Saturday, June 9, 2012

8Jun12 - GSL 8 mile

Yesterday Gordon sent out an email declaring that due to a wind storm that was supposed to come in, the GSL 8 mile race was being cancelled.  I was pretty upset and disappointed about it but Gordon is very reasonable and a smart person who won't ever hesitate to put safety first so it didn't take me long to get over it.  I would just do 8 miles by doing the Gridley Straight over and over.  Such is life.  The harbormaster at the GSL did tell Gordon that if he wanted to bump the race up a day earlier then that would be okay.  Well, unbeknownst to me, Gordon is also a part time wizard!  He spent the ENTIRE workday on the phone hammering out logistics so it could be possible for us to swim on Friday instead. There were 5 people from out of state that had already driven/flown in and didn't want to miss out.  We all met Thursday night for dinner at the Spaghetti Factory for a nice dinner.


Today was amazing.  Clear skies and a perfect day for a swim.  Josh was my paddler and I was pretty happy about his.  He knows me pretty well and can take it if I turned into a "diva" while swimming. 
The drive out to the island was not that great but the gnats were nowhere near as bad this year as they were last year.  We got loaded up quickly and started the 1/2 mile wade to the start.
Where is my taco?

So Kim....my plan is to stay back 300 yards for 5 miles from you then SLOWLY pass you at mile 6 then beat you by 2 minutes on the last mile....that okay?

 We were all pretty excited and some gnats decided to say hello to me but got stuck on my channel grease.  Not fun! 
Gnats!!!!

When we got to where we were going to start, Michelle (who is deaf) was looking at me to time for her.  I counted down for her using my fingers and off we went.
We started and my goal was to beat my time last year.  This shouldn't be a problem but there was a good breeze and a current that was pushing us sideways the entire swim.  At times it wasn't bad and others times it was really knocking you around and making breathing efficiently difficult.
I had a specific plan for the swim and I did well following it.
I wanted to swim at a decent pace the first 3 miles to get me warmed up and going.  Mile 4-6 would be faster progressively and the last 2 miles I would go for it with max effort.  There were a few mishaps along the way.  First was my first feeding when I turned into a diva and started yelling at Josh for not being where I wanted him to be.  Then between mile 1 and mile 8....yes the WHOLE swim, we ran into each other about 10 times at least.  We both took blame for this so 5 were his fault and 5 were mine.
After the first mile and everyone had settled down, I knew the French guy Gilles was in the lead and it was unlikely I would catch him.  Kim was a couple of hundred yards away and I just wanted to stay in contact with her.  Michelle was ahead also but she was going WAY off course to the right.

The first few feeds seemed to come quickly and I kept each one under 20 seconds.  It was good practice for Catalina.  Josh had a GPS and I was averaging about 1.1 miles per 30 minutes.  Not bad.  My reflector goggles started to leak after mile 3 and I had to change goggles even after trying to adjust them.  This made me really mad.  I'm glad I packed backup but the fact that they were leaking now when they were fine for so long had me puzzled.  My backups are clear so my pupils were dilated and the sun was shining bright now so I felt like I was swimming blind for awhile.  This is where Josh and I ran into each other the most.
I know I'm an idiot!

After mile 4 I picked it up a bit.  After mile 5 I picked it up a bit more.  I noticed that coming up on mile 6 that I was closing the gap between myself and Kim.  About mile 6.5 I got even with her.  I was at a feed and she was parallel to me.  I knew I had her.  I was feeling really good and it was definitely the time to start pouring it on for effort.  I got her completely behind me before mile 7 and just focused on pulling hard and keeping a strong pace.  I was feeling really strong but my arms were starting to complain.
I skipped my last feed and just kept going as strong as I could.  Josh kept signaling to me 1/2 mile, 1/4 mile, etc but that damn Blackrock never seems to get closer!  I was at waist deep water when I was pretty much near a full sprint.  My arms completely shut down and I 100% bonked with about 100 yards to go.  I stood up and the water was not very deep.  I just slowly walked into the finish.  I was toasted from my effort but I was really happy that I had performed as well as I had hoped.
1/4 mile....allegedly!

me finishing

When I was done, I was told that I was 2nd place.  I thought I was 3rd behind Gilles and Michelle but she was so far off course that it was taking her awhile to get back.    I was then told that I had finished with a time of 3:49.  This blew me away.  I finished last year at 4:31 so I had made a MAJOR improvement from last year.
My training buddy Kim finished 2 minutes after me and won the women's division.  I was really excited and happy for her.  She was pretty worried about coming in last and she ended up winning for women!  NICE JOB KIM!!!
Kim finishing

Great swim today and it was a fantastic experience all around.

8.3 OW

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