From July 1st through August 4th last year, I put in 13.3 miles of training in preparation for the Dwight Crum 2-mile pier-to-pier swim. Audrey and I had just moved back home to Los Angeles, settled into our new place and the call of the Pacific Ocean beckoned me to jump in and test my meddle against some of the best SoCal area swimmers. This was one of the first things I underestimated going from a tri-based race to a specialty race: the skill level. Triathlons by nature have three disciplines and varying levels of talent at each. When you race a specialized race, like an open water, 2-miler, you tend to get only two types of people: really good swimmers and everyone who’s just there to finish. Age Group winners are usually former collegiate champs reliving their glory days, whose form hasn’t lost a beat.
Heading into last years race, I had no clue what I was getting myself into.
On July 17th, 2017 I swam my first two mile distance in a lap pool. It was a huge breakthrough for me. That was my race distance and I did it with a time of 54:30, 1:39ave pace. Phew! I only swam that distance once before the race, not really ideal but that’s easy to see in hindsight.
Then came race day. I remember the entire day in vivid detail, I remember being confident, then nervous, then slightly afraid, and finally excited to be in the arms of my family once again on the shoreline. The only thing I look back on that day with any kind of frustration is my pace, finishing two miles with a time of 1:19:56 (2:10ave pace). It’s a great time, don’t get me wrong, just not what I expected of myself. I later learned that the race is held against the current, so this year I’m mentally more prepared for the drop in pace and the adjustments I need to make to account for that, notably a quicker stroke. Overall I finished 458/870, 26th in my age group of 37 and well behind my personal expectations for myself.
I’ve been told not to measure yourself by time, but by position in this race.
That was last year, this is a fresh start! In the last month, I’ve swam double the amount I trained for the entirety of last year for this race (26miles). My pace has improved significantly and the 54 minutes I swam to my first two miles is now ten minutes quicker at 44:10! I’m in much better shape for this race all thanks to a knee injury that forced me to switch my focus early in the year to swimming, and I’m so thankful for that! I’ll be back at the Dwight Crum Pier-to-Pier this year with a better program, better mentality and stricter focus on training. That still won’t make up for the fact that many of the people in my group were ex-former college or high school swim stars, but that won’t matter, I’m a better me this year!
From now until the event, I’ll try to maintain my current program but add in a few more open water swims on the weekends. I hope you’ll enjoy following along the way as I make another run at this awesome local event!