Saturday, June 25, 2011

Around Liberty Island

Friday evening was the 3rd annual Liberty Island Swim, hosted by the nice folks at NYC Swim. The weather was grey and damp, but it actually only rained while we were in the water!
We arrived really early after skipping the line at the Liberty Island ferry (that's the way it should be, New Yorkers first!) and we spent a few hours puttering around the island, watching all of the ships and ferries go by. Wow, the harbor is so busy!
After some snacks, people watching and a quick change in the gift shop bathroom, we gathered with the other 250+ swimmers for a "pre-race meeting" where no one could actually hear anything. We knew where to start and finish so we figured we'd figure it out from there.
The race had an in-water start, which was kind of fun because we were all herded onto a party boat where we watched people jump out into the water below. We each got pushed into the water and ended up in a large herd of churning legs and arms until the countdown and horn. The start was completely insane, legs and arms flying and bodies everywhere. Ack. Sally and I had to fight to stay together with and the race never really opened up because it was so short. I was punched in the head, side, neck and back no less than 10x, but I'm sure I did my fair share of smacking too. The only really bad hit was the elbow to the face that left me with a fat lip and a cut over my eye. It knocked my goggles askew, but I emptied them and kept swimming. I wasn't going to lose Sally and have to swim this on my own!
I enjoyed the few minutes we were able to get into a rhythm and I was swimming along with a view of Lady Liberty when I breathed left and a foggy NYC Skyline when I breathed right, how cool is that?!
Miraculously, we managed to swim together the entire time, battling the waves, chop and whales (aka fat men in wetsuits). There were a bunch of folks in wetsuits, but as it should be in ALL swims the whales were not eligible for awards. I was happy to see that most people were in traditional swim gear, especially because the water was a PERFECT 70 degrees and the swim was not even a mile long.
We climbed the exit ramp around 24:46, good enough for 2nd in Sally's age group and 10th in mine. We were 93rd & 94th overall out of the 235 finishers! Wahoo!
I really enjoyed the whole event (including the BBQ afterwards) and I think NYC Swim did a great job, but in the future I'll be looking for their races that have a wave start. This was my second race this month with 250 people starting at once! Crazy.

As a great bonus, when I got home I was able to watch the live coverage of the NY Senate vote on marriage equality which I'm beyond happy to report PASSED! I am extra proud to be a New Yorker today.

posted from Bloggeroid

The Good.

You already got the bad and the ugly of the Great Chesapeake Bay swim, but I've been wanting to write a whole post on The Good because there was plenty of it. I've had a week to process it all and reflect on what I enjoyed, which is what I'd like to remember.
This will also include some "what worked for me" for anyone reading this in preparation for this swim in the future.
1. The race was really well organized, I got there super early expecting a mob scene like the one prior to a big race in Central Park, but instead I found an organized, smooth check in system, plenty of parking and a short line to use the bathroom. I joked that the lines for the bathroom were short because people were just holding it until they got in the water. The start area was fun, I met veteran swimmers who were all willing to give advice on the course and I met one of my "virtual training buddies", Donna, which was great!
2. The bridges truly took my breath away when I saw them. The view across the bay was so beautiful and serene that I couldn't wait to get out there. This awe continued for the entire race. I love bridges and it was so cool to swim between these two. It also made sighting so much easier than say, in the ocean, because you had a marker on either side which meant I could see my progress every 3 strokes.
3. The water was pretty flat and considering some of the conditions I've read about from previous swims, we practically had a perfect day (minus the mile 2 current).
4. I definitely had the stamina for the entire distance. If it weren't for my back, I'd have cruised right through to the finish line and not gotten tired, I'm certain of that. At mile 2, despite fighting the current, I actually thought "this race is too short, I'm nearly halfway done!" Ha...
5. Even though the water was lava hot and I felt like it took days to cool down, I am grateful that it wasn't cold. It's way more painful to swim in cold water than warm, even if it's nasty.
6. I still passed people even though I was hurting. My competitive side keeps me going in any race, even when it gets tough. I also have too much pride to let someone in a wetsuit pass me, even if they were wearing a yellow cap and had a 15 minute head start. No freaking way.
7. I finished.
8. I loved training for this swim more than I ever enjoyed training for a marathon. It was hard work and lots of laps, but I never felt beat up from long swims the way that running 20 miles does.
9. Did I mention that I finished?
10. It was fun, really, really fun. I love swimming, especially in open water and no matter what the conditions are I enjoy myself when I'm suspended in the water, away from everything on shore, lost in my own thoughts.

posted from Bloggeroid

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Great Chesapeake Bay Swim 2011

Sunday morning I woke up excited and ready to conquer the Bay, I was awake for an hour or two before my alarm went off so I decided to shower so that I could braid my hair while it was wet and get it into a tight bun, but mostly I showered to kill time. Our hotel room rocked and I found a toaster in one of the kitchen cabinets so Dave and I were able to have toasted bagels (brought from NYC, of course) with PB which are infinitely better than untoasted bagels. Everything was going according to plan, I liked that.

The morning went smoothly and we got to Sandy Point State Park with nearly 3 hours to go before the start of my race. I'll say it here and I'll probably say it again, my husband is a trooper. He sat with me, calmed my nerves and killed 3 hours in the increasingly hot sun...all before the race even started. I did have a chance to meet and hang out with Donna, a virtual training friend who lives across the pond in London. Chatting with her for a while was a great way to relax and pass the seemingly endless time before the race. Sadly, I missed out on meeting the other Amy who I could see through the trees. Before I knew it she was in her black wetsuit and I couldn't pick her out from the rest of the crowd! Oops! I loved her race report though, you can check it out here (after you finish reading mine, of course). Donna's GCBS recap is here too. Now, back to the starting area...

I took a few dips in the water before the race to try and cool off, but the water was so warm (79 degrees!!) that it didn't help that much. Wow, that water was so warm and any doubts I had about wearing my regular swimsuit were quickly washed away, there was no chance that I'd get chilly during this race. During the pre-race briefing the race director Chuck Nabit announced that the tides were going to be "gentle" and in our favor today. This was met with applause and excitement from the nearly 600 swimmers on the beach. There would be a gentle ebb tide pushing north to south early on in the race, then we'd hit slack tide somewhere in the middle and possibly have to fight the flood tide at the end if we were still in the water at that time. I listened with some skepticism and munched on some more food. I snacked during the 3 hour wait on a banana, a powerbar and a packet of gel just before the start. I carried two more packets of gel in my suit and I never had any trouble with fueling during the swim, it was probably the only thing that went perfectly.

At 11:30 Wave 1 took off in their yellow swim caps, churning up the bay in a flurry of arms and legs. I watched to see where the best spot might be for me to stand on the wide shoreline and after kissing Dave goodbye I took off for the far shore. I tried to stand away from patches of really big dudes that could easily swim over me and attempted to position myself near some other non-wetsuit swimmers. I was definitely in the minority standing there in this:

As you can see, most people ignored the race director's warnings about the water being too warm for wetsuits...

Entering the water definitely lived up to the hype of a "Cuisinart Start" with arms and legs churning as if we'd all been tossed into a giant blender, but I wasn't seriously banged up until the first turn. We took off towards the bridges and made a right hand turn between two large buoys to enter the span between the bridges and then made a quick left to head East again, this time with two looming structures on either side. WOW, I wanted to take a second to look around but it was very crowded and I quickly got knocked in the face and my goggles were jostled and filled with water. I emptied them and settled right into a rhythm of long, easy strokes. I never saw the mile 1 buoy, but I could tell I was moving at a great pace. Sometime shortly after entering the bridges I noticed a man to my right swimming at the same speed and we latched onto each other, swimming side by side for more than half of the race. It was great having someone by my side, especially because when I couldn't see his face I could just pretend it was my friend Sally.

He made for great company, even as we hit the not-so gentle ebb tide in mile 2 and quickly realized we were in danger of being swept under the southern spans, a move that would get us plucked from the water and driven by boat to the DNF pier. It happened very quickly and I noticed it right away, quickly adjusting myself so that I was no longer aiming ahead, but to the far left. My buddy followed suit and we continued on for a very tough mile swimming at a 45 degree angle with some increasing swells. I never once got nervous or panicked about the strong current, I'm more comfortable swimming in a current than I am on land running into a strong wind. Luckily we had the continuous bridge supports floating by to help mark our progress because I couldn't see too much ahead. Suddenly a boat appeared in front of me with lots of yellow and red dots bobbing around the sides. I nearly giggled at the sight of it, it was like a floating pub in the bay. I held on to the side for a second, sucked down a GU and listened to the other swimmers discussing the crazy current. It was also at the boat that my buddy introduced himself as Frank (thanks Frank!) and he commented that we were keeping a nice pace together. I was happy, Frank and I were a team and we were almost halfway done!! This was going to be amazing.

We swam around the boat, passed the mile 2 buoy in exactly 1:00 and could instantly feel that the tide had gone slack. WHEW. We settled right back into our rhythm and stayed side by side. It felt so good to be swimming straight again, that 45 degree angle had been really tough. It wasn't until we were about halfway between mile 2 and 3 that I would find out just how much that mile at an angle had affected me. It started out with a little pain in my back along the right side of my spine. I thought "oh, that hurts a bit" but I've never had pain while swimming so I figured it would go away, wrong. My first attempt to make it go away was to do a quick couple of breast stroke kicks, but maintain my freestyle arms to make it look normal to my companion. Wow, I don't recommend that move after you've been swimming for 2.5 miles. It didn't help ease the pain, but shortly after the pain spread rather quickly straight up my back into my shoulder and neck. WOAH, something was definitely wrong. I tried to simply ignore it and push forward, but after a few strokes I was in excruciating pain. Still confident that I could do a quick fix and stretch it out, I stopped and curled up to lengthen my back. My very kind friend Frank stopped with me, a gesture for which I'll be eternally grateful. I mumbled something about my back and he said "ok, a breather sounds good." I pretended like it helped and we carried on, though at a slightly slower pace and with radiating pain in my back with each stroke. I tried all of the tricks too, kicking harder to give my arms a rest, pulling harder with the left and letting the right arm rest, but to no avail. This fucking spasm was here to stay and I was going to have to deal with it. I could see the mile 3 buoy ahead but I was beginning to slow significantly so when Frank turned to check on me, I waved him on with regret. We weren't a team anymore and I was going to have to do this on my own.

Mile 2 to 3 had been rough but when I FINALLY passed the buoy marking mile 3, I was so close to it that I could smell the plasticky material. I was in a lot of pain, but I put my head down and dug deep. Really deep. The water was hot but since I was in the shipping channel, there were pockets of cool water here and there, I occasionally stopped and caught my breath when I hit a cool spot. It was really hard to take a deep breath because my back and ribs were so tight, so I had to take really shallow breaths to avoid the stabbing pain. I moved along at what felt like a glacial pace, but I was finally able to gauge my progress when I emerged from the second shipping channel and the bridge supports were close together again. I was so happy to see them that at some point I decided to dedicate each span to someone else in my life. I was definitely losing my mind at this point, but thinking about other people helped to push me along. I can't remember everyone that got a stretch but I know I dedicated ones to my amazing mom and my grandmother who passed away in February and would have been so proud of me because she never knew how to swim, but always wanted her grandchildren to know how. I dedicated a big span to my truly wonderful husband. I dedicated a span to my brothers who are always there for me and to some of the kids that I work with who may never learn to sit up, no less swim. I dedicated a stretch to my cousin Karen and her husband Ted who passed away after a long battle with Cancer and to my friend Jodi's mom who also lost her battle with Cancer earlier this year. I certainly dedicated a stretch to my good friends Nancy and Elyssa and my swim buddy and very close friend Sally. I even remember dedicating a stretch to Sally's late husband Paul. Yeah, I was pulling all sorts of people out of my head to help take my mind off of the pain in my shoulder and make me forget how HOT the water was. I even took a few dives down into cooler water, hoping I wouldn't alert the kayakers. One already had his eye on me after I stopped to eat my second GU somewhere shortly after the mile 3 buoy and I didn't want to alert him. Despite the pain that came with breathing and taking each stroke, STOPPING WAS NOT AN OPTION. I never considered not finishing the race, I could SEE the 4th buoy and I was really almost there. I took a few backstroke/sidestroke/made-up stroke breaks along the way to try to ease the pain, but nothing was working so would just roll over and keep swimming. This paragraph is long, but no words can express how slow that mile felt. It was endless. When I saw the exit buoys that would take me out of the bridges and back into the bay, I was elated, but it took ages to reach them too.

Everyone who has done this swim warns you that you still have 700 yds to go once you exit the bridges and not to get excited too soon. I exited the bridges and thought "why the hell am I swimming in place?" The tide had turned and I was barely moving for a few minutes, that was disheartening after I'd made it through the mile from hell. I pushed on though and turned towards the shore, I could SEE the finish but I knew it was still several minutes away. Before the start I had promised Dave that I wouldn't bring shame to our family and walk in the shallow part that runs along the side of the road, but all bets were off. I began to worry about him though, knowing that he would be worried because I was well past my goal time of "as close to 2 hours as possible" though I hadn't looked at my watch since 2:15 when I was nearing the 4 mile buoy, I knew I was running a little behind. I put my feet down as soon as I realized the other folks near me were standing. I was surrounded by yellow caps, folks that had started 15 minutes before me, but I couldn't decide if this was a good sign for me or not. It didn't make sense either way. I stretched and told myself that if I could swim 100 strokes, I'd let myself stand up again. I made it 22 strokes before the pain made me stand up again. I wanted to cry a little bit, but I dove back in and pushed forward until I had to stop again. I repeated this cycle over and over. Normally at this stage in the game I'd be stalking the folks ahead of me and passing as many as possible, but I didn't have it in me. There was one guy who stood up next to me in his wetsuit and yellow cap and lifted his goggles up to his forehead. I told myself that he was a meathead (sorry bud) and I was going to beat him. I grunted and dove back into the sweltering water and swam the rest of the way in. I wanted to at least be proud of that and I am.

As I approached the beach and the finish line I wasn't elated as I'd hoped to be. I was in excruciating pain and wanted to lie down or do anything to stop my back from hurting. I took my medal, someone took off my timing band from my ankle and my bib number from my cap (which had nearly fallen off at one point, thank you to the girl who stopped me to tell me to fix it). I spotted a worried Dave ahead and tried to smile and wave. It came out looking like this:

The caption for that photo should be "Fuuuuuuucccccccckkkkkk." Pardon my French.

It turns out that my poor hubby was not only worried because he assumed I'd been injured, but also because the Coast Guard had announced that it was pulling all remaining swimmers from the water because of an approaching storm! In the end 62 people were pulled due to the storm, how devastating that must have been for them. I am glad that I managed to get in under the wire and finish before the thunder and lightning started, I was by no means happy with my time, but I would have been crushed.

In the end I crossed the line at 2:41, so far from my goal time that it almost didn't matter to me that I'd finished at all. The hot water, the currents and the pain had gotten to me and I was a zombie as I grabbed a few orange slices and shoved a giant chunk of ice into the back of my suit (see it below) and guzzled cold water. I was SO thirsty that at one point I saw a kayaker ahead and thought "I bet he has a water bottle in there...." but I managed to carry on without attacking him for his water. I stumbled through the crowds, rinsed off in a hose of more warm, nasty water and just followed Dave in the direction of the car. I did make him stop for a minute while I lay down on the grass, attempting to get my back to release its death grip on my ribs and maybe let me take some deep breaths. No luck. At one point I just couldn't walk any more and I sat down in the grass while he went to get the car. I remember realizing that it was pouring rain on me and I gathered my wits and walked in the direction that he had gone. Once in the car I sat in my swimsuit and flip flops until we hit a rest stop in Delaware where I changed into dry clothes. The inner layer of my swimsuit that had been white that morning was now a disgusting brownish color. Eww.

Makeshift Ice pack shoved in my suit.

I was happy on the ride home, calling family and friends to let them know that I'd survived (that really was the right word) and that I was fine. I was definitely in a lot of pain and couldn't get comfortable for much of the 5 hour ride, but I was happy that I'd finished. My friends, both online and in real life (most fall into both categories) have been so incredibly supportive and happy for me. I am touched, so thank you to everyone who tweeted, facebooked, texted, called or otherwise reached out to congratulate me!

While I will always be glad that I finished before the storm and was able to finish at all, I'm still fluctuating between happy and cranky about my performance. I really hesitate to use the word "disappointed" because I know it was out of my control, but I feel like I put a ton of training into this and didn't do nearly as well as I'd hoped. It sucks. It sucks. It sucks. I want to rewind and do it over so that I can enjoy it and prove to myself that I had a much faster race in me. Unfortunately there is no rewind button, no do over, no way to go back because this is real life. I need some time to process it all, let my back, shoulder and ribs heal so that I can carry on because honestly, this is just the very beginning of my season. There is always next year for this race, I'd do it again in a heartbeat. It was gorgeous, it was really well organized and very safe. I'd recommend it to anyone looking for a real challenge in the water at a totally do-able distance.

Let's face it: 4.4 miles is NOT THAT FAR. Liz Fry swam a double Ederle swim today. That's 35 miles from NY harbour to Sandy Hook, NJ and back!!! THAT is a swim.

Oh, and I got this:

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Are You Ready?

As the big day gets closer, I'm starting to get into the cycle of Excited, Panicky, Excited, OMG, Calm, Excited that comes before all big events so I started packing a little bit tonight. I brought home my goggles, suit and "lucky" cap today after my swim this morning and decided to make sure I have EVERYTHING I need. I won't be allowed to wear my Team Pink cap, but it'll be nice to have it in my bag for the weekend, like a security blanket. :)

The cool thing about swimming is that you need even LESS than you do for running, which can be a really minimal sport if you let it. All I need is my suit, goggles and asthma pump and a few packets of GU to munch along the way. Somehow though, my pile of crap includes the swimskin I borrowed from my Sister in Law (I don't plan on wearing it, I think the water will be warm enough), a towel, extra goggles, extra GU, warm clothes for afterwards, and a cool tshirt that looks like the ocean to hang around in beforehand. I'm sure my awesome TYR bag will be full of even more stuff come Saturday, but this is it for now. I was listening to some tunes while cleaning and packing and this song came on while I was packing:
This song will obviously be on my morning playlist this Sunday.

Central Park Challenge Streak continues....

In case you didn't know this about me, I'm a Pediatric Physical Therapist and I work with children with developmental disabilities at a school run by YAI. YAI is an amazing, wonderful organization that provides services to people with disabilities throughout the life span. I really love working for them and am proud to be a part of their annual fundraiser, the Central Park Challenge. They hold a 5K run, a 3K walk and all sorts of other fun family activities every year in CP to raise money for the organization which is a non-profit. I've run 3 years in a row now and walked away with some sort of trophy/plaque every time so there's a little pressure to run well. Luckily we had a great day today with perfect weather and even though I haven't been training for the run, I managed to keep the streak alive!

The course is simple, two loops of the park drive along the bottom of the park. The start is by Tavern and the finish is on the 72nd st transverse. You run counterclockwise. At the start I took off quickly to push ahead of the dopes who hopped in the front but didn't belong and I rode the first downhill at a 6:10 pace until I had some space. I slowed to a surprisingly easy 6:40 pace, shocking myself at how casual it felt. Ahh, the first mile euphoria. I forced myself to stay steady and let a bunch of "sprint and die" folks pass me. We had 2.5 miles ahead and I was going to run a smart race. I stayed steady, clocking mile 1 at 6:51 and mile 2 at 6:49. "Whose Legs are these anyway?" I started to think. It felt really great and I let myself go at the mile 2 marker to start picking people off that had flown by earlier or just looked like a threat to my title. I pushed hard and clocked mile 3 in 6:46 and began sprinting to the finish which was uphill. My watch said 20:59 but the race results have me at 21 flat because the timing mats were past the finish. Either way I was really happy to break my previous PR and redeem myself after a crappy race last year in some evil humidity. I know that if I try a flat 5K in the future I can definitely break 21:00, even on little training.

I stuck around the post race and walk festival to collect my trophy because even though I didn't place in my age group, I was the first female YAI staff member to cross the line. Last year I was 2nd in my AG, but the field was definitely larger and more competitive this year, but that is a great thing for the CPC to have more folks running. I'll add this sweet little (ha! ) trophy to my collection now, a collection that is slowly growing as I race more and more outside of NYRR events and outside of the city.

Photos courtesy of

The countdown and the taper are underway this week with the Great Chesapeake Bay Bridge Swim just 6 days away! I've turned a corner and finally feel like I'm getting over my cold and my appetite is back after a week of feeling stuffed up and like my tastebuds were asleep. Time to fill up on lots of good food and hydrate well. The water in the Chesapeake is looking warm and with a heat wave coming this week, I am closer and closer to just wearing my regular swimsuit and not even going with the swimskin. I'd be happy in just my suit, at least it won't chafe my neck!

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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Memorial Day Swimcation

The Gorgeous Paradox Lake

Last Friday I, like lots of other New Yorkers, headed for the Adirondacks for the long, holiday weekend. It was my chance to get in a few good open water swims before the Great Chesapeake Bay swim in 2 weeks. I've swum in the lake upstate for the last two years and I was really looking forward to it after a long winter and spring in the pool. Concerned that the water was a frosty 53 on Mother's Day, I brought a rented wetsuit as a backup in case the lake was too cold for long swims. I gave the salesperson at Jackrabbit an earful about how I hate wetsuits and how I would never race in one, she probably thought I was a nut. I tucked the stupid thing into my swim bag anyway, praying that I wouldn't need it. (I Didn't!)

When I got upstate to my friend Sally's place we went to the lake and checked the temp and we're pleasantly surprised to find it felt really nice and the thermometer told us that it was around 68! No wetsuit necessary! Whew.

I did two long swims over the weekend, a 2 miler on Saturday and 4 miles on Sunday. Sally swam with me on Saturday for the gorgeous two miles around the lake. I was so happy to be outside in the open water even if it was overcast. I wore my swimskin and it kept my core nice and warm even though my hands and feet were cold. We did the two miles in about an hour with Chuck, Sally's boyfriend, as our kayak support.

Unfortunately I had caught a cold that began to really kick in around Friday night and gained momentum on Saturday. Luckily a lazy evening and some nyquil helped me sleep much better Sat night and I was ready to go on Sunday morning. We took our time getting to the lake in the morning, having some coffee and breakfast to fuel the miles ahead.

I hopped in the lake with both Sally and Chuck in kayaks flanking me as I made my way across the lake. It was fun seeing one of them on either side each time I took a breath, it gave me something to think about other than swimming. The sun came out and my arms stayed warm longer than they had on Sat and I was grateful for that. There was more debris in the lake after a late night storm and I stopped occasionally to avoid some big sticks and collections of debris. Thanks to my kayak crew, I managed to avoid getting hit by any boats or bumping into any major floating branches. I stopped for GU (eww the Cherry lime GU is nasty) 2x and had water a handful of times. There will be "snack" boats along the Chesapeake but I'm not sure where and if I'll be close enough to stop so I carried my own Gels in my suit. I tossed my wrappers on the kayak, but during my swim I'll have to tuck those into my suit as well. In case you're wondering, it isn't difficult to tread water and eat GU, but it doesn't make me want to gag any less than when I'm running. Darn.

Ahh, so I swam and swam and swam, not asking how far I'd gone until about 2.65 miles in. Boo, I was hoping it was closer to 3 at that point, but no. After a trip around the entire lake and 2 loops of an island near where we started Sally paddled to shore and hopped in to join me for the last 1.4 miles. Thank goodness she did because I was getting really chilly and tired and I let her be my guide so I didn't have to lift my head as much. We did an out and back and somewhere along the "out" portion, my arms got numb. I'm pretty sure it was from the cold, but it made for tricky swimming on that last mile. I snuck in a little breast stroke on the way back in here and there because I was losing steam. I somehow convinced myself to swim back to the dock despite a few thoughts of climbing onto the kayak. :) I was pretty sure that Chuck stayed close to me because he was certain that I was on the verge of drowning, or at least that is what my very tired body had convinced me.

When I hit the shore (the beach was underwater because the water level is way above normal) I stumbled up to the grass and plopped down. I was chilly and wiped out and I spotted someone eating cheesy poofs on the dock nearby, so I asked for some. They were the most delicious things I've ever eaten!! They were like Pirate's Booty, but a bright orange fake-cheesy color. Yum. I don't think I ever properly thanked them for their kindness...

My watch said 2:21 when I finished and the GPS said 4.04 miles. Whew. I was wearing my regular Ironman Timex and Chuck was wearing my Garmin (which died at some point) and using his own GPS on the kayak. He was nice enough to put the two swims on a map for me so I have that and the Garmin readouts! The splits aren't as fast as I'd like to be going on race day, but I never stopped my watch (and Garmin's auto-stop was off) when we stopped to chat or when we waited for Sally to switch from kayak to swimming, so I'm guessing I could have been a few minutes faster. I also know that I won't be stopping to chat on race day, so I'm perfectly happy with how it all went. I wouldn't have wanted to put in a race day effort two weeks before the race, my shoulders never would have forgiven me. They're currently still just thinking about forgiving me for swimming 6 miles in 2 days and then kayaking who knows how far on Monday.

With the overwhelming majority of my training behind me, I'm ready to take on the bay!!!

Chuck was nice enough to put these together for me: White is Saturday's 2 miles, Yellow is Sunday's 4.

My neck took a beating from my swimskin and the black flies: (ouch/eww)

Mmmm, what a beautiful day.
The furry company was awfully cute this weekend too:

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