Sunday, June 19, 2016

Summer Fun & Key West Crazy 2016

Even though I have been MIA for the past few months,  many swimming practices have been written and posted on the Gulf Coast Master's Face Book page on a regular basis (2x/wk). 

It's amazing how time flies putting us at 1 year since we moved into our FL. home.  I am now working for a large cancer TX. company doing medical coding and continue to train in the pool with hopes of maintaining speed as the body ages.... oh so gracefully. The hip prosthetic does not appreciate the frog kick while doing the breast stroke, so I tried to avoid that, and improvise with dolphin kicking.   Teaching yoga 2-3 times a week for Lee Memorial Health System brings much joy to the body, mind and spirit. 

It's been a tough and sad week.....Orlando massacre, Prime Minister, Jo Cox, and the list goes on.
I am not one to discuss politics, but I do enjoy listening to NPR while driving to swim practice at 5am.  I also enjoyed the joke spoken by Jay Leno while he was a guest on late night.  "Did you hear about Trump's new reality TV show?  It's called the AMAZING RACIST!"   

We are in scary times, but then again, any time in history can be a scary time. 

The latest adventure from our neck of the woods in SWFL is swimming around Key West as a relay with my friend and awesome swimming buddy, Ginger.   During the road trip to Key West, our husbands learned that both of them really didn't want to go, but Ginger and I worked our magic and convinced them it would be a good idea.  Since Mike (Ginger's SO) has a flat boat and Russ is a good supporter, it made sense that the four of us would be a good team to ensure that Ginger and I had a successful race.

I need to explain that there are TWO Key West around the island swim events (races). One has strict rules and the other is a little more of a free for all. We did the one with strict rules.  In terms of relays, one person swims 10K, and the other person swims a 10K.  No touching the boat or kayak to feed or drink and no standing on the bottom. (there are some really shallow areas).

At packet pick up I purchased the official picture that a girl painted for the race. I thought it was really pretty.

Ginger describes the start of the race as a kind of theatre.  Key West has it's reputation as being a little quirky, and these swimmers take it to a new level. Here's why.  The race director is a big proponent of not getting burned while swimming. Think about it, if you are swimming for 4-8 hours, then you want to have some swim protection. He claims that the BEST swim protection is, DESTIN cream. It's an oily cream that will protect you from the sun's rays, plus it smells like fish! See for yourself.

I wish I had my camera for all the other creative patterns that people painted on their bodies. 

Here is Ginger and I on race morning. I will swim the first leg and she is swimming the second leg. The boat behind us with captain Mike ready to rock and roll. (Yep, she swam for UK)

The start of the swim was pretty crazy in terms of current. I felt it pulling me from side to side. It was also against me for most of the way, but once I rounded the corner of the island, there was a little push. At one point, my support boat took a sharp left turn and races off out to sea. I was thinking to myself, okay - keep swimming in the direction I am going, because somone on the boat had to relieve themselves. Later I learned I was correct in that assumption. LOL!!  I looked behind me and there was a party boat of girls, who had a 3 person relay team. They shouted to me, There is a buoy straight ahead."                                            No problem, keep swimming.

Once my support boat returned, I took a feed from them (gu and water from the net) and knew I had only a mile or so to go. The cool thing was,  I was then in a really strong current that was pushing me from beind. After I refueled, which helped tremendously, I put my head down, started kicking and was flying through the water. It felt great!!  The water temp was very hot, so the first part of the swim took a lot out of me, and I was ready to get to the exchange point.  The next section was through sail boats that were parked. Mike took the best line to get me to the exchange buoy. It was so funny, because as I was swimming, everytime I breathed towards the boat, I could see Ginger getting ready and stretching so I knew I was close. Then Russ yells to me, 9 more minutes. Nice!! Almost done. 

I swim to the buoy, but then they yell at me to come to the boat, since we didn't have to be AT the buoy but pin high of the buoy.  I get close to the boat and Ginger leaps over me into the water!   Yeah, my time to relax and chill with a refreshment while watching her swim the next 10K.

She did awesome, but had to deal with shallow water, and she hated it! She complained while swimming, and even resorted to doing some backstroke, which is fine, because that is what she swam in college!!

Once she completed the swim, she raced onto the beach and retrieved our finisher medals.  Here we are. Notice the grimaces on the guys faces, and the smiles on the girls faces. CLASSIC AND PRICELESS!

So it turns out that this race does not separate genders for awards. Really?  Okay - no biggie, it's about the experience. However............We were the first female two person relay and 10th. overall. The first - third place 2 person relays were comprised of  male relays with collegiate swimming backgrounds.   I decided that since we were not awarded a trophy for our accomplishment, that I would make a trophy for us. I plan to present Ginger her trophy and Mike a T-shirt that says Captain this Saturday.

Key West Crazy!

Happy Laps!