“Celebrate we will
Because life is short but sweet for certain.”
“Two Step”, by Dave Matthews
In the week leading up to the race, things were looking a bit grim:
The race director kept assuring us the race would go on – it had only been cancelled once (once!) in the last 19 years. All plans were still a “go”.
Arrived in Chicago early Friday a.m. and went to check out the beach. Very windy! but hey, it’s Chicago. The water looked choppy, but relatively ok – certainly no worse than some previous rough water swims. I had done the work – including a “Hell Week” of almost 20 miles (!) of swim training, so I felt confident if not speedy.
After checking out the water — & meeting some very cool! & accomplished athletes doing the same – I got to spend the rest of the day with a sweet friend I hadn’t seen since high school 40 (gulp!) years earlier. Had a blast! packet pickup, tour of UIC sports complex (incl. brief stop at gymnastics team practice), great food, laughed so hard our sides hurt. So much fun we forgot to take a selfie. (Sorry, Greg!)
Walking to the race start Saturday morning – the closer I got, the windier it became. Sudden gusts between the tall buildings so strong I had trouble staying upright. Uh, oh.
Arrived at the beach — just as they announced cancellation of the event. Rip tides and seven-foot breakers, the water was too rough for organizers to get patrol boats out for the course. We were hearing news of a man who had been swept off the beach and out into the lake (found out later he had died).
While we were disappointed race was off, it was clear race organizers had made the right call.
I hung out for a bit with my new friends – that (very fun!) & accomplished group of athletes I’d met the day before. Took some pics and made plans to meet up again for next year’s race.
Did a quick run into the surf (not far!), just to be able to feel it — & right back out again. So cold!
Home now — with memories from the trip that still make me smile, new friends, & plans to return in 2019.
And those swim shoulders I worked so hard for? turns out they are great for heavy pack training.
T – 8 weeks to Namibia race