First of all, I am not on the bottom of Lake Michigan. YAY! I wanted to post this last night, but after the swim, my parents took Therese, Warren and I to brunch (YUM!!) followed by a trip to my old boss's house and saw them for a few hours. Heather and I have become very good friends so it was great to see her, Jim, and their 3 kids. Anyway, I stayed their later than expected, got home late and was really tired.
Here is my update from yesterday
Alarm goes off at 6. Therese was so good about getting up so early. We have breakfast and make our way to Navy Pier. My parents, bless their hearts, didn't want to miss anything and were there at 6:30. My dad learned the lesson that 5 am is the only time Chicago doesn't have traffic.
I register, get my orange cap, t-shirt and body marked with number 337. The first wave goes off at 8 and I start to get my wet suit on. Just as I pull up the string, adjust the suit, I feel a hole, right on my butt. Greeaat.... I just busted my wetsuit with my big butt, 10 minutes before I am supposed to start. Now, not only am I not physically prepared to do a 3.1 mile swim, I just lost all my mental and emotional positive thoughts. I tear off the wetsuit, trying not to cry. This is where having parents at the race is key.
Right away, "You didn't want to be a wimp in a wet suit anyway".
"Looks like you did this on purpose to get a new one for Christmas. Sneaky daughter!"
Therese and Warren started in too "They call it 'Big Shoulders' for a reason, show 'em off"
To all of you, thank you!!! This really helped me get into the 72 (but really, I think it was more like 68) degree water.
IT WAS COLD! But, at 8:15, the gun went off and I was off with the wet suit division, wet suit less.
I start swimming
my mind not exactly on board with what I was doing. I make the first turn, already thinking about stopping after the first loop. I get passed by a bunch of white caps (the first group of the 1 loopers). The waves are rolling and much bigger than it looked from the beach. I feel nauseous. I eventually make it to the second turn and really think maybe I should just get out. My hearts not in it, 2.5K is nothing to be ashamed of, I at least did something after I busted my wet suit, I am still allowed brunch after swimming 1.5 miles... etc. This is what is going through my head.
I get to the starting floating orange marker and stand up.
Decision time. Start the second loop or just call it quits. I can hear the music and it's Fergie Big Girls Don't Cry.
I am a crier. Always have been, probably always will be. I know that if I stop, I will get out and cry. Fergie says that big girls don't cry, I am a big girl and I start my second loop.
I immediately start to regret this decision. The waves are bigger, I am more nauseous, and just don't feel like I am making forward progress. But I keep going, and going, and going. I start to think about next year. How easy it will be to just stop. Just quit. Justify to my self that what I have done is enough.
But for me, it's not. I make the final turn, swimming along the lake front. I stop a few times and walk, still feeling the need to puke. The waves just keep getting bigger. When I do swim, I can see the bottom come close, then get far away as I am raising and falling with the water. I can see the people, the finish and start to feel better. It's always amazing how much better you feel once you see the end.
I stand and start to walk to the finish. I hear my parents, Therese and Warren. I wave, smile and say "This was hard!". I walk up the beach and the guy next to me offers to race. We run to the finishing, laughing and smiling.
I didn't quit. I am happy I made that second loop. I am fortunate to have parents believe in me where they were surprised to hear that I was even considering not doing the entire 5K. I am lucky to have friends get up early, hang out and play ladder ball with my parents while I swim. And I am thankful that Fergie's Big Girls Don't Cry was playing at my key decision making time.
Oh, and I finished in 1 hour 44 minutes and 14 seconds, a bit under 35 minutes per mile; which is not a bad time for me. And I am listed in the wet suit division, but I know I wasn't.