Monday 9.21.09


Over the weekend, Stuart and I decided to enter a 4,000 meter open water swimming race in Saguaro Lake in Mesa, AZ. I had been to the area before back in 2006 to race the Usery Pass Road Race, but never to the lake. It is quite the drive from Tucson at about 150 miles and just around 2.5 hours of driving each way.


I swam on Friday night with the Tucson Ford Aquatics and had a nice workout of 5700 yards (Stuart had the evening off of swimming to rest for the race). Sean Bourne also did the workout with me and then made the rest of the journey with us for the weekend. After Friday evening practice we went to the airport to rent a car for the day. We had a little Kia but it was all we would need. About 9:30 PM Stuart started complaining about having to get up so early and drive and miss an early morning run before the swim race, so we decided at the last minute to hop in the car and drive to Mesa knowing we would arrive about midnight. Stuart slept in the back of the car while I did all the driving talking to Sean the entire way, thanks for keeping me awake Sean. We pulled into Mesa and slept at the Super 8 motel for the evening. I rented the car for the trip so Stuart paid for the motel. We got out of bed about 7 AM and went down for the continental breakfast. I don’t think the motel management was too happy as we pretty much cleaned out the supply of food at the dinky little breakfast. We were racing so fuel was a premium. We left for the Lake and had to buy a parking pass on the way out of town. Sean was racing both the 2k and 4k swims so he took our clothes to the start area and Stuart and I went for an hour run while Sean was swimming the 2k race. It wasn’t a hard run, but it was enough in the Arizona heat to dehydrate me a bit and make me just a little tired. I changed into my TYR Sayonara Swimskin and hit the lake for a warm-up. Stuart is a brilliant open water swimmer and would be difficult to beat. He is not only crafty, but has loads of experience. I knew he would be trying to drop me at some point so we wouldn’t be in a sprint for the win. As the gun went off, I found myself off to a nice little lead then Stuart came by me at the first turn buoy. The course was a counterclockwise loop of 1000 meters so we would be completing four laps along the shoreline in a rectangular pattern. I hopped on Stuart’s feet for the rest of the first lap and some guy was out in the middle of the lake swimming faster than us but off course and extremely wide around the turns. He would catch us on all the turns but be behind us during the swim. I cam around Stuart on the second lap to share the workload with him and immediately he tried to swim inside and drop me. I hopped right back on his feet and decided I would just stay there for the rest of the swim. He tried several pace changes and each time I covered his break. The last lap, he really slowed down for a bit then took off like a rocket to the inside of the course. I was dropped and trying desperately to get back on. I couldn’t close the gap and without his feet he kept a small gap the rest of the swim. Around the final buoy, the man swimming wide had a final sprint with Stuart for the win. He barely out-sprinted him and took the win in 52:53. I was third in 53:16 or something around there. I was glad I didn’t have to sprint at the end of the swim since my arms were pretty tired. It was a great tactical race from Stuart and I gained some more valuable experience in open water. The pace over the 4k swim was 1:19 per 100m or about a 51:25 Ironman swim time.


Sean won the 2k race in a very close sprint but was then too tired to even swim close to us in the 4k swim. It was too bad because I looking forward to a few more swimmers in the pack. Denton Taylor, who swam with Ford a year ago, and at the 2008 Olympic Trials, won the 4k wetsuit division (he was a bit slower than we were, but should have been in our race).


We celebrated Sean’s 2k win and Stuart’s second and my third place finish in the 4k with a great binge at the IHOP. I had a huge Colorado omelet with blueberry pancakes. Sean actually had a Big Steak omelet and TWO plates of strawberry banana pancakes. That boy can eat! We drove home to Tucson then Stu and I went for a short 1 hour cool down spin. It was a great day-trip to Valley of the Sun. Stuart took a nap on the drive home. Why is Stuart always getting the extra sleep?


Work Hard,