This weekend was the Fort Ritchie Swim Fest. It’s a really great event and perfect open water practice. There are three different races in the event – 750m, 1500m, and 2250m. (Clearly, it’s a 750m loop.) You can do one race or any combination of the races. In previous years, I had done the 1500m and the 2250m, but after watching some friends do all three races – the 4500 – I decided that I wanted to do it this year. That’s 2.8 miles. That’s a lot of swimming.
My goal for the event was to just finish. I wasn’t worried about times, because I had to save my arms to get through the final 2250. So I knew that I would likely be slower than normal, and I was okay with that. This was an endurance test for me. And also some quality cold water practice, because the water was 64 degrees.
The first 750 was definitely the hardest, because when I got in, the water was so cold that it literally made my skin hurt. It took a good five minutes for my face to stop hurting in the water. Thankfully, the pain did stop and the second two races were much easier, even with getting out of the water and getting back in. This is a good reminder, because my race this coming weekend is going to be stupidly cold. At last check, the water was 59 degrees. Maybe it will make me swim faster?
This event was definitely just a slow and steady, and I’m happy with that. Yes, my 2250 was 9 minutes slower than last year. But this year, I did a full 2250 before doing the second 2250, so I think that’s okay. Leading up to the race, I thought doing all three races was crazy. I still think it was a little crazy, but I’m pretty confident that I’m going to do it again next year. It’s a fun challenge and it’s great practice. If I can get through that kind of swim, my olympic distance races this year (1500m) are going to be a breeze.