Sunday, January 31, 2010

Lucky's Lake Swim

So I've been trying to convince myself to go down to the Lake Swim that is available to people in the Orlando area on early morning weekdays and Saturdays. A 500 meter swim both ways equal 1k. I have told myself several friday nights that I would head down and complete the swim as I went to bed only to talk myself out of it by being saying the weather was too cold and that I didn't want to drown!

My brother bought me an Xterra Wetsuit for my birthday and it arrived early this week. Now my excuses were evaporating quickly..... I still almost talked myself out of it. I couldn't sleep didn't get to bed until 1:30 am. I kept reading Ironman Ambition by John Callos and The Great Deluge by Douglas Brinkley, both readings made me more stressed by my impending challenge. It was one of those few moments in my life when I knew I shouldn't be doing something because I wasn't adequately prepared but I was going to do it anyway.

Summer wasn't going to come with me and I really wanted her to be there. We struck a deal and she said she would come. I woke up really early for a Saturday... 6 am. And we picked up two stragglers, Jacob and his friend Ethan whose family staying with us temporarily. Off we went for a quick 20 minute drive.

Once you get there, it is a huge house on a huge lot with the word's Aquatica on the gate with little iron swimmers on the fence. You drive down to the front of the house and then walk to the back yard to the dock where the swim starts.....

We got there too early and we waited for nearly 25 minutes with kids. Summer is a saint for dealing with them. I was useless cause I was nervous! Eventually a few men came to the dock there was one woman. They seemed very familiar with each other, some had swum there many times before it seemed. It was a little surreal because I had watched this many times on YouTube and on the website.

I got ready zipped up the wetsuit and got in the water.... FREEZING! The thermometer at dockside said 64.2 degrees Fahrenheit. I waited for everyone to go ahead of me which I think was a mistake. I had a pool noodle attached to my foot for safety.  First thing I noticed, after doing the breaststroke for awhile to get used to the water, was that I couldn't put my head in the water without losing my breath. I tried several times and I couldn't do it! I tried to do the Freestyle without putting my head under the water and I got tired really quickly. My wetsuit was so tight and I was very uncomfortable, and cold. I looked at my watch and a whopping 4 minutes had gone by. Plus my pool noodle was annoying me. I had run a string through the noodle and then tied that off to a ankle strap that surfer's use to attach themselves to their boards. The string kept getting caught on my toes and getting caught dragging the noodle. I got so caught up an panicked I actually used the noodle to float. And I went to my back and did backstroke for a little while too. This was my first time swimming with a wetsuit, so my hips, legs, and feet kept drifting up try to get me horizontal in the water. Which would have been a good thing if I could keep my head in the water!

Eventually I made my way up to the beach on the other side. It took me 20:49 to get across the lake. I got to the small little beach sat down and rested for a minute, and then I tried to fix the noodle set up. I moved the string down so it would be more of a longer setup and hopefully not get in my way. By this time, I was sweating pretty good and I was starting to adjust to the temp of the water. Towards the end of first lap, I was able to swim normally, so after a small prayer at the beach to keep me safe, I set out on my way back to my wifey and kids! I decided I would swim 25 to 30 strokes then stop and get my bearings... I kept losing my bearings in the water since there were no bouys just houses on the lake. The dock was tiny and not easy to discern. Each time I stopped to site I kept having to readjust. Apparently Summer said that I was zig zagging the whole way back. It took me 25 minutes to get back. I had the wind against me and a little chop plus the zig zagging. But I was able to seim normally the whole way back so that was encouraging... I made it back and finished. A couple of guys were finishing their second laps! It was exhilarating and quite a sense of accomplishment.

I got cleaned up and went and signed the wall as a first time swimmer and got my patch! They gave me a log sheet for the next time. At 25 crossings, they give you a swim cap. Cheesy but cool.

I definitely want to get back there and do the swim again. I need to learn how to swim straight! I think I'll wear some earplugs, and maybe a neoprene cap if the water is cold still. It was at 64 but it'll keep getting warmer. Who knows how many strokes and far I really swam. I certainly didn't swim in a straight line!

But this was another example of how triathlon training is pushing me to my limits and I'm responding. I had ridden my bike farther then ever before, and now open water swim farther then ever before. Next is a nice long run. But I'm proud of myself. More to come.

Posted via email from Matt's posterous

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