September 18, 2019 - With Humberto threatening, our epic swim was a little less epic, but no less fun
The 8 mile Swim for Aligator Lighthouse in Islamorada, Florida sounded like a good idea when I agreed to it (Why not? It has alligator in the name and is in waters known to be teeming with sharks.) Even as a two- person relay, this swim seemed a little daunting. Even so, I was disappointed when race organizers chose to abbreviate the event because tropical storm Humberto was flirting with hurricane status and posed a threat. With that said, I wouldn't want the job of fishing 460 swimmers out of the water in the event that lightning rolled in-so thank you, Fred, for keeping us safe!
For Mike and me, the swim was just that a swim-fun with many of our masters swim club in sunny Florida. When our wave started, I was in the kayak and Mike in the water. Ah, the beauty of knowing your partner's stroke! I spotted him easily and fell into the line of support boats heading away from shore. Our plan was one mile on, one mile off, with Mike hopping back in at the finish so we didn't have to change the timing chip. But the best laid plans...well, you know. Mike forgot to use his inhaler befire the start, and 500 yeards in made a beeline to me. "I can't breathe. I need your to swim." Um-ok, hang on, let me fing my cap and goggles, take off this hat and shirt and hop in (not effiecient, to say the least). I got myself together and got in the water. We had practiced the transition before the trip. As he entered the kayak, I pushed down hard on my side to keep it from flipping. But with adrenaline flowing, I pushed down, he vaulted up...and over the kayak. YARD SALE! Bags, paddle, nutrition, inhaler, clothes, all in the water. The only causalty was a pair of sunglasses and our race number flag, so we came out ok and provided entertainment to our fellow athletes.
As the swim went on, the water got rougher but the swim and transitions got smoother. It ended up a beautiful day. The event was incredibly well organized and concluded with a lovely awards banquet on the beach with live music that evening. Hopefully we'll make it all the way to the lighthouse next time :)