Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Onto The Swim

Wednesday's Post

After yesterday's catch up post, I left off at the end of Saturday, ready to take on the tiny little race the next day.

My number one goal for this race was revenge. Remember my last attempt in 2009? Yup, so I wanted pay back. I wanted to and needed to prove that I could swim 4.4 miles again. For some reason finishing successfully in 2006, 07, and 08 was no longer enough. Unfortunately, time got away from me and I just didn't put in the training.

So I had a Plan B. Training day!
It would be an open water swim for as far as I could make it in the time allowed. I realized I had nothing to prove to anyone, I didn't put in the time for training, and this wasn't a goal race. So, I ate meat the day before. I had a few beers. And I frantically packed my sparkly wet suit bag before my parents arrived to head to the Bay. In fact, they had to pick up ear plugs for me because I ran out, forgot, and wasn't close to a 24-hour CVS.

My favorite, and faster, brother was doing the swim as well, and when he got into the car he said "I don't want to do this", but with a few more colorful words.

But we made it to Sandy Point State Park, ! got checked in, and waited for the start. An 11:30 start. As nice as it was to sleep in - I really just wanted to get going, it was hot! But it was nice to chat with Arin's g'friend. And Kristin made it out for the start too. So there were plenty of distractions instead of thinking about the upcoming 4.4 miles.

Eventually the announcement were over and it was time to put on the wetsuit. The body glide melted, as did the bag balm. Did I mention it was hot? Many people chose no wet suit, but even with the 80 degree water, I went with the suit. It was a good choice. After standing around for way too long, Arin and I posed for pictures, said our good lucks, and were off.

The first mile was fine. Flat water and I only had to kick a few people off for poor drafting and swim etiquette (which there really is no swim etiquette in open water. Just don't touch the person's feet you are drafting off of more than once).
Mile 1 - about 28 minutes.

Mile 1 to 2. Oh mile 1 to 2. The race director made this big deal about how this was the best conditions in 20 years. First a current going south, then north on the far end (opposite for the other 4 swims I have done) but mostly nothing. It would be such a great day.
Huh-uh. Sure. Maybe he missed that section from mile 1 to 2. I kept thinking that if this was easy with no current, then I was not in shape and this open water swim thing just wasn't for me any more. I wanted to stop. I wanted to quit. I had nothing to prove, I didn't train, and had no desire to keep going. The mile was FOREVER TAKING and I just didn't care.

Finally I saw the aid boat right before the two mile buoy. I stopped, took off my goggles, and reevaluated my life. But for some strange reason, I put my goggles back on and kept going.
Mile 2 - 48 minutes.

Mile 2 to 3 wasn't much better. The current seemed better, I wasn't fighting to stay in between the bridges any more, but I had very little in me. I counted to 50 (about how many strokes for me to get get across a 50 meter pool), 10 times (about a 500 meter), and did that 3 times until I really looked for the next buoy. It was a nice distraction. Which was needed. And worked because the mile 3 buoy was very close.
Mile 3 - 44 minutes

I stopped at the aid boat before mile 3 and had my Accel Gel. I had taken it on the 4 hour ride with Hillary and FLEW by her on a slight incline (which just shouldn't happen) rambling about how nutrition was awesome. I was hoping for that same affect, but not so much. I do believe it gave my arms the power to keep moving. Because my legs stopped. Kicking was too much work and not getting me anywhere, so I just dragged them along (another reason the wetsuit was key!).

I flipped off the bridge somewhere in that mile between 3 and 4, knowing I wasn't going to get pulled out this year as I did in 09. It felt good.
Mile 4 - 38 minutes

Mile 4-4.4
Once I got outside the bridge and the current tried to push me back in but I wouldn't let it!! Also, once you get the side of the rode, you can walk. And walk I did. Yes, I did have the internal debate with myself:
- It's a 4.4 mile swim, not walk!
- Whatever, you just swam 4 miles after only training for 4000. You can walk!
- Swim dang it SWIM!
- Shut up
- Fine, I'll swim

So I swam the rest of the way in, passed a few walkers and was never so happy to finish. Also because I looked behind me and saw a very dark cloud. They were starting to pull swimmers (I found out later 62, or 10% of the total swimmers) due to an incoming thunderstorm. I was LUCKY! And happy.

On the ride home, I started rambling about other things I thought about on the swim - and thought I would share.
- What were the birds on the wires thinking? Do birds think? Did they just see us as potential food?
-There was a bird that flew right over me (I was in a yellow cap) and I was convinced he was going to peck at my head because he was hungry (and I wasn't moving fast).
- Whenever I swam from cold water to warm water, I figured I just swam through someones pee.
- At times, there were loud screeching/scraping noises. I figured it was the mermaids and they were about to come after me.
- I saw a semi drive by and was pretty sure it was about to come crashing into the water. What was I supposed to do if that happened? Would I be able to help?

Yup, that's what happens when you are in the water for 2 hours 54 minutes and a few extra seconds. I was extreamly happy to finish. And even happier that I finished the race with my brother (well, not 'with' as he finished about 30 minutes before me). AND even happier yet my parents were there.

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