Sunday, July 19, 2009

Ed Gaw Open Water Challenge

Despite a bit of Googling, I can't seem to find a link to the open water swim I did yesterday. It was held in Amelia Island, just north of Jacksonville, FL and featured a mile swim for the sane and a 5k swim for the crazies. The race was originally scheduled for May, but postponed due to dangerous surf and ocean conditions.
I haven't exactly been training for the past month as I got somewhat busy with the whole wedding/traveling to Iceland thing, so my fitness level leaves a little bit to be desired.
But, unlike running, I don't seem to ever completely lose my swim fitness so I figured I could make the mile. Since I had already paid my monies, had the opportunity to travel to the race with two great swim buddies (Cameron and Debbie) and a free place to stay, I figured why the hell not, would just treat it as a nice open water workout.

We cruised up on Friday and spent the afternoon sitting by the pool at Cameron's friend house, sipping adult beverages along with deep and meaningful conversations.
Then a quick dinner at an Irish pub, early to bed and a crack of dawn early wake up call to get ready. At the race we signed in, got our swim caps and t shirts, donned swim suits, sunscreen and body glide and then boarded a bus to take us to the respective swim starts. I can tell you that being stuffed in a school bus with about 50 other grown ups of various ages, clad in nothing but speedos was quite the experience.
Once we got off the bus we walked to the beach and took our places on the beach. The gun went off and we ran into the nice and flat ocean. Pretty soon I settled into my stroke and started cruising. There was one buoy that we rounded at start and then nothing until he buoy to be rounded into the finish. They did park a boat close by that one so we had something to sight off, but with the sun glaring it was hard to see. I felt like I was swimming like a drunken sailor, zig zagging all over. Half expected to end up around the Bahamas. For much of the swim I kind of played tag with a guy wearing triathlon shorts and top. When we finally got close to the orange buoy, I saw a small pack of swimmers and figured I could catch them and maybe even drop the tri guy too. I caught the small fish, but the tri guy had something left in the tank too and beat me.

All in all it was a great race and it's good to be swimming again. Debbie did great and came in 2nd overall for the mile, and I think Cameron and Coach Bay did well too. I scored first place in my age group, it helps a lot when there are only 2 other competitors of that age!
I don't think the results have been posted anywhere, waiting on an e-mail with the times so I know what to beat next year!

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