Big Shoulders 2009: A Retrospective Diary of a First Timer

peterwiseBy Peter Wise

Rewind. August 2008. I had spent the summer swimming with the pleasant ladies at Colony West. Was I ready for Big Shoulders 2008? Tested myself with a Nelson Center workout. I had my ass handed to me by the Big Shoulders training crowd.

Fast forward. April 2009. Turned 50. Big Shoulders on the bucket list.

Late May at Nelson Center. Damn, this pool is long and lumpy. Tried to teach myself to breath bilaterally. I nearly drowned.

June, the Nelson Center water is butt spanking hot. Exhausting. Maddening. Chris Martin and I killed a rat that was skulking in the pool gutter. July 3rd. Great swim. 3000 meters. Feeling better, having fun and training hard with the lanes five and six crew: Kari,Ed, Burke,Tara,Chris,Paul,Scott, and Patty.

August. Borrowed a wetsuit from Dungan for my trip to Northern MI, Sleeping Bear Dunes. Three 3000 yard swims in Lake Michigan during the week. Felt great. Attacked by a water bird with a long bill. Defended my self with a well thrown rock.

Mid August. Decided to swim 2.5K at Big Shoulders. 5K seemed daunting. Sunday, Aug 16th. Swam a couple of 400’s even with Kari. She always swims hard. I am ready. Confession. I am an incorrigible gear head. Purchased a Blueseventy Point zero 3 swimskin. Much talk at the pool about the cold Lake Michigan temps. Still have Dungan’s wetsuit.

Open water training in Lake Springfield. Three 2.5K swims. All around 43 min. I want 40. Two weeks to go. Early morning swims in the dark at Nelson Center. Nicole says it is like running in the rain. It makes you go faster. I agree. You are cheating the daylight. Erin, Burke, Ed and Dan giving great advice on pace, sighting and drafting. Thanks for the 411.

Tuesday, Sept. 8th. No swimming. Light run planned. Stretching. Seismic rumbling in my right hip/low back. Pain. Are you shitting me? Frantic calls to Matt Nachtway. Ice. Heat. Vitamin I. Vodka.

Wednesday. Try to swim. Must get down on all fours to get into the pool. Swimming causes discomfort. Can’t kick. Words of encouragement from Paul. Wait a minute. He is swimming 5K with one arm. Time for me to man up.

Sept. 12th. Big Shoulders 2009. Decide to swim with wetsuit to help back. Much Biofreeze. Adrenalin is a great pain reliever. Feel pretty good.

8:25 start. Swimming over the weed bed after the start is cool. Water clear. Erin’s sighting technique works perfectly. Second leg. Find perfect person to draft. Effortless leg. Sweet. Lost cap rounding the mark. Go back for it. Lose my draft. Swim hard. Really need to burp but can’t. Sprint last 200 yards.

Finish at 9:06:26. Almost puked. 41.26. Eleventh place in the wetsuit division. Third best time in 50-54 age group. 56/233 overall. I’ll take it.

Great summer of swimming. Around 100,000 yards. Will never forget my lane five and six mates. 5K next year? Peace out.

– Peter

Big Shoulders 5k Swim [Results] [Photos]

“Wild Hares – Guest Star Blog” is written by our favorite rabbits. We will display a new blog post, every week or so from one of our viewers. Email Dan for more information on how you can be a “Wild Hare.”