Monday, July 12, 2010

Swimming for my Life - and for Team J

T-minus 13 days to go to Ironman Lake Placid. This past weekend of workouts was the last opportunity to significantly effect my race (the age-old 14-day rule). Now it's taper, taper, taper, and rest up. We leave for Lake Placid in nine days. Tomorrow night is the first pre-race logistics meeting of Team J (Jim has suggested we change the name to "The J-Team").

I have several race concerns, but only one real fear -- the Ironman swim. It usually hits me before the race, and yesterday was the day, when I went for an open-water swim. I've said it before and I'll say it again: I will NEVER get used to the mass chaos of the Ironman swim. I don't know if I'm the only one who feels this way, but there's something really terrifying about being in the water with over 2000 people all swimming for the same point, like we're all one microsecond away from drowning. I am deathly afraid of getting clobbered by all those arms and legs, especially when it seems like most people around me are not very good swimmers.

Here's an idea: people who don't stand a chance of swimming between 50 minutes and 1:10, stay out of the front lines. You know who you are. My goggles don't stand a chance with your flailing arms and legs. Please don't force me to kick you in the face when your hand "accidentally" wraps itself around my ankle. And what's up with that? Why do you GRAB my ankle? I may have lost weight this year, but I am NOT a lane-line. (Besides, you shouldn't be grabbing the lane-lanes anyway!) Just the thought of the trouncing I'll suffer sends chills down my spine.

And yet, amazingly enough, nobody drowns.

Now that I've declared my swimming fear, I can say that I am looking forward to swimming in the pre-race warm-ups that week. It's where the reuniting of Team J really hits home. Julie and Jim take it upon themselves to babysit me and my stuff and work out registration details and logistics while all I have to do is get in the water and swim. And they do it all while both carrying cameras to catch all those Disaster Magnet moments. They're my lifeline. When I see them standing on the shore, they're like two great beacons or lighthouses keeping me safe (it helps that they're both tall). This year, in addition to surviving the swim, I'm setting some goals with Team J in mind. I'll write more about that in an upcoming blog.

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