Friday, June 3. 2005
Yesterday was the 25K. What a day. The race was supposed to begin at 8am... but that did not happen. The race was also supposed to be a 25K loop around the Island here at Ft. Myers beach... but that did not happen, either.
The weather here in Florida has been unusually rainy and stormy for this time of year. It rained Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. We were sure that by Thursday we would get a break. We didn't. We woke up Thursday morning to a downpour complete with lightening and thunder. We went to the starting point and waited to hear the new plan. We were told to return at 10am. When we returned at 10am we found out that instead of doing the pre-planned loop around the island, we were going to be swimming two loops down and up the coast instead. We were to start the race at 11am.
The organizers here in Ft. Myers did an excellent job of rearranging everything and mapping out the course. We started the race pretty close to 11am and it went well. The swimmers, coaches, boat drivers, officials, and safety patrol were all very flexible and eager to make it a great race despite the weather.
I started out with the lead pack of boys but lost them fairly quickly. John Kenny led the boys' group from the beginning and was followed by a few Canadians. The Canadian team, by the way, is here and is using our Nationals as their qualifying meet for World Championships. It adds to our competition and gives the races a bit more depth so we enjoy having them here. Despite their presence, however, the race only had a total of 11 swimmers - 7 men and 4 women. Quite a small field. On the female side, one of the women was Canadian. Since this is a selection meet, the top two make Worlds. This meant that the three Americans were competing for two spots on the team.
The race went well. I felt strong and smooth the whole time - and only had two minor jelly fish scares. It startles me when I feel them rolling over my arms and legs! Just rolls this time though - no stings. That's a good thing! I saw a few dolphins and was able to look around and enjoy the coastline the entire time. My boat driver knew the course very well and kept me going straight - he was amazing. My boyfriend came with me to be on my boat as my trainer this year. It was his first time seeing me compete and (obviously) being on my boat. He was awesome and made the 6 hour race fun for me.
I finished the race in first place for the females - winning with a time of 6 hours and 4 minutes. Erica Watts placed second and was followed by Kathryn from Canada and Rendy from the USA. In the boys' race, John Kenny was first and Sean Seaver also earned a spot on the US team (on his birthday!) Two Canadians took the other two positions in the top four.
All in all, it was a good race. It did not go quite as expected (in terms of weather and the course), but everyone adapted well and raced hard. Being flexible and easy going is part of what this sport is all about. We don't race in the pool - we race in the elements and yesterday we were faced with that aspect of our sport.
I'm a little sore today, but I'm actually not feeling too bad. I made sure to drink quite a bit of water last night (after getting chocolate peanut butter ice cream to celebrate making the World team!) I will loosen up a bit in the ocean today and I will get some extra rest. I'm hoping to be as near to 100% as possible by Saturday evening and Sunday.
I will compete in the "Dash for Cash" on Saturday night and then in the 10K race on Sunday. Today is my rest day and I will be a spectator instead of a competitor at the 5K race this afternoon. I will update after the 10K race (it's tough to get affordable internet down here!)
Until then... think sunshine and fast thoughts for all of the US open water swimmers down here in Ft. Myers, Florida!!
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