I’m either suffering from writer’s block or just general writer’s inability, but whatever my condition, I need to stop procrastinating and write this down so I don’t forget anything about last Saturday’s swim. Also, several of my computer keys have a tendency to stick or just not work (mostly the shift and apostrophe), and i doubt ill bother to fix those mistakes.
I’m still smiling after finishing the 27 mile End Wet swim down the Red River in Grand Forks, South Dakota. Actually, East Grand Forks, Minnesota, with a visit to South Dakota, and then back to Oslo, Mn at the end…
I originally signed up for ENd Wet as my long training swim for the SEarch for Memphre, but have since had to withdraw from Memphre. So End Wet is “it” for me for 2013, as far as big swims go. I’d read a few swimmers’ reviews of End Wet from 2012, its first year, and thought it was right up my alley; a quirky swim at a bargain price, organised by fun sounding people (http://endracing.com/), and drivable from Chicago
The drive was very pretty, and I stopped overnight in St Cloud, Mn, because I know from experience that a long day of travel before a swim can lead to cramps, spasms, tics and other undesirable bodily events, even before getting out of the car.
My wonderful volunteer kayaker, Jimmie, was at the race talk/registration the evening before the race and we were able to meet. I was a little confused about logistics, because we werent to meet up with our kayakers until mile 2. All questions were answered though, and I picked up a few supplies and a little Dominos pizza before heading to my hotel to prepare feeds etc. The pizza wasnt a great idea. Ive never had Dominos before, and it was pretty ordinary. quite horrible actually. Wont do that again. I was tired though, and wanted something quick and easy. When I finally climbed into bed at about 10pm I woke up and of course, couldnt sleep until after midnight..
The race started at the Cabela’s boat ramp in East Grand Forks. It was a super casual start, which I loved. We swam 2 miles before getting out just upstream of a set of rapids. We then walked through slippery mud past the rapids and re entered the water at another boat ramp (where we connected with our paddlers) and continued the swim. The walk through the mud was hilarious. It was smooth and sticky, with a clay-like consistency. I almost overshot the exit and was glad they had someone grabbing the swimmers!
The water was warm, brown, and clean tasting. Whoever named the Red River was either a little color blind or had some seriously blood-shot eyes. It’s brown. But pleasant! I enjoyed the scenery as I swam. it was a completely new place for me and the river was so much more interesting than I had expected. There were some sloping and some steep cliff like mud banks with huge trees. Sometimes you could see all the roots of the trees exposed. The river meandered the whole way. Sometimes there would be a very strong current and sometimes it would slow as the river widened and/or deepened. My favorite movie,the African Queen, was in my mind the whole time. I expected to see hippos surface and crocodiles slither down the banks. My absolute favorite moment was swimming past the car that was suspended, and sticking out of the much-flooded riverbank.
About half way my right shoulder decided to make itself known. It would not be ignored. Between about mile 14 and 24 I could barely lift my arm out of the water. it was like someone was sawing at my nerves with a bread knife. I think I swam about 10 miles alternating single arm free, backstroke and breaststroke. it felt really really awful, but luckily the current was pretty fast and worse case was that I would breaststroke the rest of it. Around mile 24 though, It kind of clicked back into place and I was able to finish the swim without the horrendous pain. 8 hours, 42 minutes is fast for 27 miles! especially with the horrible shoulder pain!
I can honestly say I loved everything about this swim. It was quirky and fun, but still tough enough that finishing was an accomplishment. I expected a much longer swim, but am glad the current was fast, given the shoulder ^&*%. My kayaker was fantastic. I’m so grateful for her patience and cheerfulness! Ive developed a tendency to veer left, which I noticed during the 10k postal recently. Ill have to fix that. At least with river swims, though, its easy to keep that in check…
Boring details Id like to preserve for my own benefit:
-Egg mcMuffin about 45 minutes before start (lost a bit of this at mile 1)
-1800 calories total during the 8hr 42 minute swim: 1500 Carbopro/Ribena/H20 mixture, 100 gatorade, 200 Uncrustable®, plus a few water-only feeds. feeds every30 minutes, in order, vaguely, Carbo Pro for about 3 feeds, gatorade for one, water for one, sandwich at the not quite half way point.
-This intake was perfect. AT least, I didnt feel any lack of energy at any point.
……There was a bold fisherman who sailed out from Pimlico
To slew the wild catfish and the bold mackerel.
When he arrived off Pimlico, the stormy winds did wildly blow
His little boat went wibble, wobble, and over board sprang he.
twinki doodle dum, twinki doodle dum, was the highly interesting song he sung….