Monday, December 16, 2013

Adventure Swimming

Yesterday was the 32nd Possibly Annual Looooong Distance Waikiki RoughWater Swim on Oahu. It's pretty much the normal Roughwater course but instead of just one way, it's out/back, and ~7K.

After Cozumel I told Nalani I was OUT for the double this year… Just feeling so burnt out and tired and not interested in continuing to train or race or whatever. My Give-A-Shit meter was just broken. But then ~10 days passed and I just felt like I'd probably end the year with some regret if I didn't sign up for and do that swim. I haven't missed it in like 8 years. I figured that surely the huge amount of swim training I did this past year would get me through that race even if I didn't do much at all in the two weeks between Cozumel and the Double Rough…

I swam ~2500M on the Friday before and then came home and promptly fell sound asleep, feeling totally trashed. So sad how fast my swim fitness fades. But that's not what this post is about!

I have to say, part of the reason I like to support the Double Roughwater is that I know the race director won't cancel or modify the swim on us last minute because of rough conditions. His thing is "It's billed as the ROUGHwater…" So there's no whining if/when the water is super rough! In fairness, the only people who typically come out for this event are fairly accomplished and experienced ocean swimmers,  we each have to be individually 'approved' by the race director himself, and we each have our own kayak escort… so even though it's the most challenging ocean swim around, we are all capable swimmers so it is fine.

The best part is the pre-race meeting, where Jim, (race director) gets up and tells us all about the potential dangers we face & how unforgiving the ocean can be… Big fish, man-o-war, jellyfish, strong currents, etc. The last thing he says to us every year is "If you're unsure, don't swim." And then we all go line up at the oceans edge and wait for him to yell "Go".

In the picture above you can see how dark it looks off in the distance… that's where we swam (straight into the storm!) and it did indeed get pretty ugly. I haven't watched TV in about a month (didn't watch any while we were on our mainland trip and we don't have cable set up yet in our new house) and honestly I hadn't even thought to check the weather report. Apparently the National Weather service had posted a (rare!) thunderstorm warning for Sunday morning. Ignorance is bliss, no?

Whatever though, right? I was out there trying to swim and feeling like a rag doll being tossed around in a washing machine. But you know what? I wasn't the slightest bit upset about it. Instead I just felt relieved that Jim had enough confidence in us to allow us each to make our own individual decision on whether or not we wanted to put ourselves out there. And when I finished, Moana was on the beach cheering for me. It was super fun to scoop her up and carry her across the finish line. :)

After the race, Jim was quoted as saying, The event was typically enjoyable despite (or because of) the deteriorating weather that started 45 minutes after the start on Kaimana Beach at the foot of the Diamond Head volcano on Oahu. “The changing water conditions and currents added interest and challenge to the swim,” said race found and International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame honoree Jim Anderson. “But the escorts had a somewhat more difficult time with the weather, but they were unanimous that it was a fun event.

So that's what I love about this event… the athletes who participate genuinely like (and embrace!) extra challenging conditions. It's like Adventure Swimming at it's best! Instead of seeing a strong current as a reason to modify the swim, in an event like this it's seen as an element that adds interest. YES. Thank you. I find myself feeling more and more drawn to events like this one.

Plus, at the end, even though emergency sirens were going off in town (warning of impending flash flood conditions) we hung out and put away bottle after bottle of champagne… It was a great way to end the year.


Ange said...

Love it. This makes me smile for you. :) Just what you needed. Glad you did it, glad you were safe, and so glad you had fun and champagne!

Damie said...

fantastic! I love that stuff....that is the reason "why." :))))

JB said...

Great stuff I like your celebrating style ;)

JB said...

Great stuff. I love your celebrating style ;)

Run Gunn Run said...

Total respect! I have a greater appreciation having swam ONE way in perfect conditions!!! I love it!...especially the celebration part!