Saturday, June 2, 2012

Race Directors who refuse to let everyone else have all the fun

Race Directors who participate in their own events aren't able to focus on the athletes, their safety, or be available to fix things.  While it can be rewarding taking care of everyone else, it is also a deep down desire (at least for me), to be in the water swimming too.

So Josh and I came up with this idea to swim the Antelope Island to Black Rock race one week before the event for a couple reasons:

  1. To make sure there weren't any major differences with the course from last year.
  2. To get our own piece of the action, and to appreciate what all the swimmers are about to do next week.
When I drove into the Marina parking lot this morning at 8:45am, there was some pretty decent wind and some chop.  There was a mild storm that was on its way east towards the mountains.  I met Josh and we both looked like we were unsure whether today was really gonna play out as we expected. 

We went and talked with Dave Shearer, the Harbormaster of the GSL Marina.  He brought up some satelite and radar images that were looking at the weather patterns in the area.  He said that the storm was on its way out and that the wind that we were noticing were remnants of that small storm, but that things would clear up just nicely in the next hour and that there shouldn't be any issues with weather or wind for the next 8 hours at least.  That sounded good.  

So we boarded his boat and he got us over to the south end of Antelope Island as far as he could go without hitting bottom.  When we got there I jumped out and we all started getting ready for the swim.  The water was clear and the wind had died down.  We were in about 4 feet of water and we could see the south shore of the island.  This is about the same place where the race will start next week.  When the swimmers get to the shoreline by land, they'll have to wade out a good 1/2 mile to get to water that is this deep where its comfortably swimable.  Sure you can swim in 24 inches of water, but we'll make sure that when we start everyone is at least up to their ribs.  

GPS Results of our swim (including the trip
back to the Marina)
I pointed Jake to the position we were headed in reference to the mountain, because we couldn't see Black Rock from the start, but I knew where it was in relation to the Oquirrhs.  

I started my stop watch and we were off.  We took a quick feeding at 34 minutes, 1:08, 1:40, and at 2:15.  Each time were were going slightly more than one mile per feeding.  In fact at the fourth feeding we were at 5.6 miles.  At the third feeding I noticed that the tiny ripple from the wind was even gone and the water was like glass!  It was so flat and beautiful.  The water temp was a little warmer than I would have liked (74°F).  But the water about 2 feet below the surface was much cooler and that felt really good!  

Josh and I swimming side by side
the whole way there.
I noticed after the fourth feeding that Josh was really pouring it on!  I could see the fire in his eyes and could tell he was now motivated to get a good time.  After that feeding we didn't take another one until we arrived on dry land at the shore of Black Rock.  We really pushed it.  I noticed that his stroke is so relaxed looking. It looks like he isn't putting a ton of effort into it,  because his stroke rate is much lower than mine, and his reach looks effortless.  But that is quite misleading, because he is cruising!  My lats and triceps were really getting a workout!  I really wanted to get in the "zone", but because of this pace I wasn't able to.  At least not comfortably.  Time did go by super fast.  In fact I was slightly disappointed when we arrived because I still had alot more left and the time just seemed to go by!  I stopped my watch as soon as I was completely out of the water: 3:34:23.  That was much faster than I was hoping.  I was hoping for just under 4 hours.   That last 2 miles was especially fast.  
Josh and I nearing the finish.  Marina
rocks can be seen in background.

Josh's wife, Sabrina was going to meet us at Black Rock, but because we pushed it, we were there before she was.  We decided to just swim back to the Marina.   So after a few pictures, some drinks (perpetuem), we took an easy pace swim back to the marina.  The GPS I had stowed away read 9.26 miles when I got out.  

Find more Swim in Tooele, UT

The Spot GPS that we had setup stopped working about halfway through the swim.  My theory is that it was because we had so many GPS devices tracking that it caused interference.  I had my GPS at the very front of the boat.  The Spot was at the back, and I noticed that Jake also had his at the back of the boat.  The Spot GPS manual does say to avoid having another GPS device within a few feet of it or it may cause problems with the data upload.   

Why is my tongue so messed up and Josh's isn't that bad?
Guess I'm not as tight lipped during my swims.
Gotta work on that I guess.
Today's swim was so fun! And Josh totally pushed me on this swim.  I had to really focus and increase my stroke rate just to keep up with him.  We were within 4-5 feet of each other for most of the swim, and our pace was practically identical so it was easy for Jake to keep both of us within range.  

Thanks again to Jake for a job well done on the support boat.  Thanks to Dave Shearer for taking the time, and for the fuel to get us out to Antelope.  Now I'm going to be able to watch next weeks swimmers without turning green with envy.  I won't feel ripped off watching everyone else have fun.  

I'll add more pictures once I get some from Josh.  Jake took plenty of photos, but with Josh's camera, so I'll add those later....

Total distance: 9.26 miles in 4:15
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