Thursday, June 14, 2007

Splash and Dash

In an email chain to my Catalina Channel relay team, Oceana emailed us a link to a 1500 meter swim/5K run. It sounded so perfect. Almost all of these multisport events have a hugely disproportionately short swim, in terms of the amount of time it takes to finish that portion of the race. With this race if I was the kind of runner I think I can be, it'd take me about the same amount of time to do the run and the swim. It was on my way home from work. I pass by it every time I drive to work by myself. (I take a different route when I commute with Raybon.) The most I've run lately is 4 miles, so a 5K run was totally doable. It was almost like fate. I decided I had to try it.

I showed up at the event pretty early. Ok, this might sound a little rude, but I was impressed by how much more beautiful all the multisport athletes were compared to most of the swimmers at the open water races I do. They were largely, younger, thinner, and kind of just cooler. Don't know where the cooler impression came from. Vocabulary, sense of humor maybe. I guess the word I want to use is "intimidated" not "impressed." For some reason, even though I swim in a two piece fairly regularly, I felt really naked walking around in my jog bra and short running tights. I honestly have a love/hate relationship with my curves. Aesthetically, in some ways I prefer to have a little fat on my body rather than being bony. I'd be pretty happy weighing 10-20 pounds less than I do, but I wouldn't want to be all skin, muscle, and bones. But these women just look fast. Even though I had the right outfit, my body just shouted "poseur." It seems a little more acceptable to be a rolly-polly open water swimmer when you're surrounded by them.

The swim was pretty easy for me. I pushed it a little hard, but mostly kept my stroke long and relaxed. I was amazed at how much more aggressive this swim was than most of the open water swims I've done. People swam very close to one another. I got out of the water a tiny bit out of breath, but mostly felt pretty comfortable.

I pulled on my socks, and shoes with elastic laces and started my run. I was a little nervous about the run. My plantar muscles have been bugging me, as have my ankles. I told myself to just run it anyways, and hope for the best. Both my ankles and feet feel pretty good at the moment. I got passed countless times on the run. I don't think I passed a single person. I tried not to let this get to me. I thought about how much worse this would have been in a normal multisport event, where the swim is so much shorter than the running and bike portions. I realized though, that this was my race, not theirs, and I just ran it.

Honestly, the run hurt quite a bit. Swimming never hurts that much. I've often prided myself on my ability to push through pain, but I forgot how much more it hurts to run than to swim. It was hot, and there was a nasty, nasty hill towards the end. It was fun though. I liked experimenting with how hard I could push myself. I still have a lot to learn about racing with swimming, but running is fairly new to me, so just talking to my body and telling it to push harder and seeing what it can do is kind of intriguing.

I came in a little under an hour. That was my goal. It's so funny, so often when I set a goal for myself timewise, I'll do almost exactly what I set out to do. I don't know if I just have a really good sense of what I'm capable of, or if my body just figures out how to do the time I want. I wonder if I could somehow hypnotize myself into getting much better times.

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