The Great Chesapeake Bay Swim 4.4- 2013
My prep started last night, making my usual cut-up apple to nom on pre-race, as well as cut up peaches since I had them and figured why not, haha. My mom has made me cut-up apples for swim meets for forever- it's one of the few foods I can eat early in the morning and during races, so it's just kind of stuck with me. She even brought me a bag today, despite me being an adult and being able to cut up my own apple. It was adorable.
And as I drove over the bridge, I just imagined swimming down there. Waaay down there, for a long time. I pictured swimming towards the curve in the bridge, then a long straight shot to the other shore. And by pictured, I mean I went, wait what am I doing?!
No pictures at this point, since clearly I was swimming. The start was from the beach, toes in the water, so a couple big steps, a dive, and then being on top of people for awhile. All the way to the bridge I was swimming over people, people were swimming over me. It wasn't until a couple minutes in the span that I had some open water around me, so that was crazy. But I got into a groove, snuck behind two girls who seemed intent on battling it out and let them just pull me. They kept swimming over and around each other, it was pretty funny. Then I lost them (like literally we passed a yellow cap and I couldn't seem to find them in my sights anymore, it was kind of weird), so I just kept swimming, as they say.
I cruised through the first mile, made it to the big middle suspension section of the bridge, flipped to my back for a stroke to try to take it all in, then flipped again and kept going. I was feelin good, just felt like I could pace like that all day. I made it through the covered section, and was on the home stretch! Still felt great, felt like I was really having a great swim. And then it got impossible. I was being pulled by a current, trying to pull me out from between the spans (which means disqualification). I kept feeling like I was swimming sideways, to counter-act the pull, but each time I approached a bridge piling, I still had to turn to avoid pretty much running into it. I was not having fun. I watched plenty of red caps catch up to me, and while I would stay with them, then stay on their feet, off they went. I was so discouraged! I had stayed ahead of them for 3.5 miles at least! This was so unfair that they were passing me now and I couldn't stop it! I couldn't wait to get out from between those spans. I couldn't wait to see the buoy where I could finally let the current pull me out and into the last open water homestretch.
That finally happened, but not after more people passed me. I know we're all in the same boat there, I really am not blaming my swim on the current. I was just so sad that after such a great race up until then, I was getting overcome by it and not able to get back into my previous groove. I think the constant swimming around pilings was weighing me down, and feeling like i was zig-zagging and wasting time not being efficient was what made me disappointed with my swim. I should have just taken the time, swam to the middle of the spans again, and I wouldn't have had to keep on weaving around the pilings. That's what you learn on your first crossing ;-)
So I had open water, I was sighting the beach and just wanting to finish and drink fresh water and let my arms rest and I just gave it all I had going into that beach! I swam until my fingers were scraping the bottom, stood up and ran until my ankle timing chip beeped and couldn't believe I'd done it. I had wanted to stop when that current was just pulling me, but I finished! I saw Mom and Dad waving at me, just beaming. I waved back and headed to get some water, and saw Tracy, Reg and Michelle waving and shouting my name too! They had stayed after their one-mile swim just to see me finish :-) That was so so sweet of them, I really appreciated it :-) I chugged a water, grabbed another and a gatorade and walked over to discuss, haha. I told them about the current and while I thought I had a grimace on my face that whole time, apparently Mom got a picture of me exhausted but smiling, haha. Who knew!
Next year, it's on :-)