By Abby Mowinski
All in all, it was an amazing experience. SwimRunNC is definitely a “runners” course – (swim)RUN. I am eager to test myself at an event that is a bit more heavy-handed in the swim, and am hopeful that SwimRunGA will offer just that. Hands down, the best part of the entire experience was making a friend in Allison Leppke. She is an incredible athlete and, more importantly, an amazing person. As we made our way through the race, she embodied quiet strength – staying positive the entire time as we pushed ourselves outside of our comfort zone. So, thank you, Allison, for joining me on this crazy adventure!
A well earned and much enjoyed beverage following SwimRunNC
Lessons learned, equipment hacks, and suggestions:
Both Allison and I had wrapped up triathlon season just a few weeks prior to the SwimRunNC race, leaving us limited time for race-specific training. This is definitely the type of race that begs for race simulation practice. It is also the type of race that having prior experience is advantageous.
- Swim Cap (provided): We chose to keep our caps off for the runs, and I believe this was a smart move from a temperature regulation perspective. Certainly race day conditions will dictate what is best. Goggles (TYR SpecialOps): I chose to wear mine around my neck and did not find that irritating. SpecialOps are my go-to open water goggles.
- Wetsuit (Orca SwimRun Core): We were very happy with the wetsuit design. It was not cumbersome at all to run in. Also, the Core fits true to size based on the website’s measurements. We didn’t take the upper body on and off for the runs, instead used the front zipper only for ventilation. In retrospect, pulling the top down to the waist for the run may have been wise, but it is hard to pull those puppies off big swimmer shoulders.
- Paddles and Pull buoys (Strokemaker): We opted to use both, affixing the paddles to our water belts and the pull buoys to our thighs. These were also the sources of our only equipment fails. The rubber tubing of my paddles popped off with each water entry, leaving me fumbling at each start, and our buoy straps broke as well, but fortunately not until the latter half of the race. More MacGyvering necessary…
- Waist water belt (iFitness): Not essential but nice assurance that we had water and extra nutrition available at any time.
- Socks (Swiftwick crew length): I obsessed more than necessary about my sock choice, but was happy with my decision. I am blister prone and love Swiftwicks, but wanted a taller model than my typical no-shows to keep any rock, gravel, sand out – and these did the trick.
- Shoes (Icebug Zeal): Light-weight, aggressive traction for slippery rocks, minimalist, water resistant, well drained trail shoe – all excellent features for a SwimRun shoe. I did myself a disservice by not training in them and, being accustomed to max cushion from my Hokas, did have a fair amount of discomfort in my feet both race day and several days following.
- Underneath: BodyGlide; sportsbra, and Coeur fitted running shorts. No issues.
In summary, I whole-heartedly recommend this race. The race directors went out of their way to create an incredible and memorable experience. We were updated and kept informed for several weeks leading up to the race, the course was exceptionally well marked and volunteered, not to mention visually
stunning, and the competitors’ safety was always a priority. So congratulations to SwimRunNC on
a spectacular debut!