All posts by ironmike

Fall Foliage Adventure Race

On Saturday wife and I did the Fall Foliage Adventure Race. This group (Broad Run Off Road) puts on two a year and offers a “no bike” option, which is nice. Most adventure races have at least three elements: foot, water, bike. Bikes are kinda expensive so it is nice to be able to try one of these out w/o having to commit to two mountain bikes. (The organizers provide the kayaks/canoes.) It was a blast. Usually these races have stages that you progress through, e.g. stage one Trek to the boats for stage two, then get out of the boats for stage three, trek again. But as our area didn’t get enough rain and the lake wasn’t full enough, the organizer decided to make ours a “choose your own adventure” type race. 18 checkpoints (CP), get them in any order. The only rule being if the CP is blue, you have to get that from a boat.

There were 49 teams, from solo to a team of four (and lots of families with kids which was great to see). To prevent all 49 teams (100-odd people) from hitting the trails or boats at the same time, the organizers devise a puzzle to delay the start. Last year they gave every team a Lego set (number of pieces based on size of team) and you had to build it then turn it in before you could start. This year, each team got a lock with their team number on a tag and you had to use a hint sheet to figure out the lock’s combo, then go turn both the lock and the tag in before you could start. Wife and I solved ours in less than a minute! We chose to Trek first.

We knocked the first five CPs out in about an hour and had to make a choice: continue around the lake? (We were only about a quarter around.) Run back and get a boat? We decided to go back and get a boat. We ran back, got the canoe in the water, and to the other side of the lake (it’s about 3km long) in less than an hour. But we were horrible canoers. We couldn’t go straight. Then we spent over 50 minutes finding a “land” CP from the shore, not getting lost but way off course (thus the 50 minutes), which got us just past 3 hours.

Time limit 4:30, and we didn’t want to be late; 1 point lost for being late, then another point lost for every 5 min till you’re 30 min late which means DQ. And each CP was only worth 1 point, so you really had to decide if that last CP you were going for was really worth losing its worth by showing up late.

We got a couple more CPs off the water and were about to start for another one when we realized we only had a half hour left and were about a kilometer from the boat launch, so we headed back, turned in the boat and ran to the finish.

Clocked in at 4:08.11. Somehow we only got credit for 10 CPs even though we went to 11. (The one we didn’t get credit for, CP4, did only faintly beep so I think maybe the battery was dying.) Ended up covering 13.5km and a shit-ton of steps! And soaking wet as it rained the entire time.

Unsure if we’ll do the one in Spring, but maybe? Oh, and before you ask, dear reader(s), No, swimming was not allowed. (It looked so nice, too, and close.)

Swim the Suck: the Swim!

Part I here. Part II here.

The day of the swim was glorious. Rain featured in the days prior but Saturday was sunny. The morning was cool, in the low 50s, so the boat launch was resplendent with hoodies and winter caps. The worst part was not doffing the warmth to be marked up with your number. No, the worst part, as always, was standing in line on the rough concrete in bare feet, being counted and waiting for the call to enter the water.

The last time I swam this (2019), and each time before,  we stood from #1 (some A-last name) to the last swimmer (Z? Y?). I was always at the end and thus had much more real estate to march over before hitting the water. Learned after my first Swim the Suck (StS) in 2012 to bring throw-away shoes: Dollar-fifty black flip-flops. Still, those micro-thin bottoms don’t leave much to the imagination, but better than bare feet. At some point, though, I have to toss them and walk the final feet to the rocky entry, still torture to my delicate, princely foot-bottoms.

This year, we were in four columns, grouped by cap color, which itself designated which start buoy we had to swim to (but not past!) to await meet-up with our kayaker. I was buoy #4 of 4, a half-mile into the swim (felt shorter).

As usual, I got to the boat launch way too early. I’m always concerned I’ll be late and have to rush (“If you’re on time, you’re late!” the military drilled into me), so I got there, thanks to an Uber driver whose English was so accented I truly thought he was speaking another language, at 8 am. And we weren’t swimming till 9:30. No worries.

I can feel the foot pain just looking at this picture

I found my kayaker, Derrick and his friend Denny. I got numbered (lucky #123!), brrr…, then walked around more. We got Derrick’s chair out of Denny’s car and took my feeds and gear to his kayak. Other swimmers started to show up (if you were driving you parked your car at the finish and boarded a school bus back to the boat launch). Lines formed. Nervous swimmers queued for the porta-potties.

Beautiful morning!

Each swimmer was given a red plastic bag the night before with his/her number on it. Point was to put your clothing and whatever else you wanted at the finish in the bag. That meant taking off your warm clothing. Like most of my fellows, I waited till the last minute. At 51F, standing in your grape-smugglers would chill you quickly (and we all were looking forward to the ~76F water!); thankfully, we could drop the red bags at anytime, and many of us waited till the last minute.

Mandatory selfie

A few of us had kayakers known to us, while a lot of us had volunteer kayakers. When you’re swimming in a group of over 100 flopping pairs of arms, it is hard to find your support boat. Especially when many of them look the same. Some kayakers dress up their boats so their swimmer can find them, others wear outlandish gear: the best was the guy who decided Barbie himself up, complete in bright pink speedo and pink cap. His kayaker wore a fetching tassled pink cowboy hat. She looked fierce! Unfortunately, I didn’t get a picture of this pair (hopefully when official race photos come out…).

Flamingo sighted!

Derrick was easy to find in the water due to him being one of the few kayakers not covered completely. He was wearing a very short sleeve white shirt with my number stenciled on the back; poor guy forgot my official number tag on this kitchen table. In short order we got Derrick in the water and his chair in Kris’s (the keto swimmer I met the night prior) truck. Before Derrick launched I started my phone’s tracker, sealed it in the otter box with a back-up battery, and carabinered it to his kayak.

Of course, as luck would have it, and as I watched my phone float away along with the other 100+ kayaks, a bald eagle flew over us. And spent quite a bit of time doing it. I saw the official photographer taking pictures so hope to have one to add here soon. After the swimmer brief we had one swimmer actually sing the National Anthem, but before she could start, Karah (RD) saw another swimmer standing next to me who wore a U.S. flag suit, and dragged her to stand next to the singer. We all moved ourselves toward the flag, hands on hearts and listened. I was secretly hoping the eagle would alight on the speaker: what a sign that would be, yes?!

This was followed by lining up and the USMS official counting. The water looked inviting. Doffed my flip-flops and inched along to the water, “dove” in as soon as I could. Deliciously warm water. I hung back as far as I could to avoid the flailing, impatient swimmers at the start (not really impatient, just faster than I). In no time at all Karah counted down and we were off. Buoy #4 came quick and I treaded for a while till Derrick and I found each other, then it was head down and to work.

My rule, as my dear reader(s) know, is: leave me alone the first hour so I can get the nerves calmed and the kinks out. Derrick set alarms on his phone, the first to go off at 10:30 based on a 9:30 start. Unfortunately we didn’t start until around 9:45, so I knew my first feed would be sooner than usual. No bother. Swim I did. Paddle Derrick did.

There was a headwind early and I had to fight the waves. I kept telling myself that we had a good current (the dam was sked for 20,000 cfs) so I was still going down the river despite what the surface looked like. But soon that headwind ended (or maybe we just left it behind as we turned; not easy to tell when you turn swimming in a river at my slow speed) and I got in my “forever” pace and settled to the business at hand.

Great photo thanks to Derrick

The feeds came and went. At some point, maybe the 2:00 feed (?) I had one of those little dark chocolate peanut butter cups (thank you Justin’s). I think I held off the ibuprofen till 3:30 or so. Also had a peanut butter packet at some point too. Never had the flattened soda; I think I’ll stop prepping one of those in the future. The Crystal Lite’s I used (grape and lemonade) had caffeine in them so never had an issue with headache.

Like I said previously, I have three stages in these long swims. Early on I usually think “What the hell did I sign up and pay for this for? I’m an idiot.” (Never had this feeling this time, w00t!) Then the middle stage. Followed by the this can end anytime now stage. For this year’s StS, the middle stage lasted for most of the swim, probably from feed 1:30 to mile 9.

No I didn’t cheat and ask Derrick where I was at any point. He did think we were close once and pointed it out during the feed, but I remember what the end looks like: wasn’t it. I told him what it would look like then put my head down and got back to work. (I also knew that the last bit would be due south, and the sun at that point wasn’t right in front of us. Not yet.)

Then, hell for a long time. Headwind again hours into the swim. Yeah, I’m ready for this swim to end. I knew from earlier that if Derrick was having to fight to paddle, I should just swim and he’ll catch up. So I did. It wasn’t easy. The stroking was hard and I had to fight through the wind. When would it end?!

Finally it did, and IIRC it was when I started to turn south (or I turned south shortly after the wind calmed). Holy crap, am I that close to the finish? Answer: yes. Last feed I saw the finish. No cow buoy this year (where’d the COWS buoy go, Karah?), but the promontory with the blue shelter is easy to see. I sprinted. Which at this point, past 10 miles (the swim is closer to 10.5 than 10 miles) looks very much like my forever pace. Yet, I did manage to increase my stroke rate when I got really close to the buoy, so that’s nice. Touched the buoy, flipped to my back, and the river carried me to where we could get Derrick and his boat out. (After I squatted in the water for a couple minutes, returning some water back to Nature.) Based on what time Derrick said I tagged the buoy, I guessed my final time was 5:27-ish. I’ll take it!*

Wohali Nyva, the awesome finish & party area

Then the after-party. Great food (thanks to Old Man Rivers Table & Tavern, owned by Karah’s husband) and great beer (5Wits). And of course the pottery. Tried to get something very different this year. Karah got cups from 423 Pottery (my 2018 and 2019 cups) but also from a potter named Susan Cordell, whose StS-stamped cup I picked this year. Best finisher prizes of any race!

My new favorite mug

I stuffed myself, had a beer and walked around to delay stiffness. We had to wait for kayaker Alan whose swimmer was still on the course; Alan had used one of Derrick’s boats. In due time he and his swimmer came in, we loaded the boat, and got on our way. Turns out we were only a few miles from my hotel, so Derrick and Denny dropped me off before going back to the boat launch and Denny’s car. I said goodbye to those wonderful gents and took the best shower of the trip.

Thanks Derrick for the escort and feeds!

Another Swim the Suck in the books! Great work as always and thanks to Karah and all the volunteers!

The mastermind of Swim the Suck, Karah Nazor

*(Found out a couple days later my time was 5:24.03.)

Swim the Suck briefing

Part I here

Friday night is traditionally the race briefing. This is mandatory for first time “Suckers” and voluntary for the rest of us. I always go.

This year I decided to drive instead of fly. No real direct way to Chattanooga, so if I leave DC on Friday morning, it’s gotta be early. Even then I’ve been delayed before because of flights and almost missed the briefing. And the worst part is coming back: the flight is always at like 5:30 am. Yuck. Oh, another worst part: the flights are always in the $650-800 range. Driving down cost me about $40 in gas each way and an extra day’s hotel (~$200), so cheaper than flying.

Except in karmic cost. That drive! Over 9 hours, almost 10 hours. Sure, I got a book complete and started another one, but jeez, that drive sucks. I had briefed my kayaker Friday night that during the swim I’ll hit a few stages: the initial, why-the-hell-do-I-do-this-to-myself, I actually paid money for this!; the middle stage where I’m in my zone, on my swim-forever pace; and the final stage where I Just. Want. This. Over.

Well, spoiler alert: I never had the initial stage during this swim. But I sure as hell had it when I was driving back home!

Anyway, the briefing. I parked close and walked over, got in line with other swimmers and pilots; got rained on. Not many people here this time that I know, which was weird. Swim the Suck (StS) is usually like homecoming. Checked in, got my cap, my t-shirts and hoodie, and headed over to the briefing area.

Walking over there I met my kayaker Derrick, who is paralyzed from the sternum down. (Didn’t affect his kayaking at all.) Also met Kris and his wife from Michigan, as well as Alan and Denny, two more kayakers. Turns out Kris and his wife are keto (small world), so we talked about nutrition and feeds. Turned out Kris had no intention of eating during his swim. (Spoiler: he only stopped twice for water and finished in 4:04!) I had eaten prior to the briefing so didn’t eat. (Typical carbo-loading pasta style dinner.)

Karah, race director extraordinaire, always gives a good briefing. She’ll find something funny to keep us interested. (2019 she told everyone Mike Tyson was there, and showed the boxer’s face. Felt bad when they saw it was just me.) This year she had fun going over everyone’s favorite beverage. You see, each year when you register she asks you a question like that (one year it was favorite animal). So she then proceeded to group us. There were the “boring water people” and the “coke” people (“All sodas here in Tennessee is coke. A pepsi is a coke.”), and the cider people (whom she brushed off) and the many beer people and the one poor wine guy.

She also flashed my favorite slide ever. I talked to her about this slide later and she said no one will let her remove it.

Better advice has never been offered!

This slide was followed by a discussion on how to pee while swimming. Those of you who don’t swim for these long times don’t understand how difficult this is. Have you ever tried peeing while horizontal and with no gravity? It’s not easy. Many swimmers wait till they feed (and are vertical) to try and pee, but then you still have the treading water part that makes it still not easy. This takes trial and error and, frankly, filling your bladder till you’re about to explode, slowing your kick, relaxing (while trying to keep swimming), then peeing. Then you can’t stop.

But Karah wanted to make sure she had a slide for this, and asked ChatGPT for advice:

Very true! Don’t pee in a pool! And, fair warning, don’t follow too close behind an open water swimmer, either.

While Jennifer Whitlock gave her presentation, I pulled Derrick to the side to go over my needs and timing for the next day. Sorry to have missed Jennifer’s talk, but I wanted to get back to the hotel and prepare my feeds, as well as get a little something more to eat. We talked for about 15-20 minutes then I bolted, ready for the next day.

Next up: the swim!

Swim the Suck #4

Swim the Suck (StS) was this past Saturday, over the Columbus Day weekend in beautiful Chattanooga, TN. As my dear reader(s) know, I love this swim. I mean, really love this swim.

Wasn’t going to go for a few years, to save some money. But some financials cleared up earlier this year in late March. My first thought was: contact Karah (StS race director) and let her know if any spots opened up I’d be interested.

StS usually opens registration on 1 Feb at noon. Annually it sells out fast, sometimes within hours. Before contacting Karah I went to their website and was wonderfully surprised to find out registration hadn’t opened yet! I still had a few weeks. w00t!

Register I did and happy I was. Training? Not that much. I was in a funk at the beginning of the year and only starting swimming the last week of March: a grand total of 3100 yards. Pathetic. The rest of my training:

  • April: 9.2 miles
  • May: 12.3 miles
  • June: 22 miles
  • July: 12.7 miles
  • August: 25 miles
  • September: 18.3 miles

July is where Life happened. Wife and I went on a wonderful trip to Savannah, GA, to visit our daughter and her family, and while there I learned of my step-father’s failing health. Got to Texas in time to see him before he passed, and stayed later for his funeral. Almost three weeks of no training. (Had more of an effect on my lifting, losing almost 20% on my deadlift and 10% loss on overhead press and squat.

Add to that the cancelation of the 5K and 10K sked for Saturday and Sunday at the end of September, two weeks prior to StS. That was to be my prep session for Chattanooga. (WaveOne has resked those swims for October 14th; wife and I are doing the Fall Foliage adventure race on that day. Kismet!)

So not a lot of mileage in prep for StS 2023. But one of the things I love about this “race” is how supportive Karah as RD is of us adult-onset (e.g. slow) swimmers.

Next: Friday night briefing

Gold medals!

Last weekend I attended the Northern Virginia Senior Olympics; I participated in both swimming and orienteering.

Swimming was on Friday. I did the 50 (yards) free and 900 free (sold as “the half-mile”). In-water starts for all events but the 100s.

I was interested in the 50 back, but didn’t want to do it right before the 900. (Turns out I needn’t worry.)

There were 6 of us in the 55-59 male group for the 50, and I managed a bronze! Time was 36.07. Very happy with that.

I got work to do when I move into the 60-64 group. Damn look at those times!

By the time we got to the 900 free, the volunteer director told us they were going to run the women’s 900, then take lunch. Ugh. Could have done the 50 back. Ron (#4 in the 50) and I were told by the very same volunteer director that he’ll “make them stuff the pizza in their mouth, drink a soda, then come back out.”

Not true! After the ladies were done, all the volunteers disappeared. It was noon. No sh!t they didn’t come back till 12:25 and then they had a meeting. We did get put in lanes around 12:30 at least. And they are volunteers, so I’ll just STFU.

Another water start. Shared a lane with a “kid” in the 50-54 age group (he’s 51). He passed me twice; I think he finished in the 12-min range. I did a practice swim a couple days prior: 300 fast, 300 pull, 300 fast, and finished the first in 5:00, then 5:38, then 4:58. So I was hoping for something in the 15-ish.

Went out ‘fast’ in the first 5-6 laps, then calmed down till the last 4 laps. I was shocked when the timer told me 14:47. Oh yes, I’ll take that!

Then Sunday I did the beginner orienteering course. The “white” course was to be 1.9km long with 9 controls. I actually ran some of it! Some elevation change. Missed one control and had to go back to the last known point and restart, thus the fairly long time (13:16) finding 4.

I forgot to start my phone tracker so can’t give you a picture of my tracks. But this time of 37.01 got me a Gold in the Senior Olympics. Even better, that time got me a second place among all the orienteers (2nd out of 21). Then I tried the yellow and again, lost a control!

That 35 minutes I was looking for 4 cost me. Still, I ended up 13 out of 25. If I’d only spent 17 minutes finding 4, I would have ended up 9th! Dammit!

Swimming in jeopardy and a little walk in 17,500 acres!

I’ve had a bit of a thing going on, dear reader(s), on my right cheek. Been going on for a number of years now. Red blotches, sometimes redder than other times. My wife noticed that these spots get inflamed looking after swimming. I finally “did” something about it back in October, with a tele-med appointment (I know, but weeks and weeks quicker than an in-person). Doc said it looked like rosacea. Prescribed a 3x-a-day cream. Did that for about two months. Didn’t do much.

In the last six months or so the redness has moved to my nose, and in the last month, month and a half it’s gotten really bad. Hurts to the touch. Did some webmd-ing and learned that people can actually become sensitive to chlorine, even after swimming lots. Of course. My luck. I had started liking running in the very early 2000s when my right knee exploded and I couldn’t run (much) anymore without having to hobble for days after, popping motrin like candy.

So, I’ve got a dermatologist appointment this coming Friday. Wish me luck. What do I do if I can’t swim anymore? (Before you say saltwater pool, the closest is dozens of miles away in the wrong direction.)

In other news, the wife and I just got back from a fun, tiring orienteering event. A rogaine is an endurance orienteering event that lasts for hours (and sometimes days) in which your team has to find as many control points in a very large area. The Search for Big Mack was held in the Blue Ridge Boy Scout Reservation, all 17,500 acres of it. We had from 8am to 6pm to find as many controls as we could. We didn’t find many! They were hard. But we did walk a lot. And I mean, a lot. Over hill and dale. Up and down (the worst). We ended up walking a bit over 18 miles in those 10 hours, with but one 20-ish minute break to eat and refill water bottles. I ended up walking 50,830 steps in that 10 hours. (My week’s total step count was over 124,000!)

So this is our map before we marked it up. (Click on it to follow along.) The start (S/F) is way over on the left by that lake. Each black-outlined square is 1km x 1km. To give you some context, if you take the straightest possible trails frm the S/F to the lake on the east side (right), that’s 5 miles of walking (elevation gain and loss along the way).

You will see small purple circles peppered throughout that map. The tens digit of each control is the point-value of that one, 4 the easiest (supposedly) and 9 the hardest. Here’s our map after we planned our route:

Plan was to head south along Big Mack’s trail and make our way about halfway across the map, then cut up Gumstand to Greenwood Road for a bit, then up Oak Hollow till Little Laurel Creek all the way to Ottari camp. There was a standard orienteering course set up over there. Figured we could get over there by noon, run the O course to get a lot of points, then head back along Little Laurel, take a right to get control 87 (at the summit; my wife wanted to do one “high” control), then back down Little Laurel back to Greenwood Rd to Sidewinder trail back to the S/F camp where we’d do the orienteering course there, to be done before 6pm. (For every minute past 6 the team arrives, they lose 5 points.)

How naïve! The first two controls we got (84 and 44) took us about two hours. We looked for 65 for way too long and never found it. We went on to 55 then up Gumstand. 56 took us forever because we went down the wrong (mostly dry) creek first. But we finally found it after going up the wrong reentrant. Once we hit Little Laurel Creek trail we had to make a decision. It was well past noon. We could skip the Ottari camp and head back, but I only had one bottle of water (of three) left and wasn’t sure I could make it all the way back to camp and find controls with only that one bottle. So we made the decision to walk to Ottari, fill our water bottles, eat something, then head back.

We learned something there. We should have taken our Lifestraw bottles so we could just grab some creek water. Or iodine tabs, because we ended up at Ottari around 2pm. We still thought we had time to get back. We tried for too long to get 47; that wasted time and was thirsty work. We were excited that we got 97. It was up that reentrant quite a way, but 9 points! Then the long slog up (those contour lines are 5m apart; from 97 to the intersection was about 100m of elevation gain. I got us lost then. I thought we were at the intersection of two trails a bit SW of 85; but our intersection had a trail going WNW and one going ESE, but that made no sense from where I thought we were. Plus there were signs for trail North Ridge and Matheny’s something, neither of which is anywhere on the map. So we took the WNW trail and boom, ended up at 87! That wasted plenty of time and those 8 points weren’t worth it in the end (spoiler alert: we were 6 minutes late, thus lost 30 points).

Water refill & apples!

So down we went along Little Laurel, knees hurting, something like 200m of elevation loss. I was limping by the time we got to Greenwood Rd, at just about 5pm. There was no more looking for clues, we just fast-walked up to Sidewinder, then switch-backs till we ended up on the back side of the start building (dining hall), checking in at 10:05.44. 6 minute penalty.

We ended up getting only 7 controls totaling 45 points, but with the time penalty of 30 points, our final score was 15. (We’re particularly proud of 97 and those two 8s!) The after-party was funny to look at. Even those teams who got 18+ controls and ran both orienteering courses were walking around like my wife and I. One of the volunteers (thanks Lora!) made fantastic chili, both vegetarian and “mammal and poultry” chili. (My wife asked her about that. Lora has a friend who got bit by the tick that made her allergic to meat from mammals: my nightmare!)

My chili with Doritos: been years since I had those!
Wife’s chili with standard tortilla chips. And she had beer!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And we weren’t last! We were 27th out of 30 teams. I’ll take it. Not so bad considering our relative newness to orienteering!

This is why I swim Thursday mornings

 

I swim twice on Thursdays. Once in the morning on base, but only about 2000 yards. I do this in case I don’t get to swim Thursday night at National Harbor. You know, work, or maybe a family event, or possibly, the WEATHER.

Yesterday evening didn’t start that way. It was terribly hot and sunny.

About 6-7 of us were ready at 6:30pm, but the wind was picking up and all the kayakers weren’t here yet. 15 minutes later, kayakers here and buoys going out. Then the clouds rolled in. At almost 7pm, the coach came up to the pier with his weather radar app, as we watched lightning hitting not far away. The app said 9.9 miles away, moving north past us. In the 5 minutes the coach was talking, the cell moved to 7.5 miles away. Coach asked us: Want to wait 30 minutes, see if it passes us by? We all agreed.

Less than 20 minutes later, it was on us and the coach officially cancelled the swim. Ugh.

So a lame 4000 yards this week. I suck.

 

Sunset swim in National Harbor

Great swim tonight with WaveOne! Wavy and windy, so had to fight the waves, which made it very fun. Hardly anyone showed up, probably due to the air quality (thank you Canada).

Normally you’d see beautiful blue skies beyond the Ferris wheel.

The ten or so of us jumped in and started the swim. Denis, our coach, said the loop was 295m. But he just makes that up. Us regulars laughed. The new folks all looked at us.

Jump in and swim straight down the pier.

Can’t tell by the picture, but the tide was coming in and with the wind, you got pushed to the right. I aimed left of the far buoy and think I did pretty well, getting straighter in my years of practice.

Buoy 1 to 2 (green/yellow) the wind was in our face. That was fun. Then 2 to home buoy was with the tide, so easy-peasy. I did 5 laps but in lap 3, holy shit but I had serious cramping issues. Not sure if it was the lifting a few hours earlier or no food, but my plantar tendon in the right foot seized up. I tried all the tricks: kick while pulling the toes up; spreading the toes wide, but nothing worked. Had to “pull over” and massage it. The tendon was so taut I wondered if I could even relax it. Finally did and kept swimming. It would threaten a cramp a couple times more during the third and then fourth lap, but I finally was able to keep swimming.

But when I finished and was getting dressed, the three middle toes of that same foot seized up. I had to manually manipulate the toes, stretching them up and down, just to ease the cramp. No idea what the deal was.

Five laps, 2260 meters, one hour. Not impressive, but fun and lots of hard work. Unsure if I’ll swim in the morning, but will prep for it in case I feel good in the a.m.

National Harbor was playing a movie as I walked to the car. I’m pretty sure this is the Will Smith movie about Venus and Serena Williams. Kind of neat to be able to sit outside in the (relatively) nice weather and enjoy a movie!

We’re in the Harbor again!

Today, WaveOne Swimming started up again in National Harbor. 

We’re on the opposite side of the pier this year, closer to the ferris wheel, after the REI fiasco. Today, Denis (the coach) set a short course (300-315m) for the dozens of us who showed up. (Way more than any of us thought.)

My LEO friend, Jen, and I decided to just take it easy. She hasn’t been swimming much so we just paced off each other. The water was wonderfully cool, 76F. Felt so nice to jump in. Lots of debris in the water, logs and pieces of wood, but simple to swim through.

Jen and I made it 8 laps! About 65 minutes. Wonderful sunny day, as well. Forgot my rescue buoy so no tracks from my phone, but will remember Thursday.

There were some shenanigans going on today, what with the wonderful weather and all that. These two were frolicking somewhat before we started swimming. Saw them later preening themselves on the small beach.

REI screwed us

Here it is half-way through June and we’re still not swimming in National Harbor. From the WaveOne coach:

As some of you know, the WaveOne community has called National Harbor our swimming home since 2009. Last week we were completely surprised to find our equipment removed and informed the dock is now under control of REI, Inc. the new dock tenant.

Our first swim, Washington’s Crossing, has been postponed due to this. That’s the swim that I constantly poorly navigate (see previous posts) that I love.

Very soon we’ll be at a month since we were supposed to been swimming at National Harbor. And still no open water swimming. Thus, I’ve asked my boss to allow me a 2-3 hour late arrival every Friday so that I can do some long swims. Swim the Suck is not going to swim itself.

Update!

We finally have good news that we will be returning to National Harbor Sunday June 25. The final agreement is still being completed but we have a verbal agreement for Thursday evenings and Sunday mornings. We will be swimming at the same pier, off the smaller dock on the other side where Monumental mini boats rentals were (they are completely gone). I’ll have details as we progress.

w00t!