Friday, August 10, 2007

Swim Across the Sound

Hard to believe the swim was nearly a week ago, but it was a pretty rough week, so...

I was NOT looking forward to the swim. There were a number of things about it that were not exactly what I usually look for in a day- getting up at 4 am (not something i do even for the Ironman), spending a great training day (stuck) on a boat, but mostly swimming miles from the nearest shore. I do plenty of outdoor swim training alone, but in small lakes or in the ocean near the shore. The idea of being miles from the nearest strip of land, swimming in water that is probably close to one hundred feet deep is not a good one. I was also worried that I'd be holding my six-man team back, and generally that I would simply embarrass myself. But I told myself it was for charity and in memory of Dave Parcells and I just had to get out there and do it no matter how uncomfortable.

The day turned out, quite simply, much better than I could have imagined. First, the family who donated the services of their boat where awesome, just great. I can't say enough about what a good job they did, how nice they were, and how much that made the day work.

Second, my teammates were great. First, an extra nod to recent Ironman Lake Placid competitor Howard Jones, who had a stomach virus and still swam his ass off for us. Now I have to think stomach virus and all day on a boat are about as diametrically opposed as you get. Howard spent the time in between swims keeping what little food he ate down, but he rocked in the water. Tom Coffey was our lead leg and he kept catching the people I kept losing ground on. Margit and Sue Fegleman also swam extremely well, and John and I managed half a mile every fifteen minutes.

The event is very well run. The number of boats and jet skis with police officers on them and the Coast Guard who protect us from the seemingly endless stream of IDIOTS with boats (and the caps are deserved) can't be spoken about enough. What you here about how stupid power boat drivers can be is true and then some, but we were always safe and no one came near us except other swimmers.

What really surprised me though was how much (with the exception of the final swim into Captain's Cove, which was unspeakably foul) I really enjoyed doing something I'd been secretly dreading. I actually swam well, for me. I got caught up in working with my teammates and trying to get the job done. We might have been the 29th team (out of about 39), but we still did pretty well on the day and when it was all over, while relieved, I wasn't dying to get off the boat or amazed that I'd survived. Instead, I'd swum at least two miles, done what I had to do, helped raise some money, and had a good time.

Eric talks about stepping outside our comfort zone. this was definitely where I started the day, but not where I ended it...

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