I decided two months ago to entry the Albany round, just to have an excuse to go down south for a holiday with my wife. Since it was an holiday, and since it takes 4 hours and a half to arrive to Albany, we left on Sunday morning (January 1st), the day before the race. The plan was to get to Albany, check in at the motel and then check out the beach. Good thing about Albany: it was much cooler than Perth. Less good thing about Albany: it was also more windy than Perth. In the afternoon my swim on Middleton beach didn’t summed up to 400 meters. I’d like to say because of the wind, but it would be just an excuse. The truth is because I was lazy.
I do a carb up before races usually, but otherwise I keep my carbs intake quite low, along with paying meticulous attention to my nutrition. However on January 1st you don’t find many places open in Albany and for dinner a pub was the best option available. Fortunately it was a very good pub. I confess: I had fried squid, fried shrimps and a shark steak. Together with fries and garlic bread. I usually don’t eat fried food at all, and I don’t even remember the last time I had fries, it must have been at least two or three years ago. But, it was my holiday during my annual leave, come on. Three fries and two squid rings once every two or three years won’t kill me.
Albany is one of the country rounds of the OWS, which means basically that it’s far from Perth and that not many people sign up. To tell the end of the story, I won the 2.5km, not just the open category (18~24), but overall. I didn’t win thanks to the squids, to my shape, to my oat and bananas based breakfast, or to a clever race tactics (never had one), but…simply because participants were few, that’s it. However, my “gold medal” makes me extremely happy for a reason. Read below for more.
Things to take home from the Albany round
As always, more experience. And with it a more deep consciousness that, above all, experience counts. A lot. This was my fifth open water race, not many under the belt, but the fifth race means more experience than the fourth, which is more than the third and so on. I could swim fairly well in a quite choppy sea. I could spot buoys. I could swim straight. I did my race alone, no draft, nobody to follow. I am far from being good at ocean swim, but I feel that I am getting better, which gives me a boost of confidence for the next event (by the way, Cottesloe Classic Mile on Saturday 7th) and for the 5Ks I signed up between the end of January and February.
The gold medal. This is the first race I win overall, not just my category and the first medal I get in 15 years, so I was like a child who has been given a much soothed toy. I know that considering the qualitative and quantitative range of particiants the value of this medal is low, but the personal emotive value is really high. Even if it has meaning just to me, it feels good to receive a medal after so many years. I have to disclose that I came in 36’37”, which is four minutes more than last month in Fremantle. I shouldn’t be satisfied, but considering that the sea was choppy and that after all I won, I am not going to complain. I believe that when you win, you never have to complain. I call this respect.
A jar of honey and two bottles on mead. I am taking home this too, oh yeah. I know this doesn’t relate to swimming, but I said that it was a holiday. When I passed by Bartholomews’ near Denmark, I knew I had to stop. Because their bees produce the honey that I usually buy in Perth, and because I had never seen a bottle of mead in my life. Mead is the first alcoholic drink fermented by the human kind, and even “before” the human kind it was the beverage of gods. Mead is really cool stuff, that’s why I bought two bottles even if I usually don’t drink alcoholics. I am also thinking about giving home-made mead a try, but just because I love experimenting with fermented food. I just need to find somebody available to drink it later.