Race Swimming

2019 Boston Light “unofficially”

So it seemed like we were going to swim when we started out. As you can see from the photo below, it was pretty clear as we loaded the boat and set out for the lighthouse.

Boston Light “Loading the boats”

By the time we got out to the lighthouse things had changed quite a bit. The photo below was taken about 30 minutes after we all set out.

So as Erin, Jan, Karen, Mike and I sit on the boat waiting for the start of the swim we hear over the radio “Boston Light Swim has been cancelled, please return to the dock to unload”. As all the kids say today, “Wait, What?”. Did they just say that the swim was cancelled? Yup, that is what they said, the swim was cancelled. Several of the other boat captains asked for confirmation. One even asked can they go ahead and swim anyway, which was met with silence.

After realizing that the race director could not broadcast over the radio that we could swim on our own Mike called her up. We asked if it would be ok to just take our time and swim in and in response we were asked to remove all signs of the race information from the boat and just check in every hour.

And with that, I jumped into the 59 degree water and started swimming. Below is a short clip on relive of our day.

Race Swimming

Misery Challenge 2019

Leading up to this years race there were reports of a shark sighting. Race directory Josh Crosby even sent out an email offering a partial refund for those that were too nervous to swim. My friend Mike and I were not deterred and I picked him up and off we went to do the swim.

Unfortunately we did not make the first bus from the offsite parking lot. You might think, no big deal. However, it seems that if you are not one of the first people there you don’t get a shirt. Even though you are supposed to get one when you sign up. We were both told that the shirt would be mailed to us at a later date, I’m not sure when that date will be but it is now August 31, 2019 and I still have not received my shirt. This is the second year in a row that I did not get a shirt after pre registering.

Anyway, on to the race. It was was perfect weather day and the water was between 67-70 degrees for the swim. Mike, Karen and Dave did the swim without a wetsuit. I prefer to be as fast as I can be and used the wetsuit. I started out with Mike and swam pretty much along side of him for the first half of the race. Once we got to the turn buoy I started to pick up the pace and ran into a pack of swimmers. It took me a while but I managed to get around them. I felt pretty good the whole race and the water was perfect with no waves or chop really.

I ended up being first in my age group. Probably won’t get anything for that either, a lot of races would mail it to you if you are unable to stay around for the awards ceremony.

As much as I enjoy the swim, I’m not sure what I’m paying for. For the second year in a row I didn’t get a shirt because they ran out before I got there. This is probably the fifth or sixth year of the race, by now these issues should be ironed out and if you signed up ahead of time you should get a shirt. By the time I walked over after the swim all of the pizza was gone. There were no oranges/bananas like in years past. As far a race amenities it was pretty poor.

Bottom line is that it is a nice swim, but not worth the money. You are essentially paying $75.00 to swim 3 miles, that’s what you get. Mike has a boat in the marina next door so we might just show up and swim on our own.


Mass State Olympic

Last time I did this race was four years ago. I was in much better shape than I am now and it showed, especially in the run. The reason I signed up for this race was because a friend of mine was doing it for the first time. He was looking for someone to show up and race it with him.

Turned out to be a perfect weather day and the only question was the swim going to be a wetsuit legal swim. As it turns out the water came in just under the legal temp for wetsuits, so everyone was pretty happy about that.

The Swim

The swim is a counter clockwise course in Lake Denison. Since the water was so warm it was kind of hard to push hard during the swim with the wetsuit on. Overall the swim was pretty uneventful. I just tried to get out toward the front of my group and keep a strong pace. My swim time was 23:34 and my average pace was 1:30/100 yards. I was pretty happy with that.

The Bike

Going into the race I was thinking if I could hold 20 mph I would be happy. A few years ago I was up over 22 mph but I’m not anywhere close to the condition I was in back then. I could only remember parts of the ride so I was kind of going on feel, and was staying right around 20 for the first half of the ride. Luckily the back half of the ride is flat and pretty fast. My bike time was 1:02.14 for an average of 21.2 mph

The Run

I was kind of dreading the run as I have only recently started to build up my miles. For the run I was thinking about where I would probably see my friend Brian. I knew we would be pretty close on the swim, but on the bike I would have him by quite a bit. I thought maybe I would have a 2 mile gap on him. So, since it is an out and back course I thought I might see him when I hit mile 4 and he was at mile 2. I actually thought he might make up some time on me during the run as he was telling me his times when he goes running. However, most of those times are on the treadmill and that doesn’t translate very well to being outside and having done a swim and a bike first.

Starting out on the run I was just trying to get my breathing under control for that first mile and settle in to a rhythm. I saw another friend Steve Bosic coming in to finish as I was heading out. He was pretty much killing it. As the run went on I started feeling better and was actually picking up the pace each mile. I saw Brian right about where I expected to see him on my way back.

My run time was 49:19 for a 7:58 per mile pace. Looking at my Garmin the last couple of miles were at 7:40 pace. While this was much slower than a few years ago I was pleased that I could get it down under 8 minutes per mile after pushing it pretty hard on the bike.

Overall I was really happy with the race for the amount of training that I had been able to get in.