I mentioned in my Ironman Augusta 70.3 Goals post that I’d made a goal to get at least two open water swims in a month. It sounds like it shouldn’t be too difficult to accomplish, but I’ve had a really hard time getting open water practice in during past training cycles.
I’d heard about the Mad Dogs Wednesday night swims at Pass-a-Grill Beach from several different people but have never made it out. I could make excuses about the weather, the traffic and blah blah blah. The reality of it is, I’ve just never gone.
I had planned to swim at the YMCA pool after work yesterday and made a last-minute decision to try to make it out to the beach for the swim. I left my office at 5:00pm sharp and arrived at the beach at 5:55pm. Just enough time to throw on my suit and walk down to the beach.
As soon as I stepped out of my car I was surprised by how much stronger the wind was by the water than when I left my office. I was nervous to take a look at the water.
My suspicions were confirmed when we walked down to the beach, waves… real waves. My nerves certainly werent calmed by one of the regulars who said, “oh, this is your first time? It normally isn’t like this”. Yikes. I thought about faking a reason to run back to my car and get the heck out of there, but I decided to suck it up.
You have two options for the swim, a half mile or a full mile. The group walks down to both points and people get in the water at each point depending on the distance they want to swim. I decided with the choppy conditions, I would just do the half mile.
I was told to get in the water at the house with the green roof and get out at the flag pole. It sounded so illusive but sure enough, there at a half mile was the house with the green roof and way off in the distance was the flag pole we’d just come from.
A few of us got in the water with a suggestion to walk out past the break-point in the waves and start swimming. Walking out to that point was probably the hardest part of the whole thing. I had to turn sideways and let the waves crash into me before continuing forward.
The water did seem calmer just past the breaking point. I was able to start my swim and immediately get into a good stroke. The rest was like any other swim, with a little bit of a chop.
The half mile swim took me 20 minutes and 20 seconds. Certainly not my fastest swim, but based on the conditions I was happy with it.
After all is said and done, I am incredibly glad I went. Everyone that I met was incredibly nice and very welcoming of the newbie. As always, getting there the first time was the hardest. Now I’m just excited to go back. I have no more excuses.