calmer swim there. either way, you'll be fine. Maybe schedule a training swim with a lifeguard or a kayak beside you till you are more comfortable?

nancytoby said...

Thanks, good points!! Actually I thought it wasn't all *that* rough, but the swells were big enough I couldn't sight the buoys well and that got to me.

I think I might not have been alone in that, either, because I watched about 3/4 of the swimmers "skip" the 2nd buoy. Too bad for the ones that went all the way out around it!!

I appreciate the encouragement!

bunnygirl said...

Don't let it get to you! I'll lay odds that the cold was a big factor out there. Once your body tightens up against the cold, it becomes harder to move, harder to breathe... Yeah, who wouldn't be a little unnerved?

I get hypothermia just thinking about cold water and no wetsuit!

*jeanne* said...

They should allow wetsuits.

In fact, maybe they should REQUIRE wetsuits, like bike races require helmets.

Isn't it SAFER in a wetsuit?

I admire you for even TRYING this. I'm a Jersey girl by birth, and the ocean is NO JOKE.

m said...

I'm impressed with anyone that can swim an 1/2 mile in the ocean.

Ok I am bummed that the water is cold. It is suppose to be warm at this time of the year. (b/c I'm heading to the beach in a week)

BTW it's the Delaware Beaches. In Jersey it's the shore. Why? I don't know.

Kewl Nitrox said...

Never swam in cold waters, but I guess it would make things twice as hard. Hey, you are a mother of two AND a Triathlete, what's a lil salt water? I am sure you will kick ass next time. :)

Maybe instead of doing Tarzan strokes, you could try taking a good sight every 6 to 8 strokes. Even if you miss one of the sightings, you should not be that far off. Often the nevousness of drifting off makes me sight more than I really need, which slows me down and tires me out.

the Dread Pirate Rackham said...

Honey, I think you did better than I would have done! Kudos to you for getting yourself INTO the water and doing what you did - you learned from it, right? So it wasn't an entirely lost swim.

Keep goin'!

Stillwater Heron said...

You rock for even getting into the water when it was freezing!
The first and only tri I ever did was the 1st week in June in northern N.J.
A 1/2 mile swim in a freezing cold reseviour with water so cold my lungs and body turned to stone.
I could hardly move my arms and could not put my face in the water at all without having a chest convulsion.
I was a turtle and had to side stroke the whole way...
Smart girl to get out when you knew you were in trouble!
No shame there!
Not at all.
Conditions were not on anyones side.
Better to be safe than sorry as my mother used to say :)
You will let this one pass and move on!

Holly said...

Take a deep breath and refocus. You have 3 weeks to get some of your confidence back. It sounds like the conditions were much different from IMFL (no wetsuit) and the cold water can definately take alot out of you.

Relax, Regroup and Restart.

Remember how hard your swims were for both Eagleman's? And you were able to finish both of those. You have it in you to accompish the next swim challenge in 3 weeks.

Better to DNF now and learn how your fears creeped up than to discover them on race day at IMFL, right?

Comm's said...

I don't think I would use this for doubting in November. Different body of water, wetsuit. Sorry. I have been there myself.

Bolder said...

it's done. it's in the books. you move on, you're the NANCINATOR!

i'm starting to go into each open water swim with lower expectations... and coming out of each with just more experience.

guessing that because it was hard swimming out and in, that conditions were just challenging. every swim i keep thinking i'm making no progress, but i keep surprising myself when marker buoys keep continuously appearing!

i keep coming in last in my age group at the Boulder Stroke & Stride (1500m swim, 5K run). i keep reminding myself that on November 4th i'll be swimming 2.4 miles, not 3/4 or 1/2 -- you and i are training to endure, not sprint.

keep at it, you're makin' progress in both TRI lesssons, and TRI fitness that are guaranteed deposits in the Bank of Ironman and will pay dividends Nov 4th!

Sherri said...

nancy! just the pictures scare me. like an earlier post read, i'm uber inspired by your doing this. will be looking forward to the great report from the upcoming swim at the del. bay.

also, thank you so much for the open water swim location suggestions. i went back to another lake in virginia (and got busted again) but am gonna keep searching. hopefully i'll have the courage and skills to one day ocean-swim too! one day.....

jeanne said...

I was in Rehoboth on Sunday and I can personally attest to the fact that that water was COLD. My hands were numb after five minutes and the current was cruel! I usually have to be dragged out of the ocean but not Sunday. It was too much. I'm sorry I missed you though! I was off doing a long run in another part of town.

And DNF sucks, but you made the right decision (imho) on Sunday, given those conditions.

Geek Girl said...

I only just now read this, having been out of town getting my own DNF that weekend. Buck up - open water swims are intimidating! You'll have lots of chances to go back and conquer that monster.