About a week before Sharkfest I heard enough people say it was fun that I was all excited and ready. The night before I realized I stil needed to go get new goggles and when I found myself in the store, surrounded by open goggle packages and getting increasingly upset that NONE of them were right I realized I was nervous. Sigh….. I calmed down, chose a pair, went home and proceeded to freak out because you aren’t suppsed to try something new when you have an event and what if the goggle leaked? – OH NO! So I filled the bathroom sink with water, put the goggles on and tested them – no problem It was a sign of good things to come.
I got to Aquatic Park SO early. 6 AM. The registration went from 6 to 7″30 so I had plenty of time to hang out, try to relax and take some pictures. The water was absolutely flat, the temperature was mild and the sun was peeking in and out of clouds. It was a perfect day.
A cruise ship came through and I hoped the event organizers were aware of that and that it wouldn’t leave port half way through the swim – it was big!
FeLady and company got there and got registered so all we had left to do was hang out and chat and get ready. And ready we were
An announcer explained how the event would work, how to site and what to do after so we all marched en masse, through the tourists on Fisnerman’s wharf and over to the ferry. I wish I had a shot of 800 people, most of whom were in wetsuits meandering along the waterfront.
On the short ride out there I briefly considered just staying on the boat but when the time came I stepped up to the door and when the guy yelled ‘GO!”, I went! The water was cold but I used the time honored tradition to warm things up a bit in my wetsuit (shablam! it’s like having your own mobile hot tub!) and my face got used to the cold pretty fast. The biggest shock for me was the salt water. I haven’t been in salt water for years and I forgot how… how salty it tastes. My feet and hands were cold but not unbearably so. Once my face decided that the cold and the salt were okay I was all set.
The swim was so amazing – I can’t really describe the feeling of swimming across something as big as the SF Bay. Initially there are lots of swimmers around you but before long it seems like you are out there all alone. As you get closer to the shore the swimmers coalesce again, giving you yet another sign that you won’t be swimming forever although at that point it really feels like it. I can’t even imagine swimming the 2.4 it takes to do an IM. I guess it’s all relative and if you train for it you can do it but 1.5 was plenty, thank you.
I sited off those 2 white towers toward the right in this picture. The building that looks like a boat is the museum we had to swim back to. The towers were easy to see without having to stop and tread water and worked as a target for much of the way in.
When I got closer I saw the buoy off the back of the lead boat and then finally the opening in the breakwater. The only mistake I made was allowing myself to hook to the left once I got into Aquatic Park so that I ended up coming out of the water to the left of the correct landing zone. I just ran (in a manner of speaking) over there and ran across the mats at 50:17, 15th out of 21 women in my age group. Not bad.
I was so woozy I had to be helped on to the stairs but I think most people were. You can’t be horizontal for that long and not get dizzy when you stand up.
I felt wonderful and strong and accomplished once I got my bearings. Before that I felt like a madwoman. If you watched ‘Dancing with the Star’ you’ll understand when I say I had the voice of Bruno Tonioli in my head yelling “She was like a crazy fish, flopping around the deck of a boat!” Some nice people let me hold on to them to get my wetsuit off and then I went and got a piece of banana and then raided the Lara Bars (I blame DPR for my greedy ways with them – she taught me to plunder the Lara Bars at the Bay to Breakers).
Sharkfest was a very cool event and I got some Shark-a-licious swag, too.
I’d like to thank Cheryl again for turning me on this event and for being my Sharkfest mentor and for inviting me to join her and her husband and friends for a delicious brunch after the swim. She even let me take a shower at her hotel room. I had such a great time and am still enjoying a tremendous sense of wonder and self satisfaction.