Alligator Report -- First Swim Race!

Hi Guys!

As mentioned in the "introduce yourself" thread, I am an adult onset swimmer/triathlete. While dealing with a running issue this spring, I decided to sign up for the Swim for Alligator Lighthouse and commit to some serious time in the water. For many years, I swim 8-12k a week and (like many triathletes) just aimed to survive the swim (usually 1:05-1:10 for 2.4 miles). My swim stroke was charitably described as "forward drowning".

In preparing for the Alligator swim held yesterday, I built up to swimming 30-35k most weeks. Most importantly, I LOVED SWIMMING! I did long days in the pool, long days in the ocean and a few longer lake and river swims.

Yesterday brought beautiful conditions down in Islamorada. We had flat seas, moderate current, no sharks and only 10,000,000 jellyfish (down from 10 trillion jellies the year before).

I found the first 3 miles to be super fun and relaxed, the middle 3 miles (with the jellies) to be a bit stressful, and the last 3 miles to be very satisfying. The jelly section got better after about 100 stings, when I realized that it was mostly annoying (except stings to the face and mouth). The section out by the lighthouse was beautiful and super inspiring (tons of fish). The last 3 miles got tough, but I was never in doubt to finish, I just couldn't add pace like I would have preferred.

Overall, I swam 5:02 for 9.27 miles and had fun. The vibe was super chill compared to Ironman racing and welcoming to a newbie. I'll be back next year for sure!

Thanks for the great info on this forum, it made a big difference in my prep and execution.




  • dpm50dpm50 PA, U.S.Senior Member
    edited September 2016

    Congratulations! Nice time, too! Yeah, I've heard Ironman starts are pretty hectic--stand-alone swims, especially long ones, have a much more mellow vibe, usually. I was just in an 8 miler two wks ago with only five solo swimmers and two relays--and lots of mutual support!

    Sometime I'll have to try Alligator Light. I never imagined myself swimming beyond a mile or so and then I did a 5 mile swim a few times--and then thought maybe a little longer. So now I'm at 8 and looking for more!

    Be careful... it's addictive! :D

  • JaimieJaimie NYCMem​ber

    Sounds great and I loved the photos people were posting on Facebook - congratulations!!!

  • Congrats on a great finish time.
    It took me 7:40 and I was DFL. A little past the halfway I bonked. Chalk that up to bad nutrition and hydration. After bonking, instead of eating more , I just kept going, trying to push harder but slowing down more and more. I wasn't thinking clearly. But, I willed myself to finish, and just under the cutoff time

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