Part I here.
I heard about the Beavertail 10K on 10 July throw the Sachuest group on FB. The timing was perfect: Exactly two weeks before Boston Light. Only a couple hours away in Rhode Island. And a 2pm start. No oh-dark-thirty wake-up! Very liberal course cut-off of six hours. What could be better?
A bit of emailing and harassment of the race director and I was in. Now the only things standing between me and race day was…15 days of vacation in Texas.
Didn’t get a lot of swimming done down there. Our primary goal, besides seeing my side of the family, was to take our youngest to check out Texas A&M. My sister works there and got her set up on a great tour of the campus, the Corps and the Engineering department. She is definitely hooked (pun intended). But we didn’t swim but three times.
First time we checked out the neighborhood pool of one of my sisters. It had lane lines painted on the bottom, so figured we were good. We got up early (on vacation, 9am CST is early) and went to the pool when it opened at 10. On a work day. Already about 10 people in the pool. It had lane lines but not lane dividers. We grabbed a lane and tried swimming. Kids in the way. Often. Water tasted weird and burned my eyes through the goggles (too much chlorine?). We did 1000 yards and got out.
That was in Houston, and a couple days later we were in College Station. My other sister told me about A&M’s great rec center, complete with lap pool and all the fixin’s for only $15 a week. We made plans to go. Arrived on a Tuesday afternoon. By the evening learned that the pool at A&M would be closed Thursday-Sunday for the Texas State Games. We found another pool.
Bryan, the city right next to College Station, has an aquatic center. A great place with movable bulkheads. When I called Wednesday morning, they told me from 1130-1300 they would have 12 lanes for laps, but “only” 8 lanes from 1300-2000. Holy crap! I was so excited. Got even more excited when they said it would only cost $3.
Got there and the first thing we saw was a sign stating “This pool will be closed Thursday – Sunday for the Texas State Games.” Jeez Louise, these games must be huge. No matter. I’m on vacation. I swam 4500 yards in 1:30 while my daughter did about an hour (so probably the same distance). We got one more session in at that pool right before leaving Texas; I did 3600.
But that’s it! Beavertail was gonna be tough, but again with six hours in which to complete it, and the fact that my primary goal was as a BLS test, no biggie. Right?
Nope. Biggie. Definitely.
But back to the beginning. Beavertail required a kayaker. The wife had been talking about wanting to kayak as a pastime. I figured, why not use this as an excuse to get a kayak? Tons of money later, our Rav4 had a kayak on top and tons of equipment inside. (Spoiler alert: kayak doesn’t fit her, is too heavy for one person to put on the car, and probably won’t be used enough to justify the expense. What’s the return policy at REI?)
Some last minute requirements added to the expenses. A marine radio? Ok, Amazon, your turn to shine. Didn’t want to order the marine radio while on vacation, so ordered it right before returning for a delivery the day after we got back. Good thing too as our flight back, the leg from Cincinnati to Boston, was delayed 6 hours and we didn’t get home till after midnight. And we left Houston at 11am. So, ordered on Tuesday with a Thursday guaranteed delivery.
Only it never came. When I went to the tracking page on Thursday, it didn’t even show it as having been shipped. I went to Amazon’s chat function and one hour and five different customer service reps later, learned that just because it says “FREE delivery: Thursday” next to the “Buy it now” button on Amazon, does not guarantee that you’ll get it that day. Or the next, as customer service reps #4 and #5 told me. So if I’m not getting it on Thursday or Friday, it won’t be useful for me on Saturday as they could only guarantee (again?) a delivery by 9pm. Order canceled.
I went to FB with my issues and turns out the race director wanted to get some more marine radios to have on hand, so he bought more and let me borrow one. Awesome.
Next thing was either Thursday night or Friday when I found out we have to have a spare PFD in the kayak. Coast Guard rules. Ugh! We just bought one for my wife and it wasn’t cheap. Dammit do we need to go spend more money? Nope. The community came to our rescue again and Chris G. (super fast fellow Swim-the-Sucker) found a slew of PFDs at his house and brought them to the event. PFD borrowed.
At this point, nothing was stopping me from doing this swim. Thank goodness! Now for the swim in Part III.