So, I did the Point to LaPointe race last year and as my race report (here and here) indicates it did not exactly go according to plan. This is largely because my plan did NOT include massive amounts of wetsuit related claustrophobia and general freak outs. I stopped a lot and I finished the race feeling pleased to be done but pretty certain that I could do better.
It was almost impossible not to do better, really, in that I was slower than 96% of the other women in the race.
Going into the race this year I felt like I was better prepared overall. I’ve done more swimming, I’ve done more open water swimming and I had a better sense of what to expect. The only thing that I didn’t do was actually swim in the wetsuit. I hate that damn thing. I was not-so-secretly hoping that it would be warm enough to swim without it, but I knew that Lake Superior can be very chilly, even in summer, so I wasn’t counting on it.
So when we left for Wisconsin the wetsuit was safely tucked into the back of the car.
In the backseat of the car? This guy.
He did AMAZINGLY well for a three year old on an eight hour car trip. Good kid, that one.
The pre-race stuff was the usual for me. Go to packet pick up, get nervous, wonder why I do this to myself, wonder why I can’t just go to the gym and swim laps like a normal person. I wish I could bottle the feeling of post race so I could remember what it feels like pre-race.
After packet pick-up on Friday night we went to the beach and I put on the wetsuit for a trial run. I swam out for about 15 minutes and hated every second of it. While I was swimming Mr.Monkey and the kid were playing in the water, sans wetsuit, and didn’t appear to be getting hypothermia so I decided to try to swim a bit without the wetsuit. The water was cold but not take your breath away cold and it was then that I decided that I wasn’t going to wear the wetsuit unless the race director made me.
The next morning was the usual bustle of trying to get and keep food down before the race, getting all the gear together, and getting to the start of the race. The kid was excited. Super excited, really. Not about my race so much but about the promised ride on the ferry boat to the finish line.
I got approval from the race director and went to the starting area as one of the few racers not in a wetsuit. They announced that the water was about 69 degrees and I knew I’d made the right choice about the wetsuit.
Prior to the race I told Mr.Monkey that I had three goals: finish, beat my time from last year, and hopefully break an hour and 30 minutes. Within minutes of starting the race I knew that I was going to meet all of those goals. I just felt great. I was moving comfortably through the water, I was barely having to do any course corrections (we had picture perfect conditions, which certainly helped), and I was actually passing people. It felt as good as I’ve ever felt during a race.
I ended up finishing in 1 hour, 24 minutes, which was 20 minutes faster than last year. I beat more people in my age group and overall than last year. It was a great feeling.
Overall assessment? Point to LaPointe continues to be a well run race in an absolutely beautiful setting. I definitely want to do it again next year.
You’ll have to forgive me if this race report is a bit disorganized. It was my birthday yesterday (yay!) but I spent part of it at urgent care (boo!) being diagnosed with a kidney stone (double boo!) and so I’m pretty hopped up on goof balls right now, medicating until I can pass this thing.