Lisa and I were in the water at 0250 and off we went. I felt good and calm. The usual aches of the first mile were setting in when I took a breath to my left and saw a massive flash of lightning. Lisa and I both stopped and immediately turned back for the boat ramp. When we got in, it was clear to the west and the east was ugly but nothing to keep us out. We made it back to the green buoy and we just floated there a bit. No more lightning. We decided to play it safe and just go back and forth a few buoys at a time until we were 100% sure it was gone. We made it 3 buoys and another flash lit up the sky. "That's it...we are done!" We headed in and got to our vehicles. I looked at my GPS and it read that we had done a mile. I was actually disappointed we only got a mile in instead of the planned 3. Safety first. After we were dry and getting ready to sleep, we noticed the clouds were moving but they were heading away from us and the lightning had stopped. Oh well! At least we didn't act stupid and stay in thinking we would be fine.
Alarm was set for 0630 and I fell asleep quickly in the back of my SUV.
Awoke feeling good and Lisa drove me to Deer Creek (DC). Today is the open water marathon swim that my friend Jim and his wife put together each year. I was signed up for the 10 mile event and Lisa was going to paddle for me.
There was a pretty good turn out for other events but there were only 4 of us for the 10 mile event. I got my gear and greased up with Desitin. It is a baby diaper rash cream but it has 40% zinc and never....NEVER comes off! I looked like a ghost and an even bigger idiot than usual.
|She's leaning in but she does not want to touch me!|
We started and I just got into a comfortable pace. I was not concerned about speed or beating the hell out of myself. My only thought was finding a good pace that I know I can hold without breaking myself. This would be my 2nd swim today and I had another 3 to go after finishing this. I need to simulate my speed and ability as much as possible today.
The miles ticked by and nothing major happened....except one thing. The U.S. Coat Guard was there. They had a little boat and a few guys on it. What made these lads interesting was that not one of them looked like they were in shape to be considered to be in the military on any level. One guy was so big he made his PFD look like an orange sports bra. I named them the Beef-Cake boat. Every time they would come by to check on us, I would tell Lisa, "Beef Cake!" I am very pro military and I strongly believe that if you wear anything that represent any of the 5 branches of our military, you better look like it.
|Heading back. This was the Beef Cake boat behind the jet ski|
Lisa did a good job navigating and keeping my feeds at good intervals. Our communication was good except ONE thing. No matter how many times I would ask, she would paddle ahead of me. I prefer my paddler to be a bit behind me so I can look back to see them. This helps keep my form a bit better and whenever I see my paddler moving ahead, I feel like I am moving backwards and it can be discouraging at times. I got really angry at her but kept my calm when asking her to please come back for me. It was fine overall and she and I had a good laugh about it when it was all over. She would just get caught up in thinking about work or the wind resistance of butterfly wings or who the hell knows and pull ahead!
|Me looking like an idiot|
I felt pretty good until about mile 9. The last mile seemed to take longer than usual and I was becoming eager to finish. I felt okay but I knew that soon I could rest and that was taking over my thoughts instead of my stroke and what I was doing. Lisa even noticed I was not that great the last mile. We survived and I finished with an official time of 5:43:31. My 2nd best time for this event.
|Punching the finish buoy|
I left my kayak at the edge of the water and Lisa and I went to the SUV to rest for 90 minutes. We just sat there relaxing and talking about the swim and how the next one will go. We then talked about our kids and etc to pass the time.
90 minutes were up and back to the water we went. She got back into the kayak and I got back into the water. I considered only doing 2 and calling it good. The biggest test was completing the 10 miler so I had already considered this day a success. Fortunately/unfortunately my GPS watch was not being accurate so Lisa took me all the way down the first bay before it read I had done 1 mile. We both knew I was well past it so I might was well go to where the 5k turn around was and then head back.
As we were heading back, a boat came close to us and I could see they were talking to Lisa. They were asking where we were going and that we needed to get out. Soon, a familiar fellow moved up to the front and asked, "Hey, isn't that the same guy that did the swim earlier?" It was the head Beef Cake himself still in his orange sports bra PFD. He looked at the others and told them I was good and they took off. Lisa looked at me and mouthed "beef cake" and it took me over a minute to stop choking on water from laughter.
We finished the 3 miles and I felt great. I just went slow and steady. Lisa said I was moving slow but I looked good and my stroke looked like it was holding well. I knew I could hold this stroke rate for hours more if needed. I was now 100% sure I will be able to complete the UTC24.
Bad news ruined the day though. As we were getting out, there were police everywhere, a news van and a commotion at the boat ramp. We asked what was going on and apparently someone had drowned. It happened right near where we turned around for our 3 mile swim and right around the same time. Eerie! Someone dying is sad but the person was in a kayak with his wife. The kayak flipped and neither had a PFD on. What? Then it comes out that the both had a PFD but it was sitting in the kayak. WHAT?!?!?! Why would you have a life jacket and not wear it? Loss of life like this is sad but this recklessness makes it stupid. Such blatant disregard for your safety when you have something to help keep you alive right next to you and yet it is left to be ignored. Ridiculous!
I finished the day with a 1 mile swim at JN, 10 mile at DC, then another 3 at DC. 14 miles total. Good day. I was able to test out some more items for when the UTC24 is really upon me.
Thanks go out to the Hubbard family for putting the race together. Thanks to Josh and his family for timing the event. Thanks to Lisa for swimming/paddling for me the whole day. I could not have survived today without you. The most gratitude goes to my wife. She had to listen to my alarm going off at 0150 and deal with my kids and other family members by herself all day so I could splash around some reservoirs. Another summer is ending and you have been nothing but supportive for my drug habit I know as swimming.
14 miles OW