Last Sunday I ended up doing my second ocean swim race: Powerhouse Paddle and Swim in Del Mar. When my originals plans and then backup plans both fell through, I texted my friend Lynn to see what were the OC open water swimmers up to for that day. She said something about an Aquathon that she wasn’t doing and she was doing some 1 mile race called the “Powerhouse Paddle & Swim” that was fun with promises of a cool sweatshirt. I was at Mission Wines texting her about this and asking my friends there where was Del Mar (which for some reason my friend Dan at first thought I was asking about the street in Pasadena…aka one that I take almost daily between work and home so why would I ask where that one was?).
2 hour drive for a 30 – 40 minute swim then a 2 hour drive back? The race starts at 8 AM? Sure, why not? I’m in!
I was meeting up with Marc and Lynn at Lynn’s in Laguna Beach at 5:30 AM. I got up at 3:30 AM and started heading down at 4:15 AM. I was able to bring Howard’s water bottle too that I forgot to leave with Patsee the last time I was down there. Marc showed up soon after and we were on our way! I slept most of the way to Del Mar (and most of the way back too actually). I woke up and saw that like my first ocean race, my second one was going to be in a bunch of fog too. Someone has to bring the San Francisco Fog to each ocean race apparently!
Can’t I have just one ocean race without me bringing the SF fog with me?
After many jokes of wanting to just ditch this race (we already got our sweatshirts, no one else would know, this isn’t a USMS event so it’s not on our official records) and have breakfast somewhere, we started right at 8 AM from the beach heading straight into the waves. These were not little waves either! WTF? They quickly separated the crowd. I had no clue what to do and watched Lynn diving under them like a pro. I just mimicked her although seriously thought about turning back and scratching with each wave. I kept telling myself these couldn’t last forever.
After what felt like 10 minutes (probably really only 2 or 3), I got past the waves and into real open water. It was…pleasant! The water was 70 F and calm. None of that “oh my god, I can’t feel my limbs! WTF am I doing out here? Where’s my wetsuit?” A bunch of us were lost a lot of the time so were consulting with each other on what direction were we supposed to go in. The nice thing about this race was that there were lifeguards on surf boards to help guide us and answer any questions and make sure that we didn’t get too far off course. I ended up sighting off of the lifeguards as at least that gave me an indication that I was heading in the right direction if I headed towards them.
I finished after Marc and Lynn and it was awesome to see them waiting for me at the end. I’m not as experienced of an ocean swimmer as either of them as they swim in the ocean almost daily. If I had gotten a better start I may have actually gotten in before Lynn as I’m a faster swimmer than she is. Really with those waves in the beginning, I’m just glad I survived and finished the race. 🙂
After we dried off, we headed off to grab some breakfast with a new friend Helen that was out from Boston for the USMS Conference that just wrapped up the day before. My second ocean race checked off and done. Can’t wait to add many more to them. 🙂