Friday, June 16, 2006

Make sure you see 4 heads

Jason, Ed, Roni and I had the (brilliant) idea to get in an open water swim today at Lake Grapevine. I made it out of work a little early and we met at the Y for the quick drive to the lake. As we drove it became apparent that there was going to be some wind out there. As we neared the swimming area it became clear that we were screwed. Our first clue...there were more windsurfers than jet skiers on the water. The windsurfers only like to come out when the winds are whipping. We estimated that the windspeed that day was at least 18-22 mph. It was so fast in fact that there were whitecaps all across the lake. Maybe we should have reconsidered our plan at that moment. Of course, we only saw it as a challenge.

As we meandered our way down to the water the winds only seemed to strengthen. Nobody wanted to utter those fateful words..."do you think this is a good idea?" Instead we kicked off the shoes and waded into the water. There was a nice young couple on the beach smoking pot (presumably) and getting nice and comfy. Of course they would make the perfect lookouts for us in case we got into trouble. In retrospect one should not choose a lifeguard who is holding a doobie in one hand and a beer in the other. Oh well, live and learn.

We put on our brightest orange/yellow/red swim caps and told our ever-vigilent observers to call 911 if they ever didn't see 4 heads bobbing in the water. Of course that assumes they were able to count to four by this point in their day.

We headed out and had the wind at our back for the first 8 minutes. It was a great swim. You could feel the wind (and waves) pushing you along. That should have been a clue as to what lay ahead. As we turned around and began to swim back in the opposite direction we were immediately hit with huge swells (at least for an inland lake). I estimate they were 1-1 1/2 feet in height and at times would crest over your head. Every stroke was a struggle. You would paddle up one side of a wave and then crash down into the valley only to be hit in the head with the next wave as you took a breath. Certainly a little different than the YMCA pool. Although I've shared a lane with a few "bigger" fellas who can generate some "ocean motion" if you know what I mean.

This painful and tiring cycle continued until we made it back to the beach...much to the surprise of our keen watchers. Of course, after a little small talk about how bad the conditions were and the fact it was not really that safe we made the appropriate decision for anyone training for an Ironman---we turned around and did it AGAIN! What can I say, we're motivated (or stupid). Either way, all 4 heads safely returned to shore after receiving a 45 minute pummeling. Our "lifeguards" managed to hike back up to their car and went on their way, probably not sure what to think of the fools they saw swimming today. 36 days to go.


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