I took Friday off from work, again, and after a fantastic slow yoga practice Kelley and I packed up and hit the road. After taking Evil Genius to Indian Princess camp and Ella on the Epic Mountain Adventure the last few weekends, this was time with the wife that I had been looking forward to for a while. We needed it, and it was wonderful. We hit the packet pickup first, and hit some traffic on the way, but eventually we made it down to see this little one
|My adorable niece|
We started out in waves of 10 people at a time, I had bib #73 so there were plenty of swimmers in the water by the time I jumped in. I was told beforehand that #75 was going to win, he was a local guy that absolutely flies down that river. I jumped in and tried to follow his line to the first buoy. And just like that my race was started!
|On the grounds at the USS Yorktown|
I started out keeping the buoys on my left as instructed. Before you know it, there was that green buoy so it was time for the channel crossing. Kind of caught me by surprise. The crossing was the hard part of the race. Missing the 2nd green buoy would be an instant DQ. Did I mention that this river was about 400 yards wide? It's the major shipping channel going into the port that the freighters go into to unload their containers. HUGE. And about halfway across, I couldn't see the 2nd green buoy. I stopped, took my goggles off, and got my sightline established. It was the only time during the entire race that I broke my stroke.
|HALF of the cooper River Bridge. huge river!|
I didn't think I was ever going to get to that bridge! The current kept pushing me closer to shore, and I tried to stay out more towards the buoys. Finally crossing under the bridge was really cool. That's not the kind of thing you get to see every day.
After the bridge we had 0.9 miles to go until the finish line. A volunteer told me to aim for the Yorktown. It went by incredibly fast. Before I knew what was happening the Yorktown was in sight and it looks huge from the water. On the other side of it was the finish line.
There was a rope with pool noodles to corral the swimmers towards the dock for easy extraction from the water. The current was so strong right there I had to grab the noodle rope and hold on tight while apologizing to the dude in front of me for sexually assaulting him. I mean, we're both in speedo's and all. The current was incredibly fast.
How fast? I swam 5 miles in 1:18:21. Now, I'm normally about a 25 to 30 minute miler in the pool so my 5 mile time should be between 2 hours and 2:30, not half of that time. I finished 91/138 swimmers, and 7/9 in my age group. Normally, I'm also one of the stronger swimmers in the field so finishing in the bottom third of my age group is also strange. These long distance swim races only attract the strongest swimmers and I can't control who else showed up to race, so that is what it is.
But it's still kind of odd. There were two other swimmers from the RAM team that came down to race. Laura was the 3rd overall female with a 1:06 finish, and Tom finished 4th in his age group with a 1:10. So 8 minutes over a 5 mile swim race shouldn't be much at all. The top 3 in my age group all put up a 1:07. So really I was only 11 minutes off from an award. And that's not much. That was such a strange race and odd finishing time!
In the end, I was looking for something stronger than an Ironman swim. My Ironman swim splits were 1:14 and 1:05, so a 1:18 in double the distance isn't much more. I may look for another long swim race to try later in the summer.
|Kelley found some eye candy|
|Walking back after the finish|
|Happy to be done!|
|The finishing chute with noodle rope|
|Me at the finish line|
|That's a big bridge!|
|We swam around the Yorktown|
|Got some IPA|
|Hanging with my sweetheart was the most important part|
|Pretty good sized finish line event!|
This was a great weekend all the way around. The race was cool, I'd highly recommend it if you're looking for a less intimidating long distance swim. Charleston on Memorial Day weekend is always fun.