Monday, June 28, 2010

Watch out, Michael Phelps!

It's go-time at GLOWS 2010
This weekend I successfully completed the 1/2-mile course of Greenlake Open Water Swim. Yay me!

My major goal was to complete it without being rescued by  "the boat of shame." My other goal was to come in under 25 minutes, which I also achieved. I finished the race in a blindingly fast 22 minutes and 57 seconds, and that included a lot-of time-wasting maneuvers in the water such as waiting around for the nearest lifeguard-on-a-paddleboard to catch up to me so I would never be farther than a few yards away from a lifeguard-on-a-paddleboard!

I also lolligagged at the finish line, looking behind me to see if I was the last one out of the lake, and lo and behold, I WAS NOT! There were at least five people behind me!

It was a nice-ish morning, sunny but cool. I wore a wetsuit, which is something I've never done before in all my local swimming adventures. At first I felt rather wussyish wearing one, but in the end I was glad I had it. It's intimidating enough swimming across a body of open water on a "Juneuary" day without having to deal with gasping for breath as you adjust to the water temperature.

There were all sorts of people doing the event - grandmothers and grandaughters, fathers and sons, musclebound triathletes, very unmusclebound people, and, me - jack of all sports, master of none.

I probably would have gone even blindingly faster if I hadn't forgotten my secret weapon - the Powerbar(R) Double Latte Gel. This little gel gave me turbopower for 20 whole minutes on a bike ride last week and I was counting on it to do the same as I kicked my competitor's butts in the lake. But alas, I forgot it in the excitement and had only a banana to fuel me across the stormy seas.

Actually, Greenlake is much mellower than Lake Washington, which is always churning with wind and boat wakes. Greenlake is placid and peaceful, though of course you can't see a anything as you're swimming across it except greenish-black murk.

I did, sadly, have to make sure there was a lifeguard near me at all times. And the few times when the closest lifeguard had to stop and help some poor soul who was even slower than me, I sorta freaked out and didn't know whether to keep going. In the end, I did, with the help from my mantra:

"If I can climb Mt. Rainier, I can swim across Greenlake. If I can climb Mt. Rainier...."

I was also trying to sing the song "All Down the Line" by the Rolling Stones in my head but it didn't work because I only know one line: "All down the li-ine...".

Next time I need to pick a song I actually know the words to.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Rain, rain, come back when I'm stuck inside and need to work

I've had mucho fun outdoor adventures in June thus far, most of them in the RAIN.

Backpacking on the Olympic coast. Rain!

Here's a lovely photo that shows what  the Olympic coast looks like in the sunshine. Nice huh?

And next - a close up and personal view of Mt. St. Helens - not that I saw it when I did the "Tour de Blast!" 

Actually despite wet and cold weather I had plenty of fun on both those adventures though I could have done without the wet shoes and socks, which are always demoralizing. (My shoes still smell nearly a week after that bike ride).

In other news I find myself employed by my favorite sugar daddy these days - you know the one. This, despite the fact that Bill Gates' security guard came out on the dock the other day when Dave and I paddled by in our kayak and gave us the evil eye!

If anyone looks UN-intimidating, it's gotta be me and Dave shuffling along in that big orange inflatable kayak going slower than anyone on Lake Washington. The only way we could have been less intimidating was if perhaps Snuffy (right) were sitting on the prow.

In writing news, I'm hard at work on the novel I wrote during NaNoWrimo 2009, and planning on teaching my all-time fave class at Richard Hugo House again this coming fall: Roughing It: Write a Draft of Your Book in Six Weeks. Stay tuned for details on that.

Meanwhile wish me luck as I attempt another possibly ill-fated venture this weekend: the Greenlake Open Water Swim. The thing is, I'm terrified of open water. I hate to be more than 10 feet away from anything I can hold on to. I'm also a little afraid of what bacteria might be swimming around in Greenlake but that's a lesser fear. At least I'm not afraid of a giant squid eating me like some people I know (hint: my sister).