Monday, June 8, 2015

Washington's Crossing

A few months ago, in preparation for her Bay Swim event next weekend, Andrea suggested doing the Swim Across the Potomac event.  Since I have Eagleman next weekend, a little extra open water swim practice sounded perfect, so I signed up.  That morning, I met Andrea and new friend, Anne, who is also doing Ironman Maryland, at sunrise at National Harbor to begin our adventure.
We got ourselves checked in and body marked, and had a few minutes to sit around.  Well, I sat around while Andrea and Anne applied their body glide and put on their wetsuits.  I'd brought my wetsuit, but decided to do this swim without it.  Water temps were in the low 70's and I just didn't feel like going through the struggle.  Then it was time to board the boat that would take us to the Virginia side of the river.  We settled in on the top deck as we listened to details about the swim as well as "an ironic safety announcement.... in case of emergency, life jackets are located on the bottom deck..." - ha!
Check out the distance this swim was supposed to be!
The boat stopped and we lined up to jump off.  I followed the girls off of the front of the boat and kind of heard Anne exclaim about the coldness of the water.  Indeed, it took your breath away, and I would have probably screamed also, except... wedgie!  Yikes!  Kinda wished I'd had my wetsuit on for that 3ft jump!  Thank goodness we weren't in the crystal blue waters of the Caribbean!  And indeed, crystal blue waters these were not.  Brown, murky water with debris floating around was what we were greeted with as we swam over to the starting area to wait for the horn to sound.

Everything started out fine, and I was OK with not having a wetsuit.  After the initial shock, the water started feeling good, and there wasn't too much contact with the other swimmers.  I think I was swimming next to Anne for awhile, as I noticed the bright green strap of her watch, but then all of a sudden I couldn't see her anymore.  As a matter of fact, I couldn't see anything!  My goggles had fogged up so much that they had even blocked the sun!  I stopped to rinse them out and must have slammed them back on my face because I ended up with the worst. headache. ever.
Now check out how far I swam...
After swimming for awhile, I felt like I was making some good progress and looked at my watch.  20 minutes.  Wow, this swim is going really well!  I looked around for the buoy that we were told would mark a third of the swim, but didn't see it anywhere.  Weird, I must have passed it without knowing it?  Oh well, onward!  Except, my headache was getting worse and worse.  I had to stop and take my goggles off and do a few strokes of breaststroke just to give my head a break.  Of course, there was no way I'd make it across that river doing breaststroke the whole way, so I made sure to only stop for a few minutes.  And of course, the headache immediately came back.
I should have arrived at the finish from the south side... complete opposite direction!
After a few more stops of breaststroke, I looked at my watch again.  40 minutes.  I was awfully close to the Wilson bridge.  I didn't think we were supposed to be so close to that bridge.  Then I looked to my right.  There in the distance (like half mile away) was that dang buoy!  I was really off course!  Yikes!  Now I was just annoyed.  Every once in awhile I'd see another swimmer around me, so I knew I wasn't the only one off course, but geez.  Even the [longer] Save the Bay swim in Newport, with no buoys at all, I wasn't that far off course!  55 minutes had now passed and I was nowhere near the Maryland side of this river.
This swim should not have taken me this long.  The thing is, my swimming didn't feel awful, and I'm sure that part of the slowness had to do with a) not wearing a wetsuit, and b) stopping so many times to do breaststroke because of my headache.  So, I'm not super disappointed with this swim, just annoyed.  Andrea and Anne both reported swimming off course and close to the Wilson bridge also, but their Garmin's read 1.35 and 1.39 miles respectively, so my 1.47 was way off.  What the hell was I doing out there?!
Of course, the main reason we do any of this is for the post-workout food and drink, so Andrea and I made our way over to the Redstone and grabbed a table outside.  The wait staff asked us if we'd gotten the bronze medal for something... and we said absolutely we did!  It's the closest I'll ever get to a podium finish!
Tommy was supposed to do this swim with us also and bailed at the last minute, but Paula still came to join us for brunch.  It was lovely weather and good company, though we were all completely exhausted by the end.  If it hadn't been for being in the Potomac all morning, I would've seriously considered bypassing the shower.  I was thankful this was a recovery week and I got to spend the rest of the day lounging around.

No comments:

Post a Comment