Saturday, August 1, 2009
2009 Long Bridge Swim
Well, I did it. I participated in a long distance, open water swim. 1.76 miles to be exact. Yes, ooohhhh and awwwww. Just kidding. Here's what happened :
I gorged on pasta the night before (somebody told me that athletes are supposed to do that). Yes, guilt free comfort food. Then I got up super early in the morning. Then we drove there. You are probably yawning by now so I will try and condense this a bit more. I checked in and was handed a bag. Numbers were drawn on my hands. I strutted around hoping people would notice I had numbers on my hands. I secretly wondered if anybody would think I looked "athletic". I noticed that there were quite a few "buff" looking people around. Then I began to get a bit nervous thinking that I probably don't look all that buff, but was still really excited.
I waited around for untold hours for the safety meeting to start - ok an hour or two. I hung out with my patient husband, Sock Fashion Expert, Moonbeam and Super Catman. They made up my fan club and cheering team, though none of cared to have my autograph. A bunch of people talked about the swim and safety. Eric Rigeway (the founder of the swim) talked a little. He seemed like a decent guy.
We loaded onto hot buses three to a seat. I tried to make conversation with "the other athletes", but none of them seemed all that talkative. One large lady kept saying "Oh I'm not in very good shape. I probably won't swim all that well." I said some kind words, but secretly was a little relieved that maybe I would at least come in ahead of her.
When we got there, there were bodies everywhere. I put my stuff into a garbage bag with my special number written on it that went into the back of an army truck. Then I stealthily made my way out to a rocky side area where some buff looking people were hanging out. Casually, I tried making conversation with them. It was their "first time". I was relieved until they told me that they had just completed a triathlon. I watched a pair of flip flops floating around that someone had abandoned and fooled around with my goggles and swim cap. Nobody else seemed quite that obsessed and fixated with their goggles and swim cap.
Suddenly I heard the count down and the next thing I knew, I was off swimming. Before long I noticed my family waving and taking pictures. I waved alot and acted a bit like a ham. Ok I acted a lot like a ham. Then I had a worried thought that a kayaker would mistake my waves for distress signals. A horrible embarrassing scenario unfolded in my brain. After that I tried hard not to make any eye contact with the safety kayakers. I tried to look like I knew what I was doing (just in case they got any heroic notions).
I didn't get the energy burst I was hoping for. I just kept plugging away and trying to avoid getting kicked in the face. I noticed some people passing me but tried not to focus on it. A couple of times I looked behind me just to make sure there was still a crowd back there. Yeah, I reasoned, I'm wayyyy up there. People will be amazed as I get out of the water. "This was the little house wife with 5 kids whose never done anything athletic before" they whispered to one another. Yes, the volunteers would nod in awe. Then I'd notice a kayaker looking my way and an embarrassing mistake rescue would ensue. Then I would smile big at my family and keep swimming. With my brain so busy, you would think that I would have had a hard time swimming.
At last I got to the end of the race. At the last 1/3 of a mile, I got a cramp and couldn't use my left leg much. I kept moving as best as I could, wary of rescue kayakers. Upon getting out of the water I was expecting to get a low or middle looking number. It was "5**". Ok, so I was at the end of the 2nd third of swimmers...... Yes, 5** swimmers came in ahead of me but around 300 came in after me. I won't find out my time for a few days.
I scarfed down cookies and refreshments and went in search of my cheering team pretending to have been there a while. Then we walked a long way back to our car and celebrated my great victory with Burger King. After that we got groceries at Walmart. Oh I am so sad its over. I was sad it was over before I ever got out of the lake. I had a good time.