Monday, July 23, 2012

#5 is in the books...

So, in spite of the swarm of black flies, 102 degree temperatures and the ever present southwest winds, we managed to successfully cross the lake.  The heat wasn't as bad as you might imagine, but the flies were worse.  And the waves? Well, let's just say that next year the consensus seems to be that we'll swim with the waves - even though they most often move in the opposite direction of the current.   According to our captain, the surface water will be moving towards the Northeast, and hopefully it will be moving faster than the current we need to overcome.  We all hope he's right...

This year started ominously, with calls for 102 degree temperatures and thundershowers.  Luckily the rain never materialized, and we settled in to an otherwise great day.  We had 2 new swimmers this year - Fares Ksebati and Sara Hughes.  We lost a few of our regulars to injuries and work this year.  We figured that with the exception of the rookies, we had about 2 good bodies between us, given the number of sore shoulders, bad backs, ligaments, tears, sprains, and even hernias among us.  This is not for the faint of heart.

Three of us started the swim, and then we traded off during the crossing. In the photo you can see the small inflatable we had this year instead of the Seadoos.  It was great to have it, but the Seadoos were still my favorite.  They were there instantly when you needed them.

Though the photos don't seem to convey the power of the waves, it felt as if you were being swamped on every stroke.  This year they were gentle rollers, but even if you timed it just right, it always felt like you were getting smacked every time you hit the other side. Several swimmers again attempted the breaststroke, or would swim underwater into the biggest waves, but it makes for a much longer day...

It was just another long, tiring, wonderful day.  I swam probably 7-8 miles this year, way down from my typical mileage.  Several swimmers swam more mileage, and just about everyone swam more than they expected.  Once you get into a rhythm, it just sort of happens.  We all swam a number of legs - getting out when the waves had battered you enough.  One of our issues is the difference in speeds - Fares at one point seemed to be at about a 20 minute mile pace, which is incredibly fast.  Most of the rest of us were slugging it out somewhere around a 30+ minute pace, although Sara turned out to be a very strong swimmer as well. So it was always refreshing to get in the boat and watch the faster swimmers crank it out. 
In general, swimmers are in great shape, and it shows.  The picture shows one of our swimmers entering the water in perfect form...  Rickie had a blast and was able to get in and swim with us for a couple of short stretches.  His health is great, but it requires a lot of attention on our part, and diligence on his. He still does his vest twice a day and takes a variety of medications.

The beauty is that because of the continuing work by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, his health and his numbers are staying in a great place. I often wonder how it must feel to be in his shoes.  He takes it all in and nothing seems to slow him down.  He attacks life with a vengeance - which is part of the reason he will always be one of my greatest heroes.

Thanks again for all your support. It means everything to us.

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