Following that December slice and dice in my lumbar region, I was anxious to do something...
The doctor took his dear sweet time releasing me for exercise. And knowing my obsessiveness, his conservative nature was probably a good idea.
I had around 5 months of solid swim workouts with my masters group, and then...
Elk Lake beckoned.
The Cascade Lakes Swim Series. Same nightmare I did in 2012. Any one of five swims, ranging from 500m to 5000m.
Or, if you're me, you do all of 'em. That elusive Survivor mug only goes to those who complete all 11,000 meters.
Friday night, it's the 3k. A little under an hour, and choppy water. Everyone came thru the chute burping the water they swallowed.
I didn't camp at the lake this year. Three back surgeries make for an awfully tough night's sleep in a tent. So I simply drove the 66 mile round trip for the three sessions.
Saturday morning. So pretty up there....that's 10,000' South Sister, a great climb and better view.
Saturday was the 500m and 1500m races. The shorter one was an out and back course along a line of buoys, see above.
My lunch, after I stopped eating to inhale.
All good so far. I'm even going faster than six years ago; those long slow workouts on the weekends have been helpful.
Sunday morning, and the big boy looms. Five thousand meters is a fairly short run, but it's a bastard long swim. I just want to get thru it.
I notice that I'm fourth in my age group standings in cumulative placings. Top three placings win a ceramic coaster with the race logo. And the third place swimmer is a whisker ahead of me.
Groan. That means I have to BUST the 5k, not just survive.
I suppose I could stay warm and dry in my nice pretty parka, but what fun would that be?
I get after it. Normally I wouldn't bother with a warm-up for such a long race, but I had to floor it from the start. So I loosen up for 500m before the gun, and then I hit it.
Never felt great, that's because I was motoring. After one lap, I'm substantially faster than last time. Laps two and three were also good, tough yet smooth. Just punching the clock and grinding it out.
At the finish, I'm eight minutes faster than as a young (47 yr old) buck. Call it a win.
The final race, the 1000m, is a joke. Arms are shot, shoulders are gone. I laugh my way through the first half until I loosen up, then I get mad and walk down four or five swimmers on the homestretch.
Didn't quite squeeze my way into 3rd place. I needed ten minutes on the other guy in the 5k, and got seven. Still....
Once again, I'm a Survivor.