Saturday, May 01, 2010

Truth is in the Digits

I've always wondered exactly how far the long swim was out at Red Top Mountain. I'm a wee bit of a numbers guy, yes I am. With the advent of the Garmin 310 XT, it was the perfect time to confirm or deny the accuracy of the numbers.

A friend on Beginners Triathlete dot com pointed out that the Concourse Triathlon Club would be holding their bi-monthly swim at Red Top on May 1st. This fit in nicely with my need to OWS before next weekend. I got up this morning at 7:30 AM to eat breakfast and get ready to go. Not having to get up at the crack of dawn was an enlightening experience.

The crowd at the lake was a little bit smaller than I was used to for this kind of event. It was way bigger than the 4-5 people that show up for the freeze your buttocks off swim around Easter. Yea, I bypassed that one this year :-) Iron Murtha met me in the parking lot and kept me company while we suited up for the swim.

The Allatoona Lake line reported the water temp as 68 degrees on Friday. That, I believe, made for a pleasant swim. I managed to squeeze into my wet suit, despite sporting 10 lbs of new muscle ;-) The water was cold on my hands and feet, and I sucked in a deep breath of air as it seeped in through the zipper. I put the Garmin in my swim cap and put it on my head. I was just not brave enough to wear it on my wrist, and besides, the water is known to mess with the accuracy of the Garmin.

After a short beneficial lecture by Mr. Swim with Pete(!), we set off across the lake, sighting on the bright pink markers.

The faster swimmers were leading the charge, so I decided to find feet and practice drafting. The distance across the lake was 100 meters or so. We stopped there, regrouped, and then took off again. The idea was to shake out the swimming abilities of the group and find people that matched your level of abilities.

The next marker was about 200 meters down the lake. We paused there for another brief moment before heading towards the mouth of the cove. I was reminded in a most pleasant kind of way how much I love to swim in the open water. The strain on my shoulders and neck was necessary reminder as well. Out through the cove and to rocks on the other side, I caught up with the advanced group. I found a rock to stand on while we caught our breath. More swimmers were out in the open water, winding their way towards our vantage point. The fast group took off, and I with them. About half way across the cove, I found myself swimming alone. This was supposed to be a buddy swim, therefore, I paused to allow a buddy to catch up with me before taking off swimming again.

We stuck to the right of the cove on the way back. A group of sailboats was tied up at the dock. I veered off from the starting point to the cove on the other side before making my right hand turn back to the start. As I neared the beach, I felt the Garmin in my cap buzz, indicating I had reached the one mile point. We had been told over and over again that the distance was 1.2 miles. I calculated it as 1500 meters using gmap. It was good to finally have a definitive answer.

I sat down on the rock by the bench and stripped off my wet suit. I had to pause for minute as my left calf cramped. This is a constant theme with me and food for thought. Andy climbed from the water shortly thereafter. We took our time chatting, getting cleaned up, and watching the other swimmers come in. It was beautiful morning.

On our way back to the parking lot, we talked a little bit about our up coming races. Andy is doing the Olympic in Knoxville. I am doing the half Ironman. It was good getting to see you again, Andy! Good luck in Knoxville, and I hope to see you and my other friends there.

As I left the State Park, the turkey on the side of the road mocked me.




Xavi Garcia said...

Nice swim!!! I am thinking to do one around the lake on my country home house in LLimiana (Tremp-Spain)...I don't know how much is that distance but would like to have someone following me with kayac or boat...just in case!

Cheers from Hong Kong!

"XTB" Xavi.

Kevin said...

Great job on the swim. I wore my 310 at B2B. It worked, but obviously it was way off. You think some crafty programmer at Garmin could come up with an algorithm to smooth out the data to fill dead spots and remove excess data from your arm moving in a circle

Brett D said...

Nice to know that the distance is somewhat accurate. I wore my 310 for my race yesterday and it was WAYYY off (I wore mine on my wrist).

Good luck next weekend.

challenges2010 said...

Garmin in my swimcap?! Now I'll be tempted to take it swimming with me all the time as I'm bad at counting laps in the pool :-)

Julie said...

Hi Wes,
Nice work on that impressive swim! It sounds just a wee bit chilly for me...I am not the tough rock star that you are:) Enjoy your week Wes!

Missy said...

Woohoo! We will see YOU this weekend. It's going to be great....can't wait.

Lisa said...

You are soooo clever. Garmin in the swim cap. Perfect!!

Scott Keeps Running said...

I keep wanting to hook the garmin to Sadie on one of our runs to see how far she actually goes compared to me. But she has a knack for finding every mud hole (and worse!) to roll in. Maybe I'll get her a swim cap. :)

Jess said...

Sounds like a great swim Wes! And good idea to put the Garmin under the swim cap!

Andy said...

Dude, there were turkeys both on the way in and out for me... Is it Thanksgiving yet? :) That map you GPS'ed out on your post is pretty sweet, it that part of the new Garmin software package, or a picture from some site of the lake course? Glad to know that the Garmin can come through with something (still jealous about your battery life :)

Good to see you on Saturday, and I will see you this weekend!

Michelle said...

Sounds like a fabulous swim : )

Rainmaker said...

That's awesome. I wish we had that kinda swim options around here in DC. I did something similiar with a group out in Hawaii a few years back - a blast.

I'll be cheering for ya at Knoxville (you know...when you're still out there suffering on the HIM and I'm done with the Oly and enjoying ice cream). ;)

Good luck!

Runner Leana said...

Nice job on the swim! And I love that you were swimming with the Garmin under your swim cap. Pretty cool stuff, eh?

Best of luck at the race!!