When most people were celebrating Australia Day with sausage sizzle and cold beer, I had to sign up for a 5km open water swim at Scarborough Beach... about 16km away from my house.
My initial target was 1 hour and 30 minutes (average 1:48 per 100m), considering that I normally average about 1:30 for each 100m, that would give me ample of time to come under the target.
The race start time was 9am. I woke up at 7am to arrive at the beach at 8am for registration. Was given just a cap and no other goodies. Wah, races here really not worth it lah... I paid AUD30 for this race, you know!
I had plenty of time to do my stretches and even a warm up swim. The waves coming into the shore were quite strong. But I thought it shouldn't be too much of a problem as we would be swimming along the shore rather than against the waves.
The route is a 2.5km loop, 1.25km out and back, twice.
We weren't allowed to wear any watches, jewelery or any sharp objects. Sigh... and I was getting used to wearing my watch while I swim. I'll use it for my tri race next weekend then.
The start was the usual... had to manoeuvre a bit through the crowd. Number of participants who signed up were 158 according to the announcer, but less than that showed up. I guessed they had other better things to do.
It about 300m into the swim, that the waves started getting choppy. It was like swimming in a washing machine!
I followed this blue strip swim trunks guy most of the time. And stopped to check whether I'm still on course on several occasions. And also to clean my fogged up goggles. Good thing about swimming in rough open water is... even if you stop, you won't lose that much time as compared to continuous swimming. I managed to catch up with my pacemaker easily after each stop.
Reached the turnaround point, I was slightly ahead of blue strip swim trunks guy. But the trip back was a lot worse! Up and down... up and down... there were times where there were swimmers just in front of me and next... they couldn't be seen as they were carried by waves few metres above me!
I suffered a few stings from some unknown sea creatures floating around (not jellyfish)... near my arms and legs throughout the course. They were nothing too serious... the feeling went off after a while.
I began to feel to urge to pee... must have been the 600ml of Powerade I downed before the swim. I tried to ease myself... but somehow wasn't comfortable doing it. I soon forgot about it as I continued swimming.
1st loop done. By now, I have changed to a different pacemaker... a royal blue swim trunks guy. The waves were getting stronger. My fingers started feeling numb. And more mini stings. Yeah, didn't seem like I was having much fun.
Made the last turnaround and was eager to swim back. The rough water must have been getting to me... I started feeling seasick and almost threw up. I don't think it was due to the Powerbar Cookies N' Cream though.
Finally closing in to the finishing line... wobbled myself to the flags. There was a girl who was just right in front of me... but I was too tipsy to chase. Came in position 52. I checked my watch after that, and it seemed to be about 90-95 minutes past the starting time. Well, it's above my targeted time but I can't complain with these sort of conditions. Also, I haven't swam in open water for more than 2km before, so this is quite a good start.
But... don't think I would be doing such swims anytime soon. It's not exactly fun.
Off to dim sum now with SLBs. And to watch the fireworks tonight.
Happy Australia Day! Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, Oi, Oi, Oi!