Just a quick note to say that I distinctly enjoyed this morning's Little Red Lighthouse swim. I was feeling mournful last night and this morning as I thought about the bittersweet memory of the other time I did this race. Everything is so different now: I still just really miss Wendy (whose race report from the 2009 event was here - my cat Blackie, in that picture, died in May 2010, and Wendy died in June - with further roundup here), that is the long and the short of it. But I saw quite a few people I knew once I got there, and it was fun riding on a boat from 125th St. (the check-in point, literally ten minutes' walk from my apartment - truly a race on home turf!) up to the start four miles further upriver from the George Washington Bridge. Which, as I rode under it on the ferry, I felt very grateful I was not riding over on a bicycle!
It was a quite enjoyable swim. The water temperature felt perfect (I think it was around 68F - it's cold when your face first goes in, but very good in terms of keeping body temperature regulated during exercise), and the air is warmer than the other time I did it. There was a ton of chop in the second half, but I always think it's good practice to get these conditions in a low-stakes race so that one isn't fazed when they happen sometime 'important.'
The only really bad thing was the moving buoy situation! I swear, I swam two and a half times to New Jersey, it was the most zigzaggy inefficient open-water swim I have ever done - we were supposed to keep buoys on the left, but they were shooting across the river and also upriver towards us, I was perplexed around mile 2.5 that the buoy I was sighting on seemed to be aligned with the NJ rather than the NY side of the bridge but figured I had just misunderstood the initial course description - had to make this mistake several more times before it became truly clear that the right thing to do was to ignore the buoys and just swim as one thought proper!
(Funny exchange with kayaker, just before the bridge: JMD, treading water, slightly irked and distinctly confused: "But is it really the case that we should swim with left shoulder to the buoy?" [gesturing with head towards buoy that is clearly much further on the NJ rather than NY side, and only about 25 yards ahead, which would necessitate probably an extra 50 yards of swimming or more to get to] Kayaker: "Yes, that's right, swim with your left shoulder towards the buoy!" And we turn to look at it, and just in that brief bit of time during our conversational exchange it has actually shot upriver past me and is now 25 yards behind me!)
Don't have official time yet, but it was close to three hours - unlike last year, where everyone had very fast times, there was relatively little tidal assist for a good chunk of the race.