Monday, June 28, 2010

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

GCBS 2010: Let's do it again!

pictures thanks to Amy Klodzinski
That is one very very long bridge.

In the middle.... of the Chesapeake!

Sometimes a picture says it all...almost surreal isn't it?

Well it ended up being near perfect conditions...we couldn't have been any luckier. I am surprised to say but I want to DO IT AGAIN!!

And check it out... I made it on TV along with Simon!

We left at our hotel and arrived at the site at about 6:15 and hit the bathroom just like Glenn Mills recommended. We then headed over to get our caps and get marked. Just enough time to apply sunscreen and marvel at the bridge, then the pre-race meeting. We listened to just enough to learn that we should swim down the middle of the spans for the first half and then head over to the left side for the last half due to the currents. There were over 700 volunteers -- that's more than the number of swimmers! And 100% of the money raised went to the March of Dimes. Wow!

It was only minutes before Wave 1 went off. And then 15 mintues for us, Wave 2. Just enough time to suit up and drop our gear bags. It was already 80 degrees with full sun. The water looked calm with some mild waves. Wind was predicted at 7mph from the W-SW. Perfect!

I felt oddly calm. Got my feet in the water. It felt perfect. Refreshing yet just warm enough. I finally got to meet the famous Rob from RobAquatics in California as our pink cap wave waited for the go-ahead. He had a very stylish RobAquatics suit on. Impressive! (how the heck did you get this Rob?)

And it was time. Gary and his speedy 15-year old son were with me, along with John. I felt safe. I took note of #658 who stood next to me... a 6 foot-6 inch 40 year old man. Hmmm.... he looked fast, but looks are deceiving. Would be fun to see where he finished. My feet sank in the sand.

Go! I sauntered in. So unlike me. But this was a 2-hour race. No need to get my goggle kicked off or get whapped in the head. I hung back and let others go around me. Then I cut sharply to the right and aimed for the breakwater and straight for the buoys (about 500 yards away) that gated the entrance to the race course under the bridge. I passed a lot of people.

Before I knew it I hit the one mile mark. Passed green cap after green cap (wave 1). I was in my groove. Whitesnake and Michael Jackson were my friends. Mile 2 was the refreshment boat. Nah... keep swimming I thought. I planned the suit I'd wear for next year (alas Splish does not have a crab graphic, or a lobster for that matter). That passed the next mile. Mile 3 was refreshment boat #2 way on the right. I started my "ride the glide" stoke and seemed to just fly by others near me. Okay time to head left, but I thought "I'm in the clear... I'm taking this... I've got this in the bag! Wait don't get cocky, pay attention to the current!" The current snuck up on me at about 3.3 miles. Pulling me, pulling me to the right. Lots of people were swimming right next to the pylons. I aimed left and was able to maintain a good distance... that is as long as I kept aiming left. I passed more people. More pink and green caps. It felt along way until I saw the buoy for 4 miles... finally the buoys signaling the exit from under the bridge.... only 700 yards left!! Time to gun it and pick off every pink cap I could, especially the women! (I am a sprinter of course). It was longer than I thought. I saw people standing up with still 400 yards to go... keep swimming... head down!

I kept it up until the finish and manage to take down at least 4 other women. I swam until I touched the sand twice (thanks Glenn) and then stood up took 2 steps and ran out of the water right onto the finish chute!! I did it!

It was a great feeling. Long but actually I really enjoyed myself. Probably means I didn't work hard enough.... but there is always next year. I have already promised Kathy to do it. I missed her so much on this swim and have no doubt she'll crush it next year.

Thanks to my fellow Maine teammates: Gary, Amy, Evan, John, Simon, Mike, John and Kathy. Absolutely wouldn't have been as fun without all of you.

Final stats:
2nd AG /20
28th /179 women
150th OA
26:28 pace/mile

and yes I beat #658!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Great Chesapeake Bay Swim: Hemingway's or bust

Can I stay in between the bridges with strong currents?

We leave at 4pm today for Maryland. Sunday is the race.
Hemingway's Marina is the finish point.
I have successfully been putting it out of my mind until now.
It's going to be long. It's going to hurt. It's going to be like nothing I have ever done before.
How's that for a prelude to turning 40?

I've done 3 miles in the ocean. It's exhausting.
But 4.4 miles along with 600 others and no room for error, yikes.
I sure hope the conditions are good.

After this I'm resting for a bit. Swimming for ME will be just swimming
for fun for a while. No "training". Just summer fun.

With Kathy's help I promise to bring back some good pictures.
Due to an injury she'll be cheering us on and snapping photos.
(and gathering info for next year when she'll win her age group!).

Live results at

Here goes nothing!

Monday, June 7, 2010

B70 Vision: I'm a fan

These goggles are great. The best I have worn for open water yet and also incredibly comfortable for pool swimming. I highly recommend these if you can get your hands on them. Swim 2000 just put out a promo code so try it : Sweet16 (save 16%).

In other news I have been swimming a lot of long distance lately -- relatively spaced out so as not to hurt my shoulder. So far I have been feeling good! I've gone 4 miles twice and 3 miles once so I feel prepared for the distance. The conditions of Chesapeake will be the wild card.

I had a lot of fun on Memorial Day weekend at he first and only Last Chance Meet in Westbrook -- aka the last chance to wear a USMS legal speed suit. Just for kicks I swam the 200 fly and 400 IM and am proud to say finished both without a DQ or obvious embarrassment. Phew. 2:37 for the 200 fly and 5:33 for the 400 IM. As Bill Jones, a 75-year old Maine Masters 200 fly expert told me, "Just keep thinking 'long and loose' and you'll make it". Great advice. He was right!

Maybe it will work for the Great Chesapeake Bay Swim next Sunday?

"Here I go again..." Anybody know who sang that line?