Is that your Gu or are you just pleased to see me?

It’s done!! It’s done!!

The monkey’s off my back.

The 4 hour in 61 degrees or less qualifying swim for the Manhattan race is finally done!!

I arrived at Windy Point (Lake Travis, Austin) at 8am Sunday March 22nd. Air temp 64, water temp 60. Windy and choppy (it doesn’t look so in this photo). Terrified. The longest I’d been was 1 hour at 60 degrees.

After an extended period of procrastination, personal lubrication (vaseline), and psychosomatic illness, I took the plunge. By this time it was 8.18am.

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I swam a couple of sad, self pitying laps of Windy point for about 40 minutes.

Feeling miserable and cold, I asked my friend and observer LeighAnn for some hot soup. Out came Stanley, my thermos and second-best friend.

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Life suddenly got a whole lot better.

Buoyed by my newfound warmth, I headed round to Hippie Hollow to swim with some guys I’d only met via email, but who were nice enough to include me in their morning OW swim. LeighAnn drove the car and paid the hefty $10 parking fee. I swam there in about 25 minutes at an EZ pace to find my new friends already in the water.

Having checked out Hippie Hollow as a potential swimmin’ hole the day before, I knew what to expect.

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Not a problem. I had a very liberal upbringing down-under.

We swam laps of Hippie Hollow for about an hour and a half, blessed with a constant stream of entertainment provided by nudists engaged in a myriad of activities on the rocky shore. Stanley came to my rescue about every half hour, and although I felt a little uncomfortable, I never got to the point of shivering.

My new swim buddies, Robert Alford and Tom Fornoff finished their swim, and I realised to my delight that by the time I swam back to Windy Point I’d be more than 3/4 of the way through my swim!! Yippee!!

By this time the wind had picked up to gusts of 30mph and there were white horses everywhere. Tough conditions, but I think they distracted me from the cold and boredom of swimming alone.

I took my time returning to Windy Point and there was only about 30-40 minutes remaining when I arrived. One more shot of Stanley and a couple more laps and I was there!!

My last 10 minutes were occupied by swimming a bit of breaststroke, stretching and watching a catamaran capsize.

12.18 precisely (not that I was watching the clock..) and I was outa there!!!

Very happy, very relieved, very grateful to all that helped, and feeling a lot better than expected, I went back to my friend’s house, showered, dressed, had some food and a Stella. Bliss.

During the swim I think I had 2 quart sized Stanleys of chicken broth, some gatorade (can’t remember how much), 6 Gu’s and an Ensure with a chaser of lake water.

My only complaints during the swim were a sore lower back (probably from sighting over the waves) and squashed ears because I wore 2 caps (legal!!). I also saw several Texan sized Bass and unfortunately, from below, a middle aged man hiking in nothing but a pair of shoes and a daypack. Quite a point of interest.

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THANK YOU to all my friends in Austin, Texas, for helping me do something I didn’t think was possible. My friend LeighAnn Doherty and family, Lynne Smith, David Blanke and my new Hippie Hollows Robert and Tom.

Can’t wait to go back 🙂

Author: ChickenOSea

Terrified

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