Saturday, October 2, 2010

Results of Slam the Dam (Lake Mead) - Grand Slam in 2:58:38

Yesterday, Jacob and I drove from St. George to Henderson.  We met up with Josh and Sabrina as well as Heidi and Steve at the Cheesecake factory.  Afterwards Jacob and I drove to the starting point of the next morning's race.  We setup "camp" in the back of the van and put the kayak on top of the van.  It was very warm and I ended up changing into my speedo and sleeping in it cause I was just sweating so bad.

We got up at 5am and took the kayak down to the waters edge.  At 5:30 we got ourselves checked in and had a little breakfast.  The race started promptly at 7am.  I was surprised how well this race was organized especially considering it was the first annual of this event.  Kara did a fantastic job with getting all the volunteers to do their jobs as competently as they did.

One improvement however is the need for an official starting buoy.  If there was one, I didn't see it.  The pack seemed to move further and further away from the shoreline before the race started.  I stayed back and asked Jacob to make sure to start the GPS when the horn went off.  I also started my stopwatch.

So this race consisted of five different events:  1.2 Mile, 2.4 Mile, 3.6 Mile (Super Slam), 8K, and 8K + 1.2 Mile (10K = Grand Slam).  I did the Grand Slam, the maximum distance for this race.

Grand Slam (8K + 1.2M = 6.2 miles): 10 swimmers
8K (5 Miles): 33
Super Slam (3.6 Miles):17
2.4 Mile: 57
1.2 Mile: 50
Total of 167 swimmers.  That's the biggest non triathlon OW race I've ever been to.  Even though there were only 10 in my event.

When I got to Mile 2, I swam alongside Ben Higgins, who tapped my feet and then swam next to me.  We swam together for a good two miles.  But then he must have taken a feeding or had an injury cause he fell way back .  I wasn't feeling any real need for a drink or nutrition, so I ended up swimming the 8K without any stop at all.  I ended up passing about 4 other swimmers in the last mile.  When I got about .5 miles from the finish I touched the foot of John Mercer.  He immediately went into breaststroke and moved over.  I swam on and noticed he went back to free and tried hooking into my wake.  I went into a full sprint and lost him.  When I crossed the finish line for the 8K my watch read 2:26.

Lake Mead is awesome with how clear the water is.  I could see the bottom at about a 12 feet depth.  I can't say the same when I swim anywhere else, except maybe Bear Lake.  This race was very different in that the last 1.2 miles is swam as a group after you finish the 8K.  So I had to hang out for about 40 minutes before starting the last 1.2 miles.  I got some nourishment, which was nice cause I hadn't taken any feedings or water breaks for the 8K at all.  And I really went all out on the last mile.

When they started us on the 1.2 mile it seemed like torture.  My body had already started to stiffen up.  But within about 500 yards I was able to slowly loosen back up and get back into my rhythm.  When I got to the turnaround point I saw that there was only one other green capped swimmer ahead of me.  I sped up and was able to make several passes, but never did catch that first place Grand Slam swimmer.  I did finish VERY strong though.  My final time came in at 2:58:38.

Jacob did a great job as my kayak support.  He stayed with me and gave me all the proper mile readings and encouragement.  My goal was under 3:00 and I barely met that deadline, but I did do it.   I took a temp at the end my thermometer read 83 degrees in the shallows.  It felt warm, but not that warm.  Definitely not the ideal temp for a long swim on a hot day.  But I had no regrets, I swam the best I possibly could have. I came in fourth place out of ten swimmers. Congrats to Daniel and James for fantastic times!

The Grand Slam results are very interesting.  The two oldest swimmers took first and second place.  That gives me hope!  Apparently age is NOT a factor in how well you do compared to others in your event.
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