Today was my first open water ocean distance swim. How did this almost 69 an eleven twelfths year old lady from Port Orchard WA end up in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Mexico swimming? Well it’s been an adventure begining April of 13 when I first heard about Sharkfest in an entry on ZihuaRob’s message board. Always willing to try new adventures, I said to my self “I can do that”. Then I said to my husband, the Senor “When we are in Zihuatanejo next winter I’m going to take part in the Sharkfest swim at Troncones. The Senor’s prompt reply was “your nuts! You’ve never swam in open ocean waters.” True, but that got me going and the next morning I was at the South Kitsap High School swim pool at 6:00 am ready to start training. And train I did. After a couple of weeks I put together a string of 16 beads on a leather thong to count laps with and I was doing pretty good I could do what I thought was a mile in about 40 min. But the life guard set me straight you swim up and back to complete a full lap in the 25 yards. Gee I had a long way to go if I was going to get my time down to 1 mile in under an hour. So I swam 5 days a week lost a couple of pounds and figured if I watched a little better what I ate and dropped 20 lbs it would help with the speed. In a month or so I needed a new suit, in another month another new suit, my swim mates kept commenting on the shrinking me and I got faster. So 40 lbs later, with much encouragement from my swim mates and life guard I’m in a speedo swim suit displaying my wrinkled legs and arms and not caring because I AM A SWIMMER, maybe an old one, but one with great adventures in her heart.
As the Senor and I headed to Zihuatanejo for our 2 month vacation there was the conundrum of Seahawks Playoffs vs Sharkfest, both were going to happen on the same day. I would not have been happy if the Senor was to miss my big moment, and he would have if the times had conflicted. But there is a god in heaven and the Seahawks were to have their game in the late afternoon and my swim was going to be in the early morning.
So Saturday January 11,2014 arrives and I put on my suit, pack my fins, goggles and under water I pod and the Senor and I head out to catch a cab to Troncones which is around 20 or so miles away. Now at 7:00 am there aren’t many cabs around but we found a willing one and headed to Hacienda Eden in Troncones . I’m already registered so we don’t really need to be there that early, but the the Senor has a thing about time. Along the way a pick up truck with 4 guys standing up in the pack passes us and then slows down and pulls partway on the shoulder motioning us to pull up. Now we both are doing about 60 and we are wondering what the heck is going on. The two drivers exchange comments and the just is the pick up driver owns the cab and wants to know what the driver is doing so far out of town. He explains and all is good and we move on, but single file now.
It’s a beautiful day and a beautiful place at Hacienda Eden, the participants start trickling in along with folks who are doing support service on kayaks and paddle boards. Everyone is registered we each have a number written on our hands so that everyone is accounted for at race end. Mine is 1 as I was the first to register. The participants walk the 1/2 mile or so to Majhaua Palms where we will enter the water and swim out past the point back to Hacienda Eden. As we prepare to enter the water 2 pigs and one baby pig arrive to cheer us on. After a group picture everyone enters the water, putting on goggles, fins or what ever they prefer and the swim is on. Do remember this is not a race it is strictly a group event, everyone swims at their own pace. Now I knew I wouldn’t be the first one to finish, but I really didn’t want to be the last one to finish. The Senors parting words to me were “now if you get tired let them help you in the boat”. And I thought to myself it would be my lifeless body they would have to drag in that boat, I’m swimming the whole way, I’ve worked too hard to give in at any point now.
The only difficulty I encountered was keeping oriented, as I kept swimming out to sea and had to keep correcting my direction. For some reason, my left arm works harder than the right. The paddle boarders were a god send for folks like me who seem to be directionaly challenged as you could see them standing tall on the boards and I could keep altering my course towards them, but I know I swam a lot further than others as my arc was much wider.
None the less I finished swimming strong and not the last one in and feeling quite pleased with myself. I missed being in the group finish picture as I was stuck in “el bano” but they said they might be able to photo shop me in. I know I will hear flack from that one.
We enjoyed a nice breakfast at Hacienda Enden, called a cab and back to Zihuatanejo as the Senor was worn out and need to rest before his game started. We took a short nap and now I’m going to go out and find some ice cream.
So before I turn 70 I have accomplished a 1.1 mile ocean swim. What is next? I don’t know but I know I will continue to swim regularly as I feel better physically than I have in many years, I wore the same dress this New Years eve that I wore the night I met the Senor 20 years ago.
Please don’t say he should buy me a new dress, I love that dress and look fantastic in it. I’m just waiting for the next adventure so keep me in mind.
Signing off KO