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swimsuit addict

MIMS relay report, part 1

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I had such a wonderful day yesterday in and on the water as part of the Manhattan Island Marathon Swim! The day got off to a good start, as Dave made things very easy for me and my relay partner John by driving us and our stuff to the starting areas. I had several bags (gear, clothes, feeds, food, cupcakes) that needed to end up on our escort boat, which was loading in a separate area from the actual start of the swim. John and Dave took care of that after dropping me off at the starting area, so I didn’t have to worry about wandering all over lower Manhattan before the race start. Very nice!

That put me at the start well before check-in, and that extra early-morning hour relaxing on a bench overlooking the Hudson turned out to be a wonderful way to start the day. It was very calm and peaceful, with the nearly-full moon setting over the misty river. I watched a couple of huge cruise ships glide slowly upriver on their way to dock at the terminal about 2 miles to the north—it seemed somehow incongruous that boats that gargantuan could move along so silently. The tide was moving very swiftly south, and I knew that twelve-odd hours later a very similar current would be helping swimmers along to the race’s end.

At one point I caught a glimpse of something leaping out of the water—not sure if it was a fish, or maybe just a piece of plank that got upended in an counter-current. Whatever it was, it definitely made a nice plopping sound as it landed. I watched that spot for a few minutes but didn’t see any more activity. I did see a fair lot of small branches and other pieces of wood floating by—that’s how I was able to gauge how fast the current was moving—and I was glad to know I’d have an escort kayaker during the swim to steer me away from anything too hazardous. Watching the early-morning activity on the river, I felt amazed and grateful that the event I was about to swim happens at all.

Swimmers slowly trickled in and we waited around for check-in. I talked a bit with Ollie from Australia and Victoria from England, both of whom had swum the Channel and were telling me about their experiences there. (I think there were far more Channel swimmers than not among the 35 MIMS solo swimmers.) Lots of buddies from CIBBOWS were there, both as swimmers and as volunteers for the event. I got to see Evan (Evmo) as well as the other new swim buddies I had met out at Brighton on Thursday morning and the meeting Friday afternoon. The pre-race socializing was really nice—the international open-water community is a warm and welcoming bunch, and I got to meet pretty much everyone swimming the race, I think. One reason John thought I should be the lead-off swimmer for our relay team was that he had led off a relay last year, and figured I should have that experience of being at the start too. I’m glad I did.

Finally check-in opened and we all got numbered. That left just an hour and a half before the actual race start. (While we were waiting, other necessary things were happening—escort boats were being checked in and loaded on the other side of the island, kayakers were checking in and being numbered, tides were shifting to our advantage--it’s a complicated event and there’s lots that has to coincide for the start.) I continued milling around, applied sunscreen, snacked, stretched, milled some more, snacked some more, and watched, discussed, and sometimes helped with others’ pre-race prep. (I think one reason that the start is so social here is that our crews are on the other side of the island, so swimmers rely on each other for sunscreen and lube application, and whatever else might need doing). I was glad that I had packed lots of snacks in my pre-race bag—I ate a Luna bar, a banana, and several graham crackers with peanut butter and honey while waiting around, plus some orange raspberry juice, Kayakers started streaming down from north cove and converged on the race start. I found my kayaker, Sergio, and waved and introduced myself.

Then they announced that the first wave would be starting in 15 minutes. I finished undressing, applied lube to any places that might chafe, did my inhalers, dumped everything in my bag and left it at check-in, then walked down to the pier. The first 2 waves went off uneventfully while I watched. There was about 15 minutes between waves, and while waiting around I got to chat with Erica Rose, a former national and world open-water champion who was one of the favorites. A couple of tourists who had happened by asked us questions about the swim, and she fielded them graciously and well—she’s definitely a pro at this! After standing in the sun a bit I decided to seek some shade, where I found Aussie and fellow pale person Michael Gregory, whom I’d swum with at the beach Thursday. As the start neared swimmers wished each other a good day on the water and fist-bumped one last time (hugging wasn’t advisable at this point because many people had “Channel grease” smeared all over their bodies, and no one wanted to get greasy palms before donning their goggles.) We were all eager to get in the water and get started, and we finally did. There was a countdown—the whole crowd who had gathered at the pier to watch us start joined in—and then we were off!

(to be continued . . .)

MIMS Relay Report part 2

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Updated October 31st, 2014 at 07:52 PM by swimsuit addict

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Comments

  1. qbrain's Avatar
    Chapter 2! Chapter 2! Chapter 2! Chapter 2! Chapter 2!

    Very exciting so far.
  2. gigi's Avatar
    TBC!? Waiting for the rest will be hard, but I guess I must....
    Great start!
  3. aztimm's Avatar
    As always, great report. Makes me want to do more open water swimming.
  4. Bobinator's Avatar
    I love your commentary SA! I feel like I was there.
    I can't wait to hear the rest.
    Be sure to let us know if your pink raspberry iced cupcakes were appreciated!
  5. chaos's Avatar
    a great day. a great performance, and great cupcakes (ha ha... i got to enjoy a pre and post swim cupcake!)
  6. swimsuit addict's Avatar
    Thanks everybody! I had so much fun!

    Dave, I heard you had a mid-race cupcake as well!
  7. chaos's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by swimsuit addict
    Dave, I heard you had a mid-race cupcake as well!
    guilty as charged
  8. Speedo's Avatar
    Love it- looking forward to the rest!
  9. swimsuit addict's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by chaos
    guilty as charged
    you definitely deserved them--you seemed to be everywhere, helping out with everything at the race, from dawn to dusk and well beyond!