Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Little Red Lighthouse 10k

So after spontaneously entering myself into competition with the beast(aka Amber) for next year's Ironman St. George, I decided to throw myself right into training. Two weekends ago, I signed up the day before to race Syracuse where I realized just how poor my biking and swimming really were. Therefore, when my friend Greg, invited me down to NYC to swim in the Hudson river I figured that I better sign up.

1st Problem: It was six mile swim.
2nd Problem: I needed a qualifying swim to compete that weekend.
3rd Problem: It was in the Hudson.
4th Problem: I'd never swam more than 1.2 miles.

It was actually a 6.2 mile swim but it was with the tidal flood so being in the Hudson was an advantage. The qualifying swim was a bit more challenging but after getting the Racquet Club of Concord to certify my painfully slow 3 mile swim that I completed there, I was good. Not only had I never swam more than 1.2 miles before, but I had also had the advantage of using a wetsuit which were banned from this race. You only live once though.

After work Friday we drove down to NYC staying at one of Greg's friend's apartments. They had coached swimming together at Southern Illinois University and were talking about how they were going to fare place-wise while I'm sitting in the corner wondering how I'm going to fare living-wise.

A less than restful 6 hour sleep later brought use to the 79th street pier where the race was to start. Everyone there, except me, were either swimmers, triathletes or a bit of both. Judging by the choice of swimwear, I was assuming everyone was European until Greg informed me that the swim mandated "English Channel" rules which included no "jammers" for men. Apparently my swim shorts were considered jammers and he then hands me a pair of bun-huggers that would probably have looked good on pre-pregnancy Kara Goucher but would have given most of our readers nightmares when seen on me.

The race was seeded from slowest to fastest with me smack dab in the middle at wave four. How I managed to get in the fourth wave is beyond me. There must have been a typo in my entry form. Like the extra zero at the end of my swim qualifying time. Who knows... So there I am treading water with a group of about sixty of my fellow wave four swimmers. I'm looking around seeing who I could hang with. Apparently no one.

Within one buoy from the start I had could no longer see any of the other swimmers in my wave due to the swells as well as the distance they had put between us. By the second buoy, wave five had passed me. By the three buoy, I had swam almost entirely across the river before one of the safety boats put me back in line.

Then I got into a rhythm. I started swimming hard and fast envisioning that I resembled a slightly shorter and stockier Michelle Phelps. Yes Michelle Phelps. I know I will never resemble the subway rep. So anyway, I am moving along thinking to myself that this is actually surprisingly fun and that I should enter some more of these.

That's when I hear the honking.

Boater: "Swimmer, do you want to get out?"

Danny: "Haha; no thanks."

A few minutes pass as I regain my stroke, then I hear the honking again.

Boater: " Swimmer, you may think you're moving but you're not going anywhere."

Danny: "Ha, thanks"

Boater: "No seriously, do you want a ride."

Danny: "No I'm good."

I start swimming again(treading is as fatiguing for me) trying to block out negative thoughts when it does occur to me that despite this guy's obvious inability to comprehend that I'm in the middle of a race, albeit a losing race, he probably is my safety boat. Therefore, I decide not to flip him off or throw anything into his motor and just keep plugging along.

Then I hear the honking again.

Boater: "You look like you need a ride."

Danny: " No thanks go look for other swimmers."

The boat took off leaving a nice trail of gasoline in its wake for me to suck up. After I had crossed under the George Washington Bridge, I had nearly forgotten about him until he honks again, once more offering me a ride. But this time, there were three other swimmers in there with him. Just seeing that was enough to keep me going.
I swam the rest of the way determined and as I come out of the water and look back at all the people I must have beaten, I see no one.

No one. Not one swimmer was behind me. DFL. Dead freaking last!

It turns out that there were a few people in the earlier waves that swam slower than me but I finished pretty close to the bottom of the barrel swimming a 1:59:12 for 192nd place out of 219.

Yikes! I've got some training to do.

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