Monday, July 22, 2013

Trans Tahoe Relay: Sass-tastic

Sass 2.0. Trans Tahoe Relay 2013 - Sassjana, Sassard, Sasstine, K-sass, Sassbrenner, Sassanne, and our Sasscot.
There are a few things in my life that I can't imagine doing, and I can't tell you what they are because, I haven't even imagined what they are yet. One of those things used to be, swimming across Lake Tahoe.

Who does that?

People who swim across Lake Tahoe are those people who grew up swimming, who join masters swim clubs, who grew up next to the ocean, and own boats, and probably like to camp and fish. That was not me. Swimming for me was survival only, even in triathlons. My goal was always to survive the swim, so I could enjoy the rest of the event.

My Trans Tahoe team, Sass 2.0, wracked our brains this weekend trying to remember how we decided to do the 11 mile swim in the first place, and none of us can quite remember how it started. It definitely started with Lis-sass and Lin-sass, and a conversation about extreme sporting events, including Barb's Race. How I got involved is event is even more of a mystery (at least to me). God knows how, with my experience, why anyone would want me to be part of a swim relay. I guess if you have people who believe in you, you just can't refuse. We had a team name - SassMouth, and then like a bunch of school girls, started to incorporate the word sass or sassy into everything we did (sasskipper, sasscot, happensass). We signed up for the Trans Tahoe Relay 2012 on the day registration opened.

What followed was 7 months of training, and worrying about cold ass water. I was training for Barb's Race too, so as long as I followed the 70.3 training plan, and swam in colder water a few times, I would be fine for a 30 minute leg of the TT Relay. Right?

I don't think I mentioned this in my recap last year, but in my first leg swim leg last year, I panicked. I panicked a lot. So much, that I looked up at our captain on the boat, and saw the concern in her face (maybe). This was not an event for me. I had only started to swim, and I was already doing a major swimming event. I had paid for a room, a boat, and for the entire weekend, and I wished that they had scooped me out of the water and back onto that boat that instant. They could do it without me - they were more worthy of the challenge.

Last year: SCARED. This was before the panic.
It was a horrible feeling.

Sure, I put  my head back under and ventured forward, looking up to make sure my friends were still there. I started to feel better, but it was the longest 30 minutes of my life. I tried to focus on my stroke, the beautiful blue water, the sky above, the lovely mountains on both sides. The last 2 minutes, I got a side stitch but gritted my teeth until I could tag my next teammate in the water. The second leg was a lot better - I decided there was no reason to cry about it, and I was up for the challenge, so I pushed ahead. "Now, I have the hang of this!" I thought.

This year's experience was completely different. Most of my fear was logistical - like driving the boat around a bunch of other boats and swimmers. The swim - I wished it could have lasted longer. One of the most amazing 30 + 15 + 10 minutes of my life. After all of the swimming I've been doing, swimming in Tahoe is now my favorite. There is no gross ocean (aka groscean), no walls to stop and turn around at, no algae or duck poop. Just blue water, as far as the eye can see. It's like swimming through a magical blue crystal that kind of smells like gas (from the boats), but it is magical.

Now that the team has no more residual swaying back and forth from our 6 hour adventure, we look ahead to next year. I wonder what kind of swimmer I will be then.

I can't imagine not being able to swim.

This year: PREPARED! It was a perfect 10 kind of a day.

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