Finally my down week is over. I just started my last bit of training before Ironman. My friend, Aaron Scheidies, came into town on Friday. We had plans to meet up at the Distance Swim Challenge in Santa Monica the next day. I did a 2.4 mile race and he was entered in the 4.8 mile race. As I made my way over to the start, I saw him coming into the halfway point of his race. Keep in mind, Scheidies is visually impaired. I saw him coming in and I noticed that his guide (a kayaker) was following him. Not the other way around. This is a major problem for a blind person swimming in a very large ocean. He was snaking all over the place, apparently with designs of swimming an extra 2.4 miles just for kicks. The crazy thing was he was leading the race. Haha. Service to all able bodied athletes.
After watching him, I took off with about a group of 60 swimmers and got out past the surf break and quickly into a rhythm. I jumped on a train of two feet and sat in, still pushing to stay on their feet. We came around the 1.2 mile buoy and the train broke apart. The second guy dropped 15 m back and the lead guy went off the front. I was stranded in no man’s land as I headed into a “check point” halfway through. It was some sort of anal medical check on the orders of the LA life guard. Anyway, I headed back out into a big surf. This time, instead of slipping out of the surf like a baby dolphin, I was barreled 4 times like an obese hippo in the ocean for the first time. I lost 30 meters to the guy behind me and he hit the turn buoy up by 5 meters. In a blind rage, I hit the gas to regain my spot in 3rd. I swam hard for 100 strokes and flipped onto my back to check where he was. 8 meters back and swimming well. The good thing was I had enough of a gap so he wasn't drafting. We hit the turn buoy to the finish and I checked. He was 4 meters back and sprinting. I absolutely redlined, rode a wave in, and hit the beach. We almost reeled in 2nd place who was probably 100 meters up at the turn. I sprinted up the beach and promptly fell and ate a bunch of sand. I scrambled back to my feet, looked over my shoulder, and crossed the finish 15 seconds up and on the podium. I grabbed my knees and rasped for O2. Good race.
After, I talked to Caitlin for a bit and I met up with Aaron who was highly disoriented and chaffed all over his body. He had won the 4.8 mile swim! I also had a huge raw wound all over my neck from sand getting in the wetsuit and we griped to each other as we headed to Starbucks. Off to the awards and the VIP tent (Aaron is big business) where we met Marcellus Wiley (NFL player and ESPN analyst) who had just learned to swim and was in the 1.2 mile race, no doubt floundering like a wounded harp seal. Then we headed back to my house after collecting our prizes (floor tiles that had first place painted on them) and had a few beers.