Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Nuclear Swim

I have been meaning to write this blog for about 2 weeks now, so here it is!

Hubby and I participated in a one mile open swim event called the Nuclear Swim on August 29. Our friends, G and K, have been participating in this series of swims all summer. We kid of thought they were crazy for doing a one mile open lake swim, but then decided it is probably a good idea. Hubby will have to swim just over a mile for the half Ironman race, and we both need to swim just under a mile for our upcoming International distance. So, we signed up to make sure we could handle the distance.

Our swim was in Harris Lake, home to the Shearon Harris Nuclear facility (hence the race name). Interestingly, the lake is not open to swimmers on a normal basis. This event was our second swim of the year at Harris as it is also the home to The Triangle Triathlon. Our day started bright and early as we drove out to Harris, late, of course. I was panicked that we would not be able to get our race numbers, but we made it (with little time to spare).

We found our friend, G, and it was time to race. The guys headed into the water, and the ladies followed 10 minutes behind them. I watched from the water as the guys took off, and tried to calm myself for the event ahead. The scary thing was that I could not even see the first swim buoy from where I was treading.

Soon, the horn sounded and the women were off. My race strategy was to remain calm, and not worry about the race part. I just wanted to make sure I finished. The water was warm (thank you, Mr. Reactor) and very cloudy. I didn't really worry about not seeing in the water as I was more worried about finding the first sighting buoy. Luckily, my strategy kept me behind the pack and it was easy to follow along. I was swimming along when suddenly the water was not as opaque. I could see the weeds in the water and they seemed to be about 6 inches below my face. I didn't panic, but I was pretty grossed out by swimming just over the weeds. I was also afraid I would get caught in them. I did get tangled in a few weeds, but they cam right off. I just hated knowing they were there. Luckily, I was distracted by a kick to the face. There was no blood, but it did make me stop for a few seconds.

I soon passed the sighting buoy and was at the first turn. The course was like a rectangle, so we turned 90 degrees and continued to a second turn buoy. I realized that I felt great (despite the kick). I was calm and doing what I planned to do. I actually felt confident. I even decided to try a barrel roll around the second turn buoy. I was please to see that I was no where near the last woman in the lake. I kept this confidence as I headed back to shore. Soon, I could see the lovely dancing blow up man beckoning me to the sand. I was out of the lake in 44:31.7. I felt fantastic.

I later found out that I beat both of the guys. I was so pleased with my race. I didn't come anywhere near winning, but I felt great during the swim. I wish I had participated in the events earlier in the year. At least I know I can do the distance this weekend. I am already looking forward to competing in mile swims next year.

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