Lessons Learned From A Bad Swim

If you read my race recap about the 2014 Tri for a Cure, you will know that I had a bad swim. Probably my worst swim experience ever in the 10 or so triathlons I've done.

As part of my whole now that I am in my 30's I am going to try to be a little wiser campaign, I am actually going to try to learn something from the bad experience. Here is what i think contributed to the rough swim and what I can do have a better experience next year.

1. I didn't swim in the ocean enough. I did a good job getting in the pool regularly during the spring, but I needed to get in the ocean at least once a week starting in June. Yes, the water was cold and miserable and so it wouldn't have been fun. But the water was cold and miserable on race day and so I needed that practice.

2. I need a full wetsuit and booties. I was one of the very few people wearing a shortie wetsuit and I was freezing. When you are that cold it is hard to feel comfortable in the water. Plus, having warmer swim gear will allow me to get in the water earlier in the season.

All that exposed skin on my legs was not working
3. I should not start at the front of the pack. Since it was my 3rd year doing this race, I was feeling over confident. As my wave came down the chute and into the water, I ended up in the front of the pack right in the middle of the line. I should have moved back and out to a side since I know I hate being right in the scrum at the start.

I should have tried to hide at the back
4. My expectations for myself were too high, especially given I'd only done one ocean swim in training. I expected to be comfortably swimming at the front of the pack. When this didn't happen and I saw so many people passing me, I got really discouraged which only made me feel worse. 

What lessons have you learned from rough races? Any other advice for me?