Lake Del Valle Aqua Challenge

July 28, 2007


This time, I am only 6 weeks past my long-awaited hip resurfacing surgery. So, I had to scale back my expectations. In fact, I was resigned to not doing it at all. Till 10 days ago when I was cleared for beginning swimming - and joined Rick Ferrell at the Spa. He was late, and I figured I'd be swimming alone. Got in 1600 yards continuous when he arrived, and we both did 2000 yards after that. So I thought - wow, that's 3600 yards. 2 miles. That's the same as the Del Valle AquaChallenge next week. Now, can I do this without the pool bouy? This past week, I tried it, as at 6 weeks I was cleared for transitioning to some partial weightbearing. And, it felt good in the water w/o the bouy. I kicked for 3600 yards continuous and felt OK. I needed to do a race, just for my mental state. And so. I did.

This year the temperature was about 85F, instead of well over 100F, and conditions were perfect. Water temp was mid-70's, also perfect. Except, there were many more swimmers. Maybe 30% bigger turnout than last year. Hmmm, even less reason to hope I could three-peat a second place medal.


The Half-Mile race about to start


With my crutches just outside the camera frame and leaning on the good leg...

I talked with the race director and the plan was for me to leave my crutches at the finish line, and to shout "crutches!" when I came in, so a finish-line race volunteer could get them out to me before exiting the water. I'm 6.5 weeks past surgery and just beginning my 4 week period where I'm partial-weight bearing on my operated hip. Basically I felt good out there. Didn't have quite the aerobic fitness of recent years because of the surgery and I noticed that. And, my legs couldn't kick nearly well enough to stay on the water surface, so I had my share of drag. But especially on the second mile when things had opened up quite a bit, I felt my upper body pulling a good strong swimming form. One glitch in the water was they didn't clarify how to get around one of the bouys on the 2miler, and some of us - myself included - had to get run down by a paddle board volunteer and do a 90degree for a half minute or so to get back around it. So, In I come feeling strong and out-sprinting one guy - and I shouted "crutches!", several times, but to no avail. Finally sat back down in the water and tried to float myself in for the last 20 feet to shore while scraping along the sand.... till some kind competitor helped me out. Thanks, Miss, whoever you were! Anyway, that put most of another minute on my official time. On my watch, I came in for the 2-mile race at 1:05:58. Rationally, I expected only to have a semi-decent swim and enjoy the company of great people. But after swimming my heart out, I confess I was a little disappointed that I didn't place. 3rd in my age group was 1:00:30, and first place was 52 minutes.

...I'm ready for my pre-race photo shoot. The 1-mile and 2-mile races are next.

At the finish

My all wet, post-race shot. None the worse for wear, and glad for it too

Awards in the shade. 3 deep in 10 year age groups for the non-wet-suit's. But no medal for me this year. I missed 3rd by 5 minutes. Doh!

Three generations of swimmers in this family