Monday, July 25, 2016

Peaks to Portland: 2.4 Mile Swim to the Mainland

The last few weeks have been whirlwind of activity!

After spending a week in Vegas and San Diego for the From Fat to Finish Line documentary launch (more to come on that) I came home exhausted and ready to roll into this event. well, kind of...

I was feeling waaay under-trained for the 2.4 mile open ocean swim, Peaks to Portland, this year...having only done a handful of 2 mile swims in the weeks leading up to Saturday.

I did get to swim about 2 miles in La Jolla CA and whoa, that was cool. I've got an awesome story about THAT swim coming too...But anyway, back to Peaks. I knew if I just took it easy and swam steady, it would be a good day. ---> I also had my favorite guy who would be providing kayak support. From the moment I signed up for this event, I was SO excited to be doing this with him -- this gave me LOTS to look forward to!

The night before, sleep proved to be a challenge. Not due to race nerves or anything but simply being a Mom to Lola. I finally got some sleep around 2am so when my alarm sounded at 4:15 am, I barely heard it. Or wanted to. I shut the alarm off and fell back to sleep for a bit, finally getting up just before 5am. I am supposed to be at the ferry station to Peaks Island at 6am. Better hurry!!! I was tired. I was late. I was not thrilled.

I had prepped the kayak and packed up everything the night before and most of it was good to go. I wasn't feeling very hungry so I packed up some bananas, my go-to oatmeal Coach's Oats and Powerbar Simple Fruit in apple/lemon/orange with 2x caffeine. This flavor is awesome but I knew I would also need the extra boost of energy too!  I also knew there would be lots of down time between the ferry ride over to the Island and GO TIME>

going through the checklist 2 or 3 times...

The JennyB kayak. of course, it's in HOT PINK! 

FM and I hit the road 5 minutes AFTER 6am and got to the ferry terminal about 20 minutes later. When we arrived, the parking garage was full. Ooops!!

Current Mood at that moment:
you can see i am thrilled. good thing I had FM there to keep me grounded
 We unloaded the kayak and all of our gear and I went to find parking. I snagged the LAST spot in a pay lot a half mile down the road. Boom! I literally RAN in flip flops, my swim suit and a sundress from the lot back to the ferry lines. When I got there, I asked FM if he had the ferry tickets. Nope, they were still in the car. Sprinted BACK to the car and then BACK to the ferry. Yes, a 1.5 mile interval run would be a great warm up to the day. 

made it back to the ferry WITH the tickets in time! 
In reality, being late did not matter. Leaving the tickets didn't slow us down. The line to the ferry was still just standing there and they did not start loading until close to 7am. Soon we were on our way...and I was able to finally relax.

finally, time to board the ferry! 

We made our way to the top of the ferry where I found several of my friends, including Yvonne who was happily snacking on some yummy local donuts. I was still not hungry. The ride was quick as we chatted about the course, strategy and what a beautiful day it was going to be. We also chatted about the awesome Otillo style race Yvonne is completing next month...swim & run for MILES and MILES.

We made our way to the shoreline amid a mass of colorful kayaks and swimmers and prepped for the morning ahead. 

I was able to snack a bit and get mentally prepared. I was calm since I was not racing yet I was still a bit nervous about how my body would handle the swim. I had to take a year off of swimming due to an injury so I was curious how that would feel. I knew I would finish out of pure stubbornness alone, but still. I did not feel 100% prepared as I normally would for an event like this.

I put those doubts aside, sprayed myself down in TriSlide and got into my Blueseventy wetsuit. Donned my favorite TYR Special Ops goggles after a generous application of Foggies and it was into the water for a little warm up. 

post swim warm up, I was inspired by one of the athletes who would do this event with 1 leg.
I tried to get her to consider doing a triathlon or relay with rev3 in August! 
or should I say COLD UP. The water felt really, really cold. Reports stated that the temps were 61-63* but it felt REALLY face was fine in the water but my hands and feet were going numb. Normally I would just duct tape my feet up to prevent cuts on the shells, rocks and barnacles that cover the shore and the first 15 feet of shoreline into the water but this year I opted to try water shoes that I would just take off at some point. It seemed to work well...kind of. 

With AMR before lining up to GO.

It was close go time and I could see FM making his way to the kayak line. Our wave was gathering to line up and go thru the chute and into the water. I felt calm and ready to have a great swim. I was very happy to be there and glad we were able to make the ferry, despite my earlier feelings. I got to give one of my athletes a pre-race pep talk while we were lined up. It was going to be a good day. 

I was in the water and it did not feel as cold. I sighted my starting line and positioned myself at the front right of the wave. I could see FM and knew it would not take me long to reach his side. I stayed calm and was breathing easy as the wave was launched with a GO and a loud buzzer sounded. 

It was about 300 yards out to the kayak and we met up without issues. We were in the middle of the scrum at this point. We communicated our plan to get to clean water and it was executed perfectly. I was still swimming with the water shoes on for a while until FM said he thought they were slowing me down (which they were) so I took them off and handed them to him. Ahhh, much better. He continued to guide me with verbal cues and encouragement. He also said I was moving much faster without the shoes on!! 

It was so great to be out there, doing something I love with this amazing guy right there by my side. Every time I looked up, I was smiling. Literally. We had reached the Fort, which is kind of the half way point of the swim, and I was feeling very relaxed and pain free in my shoulder. The water had warmed up quite a bit, as well as my body! I wasn't feeling any mental or physical fatigue. GOOD GOOD GOOD stuff. I was starting to pass other swimmers and I was having a wonderful time. My heart was very happy. 

Before I knew it, we had reached sight of East End Beach and we maneuvered our way through boats and swimmers. I was struggling to see the course buoys and it was messing with my head. I kept asking where the buoys were and FM assured me that they were there and to just follow his lead. Finally, I could see the big orange buoy and hear the crowds cheering. Let's GO!!

In the final 1000m push my only goal was to pass this guy in an orange sleeved wetsuit, which I did so I considered the day a success right there. FM made his way to the beach in the kayak and I swam my way into shore!  I was out of the water and up the beach. All Smiles. I saw FM and my friend Yvonne on the sidelines cheering. I saw the clock at 1:26:xx and  was happy with that. I figured being undertrained and just getting back to swimming, I would be around 1:30 for this. Previous P2Ps and 2.4 miles swims I have done range from 1:07 to 1:19...but then I looked at my Garmin and saw 1:11 for a time (and a swim distance of 2.49) and I remembered

OHYEAH...wave starts. You did not take into considering the clock started with wave1 silly girl.

So my official time was 1:11:16

Garmin time 1:11:28 and 2.49 miles. I can't wait to load the data and see how far off the line I was with the extra distance. 

I stayed and cheered on friends. My athlete, AMR, who has been swimming her tail off all winter, PR'd this event by over 14 minutes. Her hard work in the pool dropped her times there and now in open water.

I had such a wonderful day filled with smiles. It was an absolute dream come true to race with my guy by my side. Such an incredible happiness. 

And now I am so ready to get back to ME. To training like an animal. To racing and chasing my dreams. To inspire others and help them find their finish lines. 

Thank you to all my friends and family who were able to provide financial support for this event - the YMCA is able to help so many in my community and their mission is so strong. Because of YOUR help, kids right in my town will have access to camp programs at the Y. Thank you!! 

A huge thank you to my incredible sponsors
Rev3 Tri - my second family and the best tri race series out there. 
Blueseventy - I could not ask for a more comfortable or faster wetsuit!
Powerbar - best gels ever. I love the new simple fruit!
SBR Sports Inc - I don't know what I would do without my Foggies and my TriSlide. 

Here is a supercool video FM put together about our day, making our way from Peaks Island to Portland's East End Beach. He did such a fabulous job as my kayak supporter - Thank you!! 

1 comment:

Melissa Cunningham said...

LOVED this recap!!!! love the video too! you ROCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!