Turned out to be a perfect night for Aquathon #3. Skipped dinner and was really hungry by the time I went to register. Grabbed a packet of orange hammer gel and some gatorade, it would have to do. First time for me and gel, strange stuff.
Swam out to the intermediate buoys as a warm up and then just sat around in the water waiting for the start.
My plan going in was to try and hold on to some feet and draft. Didn't work out that way. After the first 100-yards or so I was all by my lonesome. At some point I drifted maybe 20-yards off to the right, and even though I seemed to be swimming straight at the first buoy, I never got back in line with the pack.
Same thing happened on the way to the second buoy. It was odd, every time I sited (6-8 breathes), the buoy was right in front of me, yet I ended up off to the right. By the time I turned the second buoy I was convinced I was in last place.
I pushed pretty hard on the last leg, still convinced I was the last one out there, and surprisingly, found myself drifting right again. Overall time was 19:45, 70/84, and 32 seconds slower than the last Aquathon.
There is a pretty good hill on this course in the first half mile, by the time I got to the top of it I seriously felt like I was going to implode. At the first mile mark I found out why, 8:05. That's unheard of fast for me, no wonder I felt like I was headed towards total system shut down.
I spent the second mile trying to get everything back under control. Shortly before the turn around I settled in behind a group of girls going at a much more comfortable pace. That lasted for about 1/2-mile before they dropped off, I think just to let the stalker (me) go by.
The second mile was much more reasonable at 9:32. At this point I knew I could set a 5K PR if I just kept a semi-reasonable pace for the last mile. So I picked it up again, pushed up the hill, pretty much tumbled down the other side, then pushed with whatever I had left back to the finish. Mile 3 at 8:11, total time 26:23 (8:31/mile), a new 5K PR by 1:26.
Run time was 64/84, Finished at 47:23, 2:23 seconds faster than last time, and 71 out of 84.
Obviously I feel pretty good about the run, but I feel pretty good about the swim as well. According to one of the race organizers, the second buoy drifted way off course, making the swim longer than usual. He didn't say whether it was 50-yards or 200, but combine this with the scenic route I took and it adds up to a pretty fast swim, for me. To top it off I actually felt pretty good coming out of the water, I didn't really want to swim another lap, but I felt like I could have if I had to, like I will next week at Pigman.