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Turtle Crawl - Swim

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Jekyll Island, GA
88F / 31C
Total Time = 1h 40m 12s
Overall Rank = 20/20
Age Group =
Age Group Rank = 0/
Pre-race routine:

We spent the three days before the race at Disney. On Thursday we spent 13 hours in the parks, and on Friday we were at EPCOT until 2 pm. After a 4 hour drive, I had to go to work for about 2 hours, and got to bed around 10:30 pm. Now I must say, this is not a really good pre-race routine to follow!! But...we had a lot of fun!!

Got up at 4:10, and stayed up since the alarm was going to go off at 4:30. Ate a Cliff Bar and got myself and the children ready. We were out the door by 5:30 and at the race site by 6:00. The race folks were just getting there and were not set up yet, so I stuck around and did what I could to help. Very concerned by 6:30 when it was still competely dark. One swimmer suggested that we might be swimming by celestial navigation.

The nerves were just starting to hit me. I think that it never really thought that I would do this race, or something...maybe just some kind of mental blackout or denial.
  • 1h 40m 12s
  • 2200 meters
  • 04m 33s / 100 meters

Well, the sun was up enough at 7 that they transported us by pick-up truck to the start. The farther and faster we drove the more panicky I got...that's a long way to swim in the ocean!! We got a pre-race meeting at the top of the beach access stairs, which the bottom of were still under water. We waded out to the first bouy and they blew a start whistle. I was so nervous, I thought I was going to stroke out...I just couldn't believe that I was really going to do this.

The bouys were only placed every half mile. I looked at the second one from the top of the stairs and thought, "that's not bad at all". The race started and I dove right in and started swimming freestyle. I looked up to sight the bouy and I couldn't see it, it was so far away. I first thought about panicing, but then the wardrobe malfunction began...

I have lost just enough weight that my top has started to get just the slighest bit loose, that combined with the wave/current action, and the added bouyancy of saltwater sent my rather curvey curves flying! With every stroke of freestyle they were everywhere but in my suit!! It was like I was wrestling some sea creature! I would stop and get re-adjusted, start freestyle again and I was back to where I started!! Ugghhh!!

So I started swimming breaststroke arms with freestyle kick. The whole group immediately pulled away from me and in what felt like seconds they were out of sight. I was so discouraged. It's a very scary feeling to be out there with no one around. At this point one of the lifeguards and one of the paramedics dropped back and walked the coastline along with me.

So, I swam and swam and swam for what I thought was about 30 minutes. Still couldn't see the second bouy so I looked at my watch---9 minutes...oh, this was going to take forever!!

I continued breaststroke and thought how funny the irony in that was and continued on. Thought that maybe I would get out after the second bouy...well, I finally made it to the second bouy and the tide was still high enough that I would have had to climb over the big rocks just to get out. Plus there was a marker half way between the second and third bouys. I thought, "well, that really doesn't look that far". So after forever of swimming I finally got close enough to the marker that I could read "DANGER STRONG CURRENT". Again, that really didn't make me feel confident! I kept trying to do freestyle but continued to have the same problem, only now it was getting painful. I decided to make it to the third bouy...a mile was a really good swim for me and I could quit right there and it would still be a great day for me...

It was about that time that I noticed that the shrimp boat off in the distance was getting much closer. There had already been several times that I had gotten WAY out and off course and I was a little far out so I started to head in. Well, the boat had it's nets out and I started doing this whole...mother of 3 drowns in shrimp boat nets while trying to swim a ridiculous distance in the ocean for no good reason...headlines of the newspaper kind of fantasy! I really was wishing there had been another swimmer in sight.

Well, I was getting very close to that third bouy and decided that I would definately get out once I made it past it. The shrimp boat was on my left starting to turn the other way, and the bouy was coming up fast on the right when i noticed what looked like rain on the wasn't! The shrimp boat was pushing a HUGE school of bait fish! Before I could even think I was covered in millions of tiny fish! I have to admit...I screamed like a little girl at first! It was the most disgusting thing I have ever felt!! For some unknown reason I stopped swimming and slapped the water a few times. It was then that one swam into my suit and down to my belly button. Got that one out and decided that I needed to settle downsince the thought hit me that sharks tend to follow the bait!!

As soon as that was over I was coming past the thirdbouy where I had thought I might quit. I got to thinking that after making it through all of this including the yucky bait fish that there was no @&$* way I was going to quit!!

I started swimming freestyle regardless of the other issues and found a reasonable rhythm and swam the rest of the way in. My husband and three children were there cheering me on! I was so happy and very thirsty!!

The volunteers and race officials were so nice. They said that the run had already started but to take my time and get ready and I could start the run and they would time me individually. I thought that was really great. I had only planned on the swim and thanked everyone.
What would you do differently?:

I'm buying a suit one size down ASAP!
Post race
Warm down:

Drank water, ate a bagel and granola bar, showered off and headed home. Also, talked to a friend who did the swim. She does IM's and said the swim was awful since that there were so few bouys. She said she felt like she went all the way to Bermuda...hmmmm, sorta how I felt too!!

What limited your ability to perform faster:

I think that all of the breaststoke added at least 20 minutes to swim. I have not done any ocean swims more than about 400 meters so this was a HUGE jump in ocean swimming for me!! I kept a very slow pace and was never breathing hard through the whole thing. I think I could have pushed harder. It really was much more mentally challenging than physically.

Event comments:

This was a small race that went along with a festival to raise money for the local sea turtle center. It was kind of nice because I knew about half of the swimmers.

Last updated: 2005-05-17 12:00 AM
01:40:12 | 2200 meters | 04m 33s / 100meters
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/20
Performance: Average
Course: Wade start at the first bouy. Followed the coastline a couple hundred meters off shore with bouys placed every half mile.
Start type: Wade Plus: Shot
Water temp: 82F / 28C Current: Low
200M Perf. Below average Remainder: Below average
Breathing: Good Drafting:
Waves: Average Navigation: Bad
Rounding: Good
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Average
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
Physical exertion [1-5] 3
Good race? Yes
Course challenge
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks?
Post race activities:
Race evaluation [1-5]

2005-09-18 8:26 PM

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Extreme Veteran
Subject: Turtle Crawl

2005-09-18 8:50 PM
in reply to: #248871

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Lexington, Kentucky
Subject: RE: Turtle Crawl
Wow, Olive! I am impressed with your ability to keep your mental focus and complete the swim with so many distractions.   I think the bait fish incedent would have had me running on top of the water! Way to go!
2005-09-18 8:50 PM
in reply to: #248871

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Bay Area, CA
Subject: RE: Turtle Crawl

Very cool.

The fish woulda freaked me out too - good job finishing!

2005-09-18 9:00 PM
in reply to: #248871

Subject: RE: Turtle Crawl
This race report needs to be archived and saved as one for the ages! What a great event, you are the epitome of how to perservere through really strange circumstances. I have a new level of appreciation for your ability to enjoy life and to follow your goals. Congrats on a wonderful race. I bet your family is really proud of you! WOOOOOO HOOOOO!! Way to go!

2005-09-18 9:11 PM
in reply to: #248871

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Southwest Chicago 'burbs
Subject: RE: Turtle Crawl
Wow - great race report!!!  And you impressed the heck out of me!  Great job persevering through some pretty weird circumstances.  Awesome!!
2005-09-18 9:32 PM
in reply to: #248871

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Wilmington, NC
Subject: RE: Turtle Crawl
Too funny! I'm definitely checking my tri suit fit BEFORE I get to the race next week

2005-09-19 10:08 AM
in reply to: #248906

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Extreme Veteran
Subject: RE: Turtle Crawl

max - 2005-09-18 10:00 PM This race report needs to be archived and saved as one for the ages!

LOL!!  I was laughing after I posted it because it was longer than two of the IM reports that I had just read!!  Thank you everyone for the kind words from my supportive BT family!

2005-09-19 10:33 AM
in reply to: #248871

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Extreme Veteran
Jacksonville, FL
Subject: RE: Turtle Crawl
Way to stick with that swim...Maybe the little fish that swam into your suit was just trying to help you along
2005-09-19 11:01 AM
in reply to: #248871

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Evergreen, Colorado
Subject: RE: Turtle Crawl
Great job doing battle with the elements I'm glad you stuck it out! Way to go!
2005-09-20 8:41 AM
in reply to: #248871

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Subject: RE: Turtle Crawl
  Oh Olive!  I loved reading your race report!  What an experience!  I give you such credit for sticking with it!  I know that I would NOT have been able to battle with 1/16th of what you did.  You amaze me!  I am so proud of you!  The fish thing is way too hysterical!  Thanks for the morning laugh!  And congrats on a job VERY WELL DONE!
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