Swim the Suck 2021
My longest event this year--and lots of kudos to....
- Race Director Karah Nazor--this was an extremely well-organized event from the delicious pasta meal the night before to the swim itself--so many volunteers and crew seeing that the event was safe;
- My excellent kayaker, Tammy Cook, who guided me expertly around potential obstacles, including a dead fish with lots of spines sticking out;
- Mother Nature and God providing me with a generous current assist making even this slowpoke swimmer look halfway respectable! How about around 45k cfs! Also gorgeous weather, water temp around mid-seventies (which might be a tad warm for those used to cooler temps, but I found it pleasant, even though I also like sixties (it was a bit of a surprise, since the Schuylkill where I'm used to ow swimming has dipped into the 60s and I had become acclimated to that).
Half hour feeds worked well. I used Hammer Heed as my main sports drink tho did have a bottle with a Nuun tab and a large bottle of just plain water (which I took less often than I thought I would--but it was handy for adding a little Tylenol powder to the bottle late in the swim). Also took some of the Trader Joe protein mix. It's not terrible, even if it's not what I'd order in a restaurant if Guiness is available. Also took occasional Clif blocks, again my overwhelmingly positive review: they were ok for my purposes.
I started out easy, figuring the river would help me along and this wasn't the 100 freestyle after all, and I wasn't looking for any specific place/time, just to finish before the cut-off which (thank you, current) was easier than I expected. This was a move for which I pat myself on the back, because around half way, I caught a couple of swimmers. One guy and I got into a mini-race of sorts, with him pulling ahead, then me, then him, back and forth all the way to the last mile. When he passed me with about a mile to go, I figured I lost him, but then caught up again, passed, and managed to stay ahead. Oh the hot-shots had long ago finished but never mind--we had a great battle royale in the back of the pack! I went all 100 freestyle when I saw the finish buoy--how could I resist! Then cheered in my rival and thanked him for making it a fun race!
Then we both cheered in the swimmer behind us.
The spread of food and brewskis afterward plus a handmade coffee mug which held the beer nicely--all contributed to an amazing event from start to finish!
For those new to double-digit events, I highly recommend this one. One caveat: no guarantee you'll get the generous current assist. I was very fortunate in that there had been a release within a couple days prior, plus a lot of rain preceding. Just a wonderful time though...
Oh and my time? 4:59:25. Third to last and last female, but well under 6 hours, so I have no complaints there!
Also first time in Chattanooga--enjoyed it very much! Had a chance to visit with my niece, her husband, and their 2-year-old son on Sunday before taking off for Philly. So altogether a great trip!