Thursday, August 9, 2012

First Annual Hall Lake Challenge

I've been pretty much a total slacker on my swimming this summer.  I've been trying to get out once a week to do an open water swim with the Fairmont Multisport Club, but even that is sometimes challenging (sick Liam, sleeping Liam, no one to watch Liam...).  Knowing that my half distance triathlon was pretty much out for August didn't help. 

But, regardless of not being able to bike or run, I did have this event to look forward to:  The First Annual Hall Lake Challenge!  A 1.4 mile point-to-point (as in straight across the lake) open water swim.  I even conned the hubby into swimming :) 

This was a really small event- like 17 swimmers small.  Each swimmer had their own non-motorized escort boat (this was a requirement).  In addition, there were several motorized boats lining the course in case of an emergency.  All of these boats were manned by volunteers- THANK YOU volunteers!!!

We got started with a short organization meeting, met our escorts, and had a little time to warm up.  Soon it was time to get this inaugural event underway!  It was a time trial start, with swimmers going off every 30 seconds.  The first swimmer to go got quite a bit of applause...I imagine the poor last person to go had very little fanfare at all.

Because this was such a small event, they used the buoys from their triathlon a few weeks before and there were only two, dividing the lake into 3 portions.  The escort boat really helped out with sighting.  The boats were directed to stay on track, and only chase after their swimmer if they got too far away.  This worked great as I had my boat stay on my breathing side so I could just sight the boat with each breath, rather than having to sight ahead for a buoy.  

Now remember, I have been a slacker.  I got tired quickly.  I don't think the buoys were placed accurately at 1/3 intervals either so that made it mentally hard when I got to the first one and saw my split was far slower than I had hoped.  But by the time I got to the second, with a faster split than the first, I knew that the buoys weren't evenly spaced and I felt a little better.

For the most part, I was breathing to my strong side, with my boat on the right.  About halfway across, I had her go to the left side so I could breathe that direction for a while.  If you don't know how to breathe on both sides, I suggest working on this valuable skill!  It was a nice break for the fatigued muscles on the one side and I actually went faster for a while just by switching sides.

But, my weak side fatigued quickly, and I went back to the right.  After a little while on that side, my muscles were just tired all over and I decided to breaststroke for a while.  And found another gear!  Ah, yes...using my muscles in a different way gave them new life and I found myself catching up to and passing another swimmer that I had been trailing at an even distance for most of the way.

I switched back to my normal freestyle stroke for the very end and soon found the bottom of the lake with my hands...I was done!  Extremely tired, VERY hungry, and done!  This was a distance PR for me and although I didn't swim as fast as I would have liked, I swam about as fast as I expected.  All around a success!

Every one of the 17 swimmers finished.  For most, this was a distance PR by a long way!  A couple of the swimmers really only learned to swim freestyle this year.

After the swim, we all enjoyed a picnic in the park with brats and beer (no beer for me, sadly...note to self...bring own gluten-free adult beverage next year).  Liam had a great day (thanks, Mayo family for watching him!) playing on the playground and in the lake.

Again,  a highly recommended event!  Fun, fun, FUN!!!

(All of these pictures were blatantly stolen from the Fairmont Multisport Club Facebook page.  Thanks to Noella for taking pics!)

There's a teeny-tiny yellow buoy in this pic.  That buoy is 1/3 of the way across. 
Each swimmer had a non-motorized boat escort.  Again, THANK YOU volunteers!
Dave, his escort, and Liam.
Me and my escort, Melissa.
Ready, set, GO!
Just after the last swimmer started. 
Hubby coming out of the water.
Me coming out of the water.
I'll take a handshake from Phil in lieu of a finisher's medal any day! 

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