Friday, June 16, 2006


That's such a cool word. "Aquathlon." Only in San Diego. I went to an Aquathlon last night, put on by the tri club. We did a 1000 meter swim followed by a 3.1 mile beach run. I got to La Jolla Shores early, determined to fight seasickness. I took Zantac (acid reducer) and Bonine (meclazine; non-drowsy seasickness med) 2 hours before-hand and used ear plugs. I had enough time to put on my wetsuit, get my transition area laid out, and wade out past the breakers. I wanted to test my goggles and ear plugs before the actual race started. Everything worked like a charm although I did swallow some seawater. However, my tummy felt fine (well armed with all the meds).

The waves were pretty big for the shores. Even the race director was a bit concerned. Apparently, there were sting rays everywhere. We were instructed on doing the "sting ray shuffle" to avoid getting stung. Basically, you take baby steps and walk like a penguin to stir up the sand when you're going out and coming in to scare off the sting rays. I hung out in the back of the pack to let all the hard-core racers go first. This was just a workout for me.

Everyone took off, and I took my time getting out past the breakers. Then, I started swimming. It was nice to have a bunch of people around. Definitely made me more comfortable. The swells were very choppy. A couple of times, I swallowed a nice dose of seawater. "Crap," I thought. "I just know I'm going to get seasick." Funny thing happened then. I didn't! I felt great! Everything seemed clear, and I just started swimming. I even saw little fishies swim under me! I felt calm and didn't want to come in. The 3rd buoy had been ripped off of its tie and washed ashore so I just kept swimming. Finally, a kayaker directed me to shore. It was a bit tricky coming in with the waves, pushing me in and pulling me back out, but I figured it out. I was careful to go over a little sting ray (he swam right under me!).

I got to shore and made my way back to the transition area. Calmly put my shoes on and started my run. I was among the last group to get out of the water so I felt like I was going extremely slow. I glanced at my watch, and it read 17:47. That's a ton faster than I swim at the pool (we were going with the current so that was probably why)! Anyway, after I saw that, I relaxed and felt happy to go at my own pace.

The beach run was nice. I love running on packed sand! I get a little bit of a harder workout while giving your legs a bit of a rest since it's a softer surface. Only thing is, I hate the popping sound seaweed makes when stepping on their air bladders. It's kind of gross for some reason. Again, I was running in the back of the pack and felt really slow. Glanced at my watch and realized I was hitting solid 8-8:30 min/miles (very good for me). So I was happy.

I felt very good aftewards. Refreshed and relaxed. Not too tired. Lots of good food and good people. I even got to watch the sunset, which was amazing. I also was happy that I was able to be proud of my own accomplishment, without feeling overwhelmed by how fast everyone else was. Of course, when I got home, it didn't take long for me to crash and crawl into bed early. I slept like a rock.


Cliff said...

Good race Rachel..seems your running and swimming is coming nicely.

Today i swam in some big waves...boy do i love it. My coach keep telling me i am all hype about it's nuts :)

Kewl Nitrox said...

So glad to read that you are over the sea sickness thing. :)

Great race!

Paul said...

Good work! Glad to see your race went well. I managed to get stung by a string ray and spent my race watching the runners from the life guard tower with my foot in scalding hot water for an hour. :( I need to work on my sting ray shuffle technique.

I was sooo looking forward to the barefoot run on the sand too.

Barb said...

Wow! Great job! It's so satisfying when you feel so good about your performance.

I don't know if I could get used to swimming with stingrays... it seems that everything about swimming in the ocean is difficult! I don't know if I could do it! I think you are one tough hombre! :)

Jenö said...

Hey good job! Glad you enjoyed it and got over the seasickness. I'm not sure if I could get over the whole sting-ray thing myself!

jessie_tri_mn said...

Awesome race! I've always wanted to do an aquathon, sounds fun!

Glad to hear you avoided seasickness :)