Friday, June 8, 2007

Making Mansfield My Bizatch

Mansfield Open Water -- you have no hold on me...puhlease!

Yes, it is true in May I was your whipping girl. I jumped in, you chewed me up and spit me out before I even knew what was happening. But not this time...I was ready for your punk ass.

I made a plan, worked on my mental issues and was going to take you head on. You tried to psych me out by having the awesome, fabulous, super-studette Desiree check in right behind me, but I held it together. You even threw a ton of extra water in the lake so the cove didn't even look familiar...but I was hip to your game.

I waded into the water with the rest of the field spotting Desiree and the other flying fish lining up at the start. I mentally went to my happy place and physically wandered out to the outside edge and aimed my nose at the first buoy.

Ruth gave our official countdown "3--2--1---GO!" and we were off for three laps around the cove.

Between the start and the first turn, I just focused on finding some open space to swim and feeling good about breathing in my wetsuit and not letting it strangle me (or at least feel like it). After the first turn, the field begins to spread out and there's plenty of room to stroke.

I typically break my distances into 3 sets -- a warmup, main set, and big finish (yes -- even in a race). In this particular instance, I decided to use the laps as each set. So the first lap, I was content with just getting comfortable in the water...not swimming at a warmup pace per se, but at a comfortable endurance pace.

When I hit the turn to begin the second lap, I mentally tell myself, here's where the real work begins. So let's swim "hard" for one lap. I focused on getting a nice long, gliding stroke, a good catch, acceleration through the S pull and a momentive recovery to have strong front quadrant swimming. Half way through the lap, I do a quick dashboard check. Water temp -- good. Check. Breathing -- full. Check. Fuel -- 3/4 of a tank. Check. Goggles -- fogged. Oh well. And then I run over a bush in the water! ACK! Gross, get it off me...aaahhhhh!! Heart rate elevates momentarily.... Mansfield is trying to get ME!! Focus, focus... Note to Self: try to avoid that damn bush next time around...

Final lap. Time to turn on the jets and swim ! (an exclamation mark says "BANG" in my head when used in this way (a holdover from software development nomenclature I think...) and it means "Balls to the Wall" or "Flat Out!"). So now I want to feel the acceleration through the water with every stroke. I want to hear the "whoosh" under the water as I do my pull and feel the wake around me as I rotate and try to be as streamlined in the water at all possible times. I also sound the signal to my body "Engage Propellers!!" and actually start to kick a little. (I rarely, rarely ever kick when I legs are usually just along for the ride..hanging out..being a rudder when necessary...).

I haven't been passed by Desiree so I'm feeling pretty good at this point. I see Summer Frace ahead of me and focus on closing the gap. We're rounding the second buoy, but she also has another gear and kicks it in. I can't even catch up to her to draft. Damn. Oh well, I'm sure there's someone behind me thinking the same thing, so I'd better quit jabbering and giddyup! Pull, breathe, pull, breathe...almost there. Pull, breathe, pull, breathe. AAAHHHH, that damn bush again! Shit! Get off me, get off me!! I turn around the bend and head into the finish.

I stand up out the water and Ruth says "Dionn?!" I'm sure she was quite surprised to see me, given my last performance there. She jots my number on the paper and I glance at my watch.... 0:25:08. Take that MANSFIELD and shove it right up your cove!! Ha, HA! Who's your Daddy Now??? (Granted the water was MUCH warmer than my first debacle, but you have to celebrate your small wins from time to time and get some confidence back after it gets trashed so know?)

Turns out I was about 6 minutes behind the first place finisher (Kelly Handel at :19:11...holy crap! that's fast!) and a little over 3 minutes behind Desiree (:21:59). I'll freakin take that in a m---f--- heartbeat! WOOT!


Erin said...

i'm just going to say it. if i looked like you in a swimsuit, i would have no problems posting a picture like that. i cannot believe you actually have 2 children. damn.

and congrats on your amazing swim. :)

Shorey said...

that damn bush, right? (that's what He said...). Good job, D!

MikeW said...

Good job. You kicked ass!