With the last update giving you the gruesome details of getting over jelly stings, I began to wonder “What can I write next?” I mean oozing skin, feverish chills, and feeling like I’ve licked 10 – D batteries all at once where do I go from there? Can that update be topped? Probably not so I’ll just forge ahead.
A week’s worth of recuperating and swimming in Northern Ireland post swim and I was home for less than two weeks before heading off to my next swimming adventure in Ketchikan Alaska. No rest for the weary when there is SO MUCH WATER and SO LITTLE TIME.
The Pennock Island Challenge race is an 8.2 mile race around…you guessed it Pennock Island. The water temperatures are variable (54-62F), but not as cold as the North Channel. There is wildlife like starfish, salmon, sea lions, orcas, humpback whales, moon jellies and of course Lion’s Mane jellies. Yay jellies. Anyways the swim is actually a fun event for me. It is where my cold water marathon swimming began. Every year I make the pilgrimage back to the waters that spawned the passion for long open water swimming. It is a time to catch up with my friends, return to my roots of marathon swimming and recharge. You may argue that swimming a race of 8.2 miles isn’t exactly recharging, but I swear it is. This year in particular I was really looking forward to as I had missed last year’s race as my swim schedule was just too crazy. Also Maureen McCoy, my North Channel observer and friend, was going to be there.
I had decided early on that this would be more of a social swim. I was going to stop and “smell the roses.” Where I finished in the field wasn’t important, as I knew that I may be pretty wrecked having just come from Northern Ireland. When I landed Friday afternoon and was in the car with my friend, he said two things – Mind if we stop for a swim? And we will be against the tide for the whole of Sunday’s Pennock race. My responses were – Of course let’s stop for a swim. And please tell me you are kidding about the tide. The social swim we had was lovely and unfortunately we were going to be against the tide for the whole race. There went my idea about floating some of the distance and letting the tide carry me.
Fast forward and the race is over. I did take a more social approach to the event. I stopped to take photos and talk with some spectators. I wasn’t able to avoid the no-see-um jellies that ended up in my suit, but I was able to quickly remove them before they did too much damage. I managed to work my way through the unhelpful tide. When I finally finished, I placed 3rd overall behind a woman wearing a wetsuit and a 2-person relay team. All in all not a bad day. As I was circling the island, I began to wonder just how many Pennock Island races had I done. After some very slow math I determined this was my 7th Pennock Island.
That means that this year is the year of sevens. I completed the Ocean’s 7. Competed in my 7th Pennock Island challenge. All I need now is one more 7 to have a jackpot year. I could take the easy route and take 7 days off in a row, but I took 5 days off and almost went crazy. Plus I learned that I only shower if I’m at the gym, so really everyone benefits if I work out. I’m not even sure if my house has showers. I think it does otherwise I bought the Brady Bunch house.
As you can see I have no intention of hanging up the swimsuit now that the Ocean’s 7 is done. In fact, I have two more events planned yet this year. No 7’s in those though so I have to come up with something else.
Any suggestions?Tags: Alaska, Ocean's 7, Pennock Island Challenge