Last weekend was a unique challenge for me. I wanted to take on a new challenge and swim an 8K which is 4.97 miles. If you don't swim, you may not know but that is REALLY far to swim. The longest I have swam in a race is during the Ironman distance and that swim is 2.4 miles. To complete an 8K swim such as this one, you need your own kayak support. The swim that I chose was the inaugural Slam The Dam in Las Vegas. One of my clients had a friend that did kayak support for me. Desi was my kayak support and he was amazing. He kept me going and on track to the finish line. Without him I would not have been able to complete this. I felt great and really strong through mile 3. Then my body was telling me it was time to get out. I knew I had to keep going and was determined. My calves were cramping every so often. My shoulders were on fire but I still had two miles to go. I finished and it felt great. Here is a picture of me at the 2 hour point. The race took me just under 3 hours.
Taking on a new challenge always makes me slightly nervous. The fear of the unknown is always in your head when you do something new. It always make me nervous wondering if I will be able to do it. In the end, I am usually glad I did it. As I was swimming last Saturday, I was thinking of the small percentage of people that actually attempt crazy stuff like this. What percent of the population would ever try and swim 5 miles, run 50 miles or do an Ironman? I don't know the answer but I am sure it is pretty small. I heard a statistic (not sure if its true) that only 5% of the US population actually works out on a regular basis. This is shocking when I am surrounded by people who workout everyday. I couldn't imagine NOT working out because it is part of my life. If only 5% of the US population workout on a regular basis then I am sure the amount of people that would complete a 5 mile swim is pretty small.
After I finished this tediously long swim I didn't stop there. I was on a mission to get to California by 4pm. For some crazy reason I decided to do the LA triathlon on Sunday which meant I had to pick up my race packet by 4pm! So I get out of the water pour a gallon of clean water over my head and body, changed and got in my car and headed to LA. I made it to LA with one hour to spare. I met up with my friend Ryan from Atlanta. We chatted for a little bit after picking up our packets and then I had to take a much needed shower. Ryan is a really great triathlete I met while living in Atlanta. He currently is the race director for a triathlons known as 11Global . Their website is http://www.11global.com/ and they put races on in South Africa, Atlanta and Dubai. Ryan is a great triathlete and I was pretty sure he was going to have a great race.
I finally got to shower and went to dinner with a group of friends. I was pretty tired but felt if I got to bed by 9pm I could wake up rested and have a pretty good race. I was right. Although it was not my best time at LA I did OK. The swim was pretty tough with some good swells, bike felt strong and run was OK. I finished 5th in the Elite category and that was 5 out of 5! Hey I did do a 5 mile swim the day before AND I was racing against some great athletes. I should have raced age group and would have placed 2nd. My time was 6 minutes slower than my previous time at LA. I made sure that I told any other person that completed the race that I did the 8K swim the day before. I wanted it to be clear I could have done better! That is the competitive side in me coming out! Denny, Patrick, Ashley and Ryan all placed in their age groups. LA is a very competitive race. For everyone to place in their age group was outstanding.
I got in my car after another much needed shower and took off back to Vegas. Wow what a weekend. Two races in two states and I survived. It was a lot of fun and challenging. I would do it again in a heartbeat........well maybe not the 8K swim because that was (as Bobby would say) one and done!