Saturday, August 14, 2010

Results of the 2010 Deer Creek Open Water Marathon (10 Miles in 4:50:03)

Yesterday I dropped Austin off at the club, and I went over to my parents house to do a shave down.  Boy that sure takes a long time to do it right.  At 8:30 we left for Deer Creek.  We had taken all the seats out of the van and set up a cot and a air mattress to sleep on in the back.  We parked in a parking lot just off the freeway heading into Wallsburg, about a mile from the entrance and slept in the back.  It was a cool night and we both slept great!

I set my alarm for 5:30 and then drove over.  Thing is, nobody was there yet.  Why did I have the impression to get there early?  I ended up helping set up a few signs, but I didn't need to get up that early. Oh well.  We set the kayak up at the dock and heard a brief safety meeting. The 10 milers got to start first rather than have a mass start with 1 mile, 5k, 10k and 10 mile swimmers all starting together. 70 swimmers all starting together is a bit much. The start was much more controlled, so that was a great move by the race director.

There were 11 x 10 mile entrants.  5 guys and 6 ladies.  6 with wetsuits and 5 without.  Here's a picture of most of them.  We started off and there was a girl without a wetsuit who was smokin!  She took off and I never saw her again after the first 100 yards.  I was really impressed.  There were about 3 or 4 other people in front of me as well.  I was NOT going to get all worried about my placement in the pack.  I was all about starting at a nice controlled pace and just worry about getting each mile under 30 minutes.  

At about 1 mile into it I was passed by a red capped (10K) swimmer and then another.  Here come the speed demon 10K swimmers.  The 5K turnaround point was way in the bay much further than the past couple years.  The weather was perfect and there wasn't a cloud in the sky.  When I got to a bend at mile 3.5 I had passed a non wetsuit guy who was busy with his support boat looking for the buoy.  I wasn't going to waste time trying to locate a buoy so I kept on swimming directing Austin to stay along the shoreline on the right.  About 5 minutes later a power boat came over and said we needed to turn left and go straight across the bay instead of going along the outside, so when you see my actual course below, you'll see I took a longer route than the others (which is strange that my total at the end still turned out to be 10 miles and not like 10.25 or something).  

My first feed wasn't until just before mile 4.  I had gone 1:45 and got my first gatorade and a cereal bar.  I kept that feeding to under a minute.  Which was great!  I then took off and at the 5 mile mark where we turn around I had just repassed the non wetsuit guy who took the correct shorter route from the previous bay.  While I was swimming I made sure to watch my arms on the pull.  I really focused on bending my elbow and pulling my hand directly back instead of doing an 'S' pull which I usually do.  I notice that when I do an S pull I end up not getting a full and powerful stroke because I'm not directing the pull towards my feet as much.  With this concentration on my pull and my bilateral breathing I was able to really get the power I needed to maintain the time I wanted.

At around mile 6 I was breathing to the side only to see Austin halfway out of the boat grasping on to the sides for dear life.  I wasn't expecting that view and stopped and yelled out "Austin are you OK!  What the heck are you doing?"  He said, "I have to pee really bad!"  I immediately started back up my swim and had to laugh underwater.  I never thought of how my support guys bathroom needs.  Swimmers can just go and swim at the same time, but not the poor support crew.

I was feeling strong the whole way and did not have any aches or pains that significantly bothered me.  When I got back to Wallsburg bay the wetsuited guy who was up ahead was within sight.  He kept stopping every twenty minutes or so.  I would catch up and then he would start up just as I caught up to him.  Then he would really sprint up ahead and then stop later on and I'd catch him.  After about 3 or 4 of these bursts of his, he ended up losing his steam and at Mile 8, I had pulled way ahead of him and there was no recovery for him.  

When I got to Mile 9 I really started to turn it on.  When I got to the 1/2 mile left buoy I really turned on the afterburners and really picked it up.  I felt like I was doing a full sprint into the final buoy.  I felt so great!  My final time was 4:50:03.  I was able to get 29 minutes exactly per mile.  Got 10 minutes under my goal time, so I'm pleased.  I took second overall in the Male division.  First in the Male Non-wetsuit division though.  Here's the official results.  The guy who took first is the high school swim coach from Evanston.  He wore a wetsuit and got a really sick time of something like 4:15.  I really wonder how much that wetsuit shaves off on his time.  The girl that shot of right from the start got like 4:22.  Wow that was really impressive.  So I was the second non-wetsuited swimmer too.  Third overall.

I'm REALLY glad I didn't wear a wetsuit.  The water was PERFECT.  The water was 66 degrees in the morning and by the time I got out I'm sure it was well into the low 70s.  The chaffing from a wetsuit would not be worth the buoyancy advantage.   I only took about 4 feedings.  Total of 4 gaterades and  3 cereal bars.  They were all really speedy feedings and I attribute at least 2-3 minutes off my time had I taken my time like I usually do when I take a feeding.  It's good practice to focus on keeping them short!

This years race was perfect.  No weather problems, it was well organized, the shirts were much better and the staggered start times were awesome. Austin did a fantastic job the whole time staying with me. What a good time I had.  I'm already looking forward to next years swim.  Next up..... Slam the Dam.  I'm doing a grand slam.

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