The day was perfect… sunny with periods of overcast; a welcome relief from the otherwise “tanning index” of >10. Water temperature; between 68 and 72 degrees, though I was hoping forecasts from earlier in the week would prove correct and the water would be closer to the mid 60’s.
I slept well Friday night but woke up rather early for the 7AM start… around 3AM. I tried to get myself sorted out without waking Clare from her slumber, as I would need her to be awake enough to handle my (what turned out to be) 32 feedings.
The Feed Program
With the guidance of Steve Munatones, I constructed a fabulous telescoping feed stick with two (one black and one white) double swiveling cup holders. I searched far and wide to find some wide mouth stainless steel, flip top containers that would hold about 12 oz each and fit nicely into said b&w cup holders… but to no avail. I had to settle for Rubbermaid plastic substitutes. Though these containers have slightly raised graduations depicting volume, I marked them off with blue electrical tape at 4 oz and white electrical tape at 9 oz. Each container holds 20 oz so having them less than half-full keeps the weight at the bottom and reduces the chance of having them tip out. I am embarrassed to say that I left my glorious feed stick in the back of my Yaris at JFK International Airport and so Clare had to resort to the old string and caribiner standby to get the feeds to yours truly. For each feed (40 minutes from the starting bell and then every 20 minutes) Clare would toss me 2 bottles tethered together… one containing my nutritional concoction and the other containing good old H2O so that I could pick and choose whichever combination my body required at that moment.
Race Day Nutrition
While back in NY, I filled all my bottles with the various powdered mixes that the days efforts would require. They included:
Pre-Race – 3 scoops of Hammer Nutrition Sustained Energy, 1 scoop of 1st Endurance Pre-Race, 4 1st Endurance Optigen Capsules, 3 1st Endurance Multi-Vitimin Tissue Rejuvenator capsules. This was mixed with 16 oz of water and consumed 2.5 hours before starting time. I drank another 12 oz of water 30 minutes to the start.
Swim Mix and Schedule
I did a long (30,000yds) pool swim in February, in part to experiment with caloric intake during a sustained effort. The results were mixed, but I did learn that having the option between high calorie and just plain water for each feed would give me the opportunity to fine tune things. I am happy to say that I successfully employed this during my TB swim:
My feed consisted of about 285 calories/hour… this was achieved with 3 scoops of 1st Endurance lemon-lime EFS in 27 oz water broken into 20 minute servings of 1 scoop in 9oz water. At each feed, Clare would toss me two bottles; one containing “the mix” (marked with blue electrical tape) and the other containing water. For most of my feeds, I drank the mix only, but when elimination seemed to take more effort, I took some water as well. Two feeds (around 7 and 8 hours) I took water only.
At hours 4, 6, and 8, I also took 1 Hammer Tissue Rejuvenator (but no NSAIDS). Three feeds were also supplemented with special treats… 2x rice pudding; mashed up and liquid to render it drinkable and 1x cinnamon brown sugar oatmeal given the same treatment. I also had 3 feeds where “the mix” was replaced by gels… 2x Hammer Gel Huckelberry and 1x 1st Endurance EFS vanilla.
2 scoops of 1st Endurance Optigen in 12 oz…. the most delicious thing I ever tasted in my whole life and 4 Hammer Tissue Rejuvenator capsules…
…and a Sierra Nevada draught Pale Ale.
2 generous full-body applications of SPF 30 Banana Boat Sport.
A slathering of my very own special “channel grease” mix (consisting of 3oz anhydrous lanolin, 3oz vasaline, and 1.5oz zinc oxide),
liberally applied to any and all areas that might be subject to chaffing from the very abrasive nature of salt water including… groin, butt crack, arm pits, neck, shoulders and jaw line… every single hotel towel employed to remove the excess from my hands.
Black Finis polyester brief… size 32.
Blue 70 Vision goggles with amber lenses…. These fit perfectly and didn’t require a single adjustment the entire 10hr 49mn swim, though I must confess; I did trim my eyelashes to keep them from brushing against the lenses.
White silicon Total Immersion swim cap.
……. Nothing to add….. all performed well; zero wardrobe malfunctions.
Oh yeah…. THE SWIM!
I am not sure why this swim isn’t more enthusiastically attended.
-It is well organized. Ron Collins and company put on a serious event in a casual environment. All this year’s solo male entrants have EC bookings for the 2010 season and consider TB to be a good measure of training (yes… I know there are many differences between TB and the EC)
- The male and female course records are held by world class swimmers, Chris Derks and Penny Palfrey. I would think that this would attract lots of big guns to see how they might measure up.
- Entry is easy… no lottery, no need to book years in advance.
- Relays can a fun way to break into marathon swimming; not sure if you want to swim the whole 24 miles? Grab a relay partner or 2 and swim as much as you want. Last year I swam +/- 18 of the 24 miles (my relay partner, Patty was generous enough to grant me the lion’s share).
- There are worse places to be than St. Pete in April. Most of the watering holes up north just aren’t warm enough to get more than a quick dip in… so get your “brine fix” here!
I started the swim at a pace that I thought I could sustain for 10 hours… stroke rate in the mid 60’s, and by my third feed, the field was spreading out. I didn’t express any kind of “race plan” to Clare, and our communication was limited regarding the other swimmers. At about 5 hours, I looked forward, didn’t see any boats, inquired: where is everybody?…. you’re out in front. (cool) I never saw another boat until near the second bridge… I asked: Whose boat is that? Clare replied, “don’t worry about it, its a relay team”. The wind picked up and there was a pretty good chop now so I settled into a slower stroke rate of 60SPM… no reason to get sloppy now with just a couple of miles to go. As I walked up to the beach I was surprised to see Craig Lenning sitting there already… I wonder when he passed me? It would have been a welcome diversion to have someone to swim with after 7, 8, 9 hours alone out there. Perhaps we will have the opportunity during MIMS on June 12!
10hrs 49 mins