For many reasons, this race has a deep and special place in my heart. Whether it’s because the race director (Karah Nazor) is one of my close friends or because it takes place in my favorite spot in Chattanooga, Swim the Suck keeps ending up on my race calendar every year. It is a 10-mile long open water swim through the TN River Gorge. This was my 3rd year swimming the race, and I think it just gets better and better every year.
Ok, for the swim. The morning started off rainy. This didn’t bother me as I can’t even tell it’s raining when I swim – except if it’s windy, then I can’t stand it. But luckily we had no wind, and we had good current. I knew it would be a fun day.
I knew I would start off strong/fast. You normally wouldn’t want to do this in a race, but in a mass start, I wanted to get away from as many swimmers and their boats as quickly as possible. So, I swam as strong and consistently as I could for the first hour. I took my first food break at that time and looked at my watch: 3.7 miles in one hour! I’ll take it. I made all of my breaks fast and kept swimming. My boyfriend, Adam, piloted for me, and it was so awesome having him by my side the entire swim. My pace did slow a little after the first hour as expected. I just focused on staying consistent until I could see the orange buoy finish line. At that point, I was hurting (remnants of my collarbone injury in April), but I just focused on finishing strong. I finished with a time of 3:12:55 at 5th overall female and 12th overall.
I am extremely happy with those results as I’ve gotten faster (or the river has) every year. I doubted my swim earlier this year when I fractured my collarbone during a mountain bike ride. I was nervous that I wouldn’t swim strong again or be able to do the things I love. Once I was cleared back to activity, I slowly built my fitness and strength back, and actually raced at the Fall Creek Falls Olympic Triathlon in August! This helped bring my confidence back that I could swim strong again.
It’s been one fun year. Can’t wait to see what 2016 brings!