According to nearly everyone I've talked to, heard from, and Facebook-stalked, the fourth and final event of the North Shore Swim Series, the North Shore Challenge, was somewhere between an utter disaster and really annoying.
But, you know when you and a bunch of your friends complain about something incessantly, (i.e. the food sucks, the waiter sucks, the movie sucks, she didn't look like a dude, she didn't look like a cop, whatever) there is always one guy, one jerk, who looks at the group and says something along the lines of, "What? I didn't think it was that bad at all."
I'm about to be that guy. I don't want to be. I don't want to sound like an asshole. But I can't help it. I really didn't think the course, the swim, the current, or the pre-race advice was all that bad.
I want to add a disclaimer here: I've never done this swim before. I have nothing to compare this particular course to. I've never even swum this distance before at my current fitness level, so I can't with much certainty say what my time should have been. I guess a lot of people got pulled or got out. Not once did I feel remotely like that needed to happen to me. I do feel bad for everyone who didn't finish for one reason or another. I can only imagine how bad it must suck to have a lifeguard come tell you that it's time to get out because you've had enough.
On to my report, which is not all sunshine and rainbows, contrary to what my extended introduction might suggest.
|WE HAVE SNACKS!|
Of course, after getting there early I managed to catch the very last bus shuttling swimmers to the start. Why? Because I got distracted talking to the parent of one of my students, there because her older daughter is swimming and she volunteers the snack tent. Love parents like that. Way to be involved! *teacher cheer* But I'm not sweating being on the last bus, the race director is too, and they can't start without him. Our fates are tied. On the bus ride over we noticed the swell was much more western than he expected. This was going to change things. It would mean there would be an unexpected current and he was going to have to advise as best he could.
Once we reached the beach the pre-race meeting went off right away, with the race director telling us to stay more to the outside of the buoys and away from the shore. He and the lifeguards thought that would keep us from the bigger swells and from getting dragged around too much. Worked for me. Not so much for others.
|Just keep swimming...|
The best part of being right in the thick of everything was being able to find friends swimming about my speed and hang with them. I spent a lot of the race thinking, "Ok, where did Guy In Black Zoomers go? And what about Guy In Full Body Tri Suit? Did I lose him?" And then swimming with them. About that, listen to me, Guy In Full Body Suit, you don't need to buy those things for swimming. There is not way the only trunks you own are BlueSeventy Swimskins. I understand you bought them for swim racing, but Guy In Sports Authority Speedo-Brand Zoomers (you're truly), just passed your expensive ass. Spend more time in the pool, then go buy that stuff. (And yes, I would totally wear one of those suits if I owned one. I would immediately become a hypocrite. I'd feel all special and fishy!) And thinking like that helps. I swim a little angry, it helps keep the blood pumping and keeps me competitive. Wait and see how it helps me finish strong.
I knew my training was working and I was getting stronger because my mindset was so much better this time around. I wanted to get some, I wanted to mix it up, and I wanted to catch some people. This is called A Glimpse Inside The Head of The Tattooed Wake: "I see feet. I will catch those feet. If I can see you, I can reel you in. Given a long enough course I will pass you." That is the mind of a competitor. And when I'm in and my body is working as well as it was Saturday, that's all true in my head. I will pull you in and push you by. It's gonna happen.
Also in the head of a competitor, though, is a shorter fuse than normal. As in, "If you don't get the hell off my feet right now I will kick you in the head!" Some dummy spent at least a thousand yards drafting off me. Which I don't mind in and of itself. That's part of this kind of race and I'd do it to him. But he touched my feet every other stroke for a thousand yards. I want you to imagine how annoying, how aggravating, how maddening this can get. Feeling fingers brushing your feet, toes, and ankles constantly. I never stopped, but god how I wanted to. Smack him in the head and tell him to pass or back off. I tried accelerating and cutting by other swimmers to shed my shadow, kicking extra hard, and finally went for it and turned the intensity way up for about a minute to get separation, which worked. Grumble grumble douchebag grumble.
I should note that through I didn't see too much wildlife during my time on the course we did pass the aptly named Shark's Cove. Not a clever name. But a cool one. One which appeals to your favorite Dirtbag.
|Can you see my little orange head?|
And if you're looking for inspirational stories about people not named Dirtbag, check this out: The lady in a wheelchair finished this race too. Very cool to see her and her friend swim in, wave for the special beach chair, and get pulled across the line.
|Go! Mush! Mush!|
As always, much thanks to Background Profiles for helping make this possible for me. And thanks to Super Awesome Wife for her support.
Get some, go again.