Well I have to apologize yet again for not posting in a while. I seem to do a good job for a couple of days and then off into the twilight zone I go. This time I think I have a bit of an excuse. LOL
On Wednesday night, after track practice, I headed home to pack. I had to fly to Key West after work on Thursday as Rick was going to compete in the 12.5 mile Swim Around Key West on Friday morning and I had been asked to be part of his support crew in the kayak after one of the crew had to back out.
After a few delays, a pretty harrowing flight out of Orlando to Miami, a $26 Mojito in the Miami airport, Joy and I arrived in Key West. Missey picked us up at the airport and we went to the hotel to prepare for the swim on Friday. Rick was nervous but I think he held it together pretty well. We had to be at the beach by 7:15 am the next morning for final instructions and then the race started at 8:30.
After tossing and turning all night, we awoke to a gorgeous day. We loaded up the car and headed to the beach. They kayak arrived about 7:45 so we packed everything we would need to keep Rick hydrated and fed as well as food and water for ourselves. We then covered Rick head to toe in zinc oxide to prevent him from burning during the long swim and boarded the kayak. The first wave of swimmers were off at 8:30.
Paddling the kayak was not as hard as I thought. It was definitely not easy but not the worst thing in the world. Rick is a great swimmer, so Missey and I had our hands full keeping up with him. We made it to mile 8, Rick was in first place. However we got there so fast that the race organizers had not placed the buoy. This sucked for us as we could not see the next channel and ended up about a half mile off course. As we were trying to get our bearings, we noticed a jet ski pulling the buoy out to the 8 mile mark. We repositioned ourselves and made it back to the course. However Rick was passed by the first relay team swimmer. This sucked as he wanted to be the first done but he was still the first single swimmer.
We kept going. I was in charge of monitoring the timing between Rick's nutrition breaks. Missey was in charge of directions and keeping Rick from burning. Rick was passed by one more person, the first female single swimmer at about Mile 10.5. This was not her first rodeo so she had not gotten off track like we had and I am sure probably felt better at that point than Rick.
For those of you that have run Virginia Beach, the finish to the swim was very much like the RNR 1/2 at Va Beach. There are 10 telephone poles in a line in the water with a yellow buoy at the end. Very similar to the run where you have to make your way down the boardwalk block by block to the finish line. Sometimes it felt like we were never going to get there.
After 5 hours 41 minutes, Rick finished his swim! He was the first male single swimmer to finish but because he wears a snorkel for medical reasons, he was not allowed to win a trophy. He did however get a finisher's medal which by the way is totally awesome. I have to say I was glad to be on dry land. I was covered in sunscreen, salt water and starving when we finished.
Joy was at the finish in the water cheering Rick in and had thankfully brought the car to pick us up! After some awesome watermelon we all went to the hotel to shower and celebrate Rick's awesome finish!
I have to say that although it was fun albeit hard to paddle the kayak, I don't think I ever would like to be support crew for this event again. BUT..... I think maybe one year I would like to swim it. Yes I know I am crazy!
Congratulations again Rick! You were awesome. Thanks Missey for making the kayak trip bearable. Thanks Joy for being there just when we needed you both at the hotel and the finish line. And finally thank you Debbie for coming down and making us laugh when we all were so exhausted!
I cannot wait until our next adventure!