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swimsuit addict

Coney Island 5K

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My second national championship of the week went a lot better than my first! Today I swam the 5K race at Coney Island. It was a pretty morning, a little overcast and humid, with the sun just rising as I got out to the beach shortly after 6am. I checked in, caught up with a few friends, then headed down to the beach. I was feeling good this morning, but also nervous after my Auburn experience about how my body would react to working hard during the race. I wanted to just check how a bit of pace swimming felt, so I got in and did some warmup near the start area. It was great to be back in the ocean. Stroking along at a nice clip also felt really good. Reassured, I floated in the water a bit, feeling happy and watching the sky, grateful to be part of this race and to be swimming in the midst of so many others who loved the open water. After a bit of reflection, I hopped out, wrapped up in my towel, listened to the pre-race directions (course and buoy details), then lay down on my beach blanket (actually a shower curtain) to wait around for the race to start.

The 5K race started in two waves, 5 minutes apart, the first one men and the second one women. The course was very familiar to me—it was the basic 5K loop that CIBBOWS swimmers usually swim—only we were starting and ending at a different point along the beach than we usually do. Our start was easy—I made it to the initial buoy and around it without having much traffic around me—then we headed off parallel to the beach towards the pier. There were swimmers near me or within easy sighting distance this whole time, but once we rounded the buoy I drifted pretty far out (partly because that’s where I usually swim, partly because I was worried about colliding with oncoming swimmers), and on the next leg I saw hardly anyone else. I must have been about as far out as we were allowed, because the police boat that was patrolling the outer limits of the course motored along parallel to me for about a half mile along this section. I was about 60m from them, and enjoyed seeing them chug along with me as I swam along.

I breathed to my left every now and again look at the landmarks along the beach and keep track of my progress. It seemed like the current might be slightly with us on this leg of the race, since things seemed to be going by at a good clip. My arms felt a little sore, but it felt really joyful to be moving along strongly through the water. As I got nearer the far buoy I felt some stinging—maybe sea lice—but it was just little prickles, nothing painful. Soon I was rounding the buoy marking the east end of the course and heading back towards the Aquarium—just a mile left to go!

At this point I started swimming a little harder. Although I had passed some of the men, I hadn’t seen any other women since the first turn buoy, but soon I spotted someone else from my wave. I swam beside her for a while, then decided that I would rather have her to my right (breathing) side, since I always worry about running into people when they are on my non-breathing / blind side. I did a couple of strokes of breaststroke to let her go ahead so I could switch sides, and when I did she paused as well. It turned out to be open-water legend Marcia Cleveland! I knew from looking at the entry lists that she was probably the toughest competition in my age group at this event. She asked me if I wanted to swim together and go for a tie at the end of the race. I quickly said ok, and off we went.

The rest of the race was really fun. It’s always a joy swimming with someone, and because we had agreed not to compete I got to simply enjoy her company for the rest of the race rather than strategize about how or when I would try to get past her (good luck with that anyway!), or worry about having to try to outsprint someone on the beach run-up. We swam along at a nice comfortable clip for the rest of the race, then crossed the line holding hands. Here’s a picture of us swimming in to the finish together:



And yes, it turned out we both got to be national champions! That was pretty cool. I’m glad it worked out that way—I know I had signed up for a race, but sometimes it just feels right to be cooperative rather than competitive with people.

The rest of the morning was very nice. CIBBOWS always has a great spread after their races—today we had seafood tacos and bread pudding, as well as the more conventional post-race stuff like bagels and cream cheese and fruit. After the awards I went back down to the beach with the usual gang—it felt good to be together with my open-water pals again—for a nice easy swim to the pier and back. It was a fun beach day, and I was happy to be feeling good, to be back in familiar surroundings, and to get to spend time with my friends on the beach. Congrats to CIBBOWS for putting on yet another great event!

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  1. Bobinator's Avatar
    What a wonderful swim swimsuit addict! Marcia does some clinics around here and helps with the 25K our club puts on every other year; she's a delight and I'm glad you both got to enjoy each others company!
    I'm glad you felt better physically and also got a national championship!! Fantastic!
  2. The Fortress's Avatar
    Sounds like a wonderful experience. Beautiful pic!
  3. aztimm's Avatar
    Sounds like a fantastic race! And glad to hear that you're back to normal.
    I really like that story about the finish...together.

    The post-race festivities sound great too.
  4. pwb's Avatar
    Seafood tacos and bread pudding?? OK, I have got to organize a biz trip next year to NJ to coincide with this race.

    Another wonderful description ... but the picture sure makes it look like you two are gunning for the finish, not kum-bah-yah-ing along in perfect harmony.
  5. qbrain's Avatar
    Wow, talk about ending your Nationals week on a high note. Congrats National Champion!
  6. swimsuit addict's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Bobinator
    What a wonderful swim swimsuit addict! Marcia does some clinics around here and helps with the 25K our club puts on every other year; she's a delight and I'm glad you both got to enjoy each others company!
    I'm glad you felt better physically and also got a national championship!! Fantastic!
    Thanks Bob! I'm honored to join you in the ow national champion club!

    It's funny you mention the ow clinics, because right after we finished Marcia went into clinic mode--she asked me if I knew how to do buoy turns (ie using a stroke of backstroke to help you turn 90 or 180 degrees around buoys). It turns out I did--I had just taken the last buoy wide instead, because I was on the outside and didn't want to cut her off. But she had seen me do that, and wanted to make sure I knew there was a faster alternative!
  7. swimsuit addict's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by The Fortress
    Sounds like a wonderful experience. Beautiful pic!
    Thanks! Hope your travel home from nats went well, and that you are still basking in the glow of that great 50 BK swim!
  8. swimsuit addict's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by aztimm
    Sounds like a fantastic race! And glad to hear that you're back to normal.
    I really like that story about the finish...together.

    The post-race festivities sound great too.
    Thanks! It was a lot of fun. And the eating/partying is always fun with the CIBBOWS gang! (I didn't even mention that they had a live band at the post-race brunch . . .)
  9. swimsuit addict's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by pwb
    Seafood tacos and bread pudding?? OK, I have got to organize a biz trip next year to NJ to coincide with this race.

    Another wonderful description ... but the picture sure makes it look like you two are gunning for the finish, not kum-bah-yah-ing along in perfect harmony.
    It's not just about the food though--swag is important too! And CIBBOWS excells in as well. Here's a pic of my haul from yesterday, just to up the temptation to come out for a race:



    We were swimming at a nice clip coming in. Too much kum-bah-yahing might have allowed other swimmers to catch up!
  10. swimsuit addict's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by qbrain
    Wow, talk about ending your Nationals week on a high note. Congrats National Champion!
    Thanks! It was definitely a fun way to end a trying week!
  11. Bobinator's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by swimsuit addict
    Thanks Bob! I'm honored to join you in the ow national champion club!

    It's funny you mention the ow clinics, because right after we finished Marcia went into clinic mode--she asked me if I knew how to do buoy turns (ie using a stroke of backstroke to help you turn 90 or 180 degrees around buoys). It turns out I did--I had just taken the last buoy wide instead, because I was on the outside and didn't want to cut her off. But she had seen me do that, and wanted to make sure I knew there was a faster alternative!
    Yes, I learned that turn from Marcia too!
    Congratulations again swimsuit addict! Your great ow swimming and your beautiful and descriptive blog both deserve Gold National Medals!!