Thursday, June 02, 2011

The Race!

I flew in last night from the Caribbean with a little tan and some sand on my feet... and a swimmer's high that has lasted for several days.  Sunday's race went well, lots in attendance, and I even managed to win a prize.  Race results don't really reflect the beauty of the day but here's a link.

Mom and I were camped at Maho Bay and I was a bit nervous about getting next door to Greater Maho beach, but she managed the Goat Trail with minimal complaints and from there she got rides with the shuttle in service.  We found Merry and chatted with her.  My stomach felt a little upset after my cereal and so I did not want anything else (my power bar I'd brought).  The long course group started off and I had 2 minutes to wait and fiddle with my goggles, then it was warm-up/splash time.  It was a little hectic at the start, and I tickled  someone's toes in front of me.  A diver with camera was under us shooting up at us as we went round the first buoy.  I felt tired and sluggish and began to wonder how I would get to the other end of Maho beach, much less all the way to Trunk Bay... but I remembered how in practice I'd start off slowly, then get my old bones into the groove later.  Sure enough, that is how it happened.

I swam over beautiful orange starfish as we went along Maho beach.  I found that, as before, I fell in with other nearby swimmers with similar pace to mine, including a guy in black shorts and then curly long haired guy.  There did not seem to be a buoy on this leg out of Maho so I had to look for the kayak guardians and hope for the best.  I remember having to cough some; maybe it was that very salty water.  We swam around the point into Cinnamon and it seemed a long haul but I was getting some energy and feeling better by then.  They direct you way out around the points to keep clear of rocks.  I did some breaststroke along the way frequently to be able to see better.

Heading out of Cinnamon Bay the water had some swells and it seemed dark and deep, harder to see the bottom.  I saw those same two guys then was on my own a while, then swam some with a girl that turned out to be Jude whom I'd met 5 years ago.  Sometimes I felt like I wasn't moving much, but just kept powering my arms and concentrating on technique if I felt tired. I sighted on the notch in those cays that they tell you to look for.  Finally I rounded into Trunk and a kayaker was there pointing the way, thank goodness, for it was a little confusing.  Found out later he was Rafe Boulon who now works for the NPS and I'd known of his family back when we lived here.

I swam toward Trunk Bay beach with the cay on my right.  The current was running out strong like before and I was conscious of not wanting to get too close to the rocks.  As I breathed to the right I pretended I saw Daddy over there snorkeling and then sitting on Trunk Cay waving me on.  That gave me a lift!  I smiled and tried to keep swimming strong into the beach, glad that I was stopping here and not going on to Hawksnest in the long course....

Had to get really close to the water's edge before I could stand up, then slowly trotted through the finishing line.  The volunteers are great, they clap and hand each of us a water bottle and a medal.   Then I saw Mom who was of course relieved that I had not drowned or been eaten by a shark.  Had to wait until the ceremony at Oppenheimer Beach to find out that I'd gotten a prize, first in my age group!  Big surprise.  Just glad to have finished without dying after only training for 3 months....

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