Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Cicero Triathlon: Swimming

Every time that the triathlon has been brought up in discussion, people tell me that they believe the swim would be the most difficult portion of the event. Being a fairly natural swimmer, I had always figured that it would be the easiest leg of the course. I was wrong.

It wasn’t the overall length of the swim that made things difficult, but rather all the other obstacles on the course. For starters, Morse Reservoir is the absolute dirtiest body of water I have ever set foot into. As I jumped in off the side of the dock, my world went from being bright and sunny to dingy green in seconds. The water was so thick with algae that as I held my hand in front of my face I could not see it. I now understand why they wanted to cancel the swim portion… though I am really glad they didn’t.

Another obvious obstacle was the other swimmers. I had been told stories of other triathletes who had been kicked so hard (accidentally of course) that they had to stop and get assistance from the helper boats. I had already told myself that even if I were to get kicked that I would not allow myself to call for the helper boats since those that do get their times disqualified. Of course that was before I got kicked five times in the face, side and head… but I simply just turned over to my back, caught my breath and continued forward.

Having helper boats during the swim portion of the race is clearly something that is needed to insure the safety of all the swimmers. However, between the wake created by the large motorboats and jet skis trolling back and forth along each side of the swim path and the heavy gasoline fumes that they spewed across the top of the water, there were times that they seemed to be a bigger hindrance than help. The first time that I came up out of the water to catch my breath and ended up having my lungs filled with the taste of gasoline instead, I knew that the trek across this nasty lake was not going to be easy.

Although the swim portion of the triathlon was much more difficult than I anticipated, I simply just kept moving forward and persevered around the obstructions. When I flipped over onto my back after being kicked or taking in too much gasoline flavored air I am sure there were little children who tugged on their parents shirts trying to get them to notice the manatee who had mysteriously appeared in the middle of Morse Reservoir, but I kept going. Through all of the nasty algae infested water, I completed the swim portion without stopping or needing assistance from the boats.

I plan on going through each portion of the triathlon this week and filling you in on all the details of the event. Tomorrow I will fill you in on all the exciting adventures I had during the biking portion of the race and even though there is no race to train for, Fat Friday will continue.

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