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.