"This is alot harder than I thought!"
...was the 1st thought which popped into my head around 300 meters into my reconnaissance swim on Saturday morning.
Having done all of my training and multi-sport racing in a swimming pool, having to go 600 meters into one straight swoop was very, very new to me and it was a challenge that I have to admit I underestimated. Add to that the disorienting feeling of not being able to see the bottom of the low visibility lake, meant that I had to try doubly hard... just to stay on course!
By the end of the 1.2 recon swim of Lago del Rey, I was pretty confident I had a rudimentary swim-stroke-sight maneuver thing going down, but I was really far from confident for the race day. I know my team mates prepared hard for this. I didn't want to let them down...
Oh well, I had committed to this, so there was no turning back!
Having slept most of yesterday afternoon and evening, I was wide awake for at 4am for the 7:10 relay start, so I made the most of my time.
So I had a leisurely breakfast of everything in the buffet table, took a shower back at the room, changed into my Speedos, got body marked and tried to figure out a way to release the butterflies in my stomach.
Before I knew it, it was almost 7 am and we were being corralled into the pre starting nipa hut. There I didn't feel as nervous anymore as I was making jokes with Angel, July, and Berns, all fellow relay swimmers, all of whom were former or current varsity swimmers.
Hmmm, I hope people don't judge me by the talent around me!
The 1st part of the swim was everything I heard it would be. Despite the relatively smaller number of swimmers for the relay, there were definitely some unintentional hitting and kicking involved. I remembering having to make a full stop at least twice in the 1st 200 meters as I got cut my this guy twice, as he made his way diagonally across the swim course.
Right around the 1st turn around the field around me started to spread out and I got some free space. Around this time the 1st of my troubles began. One the way to the turn around, my stroke-sight technique worked well enough, helped by having people around me whom I could watch. On the way back, the sun's glare made sighting the far end difficult and this problem was compounded by my getting water into my goggles. Dang! I was gonna be one of those diagonal guys on the way back.
Eventually I made it back to the crossover point and I made the short run over to the cable park lake with no problems.
Once in the water though, I did I double take. Literally! having not swam the pool the day before, the moment I dove into the pool I saw nothing but green! I closed and opened my eyes quickly to be sure I wasn't seeing things. sure enough, algae or something made underwater visibility almost nothing! A person could be swimming beside you and you wouldn't know it until they hit you!
Amazingly, the 1st thought which came to my head was...
ANY OF THE
After which I thought, shit this will be hard.
To make a long story short, I struggled with that loop, running into people, making the most of my breast stroke technique to find my way around.
But I eventually made it to the end! Boy! I tell you, for a 1.8 kilometer race, I was never so glad to finish! That was one of the the longest 48 minutes of my life!
I standing up dead tired, when the cheers of my friends and fellow competitors(who had finished way, way before I did) reminded me that I was still in a race, so I quickly broke out of my dazed stupor and ran into the relay tent, where my team mates Dandan and NVP were waiting. A quick hand off of the transponder a few seconds later and my part was done!
After catching my breath. I made my way back to the room. Took a crap. Had a long, long, hot shower to get ride of any lake residue and headed for the Mcdonalds van.
Around 2 hours later, I made my way back to the relay tent to assist Dandan and NVP in the hand off and then made my way to the finish to watch Terenzo Bozzone take 1st from Macca!
But the real highlight of the race for me was around an hour later, when Dandan surprised me by how early he made it to the finish. A 1:30 21k run quickly erased whatever swim deficit I left them with and gave up a top ten finish for the all male category, behind the super teams of Timex, Camsur Tri and D.O.T.
Not a bad way to cap off a great race!
P.S. Check out the running form of the runner of Relay Team winners Timex-Runrio. 1:27 half marathon time! He's probably not human.
He's not touching the ground in this pic.
Apparently, they also doesn't have to drink water in his planet! Hehe