Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Finally! An Aquaman

Two weeks ago I rode my bike from a nearby parking lot into Cherry Creek State Park ready for the third race in the Without Limits Aquaman Series. The weather had been threatening but it looked like it might clear. Unfortunately, large bolts of lightning were spotted just west of the reservoir. No swim and I skipped the 5k. I was there for multisport or nothing at all.

Last week, I sat in my car in the same parking lot and watched very threatening weather move in. The lightning was like something out of a movie. I didn't even bother riding into the park. As the storms continued through the night, I guessed (correctly as it turned out) that the event had been cancelled again.

Yesterday, (now at the third Tuesday in a row for those of you keeping track at home) threatening weather moved in again. As I looked out my back door however, the really bad stuff seemed to be done south in my neck of the woods while the area to the northwest, near the park, was still looking okay.

Much to my dismay, the weather followed me up, flowing from southwest to northeast. By the time I rode to the starting area, the rain had started up and heavy winds were creating white caps on the lake. The buoys had also been pushed around and a couple had partially deflated. Not good.

The race director said, however, that they were going to keep waiting. Like a lot of us with smart phones, they were looking at the radar picture and there was some thought that the cell would move on and we would be able to swim.

So I waited. First I waited in the shelter, then I walked to the grassy area by the beach which is the transition. Then I donned my wetsuit and a light rain started again. Finally, I was about to step into the water and warm up with a few strokes when they called us back in. Thunder.

I kept waiting. I've never actually gotten to the point where my wetsuit was on and the race was called. Everyone waited some more. Then a little more. Finally, around 7:15, the race went forward. It's been three weeks since I've done an open water swim, but there I was in the washing machine along with all of the other long course participants and I actually felt pretty good. I had a decent swim at the local association pool on Sunday, but I often forget how fast you feel in a wetsuit. Almost like you're part fish!

I went through the two 750 meter laps and felt good, albeit just a little tired. I didn't where my watch and the Garmin is not waterproof so at the time, I had no idea how I did. Out of the water and up a slight hill back to transition. There's something about changing from water to land that just jacks my heart rate right up but I stayed loose and got into my socks and shoes.

Since I have the race on Saturday, I decided not to go as hard as I could but I still ended up at about a 9:30 pace on the uphill first half. Turning around I kept it to mostly under 8:30.  I finished strong and for the most part felt pretty good. The left knee is still a little sore but that's not news. It has been for weeks.

When it was all over, it was late, as in after 8:00 in the evening. This is a shot I took about five minutes or so after crossing the finish line:

That's right, it's a sunset.

Apparently, finishing late in the pack means you don't get any food because they were pretty well cleaned out. That necessitated a trip to Chik-Fil-A on the way home. Not exactly training food but I was cold, tired and wet and it hit the spot.

Today, I'm relaxing a little before riding a very easy 10 on the trainer. Then it's rest and hydrate for the rest of the week. There's not much between now and the packet pick-up and equipment check-on on Friday and I'll probably be fairly busy then. I'll post if I get the chance. Otherwise, the next one will be the Creek Streak race report.


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