With Ironman Wisconsin just around the corner, the Iron Hippie and I decided that the Okoboji 3.5 Mile Open Water Swim event last Saturday would be a great practice, training and allow us to gauge where our swim is at for race day.
With the event being in Okoboji, I love that we can stay at Mom and Dad’s and have all of the amenities of home. We arrived on Friday evening just in time for a home cooked meal. After dinner, we unloaded our car, laid out our swim gear for morning and let the head hit the pillow.
The alarm clock went off at 5 am Saturday morning. We ate breakfast, changed and then set out to drop off a car at Pikes Point State Park (the finish). Since this is a point to point swim, we would need a vehicle to transport us back to the start (on the opposite side of the lake) to pick up the truck.
We arrived at Gull Point State Park (the starting location) at about 6:30 am with just enough time to carry the kayak to the water, watch the sunrise over the water, check in at the registration table, get into our wetsuits and hear the race announcements before the start of the race.
Each swimmer needs to have their own kayak/canoe escort for this swim. Some AMAZING friends (Allen and Lora) would be canoeing next to the Iron Hippie and my father would be kayaking next to me. Our escorts were MUCH more nervous than we were 🙂
We were not considering this to be a race, just an open water swim practice session. When the horn blew, we hung back for a minute to allow all of the congestion in the water to sort itself out. With 35 swimmers and their escorts, the water was a bit congested at the start.
Once we got moving, I had little contact with others. It was a perfect morning…there was no wind, a hazy sky, air temps in the upper 60s, water temps were in the low 70s, the water was smooth as glass…we couldn’t have asked for a better morning!!
I set out with the hope of completing this 3.5 mile swim between 2:00:00 and 2:15:00. I stopped swimming a couple of times along the way…the first time was to chat with the Iron Hippie, Allen and Lora as we caught them and the second was to drink some water (not from the lake) and eat a few Honey Stinger Chews.
I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly the time passed and how clear the water was. I could see the bottom of the lake for nearly the first full mile and the last half mile. I had lots of thoughts throughout the swim, but they were all happy. I kept thinking about how lucky I am to get the opportunity to swim across the lake and have my dad at my side. I’m not sure he was as happy…this was his first time in a kayak and he wasn’t super comfortable.
When I approached the shore at Pike’s Point State Park, I was shocked when they announced my swim time…1:49:33!! After looking at the Garmin results, it wasn’t as impressive as I thought since it was only 3.1 miles instead of the 3.5 miles that was advertised. I didn’t even care…it was a PR for me, since this was the longest I’d ever swam at one time. I finished 17th out of 35 participants and was very pleased to have passed the 2.4 mile mark sub 1:30:00 (this was my swim time at IMWI in 2011). We are definitely ready for the IMWI swim!!
What is the farthest you have swam? Have you ever participated in an event that was short of the advertised distance? If so, how did you feel about it?