Monday, June 14, 2010

Saturday- June 12, 2010

2010 Swim Around Key West:

So I'm up at 5:23 (my alarm was set for 5:30). Get up and just but the thickest coat of Bullfrog Sunblock (SPF 50) before getting dressed. I'm basically looking ghostly white cause the stuff is just not rubbing in cause I put so much on. Not big deal and its probably a good thing as its been SO hot, So sunny and I shouldn't have to reapply several times.

So I make my way to get a quick "Moon over my Hammy" sandwich from the Dennys a few blocks from our B&B (Avalon). A breakfast of champions! I actually should have planned for breakfast better as once on the boat later on I really didn't eat much and should of eaten something better. Picked up the rest of the relay and we convoyed over to the marina to load up our two support a 23 Footer (with twin Yamaha 250's) and the other about a 20 footer. We ended up having the 3-person and one 5-person on the 23' and the other 5-person fin relay on the 20'. Once loaded it was a 10 minute or so ride over to the start/finish line where the kids race (like a mile or so maybe, I forget) was still going on. Then we finally picked up Mike Aziz as our support Kayaker (for our 23' boat teams) and our three relay starters. The race finally started at about 8ish I'd say. Air temp was about 88-90 maybe and the water temp about was gonna be another scorcher!

So here is how the format was set up. We had 3 relays entered. The first was a 3-man relay of David Jacobson, Steve Kesler, and myself. David would start and swim to mile 4. Steve from mile 4 to mile 8, and I'd finish from 8 to 12.5 (finish). Second was a 5-person Mixed Relay (Male & Female). Each person on this relay would swim 30-minutes and once everyone did that they'd then go in the same order in 10-minute swim shifts until done. The final relay was a 5-person relay with fins. This is a new category for the race and the format is the same as the other 5-man relay.

So for my relay David led off. When his leg ended at mile 4 he was in about 1 hr 25 min or so if I remember right. Steve, an Kona Ironman finisher, was our second leg member and swam from mile 4 to mile 8. I think his leg was roughly about the same as David's give/take 5 minutes or so. I do remember looking at my watch when I jumped off the boat to tag Steve and it was at about 2 hr 45 min. My leg started at mile 8 which was the entrance to a mangrove channel, Cow Key, where it was said before the race we'd have a 2-2.5 knot current with us. It ended up being about a knot less, I really didn't notice it much. David was my support kayaker and led the way through the channel as our support powerboat was too big and couldn't go under the bridge to get in the channel (see you on the other side!). While the water was REALLY warm I felt really good after I got in, felt strong, and got into a good rhythm. After a while I got a little like a runners stitch, but no big deal. My main challenge going through the channel was water depth. It was anywhere from 5-6 feet to a foot! I ended up having to do some creative stroke pulls and touch the grasses on the bottom lots. There is also lots of grass and other vegetative clumps floating around that you run into. It was not big deal to me and I never really though about it. Swimming in the lakes I do its something you just get used too. When I finally exited the channel it was a right turn (west) and along the Southern edge of Key West. This stretch turned out to be a LONG way. After about 10 minutes on that stretch I was asking Dave if he could see the finish buoy anywhere on the horizon to which he replied "ahhh...I think you got a ways buddy!" About 20-30 minutes after than I bonked pretty hard. I really don't think I took in enough calories or fluids at the beginning of my leg in the channel maybe. Steve took over on the Kayak and was great at keeping me in line (I follow both Dave and him for a line), getting my fluids, and keeping my spirit up. At one point our one 5-man had a switch off, I had gotten ahead of both at one point, and Karl came by me like Michael Phelps passing an age group swimmer. That was pretty demoralizing at that point and a low. But Steve did good at getting my mind back, squirting cool water on me, telling me the finish was just past this pier (he wasn't sure, but turned out right!), just encouragement. It goes a long way when you are near empty. Finally we got around the last pier and I could see the finish buoy. It looked like maybe a few hundred yards, but turned out to be more like 500-800 maybe. I started going like hell, whatever was left. It was a lot further than I though to the finish and was completely toast by the time I touched the finish buoy. Our total time was like 4 hours 31 min. My leg was about 1 hr 45 min and about 4.5 mile. It was long, it was hot, it was tiring......but DAMN it felt good to finish and do it!

I'd like to thank all my relay mates, the supporting cast, my wife, my brother's family, my in-laws, and my grandfather for helping make this trip possible. While you swim alone there is still A LOT of behind-the-scenes help that goes on.

Official Results:

Next up: Beaufort River Swim (Beaufort, SC) 5K on June 19

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