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!


Rob D said...

I'm glad you found me, it was great to meet you in person! If you feel the need to get yourself a super suave Rob Aquatics suit they do come in a girl's version too :) As long as you have vector art Splish should be able to make you something extra fun and fancy, you just have to contact them directly about it.

midlife_swimmer said...

nice account :)

Mary IronMatron said...

Congrats Alina! It wounds like it was an awesome day!!

Alejandro said...

Great job!

maria conley said...

Great report, Alina. Wow, you swam all that! I can not imagine swimming with currents. You are a super rock star!!! Buen trabajo, chica!!!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the detailed write-up! I want to swim this next year. Were there any jellies out there?

FFigawi said...

Congrats Alina! Glad you had such a great time and are ready to do it again.

Swimming for ME said...

Erica -- NO jellyfish! the water was not even salty. After all the horror stories I heard it ended up being gorgeous!