Monday, September 07, 2009

The Final Swim

Remember when that shark bit a hole in my wetsuit? (Actually I'm not sure what caused the hole, so I'm saying shark attack.) My original plan was to slap pieces of duct tape over the hole and be done with it. It seems that Kristen recently had a rip in her wetsuit, and Mentee George had a tear in his, so they had experience fixing wetsuits and offered to fix mine For Realz.

I thought that the hole was a major rip, but apparently it was just a little baby tear compared with what they dealt with on their suits. They had this magic goop that looked like tar in a rubber cement can. I admit, I was skeptical but gosh durnit the stuff really worked. The hole is gone. Now I can't blame my swim time on my defective suit.

I've had every other Friday off this summer, and my plan was to use the time to do some lake swimming at Bonelli Park in my wetsuit. Ocean swimming is a good workout, but there really is no better way to train for a lake swim than to swim in a lake. Duh.

Well for many reasons, I never made it to Bonelli. Fridays became my long-run days so I could be free to bike rides and team workouts on the weekend. So today, three days before I fly to Wisconson, I finally went to Bonelli.

Bonelli is the site of my first Olympic Triathlon, and the public swim beach was a lot smaller than I remembered. Specifically, the rope boundary wasn't that far from shore. It's a very "family-friendly" beach, which meant there were lots of kids splashing intbe water but very little actual swimming going on. I started feeling self-conscious about putting on my wetsuit - I would have looked really out of place - so I swam without it. Dumb, I know, what should I care.

The swim turned out not so bad. I swam along the outer rope, and while it might take me 30-40 seconds to do one length in the pool, it took me 3-4 minutes to do one length of the beach. So it was definitely long enough to get a real rhythm going. And I only occasionally had to swim around some junior high boy hitting on some junior high girl hanging off the ropes.

They had a couple of lifeguards on surfboards out in the "deep end". It seemed like overkill to me, but I guess with the number of kids around it's not a bad idea. At one point, one of the lifeguards, recognizing my mastery of the water, asked if I would go retrieve a blue ball that had drifted away from some kids. The ball had crossed the rope and was heading out to sea. Well, as much as you can go out to sea in a lake. Do you have any idea how hard it is to catch a ball in a lake? There were a hundred kids splashing around on shore so there was a definite "current" pushing outward from the beach. And of course the closer I got to the ball, the more I was splashing it away. It was kind of like Rocky chasing after the chicken. Only completely different. But I got the ball and brought joy and laughter back to the children.

So all-in-all, a pretty good swim. Much better than the ocean swims I've been doing. In hindsight, maybe I should have gone to Bonelli more often. Next time. (Ha! There is no next time!)


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