Race Day Magic.

Three days after my Lake Del Valle open water swim, I was flat on my back feeling like all the energy had been sucked out of me.  My nose was running, I was coughing, and I had the worst headache.  I slept for almost 2 days straight and was convinced that I had some strange microbial infection from the lake that would eventually kill me.  A 'real' doctor told me I had sinusitis.  And to stop freaking out.

Mom saves the day with homemade chicken soup, garlic bread, an orchid, and Mucinex-D.
Another friend brought over organic lemons (he knows I'm a snob).
With tea.  And chocolate.  And cookies.
I think all this worked more than the Mucinex-D, in my humble opinion.
The thought of having to navigate again in the open water swim just one week after I had recovered from this bout of feeling-like-crapitis made me nervous.  Granted it wasn't Shady Cliffs, but still...

Some races, things just all come together- I can't really explain it- so I just call it "race day magic."  The day before, I had an awesome pre-race lunch (eating fresh fish somehow always channels my inner fast fishy).  I got my good luck pre-race hug.  And pep talk.  Which really wasn't a pep talk, but it felt like tradition.  And it made me happy.

Having most of my GL Coaching teammates also participating made it so much fun.  On the drive over, I opened a super sweet card from Wolfie that made my day and inspired me to swim fast.  According to the Gary Chapman's book The Five Love Languages, Words of Affirmation is my primary 'language.'  So encouraging emails and cards and pep talks are all positive forces that act as huge motivators.  It was perfect timing.  And Hulk (aka the mailman) didn't get in trouble because he remembered to deliver it on time!

Wolfie's words of affirmation. 
Coach said the 2.4 mile swim was just "time practicing in the open water."  I'm not sure if he tells us that to keep us calm and relaxed, but secretly, I think this is what he really means- 

Er, sexiest wetsuit...
Aside from the fact that the anti-fog Spitz was burning my eyeballs within the first loop (Iesson learned for IMLT- rinse them out!) and the fact that my half-a$$ Body Glide application had left my wetsuit chafing my neck with every stroke, I felt good.  It seemed like I was swimming all alone- I couldn't see anyone else around me.  After the first buoy turn, I looked up and saw another human being!  And it was Hulk!  I let out a shriek of joy, partly because I wasn't lost alone in the middle of Chesbro Reservoir, and because Hulk=fast feet. I hopped on his feet for a few seconds and then noticed they were doing a hard kick of BACKSTROKE.  I lifted my head up and we both started laughing.  Then, we got to work and did what we do best- we swam together and it was good enough for a 5th/6th place overall.

Hulk always tows me on the bike, so I was happy to tow him around for a bit in the water.
I was really surprised with my results- I was the 1st woman in my AG, and even more cool- 1st overall woman in the 2.4 mile wetsuit division!  

Game face.

I can only say that it is because of unique coaching I've been receiving, and for all those early mornings with Hulk and Wolfie beside me in the pool, encouraging and pushing me to swim 'my fast.'  We all need each other, and our individual wins are really a reflection of the group's wins.

Turns out, GL Coaching's group is full of fast fishes who also placed really well!

Most of the crew with our winning schwag...
I have memories of the last time I did the 2.4 mile Catfish Crawl.  This year's theme all around seems to be re-writing the past and moving forward with an improved technique and mentality- which is translating into better race results.  I love the coaching I'm receiving.  I love my inspiring teammates.  And I've always loved the open water.

But I'm still taking Mucinex, just in case.