Saturday, June 19, 2010

Saturday- June 19, 2010

Beaufort River Swim (5K)
Beaufort, SC

Air Temp was upper 80's, humid, partly cloudy. Water Temp 82-84 maybe.

So this was my second year swimming this race. Going into it I really had no expectations. I feel pretty tired and worn out during the week in my swims after the Key West swim. I figured I was in for a slow, lethargic swim from all indications and really didn't expect much for than just to swim it and have fun.

So we got to Beaufort about 4PM or so on Thursday with the expectation to take the kids and spend Friday at the beach. Instead we spent about 3-1/2 to 4 hours at the pool in Carlton & Heather's neighborhood and didn't make it to the beach because of approaching weather. Ended up having a great time with Jacob, my 23 month old, doing NO LESS than 200 jumps to me off the side of the pool (video on my Facebook Page). Between that and all the sun we were all pretty worn out.

Saturday AM I was up at 0615 and we left the house to get to the Marina about 0745. Carlton and I had the breakfast of Gatorade and a couple donuts, Carlton, couple donuts and a Redbull. So we signed in, got our goodie bag, shoulder & cap numbered, and boarded the bus to take us to the Marina for the start. While waiting for the other buses to arrive with everyone I chatted with a few TRI (Triathletes) guys there for their first long OW swim. Nice guys and we talked about swimming, tri's, the swim, work, etc. Once everyone got there the safety boat head and Carlton made some announcements and we then made our way down to the end dock of the Marina for the start. Basically everyone just jumped in, treaded water, or got to a position they wanted and waited for the start. I jumped in with Carlton and we both made out way pretty much mid-pack width wise and towards the front. A little girl counted down 3-2-1 and hit a air horn and we were off.

Right from the start I saw a big pack of age groupers in neon green caps take off on an outside line, the line I took last year....which turns out to be a mistake. First thing I noticed was that there was almost no current, not good, but eventually we knew it would come. My strategy was pretty clear.....stay with Carlton (if possible), follow his line, and try to keep him in sight. Last year I took an outside line and never saw him and he ended up finishing almost 3 minutes ahead of me. The pace from the start as I followed Carlton felt nice, easy and controlled, not much faster than a warm-up type pace. Perfect to settle into a rhythm. After 10 minutes or so I could see a pack of maybe 5-10 folks ahead 50 yards ahead and 50 yards to our right, otherwise I didn't really look around and I just focused on spotting and staying within 10-15 yards of Carlton. I wasn't going to spot for buoys, I was just gonna trust in Carlton's knowledge of what line to take and have faith that it was correct....hell he's won the thing twice! It would also allow me to save time and energy by not having to concentrate on spotting
far ahead, just Carlton. I pretty much stayed 5-15 yards back of him and to the left or right. The last thing I wanted to do was "drag" off him or piss him off in any goal was not to drag him, beat him, or even win the race (at that point). So this lasted for quite a while and by the time we reached the point our line was clearly better and we were clear of everyone. By the time we reached the hospital (about 1.5 miles to go maybe) the current (tide) was picking up clearly. Buoys in the distance where coming up much quicker than before and I could feel it as I swam as well.

Each time Carlton would clear his goggles (maybe 3-4 times the whole race) I would catch up to almost right on him and when I had to adjust my cap (sliding on my bald head, filling with water) Carlton would stretch it out to 20 yards or so. But I felt good and could make up the distance each time. That pretty much gave me confidence that I really thought I had a chance to give it a go at the end for a win maybe?! On the last time or two Carlton cleared his goggles I noticed he flipped to a few strokes of backstroke and uttered the only words I heard the whole race "I'm dead" or "I'm dying" to which I just replied "Keep it up, your doing great". I took a quick glance back and we were easily 100-150 yards ahead of anyone. At this point I thought I would make a run to try to pull away from Carlton as we approached the sailboats (about 1000 yards to go maybe). So I just spotted the last buoy before the finish, put my head down, and got about 20 yards away to Carlton's 1-2 o'clock. I hoped he didn't see me, but it didn't matter, it was time to gut it out to see what we had left. I wanted to start a last kick far enough out so if I bonked or he caught me I would have some time to recover and then maybe out-sprint him/whoever to the finish. I looked back only once or twice for a quick glimpse and it looked like I could see one or two maybe 75 yards back, enough to make me feel a little comfort, but I wasn't gone let up. Yes, I got all the stomach knot cramps, high heart rate, and everything you expect at the end of a 3 miles swim. So I reached the end of the dock with an official swinging a T-shirt in the air..."Keep Swimming!!" The finish was actually THE boat ramp 10 yards away....not the best place to finish with barnacles and slime. While the tons of sand they poured on it helped, it was in the water, just on the dry part of the ramp. I was so out of breathe I had a hard time getting out of the water because of how slippery it was. It wasn't a graceful exit by any means, but I was first, and happy about that. My wife and sons greeted me first with a kiss (awesome way to come out of the water!) then I saw Alison Klinakis up on the overlook and then a photographer with the local paper started talking to me. At that point I wasn't even close to being ready to talk....I needed AIR and fresh water!!!! I saw Carlton and the next guy come in about the same time about 45-60 seconds after me but wasn't able to comprehend who was 2nd or 3rd.

After finishing I walked up the boat ramp and looked for the fresh water hose that I knew was up there from last year. It was set up and I ended up stealing it from a horse drawn carriage. The driver tried to help me out/direct me on how to get it going. I think she was a little ticked I just grabbed it and started messing with valves, etc....but at that point I didn't care!! 30 seconds later two other guys were wanting it from me, so I brought back up! :D

Finally I scouted out Carlton and we cooled off after about 6 waters each, drinking and pouring them over us. We chatted, congratulated, caught our breathe and then sat around for the awards ceremony. The event had a DJ (music was a BIT too loud), sandwiches, fruit, water, etc while we hung out and waited. Everyone cheered on the rest of the finishers and I think the final person crossed close to the two hour mark. My time: 1 hr 29 seconds. I was almost 10 minutes slower than last year, but again we had almost no current for at least 1/2 the race so you can't compare the times.

Overall, I was happy. Didn't expect the win at all. I was much more happy about it being a BETTER and SMARTER swim than last year. Awards and 1st is nice, but to me improving is the more important part and is what I strive for....keep pushing, keep improving, strive. So in summary: success! I will be back next year for sure, hope to bring more friends along and then I can show THEM the line! :D

Final Results:

Next up:
GA State Games 5K (Open Water)
Lake Acworth
July 17

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