Race Report: 8-Mile Swim 4 Freedom

I’m alive, my nail polish stayed on and I have a wicked tan! Now for the race report….. The day started out okay, thanks to all of your prayers and good wishes, I could 90% breathe this morning, yay! I got to the start line, checked in, had the pre-race safety report and headed out into choppy, but swimmable water with the wind only at 10mph. Rounding mile 1, on pace, mile 2, on pace, mile 3 on pace still with the chop at 31.5 minutes per mile with 2 minute feeds. Mile 3 to 4 we cross the narrows and into open water….. game changer.

There was a strong gust of wind, 30 plus mph just before mile 4 and my first kayak support boat capsizes with my food and water. The wind picks up to 22 mph, 3 foot white cap swells start, and 20 minutes later my second kayak support boat is taking in so much water he is sinking…… crap. After treading water for 10 minutes while my kayaker is rescued, another support boat comes which has to trade off 30 minutes after that. Mile 4 finally ends, my congestion sets in again, and going into mile 5 there are two choices, head into heavier wind and white caps strait to the finish (suck) or go with moderate white caps skirting the shore adding at least a half mile on (suck). Well, go big or go home, and onward I go straight into waves pummeling me for the next 3.5 hours…… yes, 3.5 hours adding an additional hour and a half onto my time with the waves and an additional three-quarters of a mile with the wave push. The last 4.75 miles were brutal, literally brutal.

I wanted to quit several times, maybe when I swallowed the lake being so thirsty or when I was under water for what seemed like an eternity trying to get up from under a wave that buried me, and all of you, my family, my NAS crew and Vo2 team mates, literally got me through. I thought about how hard you work, how hard CDA and Whistler was, how much pain we all go through, and how much I wanted to tell you all I made it. I did and I love you all…. As well as the hot dog smell that got me through the last half mile! You told me to trust in my training, I did. You told me to crush it, the waves did, but I was better. You told me to take in my Alki training, I did. So here I am, 8.75 miles in the worst conditions I can imagine (most awful in over 10 years according to my capsized kayaker) and my Channel journey begins thanks to all of you on my side. England 2017, here I come!

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