Holy crap 5km of swimming is not the same as running 5km.
Okay so this week was a crazy awesome week. It is the first week in a while that i felt like i had a handle on my diet, i put out a supplement question on facebook and got a ton of feedback and things to consider ( I will update in the future about some of the things I am finding out), started a 'learn to run 5km' group at work, and of course the first race of the summer for me the 5km Epic Dartmouth swim.
Leading up to this week my workouts went a little like this:
Monday: 2500m swim
Tuesday: 1st day Learn to Run 5km session
Wednesday: 3000m swim + L2R 5km session
Thursday: 2500m swim in wetsuit + L2R 5km session
Saturday: 5km swim in Lake Banook
Sunday: recovery day
So a few intense swimming workouts this week leading up to the race on Saturday, but I was feeling really good. The wetsuit thing is a little constricting around the neck and because i was using a dive hood and part of an old dive wetsuit I had, I knew i was going to have to be careful not to over heat. But I was just too cheap to buy a new triathlon wetsuit without trying this a couple of times this summer to know if this is something I am going to use for races over the next couple of years.
Friday night I was feeling good, had a big pasta dinner, some good protein, lots of water, and in bed at a decent hour. But do you think i could get to sleep, ah nope. I was so excited about doing the race that my mind wouldnt stop going. I tried breathing exercises and changing sleeping positions, but nothing was working. I am not sure when I finally fell asleep, but I can tell you when I woke up. About 4am one of our dogs, the only dog we actually allow to sleep in our room on the floor, had a major malfunction and violent diarrhea.
My wife sprung into action, my offers to help were shot down, so I tried to get the covers over my head, breath through my mouth, think of a happy place, but the odour was invasive and overpowering. So despite my ' wishing to be a bird, and fly far far away' rocking in the fetal position there was not much to do but lay there and take the olfactory abuse.
As the birds chirped a welcome good morning, I got out of bed and began getting my bag packed and things collected for the trip to Dartmouth. After about 2 attempts at leaving and having to turn around and come back to the house I was ready to get on the road.
Being alone in the car I was able to blast my hard rock anthems with the windows down and sing at the top of my lungs. Just the way I likes it. Sorry to that family traveling from Florida in the camper as they passed me with windows open just as I was yelling to on one: " FUCK YOU I WONT DO WHAT YOU TELL ME" ....oopsies.
After a brief stop at my friends place, some chats with the fam, we were packing up and heading down to the lake. At this point i think my nerves were kicking in a little as my belly was doing flippity flops.
A little walk from where we parked and we are there.
Now I dont know if you can tell in the picture above but I included it to give you some idea of the distance.
5km sounds small when you are thinking about it or even talking about it, partly because you are thinking of running. Most people have done a walk or run at the 5km distance. You dont really notice how far it actually is because those events are over areas that have things in the way of seeing the entire route start to finish. This was not like that. There are no hills, buildings or houses in the way. It is just you and lake.
Okay so in the picture you will notice red, orange and green floats.
The red one closest to shore and its mate ( just out of frame to the left) denote the start line. The green one closest in the frame is the one you swim to first. Now if you look waaaaaaay down on the right had side close to the bridge you will see another green dot to the right. Then another green dot on the left. So that is half of the rectangle then you swim back to another green floaty out of frame to the left of the green one that is in frame, close to the beach. Once you do a full rectangle, congratulations that is 2km. Yup only 2km. You have to then swim that again. Then you will notice orange floaties about half way to the green ones, that is your final rectangle and then swim to shore.
After the first rectangle, I was starting to question my decision making. Maybe we should tap out at 2km, that would be okay right? 2km is pretty good. But one look at the glee on my swim partners face and I was like okay eff that, lets do this. I already swam the rectangle once, we can do it again.
I dont know what our time on the first rectangle was, but we killed the second one. We had struggled to get in sync the first lap, but were now swimming in sync on the second one and before I knew it we were starting the third. The third, even though it was half distance, it was a grind. You become very aware of all the little aches that were not present a few minutes ago. You become aware of your body temperature in the wet suit, the constraining of your neck and breathing by the wetsuit and have to manage the fight or flight adrenalin and keep control of your pace. It was def the hardest lap for me mentally. So I started to sing songs in my head. Not my typical hard guitar tunes, no startled Florida families, but things like 'Sweet Caroline' and 'Mr. Jones' and 'Island in the Sun' and i started to get my breathing back under control. Before I knew it we were rounding the last green floaty and heading for the beach.
Total time 1 hour and 53 minutes.
We were pumped. We were not far off of our pool time, and even though Dave could have swam faster he was an upstanding partner and stayed with me right until the end.
I have to give him huge props, not only for doing this with me, but navigating us the whole time. You dont really understand until you do something like this, how much extra energy it takes physically and mentally to be the person navigating. He was a champ to take on all the navigating and it is so appreciated.
After we staggered our way out the water, couple high fives, a few bananas and a quick change we were done.
The only thing i was a little disappointed about was there were no medals for completing the 5km. It is totally not about the medal, ever, but it is nice to have as a reminder.
We popped back in the car and back to Dave's for celebratory cigars and a snack and to chat about our accomplishment.
I have always loved the water and this experience really solidified that for me, I am very proud of the both of us for taking on this challenge and completing it, and couldnt think of anyone that I would have wanted more to have out there with me. I was very lucky to meet Dave on my first day of orientation week in Dennis House at Acadia over 20 years ago, and along with the rest of our crew from those days, blessed to still have the opportunity to do things like this together from time to time.
I dont think this is our last time doing this event, or possibly others like it - cough, cough - Big Swim - cough, cough - in the future haha.
Sean " BigBoyRunning" Ryan