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KARMSTRON's Photo KARMSTRON SparkPoints: (0)
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7/13/11 8:25 A

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Excellent!

Kimberlee

‘Be Content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.’ ~Lao Tzu..

"Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish on it's ability to climb a tree, it will live it's whole life believing that it is stupid." -Einstein


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DLEDBETTER11's Photo DLEDBETTER11 Posts: 1,418
7/12/11 4:38 P

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OK so the Olympic distance tri is in the books - I FINISHED MY FIRST OPEN WATER SWIM!!!

I learned:
1) Get in the water as soon as possible and prepare to swim.
2) Stick to the plan (even if it means having to ignore well intended supporters)
3) Add a sighting stroke or peak up more often.

We were given about 1 minute's notice that our wave was about to start. I jump in and my nose clip falls off (I explain the need for the nose clip in my blog). It took several attempts to get a good seal after that and I let it affect my ability to remain calm and keep my breathing under control.

I had a good plan for using the current to my advantage thanks to the helpful tips I received on this topic. I was going to start wide right of the main body of swimmers and if I drifted in the current a little it would actually help me reach the buoy faster. The folks in the support team didn't like my plan as it looked too much to them as if I were off course. After making their correction I did in fact end up drifting off course twice requiring me to swim against current to get back around the course markers.

I would sneak a peak as often as possible but because all of the buoys were off the left shoulder and 150 meters apart, it was easy to get off course without knowing it.

I learned alot and am now convinced more than ever that I will be ready for my next challenge in September. I finished the swim (crawling out through almost 2 feet of mud) and had no troubles finishing the bike and run. I stuck to my plan and kept the pace very comfortable and used this event as a training opportunity. I'm already back on my 70.3 training plan (running again tonight).

Thanks to everyone for your help and advice!

KARMSTRON's Photo KARMSTRON SparkPoints: (0)
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6/22/11 9:16 A

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Great advise Debbie -

Kimberlee

‘Be Content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.’ ~Lao Tzu..

"Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish on it's ability to climb a tree, it will live it's whole life believing that it is stupid." -Einstein


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DEBBIEJOM's Photo DEBBIEJOM SparkPoints: (15,006)
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6/21/11 9:47 P

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This is awesome advice!

I'd like to add to pay attention to the sun. I always breathe to the side AWAY from the sun, because I can't see. And on those few seconds with your head up, I like to be able to see and sight.

Best wishes! Can't wait to read how it goes!

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RDARLING's Photo RDARLING Posts: 2,902
6/20/11 12:33 P

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Wonderful advice! I read all the comments on this post and I think I learned more than in some of the books I have read. A little nervous about the open water swim but if I can get some open water swim time, that will help a lot. At least I live in the land of 10,000 lakes, no excuses right?!

BECCA

Life is what happens when you're busy making other plans.



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JULIEBA's Photo JULIEBA Posts: 169
6/16/11 11:36 A

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Wow, I'm doing my second sprint tri this weekend (first one was two years ago) and all this information is a great help. I live in Toronto, Canada so the water is a little chilly here. Last time I borrowed a short wet suit (more of a boarding one) from a friend, but this time I'm using a proper one.

I love the idea of counting strokes as a way to distract myself. I know I'm more than capable of doing the distance, but it's the dark water and things touching my legs as well as the cold tempterature that takes my breath away that really freak me out. It's all mind over matter though so I just have to get on with it and not panic.

Thanks again so much for all the great advice!

Julie


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DLEDBETTER11's Photo DLEDBETTER11 Posts: 1,418
6/15/11 8:53 A

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Thanks for all of the tips!!! You are all AWSOME! emoticon

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6/14/11 9:47 P

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I live in Florida and most tri swims are in the ocean. There is a tri series that has the swim in a lake, but I stopped doing that one because the two times I went into that lake, I came out feeling like my skin was burning.

That being said, the river swim should be pretty easy. My guess is that you will be going with the current. I don't know if it's clear or murky, but if it's murky you need to be able to mentally prepare for that. The first time I swam in the aforementioned lake, I could see for about the first 6 inches, then it was coffee brown for another few inches, then black. It was freaky and I hyperventilated a bit at first until I settled myself down.

As others have said, start to the side. If you can, be one of the last ones in and don't worry about swimming really hard. Remember that the swim is the shortest leg of the race, and NO ONE wins or loses a race on the swim. Taking it easy and relaxing will leave more energy for you for the bike and run. If you start hyperventilating or feeling anxious, call over a guard and hold on until you compose yourself. It's okay to do that - they just can't move you forward. I had to do that once when I got tangled up in weeds in the aforementioned lake, and couldn't pick up my arms to swim.

I think you have the idea of sighting part down pretty well. I generally take 15-20 strokes and then look up using the breast stroke in order to keep moving forward.

I didn't use a wetsuit in my ocean swim tri last April. The water was wetsuit legal, but not cold enough that I had to use one. I actually saved time in transition by not having a wet suit. However, salt water is more buoyant than fresh, so that helps, too. If it was really cold, I would have used it.

Kim - If on race day you are faced with 1' seas, you will not have any problems. Prior to the race start, get in the water for a warm up swim and check out the bottom at the start area. If it's shallow you can run out for a ways before diving in and swimming. If you're not sure, watch people in the first wave (generally the elites) to see what they do and then copy them. If you have waves of around 3' or larger, know that you will lose a lot of energy trying to swim over them. You should dolphin under them. To do that, dive down with your arms in front of you and touch the bottom. Bring your feet up to your hands and push off once the wave goes over you, so that you propel yourself forward. Repeat as needed. If it gets too deep to dolphin, it may be easier to breast stroke out to the buoy rather than swim free style. Here is a video that illustrates dolphining. Sorry that it's kind of hard to see through the heart rate monitor, but if you look closely, you can see how he touches the bottom with his hands first, brings up his feet to his hands and the pushes off.
www.youtube.com/watch?v=JedCN__9-T0

Another tip: When you're getting to the end, don't stand up and try to run until your hand scrapes the bottom 3 times. Otherwise, you'll waste time and energy trying to run through water that's too deep.

If you have any other specific questions about open water ocean swimming, please feel free to e-mail me directly or post your question on the message board.

Edited by: GLADGAD at: 6/14/2011 (21:53)
-Carolyn

"God gave you your body as a gift, so you should take care of it." - My Mom
MAGELLAN1's Photo MAGELLAN1 Posts: 550
6/14/11 9:05 P

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i live in ohio, i have been able to get a few lake swims in over the past couple weeks. the water has been in the low to mid 60's. if your water temps are in this range i would advise wearing a wet suit. if it is warmer, say mid 70's i would consider going without if you are a strong swimmer and have never worn a wet suit before. i have a friend who is a strong swimmer and she borrowed my wet suit and freaked out in the water as it felt tight around her chest, she ended up taking it off and giving it to a kayak to hold till after the race.
if there is a way to get into the water the day before, with the wetsuit on to get used to it, that would be ideal.
i always have some problems with my nerves feeling like my wet suit is too tight and choking me the first time out. so i know what to expect and am able to calm myself.
i agree about staying to the outside to avoid getting kicked, you may swim farther, but it will be a less stressful swim.
i also agree to not going out to hard. unless you are going to be in the front pack and need to start fast to get out ahead, don't do it. if you have been training with a coach in the pool you probably know what your"tempo or threshold" pace feels like, start out slow and get progressively faster, you will pass those people that went out to hard and now are floating on there backs! lol
i usually count 1, 2, 3, 4 then site the buoy, sometimes if i am swimming near someone that is a good sighter i will sight every 5-6 th stroke. i usually will get in the water about 20 mins before the race to get used to the water if its cold and make any adjustments to my wetsuit so its "comfortable". i check out the buoys and will look beyond them to see if there is a high tree or maker that is in the background but stands out and is easier to see then the bouy.
lastly, you want to be sure your goggles arent going to steam up. if you have problems with your goggles steam here is a tip-take baby shampoo(no tears kind) and put a tiny bit on your finger and wipe it into the inside of the goggle then wipe it out with a tissue. you shouldnt see any residue. this will keep your goggles from fogging up. if your goggles are new they most likey wont fog anyway.just dont rinse the baby shampoo out when you put your goggles on in the river.
good luck!



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HELENGUNTHER's Photo HELENGUNTHER Posts: 294
6/14/11 5:31 P

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I guess I don't realize how lucky I am to have lakes to practice open water swims.
To answer your question about wet suits, my philosophy is if the water temp is such that they are legal, wear one. Not only do you have to work less, you'll also be faster. However, you will lose all that advantage if you don't practice getting out of your wet suit!
Stay to the back and the outside of your wave. Don't go racing into the water like all the other crazy swimmers. It will do you no good, and it will only cause you to hyperventilate. Take your time, go in at your own pace, and swim at your own pace. if you start too fast, cause you're all excited, you'll also hyperventilate and within a short time feel like you can't get any air.
Here's some simple advice someone gave me before my first tri, and I still it today, 10 years later. Start swimming nice and easy, and count your strokes. Count to 10 or 20 or 100, and then start over. It will give you something to focus on, and help you to find your rhythm. It also helps me focus on something, as opposed to "oh my gosh, look how far i have to swim!"
Sighting is important. So lift up your head and find a buoy every 3-5 strokes.
Hope all this advice helps. Good luck, and let us know how you do.

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KAREN42BOYS's Photo KAREN42BOYS SparkPoints: (104,948)
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6/14/11 5:13 P

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at this point, i'm using the wetsuit for all open water swims because i need the practice, the water is cold, and because the wetsuit is so buoyant that i can just stop and tread water without effort if i need a break.

you can practice sighting in a pool. just look for where your lifeguard is. if you can keep track of that person, you're sighting. people on my team were also sighting off the landmarks past the buoys which was a clever idea i thought worth passing on.

i'd really encourage you to find a way to get an open water swim in advance. even if you're used to pond swimming, swimming in a wetsuit thinking about buoys and all that, well, it's just different and worth experiencing when you're not already on an adrenalin rush from the race.

It's hard to beat a person that never gives up. ~Babe Ruth

Never stop exploring. ~Dean Karnazes


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KARMSTRON's Photo KARMSTRON SparkPoints: (0)
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6/14/11 5:11 P

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It's funny how different races are in different parts of the country. I live in Florida and have never even seen a race that uses a pool. I've always wondered how that works. Most of the races around here are in the river (the alligators don't like all the people and steer clear - but you can't train without a group.) And even in March, the water was warm enough that wetsuits aren't normally legal. I don't even own one.

I will be doing a sprint tri this weekend in the ocean. Waves during training last week were 6 foot high and brutal. Forcast shows 1 foot waves on race day. Anybody done any ocean swims? Any tricks?

Kim

Kimberlee

‘Be Content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.’ ~Lao Tzu..

"Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish on it's ability to climb a tree, it will live it's whole life believing that it is stupid." -Einstein


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DLEDBETTER11's Photo DLEDBETTER11 Posts: 1,418
6/14/11 4:40 P

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Unfortunately, in this part of the state (of Kentucky) there isn't a lot of options for open water swims - outside of one lake so inundated by geese that a swimmer can't get into and out of the water without wading through 6" of goose poop! It is so bad that there are volunteers for the tri held at this lake whose only function is to spray the poop off of your feet and legs...ewww!

This is a river swim that is protected only for the time we are competing and then opened back up to boats...so I haven't been able to get any open water time to train. Even the local tri group has organized training events...in pools emoticon

One nice thing about this part of the state is the local tri-store (Swim Bike Run Ky) offers classes and we just had one for wetsuits! Thanks for the suggestions! Do you use a wet suit for every open water swim?

You make a good point about sighting - I'm practicing a "heads up" position suggested by my coach which would give me a few strokes with my eyes out of the water to find my swimming point of focus. I'm really worried about this part of the tri!

KAREN42BOYS's Photo KAREN42BOYS SparkPoints: (104,948)
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6/14/11 4:24 P

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get some open water swimming in before the event, so you can get the feel of swimming without a lane line and you can practice sighting as well. it'll also give you a chance to practice getting your wetsuit on and off. :)

It's hard to beat a person that never gives up. ~Babe Ruth

Never stop exploring. ~Dean Karnazes


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H3HOUND's Photo H3HOUND SparkPoints: (5,082)
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6/14/11 3:14 P

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I tend to drift to the right in open water so I start to the outside left of the main pack. This keeps me on track for the most part.

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DLEDBETTER11's Photo DLEDBETTER11 Posts: 1,418
6/14/11 1:36 P

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Thanks! It's a river swim so if I start to the outside right I'll be able to make up the distance "with the current".

KARMSTRON's Photo KARMSTRON SparkPoints: (0)
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6/14/11 1:10 P

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My suggestion is to stay to the outside - everyone will be packed into the middle trying to vie for the best position. You may have to smim a very little bit longer than someone on the inside - but you wont be nearly as beaten up when you're done. Also sighting is extremely important in the open water. I have seen a lot of people swimming off the wrong direction because they failed to looke up and sight the buoy.

Good luck!
Kim

Kimberlee

‘Be Content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.’ ~Lao Tzu..

"Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish on it's ability to climb a tree, it will live it's whole life believing that it is stupid." -Einstein


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DLEDBETTER11's Photo DLEDBETTER11 Posts: 1,418
6/14/11 12:28 P

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I'm going to race in my 1st olympic distance tri but have never raced in open water. I've watched a few and was wondering if anyone had advice on how I can avoid feet to the face and/or how to stay focused and calm in all that chaos.

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