There were 11 x 10 mile entrants. 5 guys and 6 ladies. 6 with wetsuits and 5 without. Here's a picture of most of them. We started off and there was a girl without a wetsuit who was smokin! She took off and I never saw her again after the first 100 yards. I was really impressed. There were about 3 or 4 other people in front of me as well. I was NOT going to get all worried about my placement in the pack. I was all about starting at a nice controlled pace and just worry about getting each mile under 30 minutes.
My first feed wasn't until just before mile 4. I had gone 1:45 and got my first gatorade and a cereal bar. I kept that feeding to under a minute. Which was great! I then took off and at the 5 mile mark where we turn around I had just repassed the non wetsuit guy who took the correct shorter route from the previous bay. While I was swimming I made sure to watch my arms on the pull. I really focused on bending my elbow and pulling my hand directly back instead of doing an 'S' pull which I usually do. I notice that when I do an S pull I end up not getting a full and powerful stroke because I'm not directing the pull towards my feet as much. With this concentration on my pull and my bilateral breathing I was able to really get the power I needed to maintain the time I wanted.
At around mile 6 I was breathing to the side only to see Austin halfway out of the boat grasping on to the sides for dear life. I wasn't expecting that view and stopped and yelled out "Austin are you OK! What the heck are you doing?" He said, "I have to pee really bad!" I immediately started back up my swim and had to laugh underwater. I never thought of how my support guys bathroom needs. Swimmers can just go and swim at the same time, but not the poor support crew.
I was feeling strong the whole way and did not have any aches or pains that significantly bothered me. When I got back to Wallsburg bay the wetsuited guy who was up ahead was within sight. He kept stopping every twenty minutes or so. I would catch up and then he would start up just as I caught up to him. Then he would really sprint up ahead and then stop later on and I'd catch him. After about 3 or 4 of these bursts of his, he ended up losing his steam and at Mile 8, I had pulled way ahead of him and there was no recovery for him.
When I got to Mile 9 I really started to turn it on. When I got to the 1/2 mile left buoy I really turned on the afterburners and really picked it up. I felt like I was doing a full sprint into the final buoy. I felt so great! My final time was 4:50:03. I was able to get 29 minutes exactly per mile. Got 10 minutes under my goal time, so I'm pleased. I took second overall in the Male division. First in the Male Non-wetsuit division though. Here's the official results. The guy who took first is the high school swim coach from Evanston. He wore a wetsuit and got a really sick time of something like 4:15. I really wonder how much that wetsuit shaves off on his time. The girl that shot of right from the start got like 4:22. Wow that was really impressive. So I was the second non-wetsuited swimmer too. Third overall.
This years race was perfect. No weather problems, it was well organized, the shirts were much better and the staggered start times were awesome. Austin did a fantastic job the whole time staying with me. What a good time I had. I'm already looking forward to next years swim. Next up..... Slam the Dam. I'm doing a grand slam.