Thursday, November 24, 2016

USMS 5K and 10K e-postal swims. - July 17th and August 6th 2016

I found out about the USMS National Championship e-postal swims in May, shortly after Spring Nationals. By that time I had already missed out on the first one (1 hour swim).  You get a special patch if you do all 5, so that was out then and there. No worries, I'll get it next year. The other cool awards you can get by swimming the long distance national championship races are the All-Star and All-American honors. The All-American honor goes to the first place finisher in each division for each race. The All-Star honor is given to the top point getter in each division at the end of the year. The requirement though, is that you must have done at least 3 long distance nationals races, one of which has to be a postal and one has to be open water. My plan, to go after the All-Star honor. I intended to do all 4 remaining postal swims and in June I signed up for the two Lake Lure open water swims (1 mile and 5K on August 12th and 13th, respectively) that were designated USMS National Championships this year. Unfortunately the Lake Lure swims were cancelled due to the water temperature being too high. Big time bummer but out of my control. I'll try again for the All-Star next year!

The second and third postal swims were the 5K and 10K, which had to be done between May 15th and September 15th in a long course (50 meter) pool. Thankfully, I have an awesome RAM coach who enjoys getting splashed and timing me as I swim length after length (200 of them for the 10K). Thanks Harry!

I decided to do the 10K first, knowing that if I did the 5K first I probably wouldn't want to do the 10K after. Now, the longest swims I had done straight up to that point were 2-3 miles in open water and a 4K swim non-stop on July 3rd as a pre-postal test swim. I did it in 1:03:12. That gave me a bit of an idea how long it would take me, but I had not idea how I would feel during and after the 10K. I took guesses as to how often to stop for water. I did the 10K on July 17th. I approached it just swimming comfortably so I could finish, which I think I executed pretty well. My splits were really consistent and I was able to finish without much trouble (small watch issue in the beginning resulted in an impromptu 200 meter warm up). I finished in 2:44:01. That's 100 100's, long course meters in under 3 hours. My body was spent, arms were tired, and I was really hungry afterward, which was taken care of in short order, but otherwise I was no worse for the ware. I ended up taking 4 water breaks, which seemed to work out well. I do know that for races much longer than 10K I will need some food too. My 5K split during the 10K was 1:19:59, so I have a goal for the 5K.
The 5K I did on August 6th. It was a much tougher swim for a couple reasons. First, my shoulders were really really tight that day and I wasn't super pumped to do the swim. The other reason is that I actually tried to put some speed into my swim, which made my body pay a lot more after. My finish time was 1:17:43. I did beat my 5K split from the 10K, so the plan worked I guess, but I still think I could have done it faster. My walls weren't quite as good as they normally are and I was way more fatigued. I only took one water break for this postal, so that helped. Harry was able to time me again, so thankful for him! When I finished the 5K I went home and entered in my splits and other necessary information onto the online registration and submitted it. Then I had to wait until late September to find out how I did compared to all the other women in my division. I ended up in second place for both races, which means I should get two silver medals in the mail sometime in the coming months! 
I still haven't gotten my medals from these races yet, so I may update this post when I do.

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