Saturday, June 9, 2012

GSLOW one mile event

This morning I took all the kids with me since Cathi was running her Utah Valley Marathon.  When I woke up and was STILL physically exhausted from yesterday, I realized Cathi would be just as tired as I was and she was gonna have a tough time with the marathon.  But she'll finish.

We got to the Marina and visited with people as they arrived and set the kayaks up on the boat ramp.  Half an hour before start time, still no show from a majority of our volunteer SUPs.  Some phone calls were made.  I took the kids and a couple kayaks and we went over to Black Rock to be in the water at the second half of the race ready for the swimmers.

I loaded Lucy up on the yellow one man kayak and we were out on the water about 20 minutes before we saw the first swimmer.  He was heading a little too close to shore.  There is an outcropping of some rocks about 2/3 into the course.

So I positioned myself right at the end of those rocks and focused on getting the swimmers out and around them instead of swimming too close to them.  You only have to go out about 25 yards or so to avoid them, it isn't too much of a deviation from the straight line.  There were a lot of people at the later end of the field that were having a difficult time sighting.  I paddled up right next to them and helped them get going in the right direction.  When all else fails, if you find yourself alone in an open water race.  Chances are, you aren't where you're supposed to be.  I told some of the swimmers that were really off course, "Stay with the other swimmers".  I counted just over 10 paddlers total, so we had enough.  But far from the 20 we were expecting.  But given that the race was pushed to an earlier time, having no-shows is expected.

The wind was starting to pick up and by the time the race was over and we were on our way home, the lake was nothing but white caps.

Some swimmers I especially noticed:

Etsuko's family at the finish line
giving hugs
Henry Hudson - he was really cranking.  He broke last years time (26:17) by nearly four minutes (22:35).

Etsuko Abe - She's the only female I know with a "Got Salt?" swimsuit.  I've seen her out at the lake a few times now.  This one mile event for her was a big deal and her family came out in full support of her which was awesome to see.

Rachel receives her medal from Josh. 
Rachel Wagner - Rachel has been fretting nervously about this race.  She's already overcome several obstacles in her life, and this race was just another one.  I'm glad she proved to herself she could do it.  Her confidence has been reinforced.




This year, Josh and I really had to scramble last minute to avoid cancelling the event with the high winds on Saturday afternoon.  The one mile perhaps could have gone as planned at noon, but it would have been much harder on many of the swimmers and for some of those who took close to an hour or more, it may have actually resulted in a DNF.

I preferred the earlier start.  I think we'll stick with that for next year.  Also the 8 mile event we will schedule for two days and then pick the best day on Thursday.  While this may be inconvenient especially for locals who may unnecessarily have to plan for Friday, it will also allow more flexibility in choosing the better day.  Some people argue, "It's open water swimming, if it's rough, it's rough." But at the same time, many people go to an expense to get here, and we want the best conditions possible.  And especially do not want to cancel it outright.  But if we end up with two days of storms, it could come to that.

My favorite part of the whole thing is to watch the support these swimmers get, and the new friendships that are formed by these participating athletes.  It's different than pool competitions because everyone deals with the "hardship" of the salt, and that struggle seems to create a bond between people regardless of swimming abilities.

I'm looking forward to next year's event and hope that participation will continue to grow!

More pictures can be found on the facebook page.
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