Radical Race Plan: Compete to Complete
If you’ve been following the drama of Team Swimrun Labs (we forgive you if you haven’t been), you may know that we went into this race with a different approach than usual. Due to a gnarly injury (read all about that here) that has kept me unable to train for many months, Brooke and I had two mantras for our race: “Compete to Complete” and “Long Game/NO PAIN.”
As long as we’ve been racing together we have generally found ourselves at the start line of our races relatively fit, healthy, and ready to dance with whatever comes our way. Our win at Odyssey Orcas Island in 2019 had earned us a spot in the long course race at ÖTILLÖ Catalina, and we wanted to be there through hell or high water. A few months ago it became clear that my injury status not only had us way out of the running to be competitive, but it seemed like a long shot that I’d even be able to complete the short course at all. New feeling. New race plan. No running allowed.
So many great things happened! The first and best thing is that we quickly connected with Mia Rohman of Wild Swimrun at the start line. She and I had been commiserating for weeks with the injury blues, and we’d made a pact to find each other and start the race together- walking. This was bizarre. The pack pulled away from us quickly, I had one billion urges to run, Brooke nervously sensed I was on the verge of stupidly trying to activate a race mode that didn’t exist… LUCKILY I have a handy history as a competitive race-walker (no joke), so I broke into my fastest walk and biggest grin. I didn’t think I’d even make it to this event. What was quickly becoming clear was that this race would be about what it’s always about- the journey, the adventure, the camaraderie, and the physical challenge.
Because I was walking most of the course our first concern was to make the time cut-offs, and once we realized we would have plenty of time to spare we just began to revel in the joy of this event. We kissed our husbands as we passed them in a cheering crowd, we tried to to convince the sheriff to sign up for next year’s race, we took photos, we chatted and cheered those around us, and one of the course volunteers accused us of having a tea-party not a race.
It was a party indeed! The sun and the future felt warm and bright. Mia and I both surprised ourselves with just a little bit of running that we didn’t know we had in ourselves. Brooke and I got to hang out in a different part of the pack and witness many first-time swimrunners getting hooked on our favorite sport in the world.
There’s no denying that the slow rehab road to recovery from a major injury can be a dark place, and completing an event with such a reduced capacity certainly had some challenges. That said, it was a huge win for Team Swimrun Labs. We kept ourselves in the long game by making conservative moves, confirmed that our super monogamous partnership could endure both injury and health, and established day number one of my post-injury comeback tour.