The Great Chesapeake Bay Swim 4.4- 2013

I finished!  I did it!  I'm now the 3rd in the family to make it across the Chesapeake Bay.  And it was...hmm, how do I describe it... it was really fun until it was really hard.  Haha, does that make sense?  It will!  Because, as always, you will get a full play-by-play below.  Settle in and ready go!

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.
Then I packed the rest of my stuff, which really only included a suit, wetsuit, and goggles, and tried to sleep when my heart kept dropping into my stomach each time I remembered what I was about to do in the morning.
I woke up at 5am to get to the Eastern Shore of the Bay, drop my car off, and hop on a bus to head back over to the starting area at Sandy Point.  And clearly I took the obligatory sunrise pictures while driving.  I still don't condone other people do this, sorry that I do it so frequently.

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?!
More pretty sunrise pictures!  I love the sun peaking through the clouds like this.  Also I figured once I got to this stretch of the bridge, I would be home free, and that was exciting.
So now I'm back at Sandy Point, on the western shore, and like, we seriously have the best day for this.  The weather is warm not hot, the sun is behind clouds which makes sighting easier, the water is warm but not crazy warm...  For the first time across, I couldn't ask for better!
Oh good, I'm not the only crazy person here!  And probably at least half of these people have done this swim before!
In line to be body-marked!
And then my parents got there!  (Complete with dad's shirt from last year's swim!  We were hoping to swim this together last year, but my name never got picked, so unfortunately we didn't overlap.)
I love having them at swims.  I know people at these things- current teammates, old teammates, people I just keep running into at all of these until eventually you know each other's names and times...  But it's always nice to have someone to take your bag back across the bridge for you, bring you more cut-up apples, and take some ridiculous photos pre-race...
Paying attention at the pre-race meeting.  Hearing about currents, temperatures, any unusual course information, the usual.

Then all the yellow caps were wave 1.  They filed onto the beach and started around 8:05am or so.  Us red caps were wave 2, and we started around 8:20am I think.

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! 
We talked more about my race and their respective 1-miles and then they zoomed off to beat traffic going home.  I sat for a bit, grabbed a 1/4 of a bagel and felt a little better after that, haha.  I waited around to see some results, and then sadly discovered I wouldn't be getting any awards.  I know, I know, but I'm competitive!  I went 1:53.10, I was 54th out of 570 that finished, I was 15th female out of 190, and 5th in my age group out of 25.  One of the girls in my age group (the girl that beat me at Nanticoke!) got 2nd overall, so that bumped me up to 4th in the age group standings, but still sadly just out of awards.  Again, I know, I know!  But watching all those people pass me right at the end was just so sad.

Next year, it's on :-)

Popular Posts